The Perfect Fit

Marquette opens their 2006-2007 season at home against Hillsdale College on Friday. While not a division team or a known program, Hillsdale is the perfect tune up for the Golden Eagles and their lofty goals.

It has been seven long months since Marquette has competed in a game that counted. A devastating loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Alabama left a bad taste in the mouths of MU's young team. If anything is true though, Marquette is in great shape to make the quest back to the NCAA tournament and beyond.

The 2006-2007 journey will start against Hillsdale College of Michigan. Hillsdale plays in the Great Lakes Conference and is not a division one program. While some would question the scheduling move by Marquette, Tom Crean believes Hillsdale will prepare his team for higher profile teams MU will play this season.

"Their offense is similar to Princeton, who we might see this year, and Georgetown," said Crean. "They are a young team. However, they understand their offense very well for how inexperienced they are."

The Golden Eagles mean not to discredit their opponent. However, the prospects that Hillsdale will hang with the Marquette are slim. MU will benefit from playing against the backdoor cuts and constant movement of the Princeton style offense.

Friday's game should also give Marquette an opportunity to set their rotation. In their first exhibition game, the Golden Eagles showed no patterns of who they will use when it matters most.

"We are not at the point to figure out where everyone falls into the rotation," reiterated Crean. "However, in my mind we have six starters and Dan Fitzgerald is one of them."

While many expected freshmen Lazar Hayward to step right in the vacant four spot left by Steve Novak, Crean has surprised some by mentioning Fitzgerald as the heir apparent. Equally surprising, Crean told reporters that Jamil Lott is on the verge of the starting lineup too.

"Jamil can be other one (starter). With Jamil coming into the game as a starter, we receive a rebounding aspect, and with Dan coming into the game we can spread the floor more."

For a team with high expectations, there is still much to be determined. Maybe Hillsdale is exactly the team the Golden Eagles need.

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