The Golden Eagles enter the match-up with a very bad taste in their mouth following the 89-75 beat down they received from Dayton at the Chicago Invitational. However, history tells us that Marquette will bounce back, and do it in dominant fashion.
In the previous three seasons, the Golden Eagles have followed up every non-conference loss with victory, and by an average margin of 19 points. The lowly Chippewas, out of the Mid-American Conference, should provide easy fodder for this redemption-starved Marquette team. The Chips bring four players averaging double figures to the Al McGuire Court, but have no one taller than 6'8" among their main contributors. As result, they've been out-rebounded by an average of two boards a game, and they have yet to face off against a BCS Conference school.
The Golden Eagles and Chippewas do share one common opponent heading into Tuesday night, as both have played Chicago State. Marquette downed the Cougars 106-87 back on November 17, while Central Michigan fell to CSU 84-74 three days later.
MU's defensive effort will certainly be under the microscope on Tuesday night following a loss in which the Golden Eagles allowed the Flyers to shoot 52.6 percent from the field, and 58.6% in the second half.
"A lot of people think it's our lack of an inside presence from a defensive perspective," Buzz Williams said. "But the thing is, they weren't throwing the ball inside. They were penetrating the ball inside. We've got to guard the ball and keep the ball out of the paint, whether it's on the pass or the bounce."
However, establishing some semblance of interior post play will also be a priority for the Golden Eagles, as games against Wisconsin and Tennessee loom on the horizon, and Dwight Burke, the starting center through the first six games, has been a non-factor. The senior from Brooklyn, N.Y. has averaged only 17.2 minutes of playing time and has been whistled for a team high 21 fouls. To make things worse, he has struggled with post defense and has attempted only five shots.
Burke will be challenged in the paint by Chris Kellerman, the Chippewas' 6'8", 245 lb power forward. Kellerman is CMU's leading scorer at 16.2 points per game, and is second on the team in rebounds at 6.5 boards per game. He's also not afraid to stretch the defense, as he ranks tenth all-time in CMU history in career three-pointers made.
Guards Jeremy Allen and Robbie Harman also average double-figure scoring for the Chippewas (14.6 and 10.4 points per game, respectively) while playing over 33 minutes per game each. Harman, CMU's point guard, has more turnovers than assists on the season. Adrian Hunter, CMU's top reserve, has averaged 12.7 point per game in the three games he's played.
Tip off is set for 7:00 pm CST. Time Warner Sports will provide television coverage, and the game will appear on ESPN Full Court for those out of market. Hopefully Marquette can avoid looking beyond this game, as they will take on in-state rival Wisconsin on Saturday.