Losers of five of their first seven Big East conference games, Marquette (11-8, 2-5) looks to rebound against a Rutgers (9-10, 0-7) team that is winless in Big East play. The Golden Eagles return to Milwaukee to host the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday night.
Marquette and Rutgers have had an equally brutal start to conference play, each already squaring up against West Virginia, Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown.
Rutgers is currently on an eight game slide, including five games against opponents ranked higher than No. 12 at the time. Fred Hill's squad hasn't won a game since a 66-42 rout of St. Peter's College on December 22. "Of course they're down," Hill said after an 88-63 loss to Georgetown on Saturday. "But they're working hard, and we've got to figure it out."
The Scarlet Knights are still struggling to overcome loss of sophomore Gregory Echenique. The 6-foot-9 forward transferred to Creighton in early January. Echenique suffered an eye injury in early December and was seeking a medical redshirt prior to his transfer. Prior to the injury he led the team in rebounding (7.7 rpg) and was second in scoring (12.6 ppg).
Jonathan Mitchell has stepped up to fill the void in the frontcourt for Rutgers, averaging over 14 points and six rebounds during conference play. The 6-foot-7 forward also has the ability to step out and shoot from outside.
Along with Mitchell, 6-foot-11 center Hamady Ndiaye could cause matchup problems for Marquette in the paint. The senior is averaging better than 10 points and eight rebounds in his last five contests. The Senegal native is shooting 59.1 percent from the floor this season, good enough for 4th place in the Big East.
Freshman forward Dane Miller has also shown flashes of brilliance, scoring 26 points against both Providence and Villanova. Miller also added eight rebounds against the Wildcats.
Rutgers has a serious height advantage over the Golden Eagles, with five players taller than 6-feet-6-inches on their roster that will likely see considerable minutes.
Rutgers biggest offense threat is sophomore guard Mike Rosario, who is leading the Scarlet Knights in scoring again this season. Rosario puts up 15.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. At 6-foot-3, he will have a height advantage over Marquette's smaller guards, and has posted over 20 points five times already this season.
The Golden Eagles are 3-1 all-time against the Scarlet Knights, with all the matchups occurring since Marquette joined the Big East in 2005.
Junior Cadougan made his debut Saturday for the Golden Eagles after suffering what was thought to be a season-ending Achilles injury in September. The top-100 high school prospect could serve as a huge boost to Marquette's backcourt.
Marquette returns to the Bradley Center after consecutive road losses to DePaul and Syracuse. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 PM CST Tuesday night.
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