Preview: at UConn

The Marquette Golden Eagles will hit the road Saturday to face the UConn Huskies in the BIG EAST Network Game of the Week.

Marquette Golden Eagles (13-8, 3-5 Big East) vs. No. 19 Connecticut Huskies (13-7, 3-4 Big East)

XL Center– Hartford, Connecticut

Time: Saturday, 11 am CST

Coverage: ESPN360/Big East Network/WMLW (Mike Gleason play-by-play, Mike Kelley color-analyst)


The Marquette Golden Eagles travel to Hartford, Conn. to take on the Connecticut Huskies Saturday at 11 a.m. CST at the XL Center.

Marquette (13-8, 3-5) is looking to gain some momentum after winning at home Tuesday against Rutgers. The Golden Eagles are seeking their first conference road win of the season.

Connecticut (13-7, 3-4) enters the game after an 81-66 loss at Providence on Wednesday night. The Huskies have faced the No. 1 ranked strength-of schedule according to warrennolan.com.

UConn's backcourt is as formidable as any in the country. Senior guard Jerome Dyson leads the team in scoring at just over 19 per game. He is a very explosive player that is proficient in transition. Dyson's ability to heat from the perimeter (although his percentage may not reflect that) makes him a dynamic scorer.

Kemba Walker, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, leads the Big East in assists-per-game at over six per game. Walker has elite quickness and athleticism and will pose a huge problem for any MU player that tries to defend him. One thing Walker does not excel at is shooting the basketball. He is shooting 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from the perimeter.

Leading the charge in the Huskies' three-forward attack is 6-foot-9 senior Stanley Robinson. Robinson has been much more consistent and efficient this season, scoring in double-digits in each of the Huskies' 20 games. Robinson averages 16.8 points- and 7.4 rebounds-per game this season. He is also shooting 42 percent from downtown after shooting a woeful 13 percent last season.

Freshman forwards Alex Oriakhi and Ater Majok join Robinson in the starting lineup. Oriakhi does the dirty work inside for the Huskies and averages 5.3 points, along with 8.2 rebounds-per-game Majok, who became eligible in December after being granted partial eligibility last January, has started six of the Huskies' seven conference games.

The Huskies' best inside scoring presence is Gavin Edwards. The 6-foot-10 senior averages 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds-per-game. His 30.1 minutes-per-game is tops in the country among non-starters. UConn plays two other frontcourt players off the bench, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Charles Okwandu. Coombs-McDaniel, a 6-foot-7 freshman, spells Robinson and is a similar type of player. Okwandu, a true center, aids Majok, Oriakhi and Edwards on the interior.

UConn has lead the nation in blocked shots for the past eight seasons and are on their way to doing it again this year. Their 8.8 blocks-per-game is, once again, tops in the country.

The story of UConn's season so far has been their inconsistency scoring the basketball. They have been sound defensively all season—especially on the interior—but their lack of efficiency offensively have hurt them at times. In fact the Huskies are 1-7 when held to an offensive rating under the national average of 100.

The keys to Marquette winning on Saturday will be basically the same as every other game this season. One, they need to play at a moderate pace—around 68 possessions a game. Two, they need to keep the other team under 50% effective field goal percentage. And three, they need to continue to shoot well from the perimeter to make up for their lack of size.

Probable Starters:

G –#15–Kemba Walker (6'1" 172 lbs, Sophomore) --- (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rbg, 6.2 apg)

G –#11–Jerome Dyson (6'4" 190 lbs, Senior) --- (19.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.9 apg)

F –#21–Stanley Robinson (6'9" 210 lbs, Senior) --- (16.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 42% 3PT)

F –#5–Ater Majok (6'11" 233 lbs, Freshman) --- (2.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg)

F/C –#34–Alex Oriakhi (6'9" 240 lbs, Freshman) --- (5.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg)

Key Reserves:

F –#33–Gavin Edwards (6'10" 234 lbs, Senior) --- (10.8 ppg, 6.2 rbg, 2.6 bpg)

F –#4– Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (6'7" 210 lbs, Freshman) --- (3.5 ppg, 1.4 rbg)

G –#2–Donnell Beverly (6'4" 190 lbs, Junior) --- (1.3 ppg, 1.5 abg)

C –#35–Charles Okwandu (7'0" 255 lbs, Junior) --- (1.4 ppg, 1.3 rbg)

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