Looking Inside: Marquette - James dangerous

Now that the dust has settled, its time for Tom Izzo and his coaching to staff to dissect the Marquette Golden Eagles(24-9).

EAST LANSING - Now that the dust has settled, its time for Tom Izzo and his coaching to staff to dissect the Marquette Golden Eagles(24-9).

First off, the Golden Eagles have an impressive guard trio scoring attack led by sophomore Dominic James who scores 14.8 points per game.

With Jerel McNeal (14.7 PPG) and Wesley Matthews (12.7 PPG), the three combine to be the predominant scoring tandem for the Golden Eagles.

With both teams strong at guard and outside shooting, the difference will come inside the paint with the bigger bodies on the floor.

But with strong guard play leaves vulnerable an inside presence for the Golden Eagles, which could be the path the Spartans take in slowing down Tom Creans team.

Having four big-guys down low, the Spartans could be looking at an open lane and mismatches throughout Thursdays first round contest.

Marquise Gray, Goran Suton, Drew Naymick and Idong Ibok all bring size and toughness inside and the big-men for the Golden Eagles, Ousmane Barro and Dan Fitzgerald, will have their hands full.

Dominic James and Drew Neitzel should be the leaders for their teams as they have been all season but outside jumpers and three-pointers can only go so far in a game, showing that an inside presence is always the way to relieve pressure off the guards for both teams.

Another guard, Travis Walton, could help out Neitzel by driving the lane and creating pressure in the paint, forcing an Eagles player to challenge him while he finds an open man.

Suton scored 16 points for the Spartans in their second round loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament last Thursday, showing great scoring ability and versatility. Sutons points came on a variety of different ways, from jumpers to hook shots.

Marquise Gray gives the Spartans energy on the court, often slamming the ball down and pumping up the team.

While Drew Naymick's offensive production is still limited, his rebounding has been stellar for much of the year and is a big reason why Michigan State was the best rebounding team in the Big Ten.

Idong Ibok might not get as much playing time as the others but when he is on the floor, he uses his size to move inside and create space for himself.

Unless the Marquette guards can go inside and defend the Spartan big-men, the Golden Eagles might be looking at a long day inside the paint. Granted James, McNeal and Matthews might score up to their average, the Spartans big-men should even out the score and contribute nicely to the scoring of Neitzel.


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