Game Preview - Marquette

Although falling in tough fashion to Nevada, the Washington Huskies (4-2) will have no time to mope, as the No. 11 Marquette Golden Eagles (7-0) are waiting in New York City for the team from the Northwest. The first game of the Jimmy V Classic for Lorenzo Romar and his team will be Tuesday at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The classic is being held in legendary Madison Square Garden.

A perennial top-tier Big East team, Marquette, located in Milwaukee, Wis., has a tradition almost as rich as the venue holding Tuesday's game.

Up to six straight NCAA tournament appearances, the Golden Eagles have been to a total of 29 bigger dances. In those 29 tournament selections, they've made it to the Sweet Sixteen 14 times, Elite Eight six times, Final Four three times, runner up once and the national championship winner in 1977.

At the helm for Marquette is Buzz Williams, who has been in charge since the 2008-09 season. Over his four years in charge, Williams has a 76-36 record. With a 67 percent win percentage, Williams is only behind Hank Raymonds and coaching legend Al McGuire in win percentage at Marquette.

Williams' squad, who lost 78-80 to UW in the 2010 NCAA tournament, is powered by former junior college transfers Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder.

Johnson-Odom, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, has been a mainstay in the Marquette lineup since arriving as a sophomore in 2009. This season, the Raleigh, N.C. native is averaging 19.4 points per game on a sparkling 54 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent shooting from 3-point territory. He also contributes 3.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals in his 28.7 minutes on the court.

Although just starting his third year on campus, Johnson-Odom is already 35th in Marquette's all-time scoring with 1,162 points. Currently, he is on pace to finish the season in the top 20. His JUCO counterpart, Crowder, isn't letting Johnson-Odom have the whole spot light. A 6-foot-6 senior forward, Crowder is averaging 16.9 points per game on an outstanding 57 percent shooting from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc. He is also averaging 6.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals to boot.

On the other end of the seniority spectrum, freshman Todd Mayo has the makings of a special player. While not quite as talented as his older brother O.J., Mayo is averaging 9.6 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field. But the more impressive stat for the 6-foot-3 guard is he is doing it in 17.4 minutes a game.

Switching from the little guys to the big ones, in the post, Chris Otule and his 6-foot-11, 265 pound frame will be waiting. While only averaging 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, the Richmond, Tex. native will mainly have his presence felt on the defensive end, where his size will force guards and post players to alter their shots. He is averaging 1.9 blocks and a steal. As a whole, Marquette could be the most all-around talented team UW faces this season.

Already with wins over No. 7 Wisconsin and a solid Ole Miss team, Marquette has only had one game that was even close. And their 84.1 points a game is a big reason for that. But, they've also have excelled in assists (18.6 per game) and field goal percentage (51 percent). Perhaps the one weakness the Golden Eagles have is turnovers, as they rank 300th in the country with a turnover percentage of 17.7.

The Classic won't get easier for the Huskies after the Marquette game, as the No. 5 Duke Blue Devils (7-1) will be waiting in the wings on Saturday 9 a.m. That game will be on CBS.


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