Hoops Preview - Marquette

For the second straight year, the No. 11 seed Washington Huskies (24-9, 11-7) are off to the Big Dance, where they will face off with the No. 6 seed Golden Eagles of Marquette (22-11, 11-7) Thursday at approximately 4:20 p.m. PST in San Jose, Calif. Both teams are in the East Region, based in Syracuse. The game will be aired on CBS.

It will be the Dawgs' first game against the Golden Eagles since 1978, and only their second game ever against them. They will be looking for their first win all-time.

Marquette, who finished fifth in the Big East and lost in the third round of the Big East Tournament, has had a strong year that included wins over Centenary, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Grambling State, South Dakota, Xavier, Michigan, Milwaukee, North Florida and Presbyterian. In league, the Golden Eagles defeated Providence twice, St. John's twice, Georgetown, Rutgers, Connecticut, DePaul, South Florida, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Louisville and Villanova. Three of those wins were over ranked opponents (Georgetown, Connecticut and Villanova).

Their losses this season have come against Florida State, North Carolina State and Wisconsin non-conference. In league, they lost to Villanova twice, West Virginia, DePaul, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Georgetown. Seven of those losses came against ranked opponents (Wisconsin, West Virginia, Villanova twice, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Georgetown).

As a team, Marquette's roster is comprised mainly of upperclassmen, with Maurice Acker, a 5-foot-8 guard; David Cubillan, a 6-foot guard; and Lazar Hayward, a 6-foot-6 forward - all seniors. Joseph Fulce, a 6-foot-7 forward; Dwight Buycks, a 6-foot-3 guard; Jimmy Butler, a 6-foot-6 forward; and Robert Frozena, a 6-foot-1 guard as their juniors.

The Golden Eagles only have four underclassmen: Darius Johnson-Odom, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard; Junior Cadougan, a 6-foot-1 freshman guard; Erik Williams, a 6-foot-7 freshman forward; and Youssoupha Mbao, a 7-foot-2 freshman center.

Although they are well-rounded in their scoring, with three players over 10 points a game, Marquette's top scorer this season has been Hayward, who is also projected to be a possible first-round pick in the upcoming 2010 NBA draft. He is scoring 18.1 points a game on 43 percent shooting from the floor. He is also picking up 7.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Although he'll likely start out as the four or even the five, he isn't afraid to step-out and play beyond the 3-point line and hit shots from out there.

Butler has probably been Marquette's most efficient player this year and will start with Hayward in the frontcourt. On the season he is averaging 14.9 points on 54 percent shooting from the field, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He should be starting at the four or the five on Thursday.

Also putting up over 10 points a game has been Johnson-Odom, who is averaging 12.8 on 49 percent shooting from the floor. He will start at the three,

The diminutive Acker will be running the point, and he is averaging of 8.5 points on 44 percent shooting, 3.7 assists and 1.2 steals.

Cubillan will start at the two where he is putting up 6.6 points a game on 45 percent shooting from the field.

Buycks is Buzz Williams' main man coming off the bench, averaging 24 minutes a game on the court, as well as 6.4 points on 41 percent shooting and 1.2 steals. Generally, Johnson-Odom will be the player Buycks replaces when he comes in as the six man.

As a team, the Golden Eagles have a productive offense, averaging 72.9 points a game on 45 percent shooting from the floor. They also average 15.2 assists, 10.3 turnovers and shoot 74 percent from the charity stripe and 41 percent from beyond the arc, which led the Big East Conference. They will generally have four of their players stationed around the arc while in their offense. It is also a up-tempo offense.

On defense Marquette holds their opponents to just 64.2 points a game on 45 percent shooting from the field, also leading their league. They also average 31.8 rebounds, 7.9 steals and 2.2 blocks. The Golden Eagles will pressure with an aggressive man-to-man look.

Marquette, which is located in Milwaukee, is coached by Williams, 37, who is in his second year coaching the Golden Eagles. Last year he guided them to a 25-10 record and a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They lost to Missouri 83-79 in the round of 32 in Boise, Idaho.

Prior to coming to Marquette, Williams was the head man at New Orleans in 2006-2007, where they finished 14-17, good for fourth in the Sun Belt West Conference. He has also been an assistant at Navarro College, Oklahoma City, Texas-Arlington, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Northwestern State, Colorado State, Texas A&M and a year under Tom Crean at Marquette in 2007-08 before being asked to take over the program the following year. His first college coaching job came at the age of 18.

The winner of this game will play the winner of No. 3 New Mexico (14-2, 29-4) and No. 14 Montana (10-6, 15-14), which also takes place Thursday in San Jose. The second round match will take place on Saturday at the HP Pavilion of San Jose,

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