The Matchups: Xavier vs Marquette

Before every game, MusketeerReport breaks down the position-by-position matchups for X's opponent. This edition focuses on the Musketeers’ Tuesday night Big East tilt against Marquette at the Bradley Center.

Dee Davis SR (6-0, 170) vs Derrick Wilson SR (6-1, 210)

Wilson is a strong, stocky guard that can handle the ball, pass and defend. He's not a scorer at all, but he's still a key contributor for the Golden Eagles that plays a ton of minutes. Last game against Seton Hall, he played all 40 minutes due to Marquette's other main ball handler Matt Carlino missing the game with a concussion. Davis played great on Saturday in the Musketeers' win over Providence despite only scoring four points and missing both of his field goal attempts. He played his role as creator and distributor perfectly, dishing out 15 assists with four turnovers to go with three rebounds and a steal, while playing a great game defensively that included a spectacular individual defensive play against Kris Dunn to seal the win at the end. Davis didn't have one of his best games in the first meeting against Marquette. He started slow against their changing zone defenses, and finished the game with five turnovers.

Slight Edge Xavier

Myles Davis SO (6-2, 195) vs JaJuan Johnson SO (6-5, 200)

Johnson is a versatile wing. With Carlino out, he received his first start since November on Saturday against Seton Hall, and responded with 14 points (5-10 FG, 0-3 3PT) and four rebounds in 35 minutes of action. He's been very aggressive recently, attempting 12 shots the game before last in only 22 minutes at Villanova. He's shooting an abysmal 17.6 percent from 3-point range on the year, but he won't hesitate to hoist one up as he's averaging over two attempts per game. He's averaging 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in Big East play. Johnson didn't play in the game at Xavier due to coach's decision, but recently he's become an important factor for the Golden Eagles. Davis has scored in double figures in each of the last eight games for Xavier. He's coming off his best 3-point shooting performance of the year after hitting 4-of-5 from deep Saturday against Providence while helping the Musketeers make a critical second half run. Last time against Marquette, he finished with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-7 from long distance, to go with three assists and one turnover.

Moderate Edge Xavier

Remy Abell JR (6-4, 194) vs Duane Wilson FR (6-2, 185)

Wilson has held up well in his first season of Big East action. The athletic freshman with a well-rounded offensive skill-set poured in 26 against Georgetown a few weeks ago, 18 against Butler and 17 against Creighton early in the conference schedule. He's averaging 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in conference play. He's coming off a nine-point, three-rebound performance at Seton Hall where he was 2-of-8 from the field, including 1-of-3 from 3-point range. He's shooting 32.6 percent from 3-point range against Big East opponents, but that percentage is greatly enhanced by his 6-for-8 night against Georgetown. Regardless, the Musketeers have to make sure they challenge his shots and keep him from getting going from the outside, because he's not shy about shooting it and has had some big nights in his home gym. He’s probably the Golden Eagles’ most dynamic offensive player if Carlino is out of the lineup. Abell only played 11 minutes Saturday against Providence after playing 40 minutes the game before against Creighton and scoring 16 points. Last time against Marquette, he was the hero in the second half, hitting 5-of-9 3-point attempts to lead the Musketeers back.

Even

James Farr JR (6-10, 244) vs Juan Anderson SR (6-6, 215)

Anderson is a versatile forward that can do a little bit of everything, but he's found life to be a little tougher against the physical Big East after he performed really well during the non-conference schedule. He's averaging 8.0 points per game to go with a team-leading 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in conference play. He's another guy that will attempt around two threes a game while shooting 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. He's a combined 0-for-4 in his last two games from distance. Saturday at Seton Hall he scored nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 0-of-1 from beyond the arc. In the last meeting against Xavier at the Cintas Center he was 1-of-5 from the field with four points, eight rebounds and four turnovers. Farr has seen his minutes decline recently with Jalen Reynolds playing so well off the bench and the Musketeers often playing a smaller lineup with Trevon Bluiett at the four. Over the last five games, he's only played 11.8 minutes per game. In the game against Marquette at the Cintas Center, he had four points (2-of-4) and seven rebounds.

Slight Edge Marquette

Matt Stainbrook SR (6-10, 270) vs Luke Fischer SO (6-11, 245)

Fischer is a tough and fairly mobile big man that gives the Golden Eagles some much needed size in the paint on both ends. He's now 15 games into his career at Marquette after transferring midseason from Indiana last year, and he seems to be settled in pretty well. He's not a dominant offensive player, but he can play with his back to the basket a little bit and he battles on the offensive glass. His presence in the paint makes a big difference for Marquette's defense because of his shot blocking abilities. he's averaging just under two blocks per game in Big East play to go along with 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. Last game against Xavier, he had seven points on 2-of-4 shooting to go with five rebounds an assist and three turnovers. The Musketeers' rotation of Stainbrook and Reynolds seems to be a difficult matchup for Fischer, as Stainbrook is even heavier and stronger than him and Reynolds isn't quite as bulky but is as strong and much more athletic. It's no secret that Stainbrook has struggled mightily the last two games. On Saturday, he failed to score on two shot attempts in 22 minutes of action. He finished the game with five rebounds and two assists. Chris Mack said after the game that he's clearly injured and that the team needed to get him healthy. It will be interesting to see what his health status is and how much playing time he receives in this game.

Slight Edge Xavier

Xavier Bench vs Marquette Bench

Carlino is listed as a game-time decision and we probably won't know anything until game time. He was a big part of Marquette's attack in the first game against Xavier, scoring 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting including 6-of-9 from 3-point range. If he doesn't play, then the Golden Eagles really only have a seven-man rotation. Junior forward Steve Taylor Jr (6-7, 240) is the sixth man, averaging 4.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game during Big East play. He scored 14 points (7-9 FG) and grabbed six boards Saturday at Seton Hall. Freshman Sandy Cohen (6-6, 180) is the only other scholarship player on the Golden Eagles' roster. His role varies from game to game in terms of how much playing time he sees, but he's always looking to knock down shots when he's on the floor. He's shooting 40.4 percent from distance on the season, and 37.5 percent in conference play. With this current lineup, assuming Mack doesn't change it for this game, the Musketeers have two of their best players coming off of the bench in Jalen Reynolds and Trevon Bluiett. Reynolds has been on a dominant tear over the last three games, averaging 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds during that stretch. Bluiett came off the bench to score 19 points (7-13 FG, 3-7 3PT) against Providence on Saturday after scoring just two on Wednesday against Creighton. Freshmen and J.P. Macura both saw a big bump in their playing time on Saturday. Macura scored 10 points, dished out two assists and grabbed two rebounds in 21 minutes with Abell sitting on the bench for an extended stretch, and O'Mara scored five points, grabbed three boards and blocked two shots in 11 minutes against Providence.

Moderate Edge Xavier

Overall

The Golden Eagles snapped a six-game losing streak that started at Xavier by beating Seton Hall on Saturday 57-54 without Matt Carlino, who suffered a concussion the game before against Villanova when he landed on his head. Without Carlino in the mix, it's difficult to key in on any one player for Marquette. In the Golden Eagles' last game at Seton Hall, five of their six regular rotation guys scored nine or more points. That being said, they're still much easier to guard without him, especially for Xavier, which allowed Carlino to score 27 points the last time the two teams played. Marquette had Xavier looking confused and rattled in the first half of that game by switching between its 3-2 and 1-3-1 zone looks. The Musketeers gave Marquette 14 points off of 12 turnovers in that first half and trailed 31-22 at halftime, before Remy Abell and Myles Davis shot them back into it in the second half. They've had plenty of practice against opponents playing different zones over the last few weeks, and they've executed pretty well against them, including Saturday against Providence. As long as they take care of the ball against the Golden Eagles' ball pressure and traps and move it quickly against their zone, they should get plenty of looks on kick-outs to guards and on duck-ins for the big men. Also, X needs to be active on the offensive glass, as it's tough for Marquette to rebound as a small team in a zone. The Musketeers had nine offensive boards in the first matchup. It will be interesting to see what the pace of this game is like, as the first game was X's second slowest of the season with just 63 possessions.

Score prediction: Xavier 72 Marquette 68


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