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#16 Marquette Men's Lacrosse Preview: at Providence

The Golden Eagles are in Rhode Island on Saturday in a pivotal Big East contest.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the deal.

Team Wins Losses
Denver 2 0
Georgetown 2 1
Marquette 2 1
St. John's 1 1
Villanova 0 2
Providence 0 2

That's the standings as of right now for men's lacrosse in the Big East.  Marquette's only remaining matches are against league leader and national powerhouse Denver and, as you saw in the title line, Providence.  Only the top four teams advance to the Big East tournament, so with the odds stacked against MU when they play the Pioneers, they need to make some hay against the Friars.  A win against last place Providence would lock Marquette in front of PC in the standings with one game left to play, and a Villanova loss to Georgetown on Saturday would clinch a Big East tournament slot for the Golden Eagles.

With the loss to Bellarmine hanging around their necks and stern tests against Duke and Denver looming just over the horizon, Marquette needs to get into the Big East tournament to have their best shot at a spot in the NCAA tournament.  Winning the league's autobid will still likely mean upsetting the Pioneers at some point, but that's why they play the games, right?

Big East Game #4: at Providence (4-6, 0-2 Big East)

When: Saturday, April 11, 2015, at 11am Central
Where: Ray Treacy Track & Field Complex in Providence, RI
Audio/Visual: PC's charging for video, but there's a radio stream and live stats for free.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

After opening up 4-2 on the season, the Friars have lost their last four contests, including the first two Big East games on their schedule.  Two of the losses were narrow defeats: first, a 7-5 clipping while visiting Bryant, then a 9-6 loss to #17 Georgetown last Saturday in their most recent game.  PC got to that 9-6 score due to two goals in the last four minutes, but they did hold Georgetown scoreless over the final 18 minutes to give themselves a chance to climb back in.

One thing Marquette will not be able to rely on against PC is extra man opportunity goals.  While Providence is the most penalized team in the Big East, they also have the best penalty killing squad in the league.  On average, they'll give you nearly five chances to score an EMO goal per game, but they're only going to allow you to score on one of those chances.

It also might be a wild and wooly game loaded with ground balls.  Providence turns the ball over more than any team in the Big East, but they also force more turnovers than anyone else.  The roadblock to PC forcing those turnovers here?  Marquette commits the fewest turnovers of any Big East squad.

The Friars have a trio of double digit goal scorers, led by 15 from Will Mazzone.  He's also the team's leader in assists with 10, but Buck McClure, who has to be using a fake name, is right behind him with nine helpers through 10 games.  Senior Peter Badgley takes care of the Providence net, playing all but about two and a half quarters worth of time this season.  He's allowing 10 and two-thirds goals per 60 minutes while he's out there, but he's also stopping 57% of his opponent's shots on goal.