Marquette Golden Eagles (15-8, 4-6) at #6 Xavier Musketeers (20-2, 8-2)
Marquette Stat Leaders
Points: Henry Ellenson, 16.0 ppg
Rebounds: Henry Ellenson, 10.0 rpg
Assists: Traci Carter, 4.3 apg
Xavier Stat Leaders
Points: Trevon Bluiett, 15.4 ppg
Rebounds: James Farr, 8.7 rpg
Assists: Myles Davis, 3.7 apg
Current KenPom Rankings
KenPom Predictions: Xavier has a 91% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 79-62.
Tempo Free Fun: As seems to usually be the case around these parts, we're going to get one hell of a show when Xavier has the ball. The Musketeers are a top 25 offense according to KenPom, while the Golden Eagles are just barely outside the top 50 in defense. If you didn't like seeing Seton Hall bang Marquette around on the offensive glass on Wednesday, well, you're probably not going to like this game. XU is a top 20 Offensive Rebounding Rate team, powered by James Farr, the 6th best offensive rebounder in the country, while MU sits way down at #260 when it comes to what kind of Offensive Rebounding Rate that they allow for their opponents.
Things will probably get ugly when Marquette has the ball, but you knew that, at least as a Marquette fan. The Golden Eagles just barely get to call themselves a top 200 offense because they're currently sitting at #199 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. Wanna know Xavier's Adjusted Defensive Efficiency rank? I bet you actually don't. I made that bet because Xavier's ranked #30. They're ranked in the top 100 of all of the Four Factors, with their "weakness" being forcing turnovers at #96. Well, it's Marquette's lucky day, since they're one of the 50 worst ball possession offenses in the country. By the way, Marge, I was being sarcastic.
Since We Last Met: Well, the Musketeers followed up their eight point win at the Bradley Center by promptly heading back to Cincinnati and getting clonked by Georgetown for what's probably the best win of the Hoyas' season. Since then, though, it's been straight back up the charts. They took care of business against Seton Hall and St. John's at home, using those wins to sandwich in a quality road win against Providence and a road thumping of DePaul. Based on the newest Bracketology from SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean, it looks like Xavier is locked into a duel with Villanova for one of the #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.
Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with Wednesday's loss to Seton Hall snapping a three game winning streak.
Xavier Last 10 Games: 8-2, with wins in their last four contests.
All Time Series: Marquette leads, 47-20.
Current Streak: Xavier has won the last four meetings.
Henry Ellenson Watch: Every free throw that Ellenson drains increases his freshman record. He's sitting on 124 free throw attempts on the season, one short of Duane Wilson for the second most by a freshman, and seven short of Dominic James' record. He continues to rise up the points list, currently holding down sixth place on the freshman chart with 368 points. With 10 points against Xavier, Henry would tie Bo Ellis for fifth place, 12 points means Duane Wilson in fourth place, and 15 points is Damon Key in third place. Henry's 127 made field goals are the seventh most for a MU freshman, and his 299 attempts are the seventh most by a frosh as well. Ellenson gets closer and closer to Bo Ellis' freshman rebounding record, needing just 35 more boards to get there. Finally, we wrap up with his rank on the blocks chart, where his 40 blocks are second only to Jim McIlvaine's freshman record of 92.
Traci Carter Watch: We've been monitoring Carter's assists this season as his 100 helpers rank fourth amongst Marquette freshmen through the history of the program. An apology to you, the reader, is necessary here, as Carter entered the Seton Hall game tied for the 10th most steals by a Marquette freshman. He tallied five more against the Pirates, so now he's up to a tie for Duane Wilson for 7th place on that list at 38. One more against Xavier ties Travis Diener for 6th place, two more means a tie with Tony Miller and Tony Smith for fourth place.
Luke Fischer Watch: Yet another oversight by us, as Fischer has slipped up to the sixth most blocks by a junior with 41. If he gets two more swats against the Musketeers, it'll move him into a tie with Dwyane Wade for fifth place.
Follow Along On Twitter
@MarquetteMBB - Official Marquette account
@XavierMBB - Official Xavier account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey! That's us!
@BannersParkway - SB Nation's Xavier site
@becb_sbn - SB Nation's Big East site
@Matt_Velazquez - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat reporter