Marquette Golden Eagles (20-12, 4-6) vs #2 Xavier Musketeers (26-4, 14-4)
Marquette Stat Leaders
Points: Henry Ellenson, 17.1 ppg
Rebounds: Henry Ellenson, 9.9 rpg
Assists: Traci Carter, 4.8 apg
Xavier Stat Leaders
Points: Trevon Bluiett, 15.2 ppg
Rebounds: James Farr, 7.9 rpg
Assists: Myles Davis, 4.1 apg
Current KenPom Rankings
KenPom Predictions: Xavier has a 81% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 83-74.
What's At Stake: For both teams, a spot in the Big East tournament semifinals against the winner of Seton Hall/Creighton. For Xavier, they need the win to have a chance at a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. For Marquette, a chance, however slim, at winning the Big East tournament, which is their only way into the NCAA tournament at this point. On top of that, Marquette could also use a bit of resume polishing to bolster their position in the NIT field.
Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with wins in four of their last six games.
Xavier Last 10 Games: 8-2, alternating a win and a loss in their last two.
All Time Series: Marquette leads, 47-21.
Current Streak: Xavier has won the last five meetings.
What Happened Already This Season: As you can guess from the previous line, Xavier swept the season series against Marquette, 2-0. The first meeting was in Milwaukee, and ended with a final score of 74-66. It wasn't really that close, though, as the Musketeers went on a 21-0 run across the middle of the first half to turn an 18-11 Marquette lead to a 32-18 Xavier advantage. From there, Marquette never really challenged again. In the return bout in Cincinnati, things were much tighter, although the score ended with the same 8 point margin. The total was higher, with Xavier winning 90-82, and three Musketeers scoring 20 or more points. Marquette actually led with eight minutes remaining, but XU used an 8- run to take a 2 point lead and use that momentum to close MU out.
Since We Last Saw You: Well, for starters, Xavier lost their very next game, a road trip to Creighton. They rattled off wins in their next four, including knocking off then #1 Villanova in Cincinnati. However, Xavier completely blew whatever chance they had at the #1 ranking after downing the Wildcats by going out and losing at Seton Hall the following Saturday. At Creighton and at Seton Hall are their only losses since the last Xavier/Marquette game, and they closed out the regular season by getting revenge on the Jays for that earlier loss.
Henry Ellenson Watch: As Paint Touches helpfully pointed out, Ellenson essentially has every notable freshman record. He's missing out on the shooting percentages, the three point totals, assists, blocks, and steals, and he's actually second blocks.
Ellenson has 318 rebounds on the season, which has him just one away from tying David Boone for the 10th best season ever. His 47 blocks are eight away from the mark for the 10th best season all time.
Traci Carter Watch: Carter's 153 helpers are the third most assists by a freshman in Marquette history. This is a big deal, because he has a ways to go to catch second place (Dominic James, 167), even though the freshman record (Tony Miller, 221) is probably untouchable. He has the fourth most steals by a freshman with 48, and he needs two more to tie Dominic James for third.
Luke Fischer Watch: The junior from Germantown is tied with Dwayne (Not The Rock) Johnson for the fifth most blocks by a Marquette junior at 47. Faisal Abraham is next on the juniors list at 58, but Fischer is just eight blocks away from moving into the top 10 in a season all time.
Haanif Cheatham Watch: Cheatham has moved up to the 2nd most free throws made by a freshman and is tied with Doc Rivers for the the fourth most freshman free throw attempts. I feel like this is largely being overlooked due to Henry Ellenson already breaking both of those records. Yes, that's right, Cheatham has passed every other freshman in made FTs except for Ellenson and every freshman in FT attempts except for Rivers, Ellenson, Duane Wilson, and Dominic James.
He does have a shot at breaking the freshman record for free throw percentage, as he's currently shooting 81.5% and Damon Key's record is 81.6%. Cheatham has 377 points on the season, leaving him alone with the seventh most by a Marquette freshman. Bo Ellis is up next at 378 points. Cheatham has the 8th most made field goals by a freshman, but he's still 9 FGAs away from that top 10. He needs two made threes to tie Anthony Pieper for the 10th most by a freshman. Cheatham is now in sole possession of the 10th most assists by a freshman, and he needs one more steal for the freshman top 10 there.
Duane Wilson Watch: Wilson has the seventh most made three pointers amongst Marquette sophomores with 54. He may stall out on the ranking here, as Travis Diener and Robb Logterman both finished with 69 made long balls. His 154 three point attempts rank as the seventh most for Marquette sophomores with Darius Johnson-Odom coming up next at 153.
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