Marquette has to blow Central Michigan out.
The Golden Eagles have shown a repetitive problem with closing games out this season, whether it's been against a ranked opponent or against a more pedestrian team like Michigan. Marquette's been in the game deep into the second half repeatedly, and has ended up taking an L in four of their five losses this season. In their two wins this season, they've destroyed the opposition, carrying an average margin of victory of 10 goals.
With a glance at the Big East statistics at this point of the season, I'd have to wager that the defense is not the issue for Marquette. The Golden Eagles are the only Big East team averaging more than 20 ground balls per game, and they're second in the league in caused turnovers per game.
There is one notable problem with the defense, though, and that's the fouls. I'm all for playing as physical a style as possible in a sport that is annoyingly against physicality in all forms, but it's a long road to victory when you're starting to approach a foul every other minute like Marquette. Their average of 28.43 fouls per game is the highest in the Big East, and MU is one of just two teams to average more than 28 fouls per game. Then again, Florida is just under 28 fouls per game, and they're ranked #2 in the country.
Game #8: vs Central Michigan (3-2)
When: Saturday, March 19, 2016, at noon Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: You'll have to make due with live stats.
Special Promotions: Are you a card carrying member of US Lacrosse? Then admission is just $1 for you!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax
You know what? 3-2's pretty damn good for the Chippewas. Why? Because this is their first ever season of Division 1 lacrosse. I mean, Marquette's never been over .500 at any point in their 3+ seasons of D1 activity, so shoutout to them to figuring out how to get those Ws. Maybe they caught a break or two by finding two teams - Gardner-Webb & Delaware State - that are absolutely atrocious to rack up lopsided wins. Then again, they had to tough out a 6-5 win over VCU in their most recent game, and the Rams aren't a fresh-faced program like GWU (2nd season) and DSU (4th season).
CMU was picked to finish eighth in the nine team Atlantic Sun, so we should probably extend our apologies to 9th place Howard. The Chippewas have a 26 player roster, with 25 freshmen and one sophomore. The sophomore is defender Amber Crouse, who has played in three games and started one, acquiring five ground balls along the way. She's a minor player, ultimately, in the CMU hierarchy. Jocelyne Lemay is their leading scorer with 12 points on 12 goals, and if you're playing on a brand new team and averaging more than two goals per game, you're doing pretty well for yourself.
They've got three more players who have tallied six goals on the season, so that's a fairly diverse offense. Riley Huda has five of CMU's 19 assists on the season, which is a pretty solid total at this point in the season. That means they're basically averaging the same number of assists per game as Marquette is through seven games.