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Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: vs Providence

The Golden Eagles look to maintain their upward movement when they host the Friars.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Providence Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette Golden Eagles (14-6, 5-3 Big East) vs Providence Friars (13-9, 3-6 Big East)

When: Saturday, January 28, 2017, at 1pm Central
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI
Television: Fox Sports Wisconsin & other local affiliates
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Radio: 540 ESPN Milwaukee
Live Stats: GameTracker

Marquette Stat Leaders

Points: Jajuan Johnson, 12.8 ppg
Rebounds: Luke Fischer, 5.8 rpg
Assists: Haanif Cheatham, 3.1 apg

Providence Stat Leaders

Points: Rodney Bullock, 17.8 ppg
Rebounds: Rodney Bullock, 6.1 rpg
Assists: Kyron Cartwright, 6.9 apg

Current KenPom Rankings

Marquette: #31
Providence: #67
KenPom Projection: Marquette has an 80% chance of victory with a predicted score of 81-72.

Tempo Free Fun: It’s strength vs strength and weakness vs weakness in this game. Marquette has one of the 10 best offenses in the country according to KenPom, while Providence has a top 60 defense. That’s Providence’s best end of the court, though, as their offense ranks just #113 in Adjusted Offensive Rating. As we all know, Marquette’s defense is their major flaw, ranking merely #145 in defensive efficiency.

Where do you give the advantage when this kind of thing happens? Do you trust the seemingly unstoppable offense to find the holes in a quality defense, or do you trust the spaghetti strainer of a defense to close the gaps against an offense that isn’t any great shakes in the first place?

Ball control might be the biggest issue in the game. Marquette is pretty good at holding onto the ball (#57 in the country in turnover rate), while Providence is pretty good at taking it away from you at #51 in defensive TO%. When PC has the ball, heaven only knows what will happen in regards to possession. The Friars are rummaging around in the middle third of the country in turnover rate, so they can be forced into errors.... except that hasn’t been a significant strength for Marquette. It’s the highest ranked component of their defense (#134), but that’s still not particularly impressive. MU does do a good job taking it from you, though (#23 in the country) and Providence does get their pocket picked an awful lot (#268 in steal rate), so if Jajuan Johnson can activate his ability to end nearly 5% of possessions per game in a steal, things could tilt towards the Golden Eagles quickly.

Rebounding will likely end up playing a factor in the outcome. Neither team is particularly good on either end of the court in that regard, and both teams are openly kind of bad on the offensive glass. The strongest mark between the four rebounding rates goes to Providence’s defensive rebounding (#119 in the country), which is largely driven by Rodney Bullock and Emmitt Holt, both of whom are top 500 glass cleaners. Marquette can mitigate that vague advantage by just making a metric ton of shots, which we know they can do on a regular basis.

Marquette has to be careful with Providence’s three-point shooting. They’re a good shooting team, canning 37% of their attempts, but they’re hovering in the middle of the country in terms of how often they shoot from long distance. MU is reasonably decent at preventing teams from shooting threes, but when teams do get shots off, they go in. Marquette’s opponents are connecting on 37% of their three-pointers this season, which is one of the 90 worst defensive efforts in the country.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 7-3 with two straight wins and four wins in their last five games.

Providence Last 10 Games: 3-7 with two straight losses and losses in four of their last six games.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 16-6.

Current Streak: Marquette won both games last season to give them two straight wins against Providence, each in thrilling fashion: Henry Ellenson blocked Kris Dunn’s last second shot attempt in Rhode Island, and MU won a double overtime shocker over the Friars in Milwaukee.

All Time Series Note: Providence has never won in Milwaukee in 10 attempts.

Vague Recruiting Note: Hey, remember when Kalif Young chose Providence over Marquette? The young Canadian is averaging 14 minutes a game for PC, with four points and three rebounds per game. Yay, or whatever.

Jajuan Johnson Watch: The senior from Memphis is two steals away from tying Kerry Trotter for the 10th most steals by a senior at 47.

Luke Fischer Watch: After exploding for six blocks against Creighton, Fischer currently ranks 5th on Marquette’s career blocks chart with 126. Chris Otule in 4th place is next up at 135. Fischer also needs five more blocks to tie Otule for the 10th most swats by a senior. On top of that, we can officially kick off Fischer’s climb to 1,000 career points in a Marquette uniform. After his 15 point outing against Villanova, the senior from Germantown now has 901 points for MU.

Markus Howard Watch: With 41 made three pointers on the season, Howard is tied with Dominic James for the eighth most made three-pointers by a freshman in Marquette history. Mark Anglavar is next at 43, followed by Brian Wardle at 46. He still needs another 12 attempts on top of his current total of 81 to crack the top 10 there.

Sam Hauser Watch: With 41 made threes, Hauser is now tied with Markus Howard and Dominic James for the eighth most treys by a freshman. The kid from Stevens Point is a little closer to the attempts top 10 than his Arizona counterpart with 87.

Follow Along On Twitter

@MarquetteMBB - Official Marquette account
@PCFriarsMBB - Official Providence account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey! That's us!
@becb_sbn - SB Nation's Big East site
@Matt_Velazquez - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat reporter