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#23 Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Wisconsin Badgers

Badger Hate Week is in full swing, my friends

Mar 12, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; The Wisconsin Badgers mascot "Bucky Badger" dances on the court during a stoppage in play against the Michigan Wolverines in the first half during the Big Ten Conference Tournament championship game at Verizon Center. The Wolverines won 71-56. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The (as of now) #23 Marquette Golden Eagles will host the Wisconsin Badgers Monday night at the Al McGuire Center. If you haven’t heard, it’s Badger Hate Week. This week, more than any other, it is our duty as Marquette fans to trash the Badgers and their fans in advance of the men’s basketball game at Madison this Saturday and the women’s game tonight. It’s been very easy to do this lately with both the Wisconsin football and men’s basketball teams losing last Saturday to Ohio State. For the men’s basketball wasn’t even close (they lost by 25) and they’ve lost five of their last six games. Shout-out to Xavier for showing them up at the Kohl Center too, by the way.

For the purposes of what we’re doing here, though, let’s focus on the women’s basketball team who haven’t done any better this season.

Game #7: vs Wisconsin Badgers (5-3)

Date: Monday, December 4, 2017
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center
Television: Spectrum Sports (gotta be a customer)
Streaming: Spectrum Sports (still gotta be a customer)
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotions: Free PIZZA for the first 200 students to check-in on the MU Rewards app (if you don’t have it yet, get it or else you’re not a real fan and also possible not a real student)
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Don’t let the record deceive you, the Wisconsin Badgers aren’t any good. All their wins have come against teams outside the top 100 in the BennettRank. Important to note that they themselves are ranked 115 in that system. The only time they played a quality opponent in Green Bay (hey, they sound familiar), they got blown out by 33 points at home. They were also only able to beat the Southern Jaguars, who are ranked in the 200’s, by three points. Marquette may be the Badgers’ toughest test yet because the Golden Eagles will be looking to rebound from the disappointing loss at Green Bay.

Okay, so who do the Badgers have on their team that should garner attention from the Golden Eagles? Wisconsin has two players scoring in double-digits: Cayla McMorris with 14.6 and Marsha Howard with 12.4 per game. If MU shuts down McMorris from behind the arc (41% out there) and stuffs Howard inside they should have no problem in this game. I fully expect the Marquette offense to go off in this game after an underwhelming performance against the Phoenix. The Badgers have actually been out-scored by opponents 66-64 on average, while Marquette is averaging 83 points per game. For those of you that aren’t good with math, that’s a 19 points difference. Oh and you know what’s even better? Wisconsin is pretty awful down the stretch (go figure). They have scored their least amount of points in the fourth quarter (107) averaging just 13 points per fourth quarter, while your Marquette Golden Eagles are averaging 20 points per fourth quarter.

This is a must win game for the Golden Eagles every way you slice it. There is no excuses to lose to a team that only beat a sub-200 team by three points. MU should have no problem getting their offense going early. Allazia Blockton will be back to her true self scoring around 19 points and will be on double-double watch. Erika Davenport will likely get a double-double (she’s averaging 10 points, 7 rebounds this season), while I expect Natisha Hiedeman to bounce back from her poor shooting performance and hit plentiful 3-pointers. She rebounded well from her only terrible shooting performance this year by going 6-9 from three point range after the Tennessee loss.

Marquette must win and win convincingly to gain some momentum heading into the mid-week match-up against current #22 ranked Michigan. MU will likely be out of the top 25 when the new AP poll comes out later today after their loss to Green Bay but have the chance to get back in with games against the Wolverines and #3 Notre Dame later this month. First things first though: they need to beat Bucky. I fully expect the Golden Eagles to play with high intensity and a sense of urgency after losing to Green Bay. They cannot afford another loss to an unranked team considering they will be playing two more ranked teams by the time non-conference play ends. I’ll make my first (and only) prediction of the season here because its Badger Hate Week: Marquette gets in front early and does not look back on their way to beating Wisconsin 78-69.