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Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: at Providence Friars

Let’s see what’s what for the third straight must-win game for the Golden Eagles.

NCAA Basketball: New Hampshire at Providence
Is the sideview less creepy?
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette Golden Eagles (17-10) at Providence Friars (17-11)

When: Saturday, February 25, 2017, at 3pm CT
Location: Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI
Television: CBS Sports Network
Streaming: Only if you’re lucky
Radio: 540 ESPN Milwaukee
Live Stats: GameTracker

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 12.5 ppg
Rebounds: Luke Fischer, 6.2 rpg
Assists: Jajuan Johnson & Haanif Cheatham, 2.6 apg

Providence Stat Leaders

Points: Rodney Bullock, 16.5 ppg
Rebounds: Rodney Bullock, 6.4 rpg
Assists: Kyron Cartwright, 6.8 apg

Current KenPom Rankings

Marquette: #31
Providence: #56
KenPom Projection: Providence has a 53% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 75-74.

Since We Last Met: When the Friars beat Marquette in Milwaukee, it moved their Big East record to 4-6. They’re now 7-8 and have won three straight. They gave Villanova a late scare right after the MU game, then got squeaked in overtime by Seton Hall up at the Rock to drop to 4-8, but consecutive wins over Butler, Xavier, and Creighton have the Friars trending upwards like a Saturn V rocket headed towards the moon.

As of Thursday evening, Bracket Matrix’s compilation of 117 projected fields had the Friars as the very first team on the wrong side of the bubble. Now, they were only on 41 of the brackets, compared with 74 for Illinois State, the very last team to make it in. They clearly have a lot of work left to do to get themselves on the right side of things, but you can’t really do much better than snagging a fourth straight win against a team that’s currently projected to be in the Bracket Matrix field of 68.

Tempo Free Fun: Let’s not overcomplicate things, okay? Marquette can not allow Providence to put up an effective field goal percentage of 59% again.

That was pretty much the only thing wrong that Marquette did in the first game against Providence. Sure, they could have forced more turnovers, but both teams had very few. Sure, they could have grabbed up a few more offensive rebounds to prolong some possessions, but both teams didn’t really bother with chasing after misses in that game and MU’s not a good OR% team in the first place.

If you want to get into specifics, Marquette can not let Jalen Lindsey go 4-of-5 behind the arc, nor can they let Ryan Fazekas go 3-of-4, nor can they let Kyron Cartwright go 2-of-3. All three of those guys are shooting over 37% on the season, with Lindsey knocking them down at a 48% clip. It’s not all that different from Marquette beating teams because Markus Howard, Sam Hauser, and Andrew Rowsey all go haywire from behind the arc. The opponent is well aware of the potential threat that they’re facing, and yet they are unable to do anything to even attempt to curb the issue at hand.

While we’re on the topic of Marquette defending things, we should probably point out that MU was able to shut down Emmitt Holt and Rodney Bullock very well. The pair of big men (well, big for Providence) combined for just five made baskets on 19 attempts. I don’t know if that kind of performance is able to be duplicated, but it definitely feels like Marquette has been playing a little bit better defense over the past two games with the refreshed starting lineup. We’ll see if they can contain Bullock and Holt again.

One last thing: Everyone remembers the first game because Marquette had two chances while down just one with less than 15 seconds to play. It should not have gotten to that point. PC was leading by six with 47 seconds left. Marquette got a freak pump-fake-foul-ohmigod-it-went-in three-pointer from Rowsey, then Alpha Diallo split a pair of free throws, then after a quick layup from Haanif Cheatham, Rodney Bullock, a 75% free throw shooter, missed two freebies. Marquette had no business even having a chance for Katin Reinhardt to fire off two shots in the waning seconds. The game wasn’t that close at the end. Marquette got lucky, verrrry lucky, to make it that close, and if they want to be comfortable with their NCAA tournament hopes when the Big East tournament starts, MU needs to put this one away long before the final minute.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with wins in their last two games.

Providence Last 10 Games: 6-4, with three straight wins.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 16-7.

Current Streak: Providence snapped a two game Marquette winning streak with their first ever victory in Milwaukee earlier this season.

Jajuan Johnson Watch: The senior from Memphis has passed Kerry Trotter for the 10th most steals by a senior with 49. Tony Miller is ninth with 52 swipes. Johnson’s 305 points this season have him sitting on 947 career points, so you’d like to think he’ll become Marquette’s 47th 1,000 point scorer before the end of the season.

Luke Fischer Watch: Fischer picked up one more block against St. John’s and currently tied with Chris Otule for the 4th most swats in program history with 145. I don’t think he’ll catch Faisal Abraham in third place with 172, though. Fischer’s 45 swats on the season has him ranked #4 all time in blocks for seniors, however there’s a big gap until third place and Amal McCaskill with 55. Fischer’s climb to 1,000 points in his Marquette career continues as his 310 points this season have gotten him up to 974. At this pace, he should get to 1,000 before Jajuan Johnson gets there and become Marquette’s 46th 1,000 point scorer.

Markus Howard Watch: The freshman from Arizona extended his freshman record for made three-pointers to 68 with one make against St. John’s. Anthony Pieper and Darius Johnson-Odom are tied for the 9th most treys in a season by any player with 73, and that’s clearly in sight now. Howard now has 122 three-point attempts on the season, which is the sixth most by a freshman, and Travis Diener’s 129 tries is up next. After his 34 point outburst, Howard has 324 points on the season, which gives him the ninth most by a Marquette freshman. Up next: Jerel McNeal with 343 points.

Sam Hauser Watch: Hey, remember when Hauser was neck and neck with Howard on the freshman three-pointer chart? Good times. With 53 made threes, Hauser has the fifth most made treys by a freshman, passing both David Cubillan and Duane Wilson with his five makes against St. John’s. Hauser has the 7th most long range attempts by a freshman with 120, which is just two behind the aforementioned Markus Howard. The Stevens Point native has 15 blocks on the season, which has him tied with Oluoma Nnamaka and Tony Reeder for the 7th most by a MU freshman. Hauser has moved into the top 10 for rebounds by a freshman, passing up both Jim McIlvaine (132) and Tom Copa (134) on his way to tying Dameon Mason for 8th place at 138. Dominic James and Jerel McNeal are tied for sixth with 140 rebounds.

Andrew Rowsey Watch: The transfer from UNC Asheville now has 58 made threes on the season, which has him all alone with the 7th most by a Marquette junior. Next up is Anthony Pieper in sixth place with 62. If Rowsey attempts two treys against Providence, he’ll tie Vander Blue and Roney Eford for the 10th most long range attempts by a Marquette junior.

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