Marquette Golden Eagles (14-8, 5-5 Big East) at DePaul Blue Demons (8-14, 1-8 Big East)
Marquette Stat Leaders
Points: Jajuan Johnson, 12.2 ppg
Rebounds: Luke Fischer, 6.0 rpg
Assists: Haanif Cheatham, 2.8 apg
DePaul Stat Leaders
Points: Eli Cain, 16.8 ppg
Rebounds: Tre’Darius McCallum, 7.0 rpg
Assists: Billy Garrett, 3.2 apg
Current KenPom Rankings
KenPom Projection: Marquette has a 77% chance of victory with a predicted score of 83-75.
Since Last We Met: Nothing but losing for the Blue Demons. 10 point road loss to St. John’s, one point home squeaker in OT against Butler, 17 point smashing in Omaha against Creighton, and a three point shutdown at the hands of Georgetown back on Tuesday night. DePaul is now 1-8 in Big East play for the second straight season, and counting the conference tournament, the Blue Demons are 1-12 in their last thirteen game against league foes.
Tempo Free Fun: Let’s go for a little stroll through history, shall we?
2014-15: In Steve Wojciechowski’s first season as head coach at Marquette, in fact, in his first league game as coach, the Golden Eagles had a 13 point lead at the Rosemont Horizon against DePaul with 11:46 remaining. Over the next 10 minutes, they blew that lead and lost to the Blue Demons, 61-58. In the return bout in Milwaukee, Marquette won by 10 and held a double digit lead for most of the second half.
2015-16: Coming off a loss to a top 10 ranked Xavier team where the Golden Eagles gave up a 21-0 run in the first half and never really challenged again, Marquette lost at home to DePaul for the first time since 2000 (not a joke), as they squandered a five point lead with five minutes left and a two point lead with eight seconds left. Luke Fischer committed the lone sin that you can not commit while leading by two with eight seconds left: He committed a foul as Billy Garrett went right on past him for the game winning and-1 layup. When the series shifted to Rosemont later in the season, Marquette led double digits the entire second half, peaking at 23 at one point before a very much too late flurry from DePaul made it a 73-60 final.
2016-17: Marquette crushed DePaul in the Bradley Center earlier this season. MU’s smallest lead in the second half was 17, and that came with 16 minutes left. The final margin was 25, the largest MU margin of victory in a conference game in quite some time.
Do you see the pattern here? One fairly easy win over DePaul, one insanely stupid collapsing defeat in each of Wojo’s first two seasons steering the ship. The Golden Eagles won huge at the BC earlier this season. The pattern indicates that Marquette is going to massively screw this game up, and after kicking the ball all over Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, they can not afford to take on a loss to a DePaul team that has a sub-200 RPI. The Blue Demons are nearly 100 RPI spots lower than St. John’s. Road loss against a top 150 team? Eh, things happen, says the NCAA selection committee. Road losses to sub-200 teams? Massive red flag.
Marquette can. not. afford. to. lose. this. game.
Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5 with losses in their last two games.
DePaul Last 10 Games: 1-9, with five straight losses and only a skin of their teeth home win over Providence.
All Time Series: Marquette leads 73-46. DePaul is the second most frequent foe in Marquette history.
Current Streak: Marquette has won two straight against the Blue Demons.
Jajuan Johnson Watch: The senior from Memphis is one steal away from tying Kerry Trotter for the 10th most steals by a senior at 47.
Luke Fischer Watch: Fischer got one block against St. John’s and currently ranks 5th on Marquette’s career blocks chart with 129. Chris Otule in 4th place is next up at 135. Fischer also needs two more blocks to tie Otule for the 10th most swats by a senior. Fischer’s climb to 1,000 points in his Marquette career continues as he’s currently sitting on 922.
Markus Howard Watch: With 47 made three pointers on the season, Howard is tied for the sixth most made three-pointers by a freshman in Marquette history. He passed Brian Wardle against St. John’s and David Cubillan at 48 is up next. Duane Wilson is in fourth place with 49, and definitely within range on Saturday. Howard now has 93 attempts on the season, tying him with Anthony Pieper and Todd Mayo for the 11th most by a freshman.
Sam Hauser Watch: With 47 made threes, Hauser is the guy that Howard is tied for sixth with at this point. These two guys are just going to be locked into a duel for the rest of the season, and Travis Diener’s freshman record of 57 is very clearly going to fall very soon. Hauser’s eight attempts against St. John’s pushed him into a tie with Mark Anglavar for the 9th most long range attempts by a freshman. With a block in each of the last three games, the Stevens Point native now has 12 on the season, and believe it or not, that has him two away from the 10th most by a MU freshman. Three different players recorded 14 swats as a freshman, but Deonte Burton did it most recently.
Follow Along On Twitter
@MarquetteMBB - The official Marquette account
@DePaulHoops - The official DePaul account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that's us!
@WeAreDePaul - Scout.com's DePaul site
@becb_sbn - SB Nation's Big East site
@Matt_Velazquez - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel beat reporter