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The 2017-18 Marquette Basketball Non-Conference Schedule: Eastern Illinois Panthers

This is a game that wasn’t previously known and looks to be a pretty solid addition to the schedule.

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Illinois at Indiana
Jay Spoonhour is the head coach at Eastern Illinois.
Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports

The Marquette men’s basketball team started Wednesday off with some good news, as they announced the first of three non-conference games of the day. We found out that MU will be hosting Eastern Illinois on Monday, November 27, which is a game that we did not already know about.

Monday, November 27, 2017 - vs Eastern Illinois Panthers

2016-17 Record: 14-15 (6-10 OVC)
Returning Points Leader: Montell Goodwin, 14.3 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Muusa Dama, 9.6 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Terrell Lewis, 4.7 apg
Final 2016-17 KenPom Ranking: #220

Credit where credit is due: This is a good addition to the schedule for Marquette. EIU has been in the 200s in KenPom in every one of Jay Spoonhour’s five seasons on the Panthers’ bench, so there’s a trend to indicate that will be the case again for them. Marquette will likely be heavily favored to win this game, but Eastern Illinois doesn’t project as an anchor to MU’s RPI come March.

The Panthers return a strong core from last season, so there’s reason to believe that they could end up being better than they were last season. They lose their top scorer, but the next four guys are all expected to be back, all of whom averaged at least nine points per contest. Montell Goodwin, the leading returning scorer on the team, only missed the team scoring title by four-tenths of a point last season, so EIU should be in solid hands with him as their leading scorer.

Marquette’s young big men should get an interesting challenge in senior forward Muusa Dama. In his first season of Division 1 hoops after transferring from Moberly Area Community College, the 6’9” Dama made 27 starts in 28 appearances for EIU and nearly averaged a double-double at 9.1 points and 9.6 rebounds. KenPom marks him with the 18th best defensive rebounding rate in the country last season, and he was top 200 on the offensive glass as well. Marquette’s backcourt will have to be aware of him if they come into the lane, as he was top 50 in block rate and averaged more than two swats per game.

Marquette is 1-0 all time against Eastern Illinois, with the #13 ranked Golden Eagles getting a 97-74 win back in November of 2002. Dwyane Wade hit all 11 of his first half shots in that one on his way to a 28/5/6 outing.