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Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: vs Providence Friars

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The Golden Eagles look to snap a three game losing streak and kick off February with a win over the Friars.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 11 Butler at Providence Photo by Andrew Snook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Marquette Golden Eagles (13-9, 4-6) vs Providence Friars (14-8, 5-4)

Date: Saturday, February 3, 2018
Time: 1:30pm Central
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 21.9 ppg
Rebounds: Sam Hauser, 5.8 rpg
Assists: Andrew Rowsey, 4.1 apg

Providence Stats Leaders

Points: Rodney Bullock, 15.7 ppg
Rebounds: Rodney Bullock, 6.4 rpg
Assists: Kyron Cartwright, 6.2 apg

Current KenPom Rankings

Marquette: 50
Providence: 61
KenPom Projection: Marquette has a 67% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 79-74.

Tempo Free Fun: Anyone remember what happened the last time these two teams hooked it up? Yep, that’s right, Markus Howard went O-F-F for a MU program record 52 points. Let’s watch, shall we?

That was fun.

The sophomore from Arizona turning into a white hot grease fire of pure entertainment in the final 25 minutes of the game ended up overshadowing a couple of key points about that game.

First: Marquette should not have won the game. It took Howard throwing in six of his 42 points during regulation in the final 66 seconds in order for Marquette to even provoke the tie that forced overtime. Marquette had led by eight with 7:48 remaining, and it was tied at 69-all with 4:48 to go. That’s a horrible three minutes of basketball, and it got even worse over the next three and a half minutes as Providence built themselves a six point lead. That’s a 14 point swing in nearly seven minutes of action. MU had no business getting to overtime, much less actually winning in overtime. But win they did, because Providence was completely bamboozled by Howard in the final minute.

Second: It really was The Markus Howard Show on that night. KenPom says that MU scored at a clip of 1.20 points per possession. However, if you remove Howard’s shots and turnovers from the equation, that number drops to just 0.93. Marquette got almost absolutely nothing from anyone else on the team, and that’s even with Andrew Rowsey fighting through a 4-for-12 shooting performance to tally 16 points.

Third: Providence’s Rodney Bullock didn’t play in the game. Bullock was leading the team in points and rebounds at the time, just like he is now. Now, it’s nearly impossible to say what does and does not transpire if Bullock is healthy. Maybe he dominates for the Friars and they win easily. Maybe he shoots 3-of-20 and Marquette wins easily. Who can say? What we know for certain is that Marquette barely scooted past Providence when the Friars didn’t have their best player. That’s probably not a good sign.

Fourth: Kyron Cartwright was questionable for the previous meeting after injuring his ankle in a game earlier that week. He ended up playing 42 of the 45 minutes, scoring 29 points on 8-of-15 shooting and a 12-of-15 performance from the free throw line. He followed that up with four straight outings with 36 or more minutes played, but he’s only seen 27 in both of PC’s last two games. Perhaps not coincidentally, Providence won the four games where played a ton, but they’ve lost the last two when Cartwright was limited for whatever reason.

What I’m trying to convey here is this: We have literally no idea how Saturday afternoon’s game is going to go. Howard isn’t going to score 52 again. The rest of the Marquette offense (probably) isn’t going to be AWOL again, especially after going kind of AWOL for the third time in four games against Butler on Wednesday. Rodney Bullock is (probably) going to play and radically alter how both teams approach the contest. Kyron Cartwright may or may not be healthy, but he’s definitely going to want to bounce back from being held scoreless by Seton Hall on Wednesday night.

There’s a lot of factors at play here, and all I can do is throw my hands in the air and say “I dunno.” What I can say for certain is that after the ugly loss to Butler, Marquette really needs a quality performance, and if they want to make the NCAA tournament, the Golden Eagles probably really need to win this game.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 4-6, coming off three straight losses and losses in four of the last five.

Providence Last 10 Games: 6-4, coming off two straight losses.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 17-8.

Current Streak: Marquette snapped a two game winning streak by the Friars in the earlier meeting this season. The two teams have split the last six meetings.

Greg Elliott Watch: The freshman from Detroit is already up to a three-way tie for the sixth most blocks by a freshman. His 19 so far this season ties him with teammate Sam Hauser and Charles Luter, who had his freshman campaign in 1987-88. Up next is current MU women’s basketball assistant coach Scott Merritt, who had 25 in 2000-01.

Theo John Watch: John recorded one block against Villanova to give him 14 on the season. That has him in a three-way tie for the ninth most swats by a MU freshman. Rod Grosse, Jerel McNeal, and Deonte Burton all hit that number in their freshman season. Up next is Oluoma Nnamaka and Tony Reeder at 15 blocks.

Sam Hauser Watch: I feel so bad for the sophomore from Stevens Point. After assembling one of the greatest freshman shooting campaigns in Marquette history, he’s doing the same thing as a sophomore and is being completely overshadowed by Markus Howard yet again. Hauser has 62 made threes, which is the 8th most by a MU sophomore, trailing Travis Diener and Robb Logterman at 69. His 127 attempts from long range are the ninth most by a soph, passing David Cubillan at 116, but it’ll be a while before he gets to Darius Johnson-Odom at 154.

Andrew Rowsey Watch: Rowsey now has 72 made three-pointers on the season, which is the sixth most by a Marquette senior, and one short of a tie with Anthony Pieper and Darius Johnson-Odom for the 11th most in any MU season. Next up on both lists is Robb Logterman with 75. Rowsey had four attempts against Butler to give him 175 three-point tries this season, which is the 9th most for a Marquette senior. Two more will tie him with Jae Crowder for eighth, and John Cliff is three away in seventh place. Rowsey still needs 17 more attempts to get to the all-time single season top 10 list.

Markus Howard Watch: It’s official: This is one of the five best sophomore scoring seasons in Marquette history. With 26 points against Butler, Howard is up to 481, and that is the fifth most by a second year player, surpassing Dean Meminger at 475. Next up is Dominic James at 506. His 77 made three-pointers are the second most by a Marquette sophomore, trailing only Steve Novak’s 89, and it’s tied with Darius Johnson-Odom for the 8th most in any single season. Howard’s 201 three-point attempts trail only Steve Novak’s sophomore record of 207. 201 long range attempts in a season is also the sixth 200+ attempt season in Marquette history and the 4th most in any single season by any Marquette player, trailing only Novak’s sophomore season, Jerel McNeal’s senior season (216) and Novak’s senior season (259).