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#15 Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: vs Providence Friars

Oh, we definitely needed this brand of crazy after the Creighton and Georgetown games.

But seriously, can we get a picture of Providence’s non-creepy mascot NOT staring into our souls?
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

#15 Marquette Golden Eagles (15-3, 4-1 Big East) vs Providence Friars (11-6, 1-3 Big East)

Date: Sunday, January 19, 2019
Time: 11am Central
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 24.4 ppg
Rebounds: Sam Hauser, 6.9 rpg
Assists: Markus Howard, 4.4 apg

Marquette Injury Notes: On Friday, MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski announced that both Markus Howard and Ed Morrow were listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Wojo specifically said it would be “premature” to say that either man would be in uniform and ready to go.

Providence Stats Leaders

Points: Alpha Diallo, 17.2 ppg
Rebounds: Alpha Diallo, 8.7 rpg
Assists: Alpha Diallo, 3.4 apg

Current KenPom.com Rankings

Marquette: #34
Providence: #71
KenPom Projection: Marquette has a 77% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 74-66.

Tempo Free Fun: We should probably start here: This is not a typical Ed Cooley Providence team.

The most entertaining coach in the Big East has consistently put teams out on the floor that were guided by impressively dominant point guards. Vincent Council, Bryce Cotton, Kris Dunn, Kyron Cartwright.... all different kinds of players, but all found themselves amongst the national leaders in assist rate per KenPom every year. This year, the best Friar in that stat department is Maliek White, at #266. White plays about 53% of the time and that’s after he was thrust into the starting lineup thanks to the injury to freshman AJ Reeves seven games ago. Technically, Makai Ashton-Langford has a better assist rate than White, but MAL was essentially not playing at all before Reeves got hurt, and thus doesn't have the minutes to put himself into the national rankings. That’s fine for our discussion here, as MAL’s numbers aren't crazy impressive anyway.

So that’s how you end up with the 6’7” Alpha Diallo leading the team in total assists this season. As for Diallo’s lead in rebounding, that’s not that surprising. Sure, his rates are up a bit from last year, but Diallo is also very good at basketball and has put on a couple of pounds since last year. Stands to reason he would just be better at rebounding.

I’m saying Marquette needs to have a body on Diallo at all times on Sunday.

As long as Theo John stays out of foul trouble, Marquette should be able to defend the rim well against Providence. PC ranks in the bottom 100 in the country in two-point shooting percentage. They are a top 70 three-point shooting team in terms of how often they go in, but a bottom 50 team in terms of how often they actually shoot them. That seems like a very weird approach to things.

On the other end of the court, things will likely be decided by Marquette’s ability to hit threes. I know that Steve Wojciechowski doesn't like thinking of this edition of MU hoops as a long range shooting team, but their ability to pour it in from long distance is the only true advantage for either team when Marquette has the ball. Obviously, this aspect of the game will be wildly affected by whether or not Markus Howard ends up putting a jersey on. The Hauser boys should be able to do their part, but if Howard can’t go, then they’re going to need someone — Sacar Anim? Joseph Chartouny? Brendan Bailey? — to knock down a few shots to help out.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 9-1, thanks to those jerks at St. John’s.

Providence Last 10 Games: 6-4 after beating Seton Hall at home on Tuesday.

All Time Series: Marquette leads 17-9.

Current Streak: Providence has won three of the last four, with Marquette’s win coming by way of Markus Howard’s 52 point outing last season. Providence won the last two meetings at the Bradley Center for their first two wins ever in Milwaukee in the series.

Follow Along On Twitter

@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that’s us!
@MarquetteMBB - Official MU account
@becb_sbn - our SB Nation friends that follow the whole Big East
@BenSteeleMJS - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat writer
@cf_gardner - The Athletic MU beat writer