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Get To Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: Jackson State Tigers

The last November game, and the last projected MU win until January.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Orange Blossom Classic - Jackson State vs. Florida A&M Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Name: Jackson State University

Location: Surprisingly, Jackson isn’t actually a state and JSU is located in the city of Jackson, Mississippi.

Which is..... Kind of center-ish in the state. It’s the junction point of the highway that runs from Dallas to Atlanta and Memphis to New Orleans.

Founded: In 1877, originally as Natchez Seminary. They moved from Natchez on the Mississippi River to Jackson in 1882 and became Jackson College in 1899. After a couple of other name changes and converting from a private to a public institution, they earned university status in 1974 and became Jackson State University.

Enrollment: JSU is one of the largest HBCUs in the US with 7,020 students, 5,152 undergrads and 1,868 grad students.

Sonic Boom of the South: Founded in the 1940s, the Jackson State marching band has been known as the Sonic Boom of the South since 1971. I LOVE a good marching band, and this is one of the best out there. They’ve done more than a few high profile performances, including halftime shows for SEVEN (!!!) NFL teams: the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Jets.

Here’s one of their halftime shows:

And this is them going OFF just marching onto the field:

Nickname: Tigers

Why “Tigers”: Honestly, I couldn’t find a history of why Jackson State is called the tigers. But I may have found something even better...

Wavee Dave: An A++ tier mascot name, and not only that, Wavee Dave has done some pretty insane things since its beginnings in the 1980s. Wavee Dave was the nickname of David Chambers, an extremely popular mascot, and who was so popular that he ended up being the mascot for over 20 years. The Wavee Dave legend surpassed being just the original owner’s nickname and was given to the mascot too. In 2019, it was even awarded an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in one of my favorite mascot clips ever:

Notable Alumni: Walter Payton, running back for the Chicago Bears (gross) and namesake for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award; Cassandra Wilson, a 2-time Grammy winner; Robert Brazile, 7-time Pro-Bowler; Rod Paige, Secretary of Education from 2001-2005; and Lindsey Hunter, the oldest active NBA player for part of the 2009-10 season at 39 years old and a single season Milwaukee Bucks player in 2000. I feel like this is a common theme with these previews, but I didn’t know a single name outside of Walter Payton so feel free to educate me on some cool JSU alums.

Yeah, they got this guy to be their head football coach: Deion Sanders, a.k.a Prime Time apparently goes by “Coach Prime” now, up to and including being addressed as such by Alabama head coach Nick Saban in Aflac commercials.

Last Season: 12-6, with a 11-0 record in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular season play and 1-1 in the Conference Tournament.

Final 2020-21 KenPom.com Ranking: #265

Final 2020-21 T-Rank Ranking: #262

This Season: 1-5, but they beat Louisiana whose football team is kinda killing it this season. Just like Marquette, they also played Illinois and unlike Marquette that game didn’t go so well for them. Losing 71-47 isn’t so bad if it’s to the preseason #11 team, right?

Current 2021-22 KenPom.com Ranking: #280

Current 2021-22 T-Rank Ranking: #230

Returning Stat Leaders:

Points: Jayveous McKinnis, 12.5 ppg
Rebounds: Jayveous McKinnis, 13.2 rpg
Assists: Jonas James III, 3.1 apg

Current Stat Leaders:

Points: Gabe Watson, 15.3 ppg
Rebounds: Jayveous McKinnis, 10.3 rpg
Assists: Jonas James III, 3.0 apg

Bigs? One name towers above the rest (not literally) when it comes to JSU bigs: Jayveous McKinnis. If you were paying close attention to the stat leaders mentioned above, you would notice that McKinnis averaged more rebounds than his 12.5 points per game last year. He’s not quite on track to do the same this year with his 12.2 ppg average, but averaging a double-double is nothing to scoff at. He’s 6’7” and 225 pounds and already has four double-doubles this season. He’s also putting up 1.8 steals and 2.5 blocks per game, so that’s some real scary stuff. For other bigs, they also have Chance Moore, a 6’8”, 200 lb forward that averages eight points per game.

Shooters? The bulk of the team’s three point attempts come from two guys: Gabe Watson and Chance Moore. Watson is leading the team in attempts by a large margin having taken 27, with Moore taking just 18. But, Watson is shooting just 25.9% on those shots according to KenPom.com and is just a measly 27.9% from three on his career. Moore shoots around the team average of 33%, but as a team they don’t rely on threes to score. Just 31% of their shots are from beyond the arc.

Head Coach: Wayne Brent, in his ninth season as head coach at JSU comes into this game with a rich Mississippi basketball background. He won SIX state titles a high school head coach, and was an assistant coach at Ole Miss for four seasons.

What to Watch For: On offense they’re going to want to drive and get the ball into the paint. They’ve got McKinnis on the prowl down there waiting to score and scoop up some rebounds. That being said, Marquette is #68 in defensive block rate per KenPom, so we are going to be looking to block a lot of those and play good interior defense. A lot of that good interior defense (block percentage) falls onto Kur Kuath who is #14 in the country in block percentage. Marquette needs to keep the good defense going even when Kuath is on the bench.

One thing you’re going to keep hearing me talk about this season is tempo. Much has been made about the fact that Marquette likes to play fast, and there are going to be a good amount of teams that aren’t used to that. That St. Bonaventure game was, hopefully, an outlier. This JSU team plays a slow, not-that-great offense ranked #341 in efficiency. All those shot clock violations we’ve been racking up this season... we’re going to probably see a few more tonight. JSU also tends to allow its opponents to get shots/turn the ball over quickly into the shot clock. A slow offense and fast defense is the exact opposite of how Marquette likes to play. Short offensive possessions and long defensive possessions for MU are on the way.

All-Time Series: 1-0, AND we have a consensus, woo hoo!! Marquette won the last matchup on November 29th, 2015 with a final score of 80-61.