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Marquette Basketball Big East Preview Primer: at DePaul Blue Demons

Oh, great, this adventure again

Big East Tournament First Round: Xavier vs DePaul Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

Marquette Golden Eagles (11-13, 6-11 Big East) at DePaul Blue Demons (4-12, 2-12 Big East)

Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Time: 8pm Central
Location: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points:
Rebounds:
Assists:

DePaul Stats Leaders

Points:
Rebounds:
Assists:

KenPom.com Rankings

Marquette: #78
DePaul: #130
Game Projection: Believe it or not, Marquette has a 59% chance of victory, with a predicted game score of 69-66. I presume that the algorithm does not take historical contests into account.

Last Time Out: Marquette’s season was ended. Oh, sure, the 68-61 defeat only dropped Marquette to 8-7 on the year and 4-5 in the Big East. But it was eminently clear that the Golden Eagles were not going anywhere as a team this season if they couldn’t string together a third straight win by beating the Blue Demons on their own floor. They almost pulled it off after giving up a 14-2 run to DePaul that bridged halftime as Jamal Cain hit a jumper to put MU out in front 56-54 with just under four minutes to play...... and then they got outscored 14-5 the rest of the way. Seven good minutes of basketball in a 40 minute basketball game = headscratching and humiliating loss.

Since We Last Met: You’ll never believe it, but DePaul did not capitalize on moving to 3-5 on the season and 1-5 in Big East play. They immediately went out and lost their next five games to go back to being DePaul, and they did it in sorry fashion. Beating Marquette moved them to #94 in the KenPom rankings, a bump up from #104 when the game started. When they tipped off in their fifth straight loss, DePaul had fallen to #130 in the analytical rankings, and they have not gotten back above #120 since then. They snapped their five game streak with a five point road win against St. John’s, thus wrecking the Red Storm’s path to the NCAA tournament as well. That was followed up with a 24 point shelling at the hands of Creighton and an eight point home loss to Georgetown in their most recent game.

They’re not good, and they still handled Marquette easily in Milwaukee earlier this season.

Tempo Free Fun: Hang on a second, actually, we need to flip some things around here.....

Current Streak: Marquette has won eight out of the last 11 games against DePaul. However, the late season game at Wintrust a year ago and the game in Milwaukee earlier this season has given the Blue Demons two straight wins. Marquette has won nine of the last 13 and 15 of the last 20, but they are just 1-2 all time at Wintrust Arena.

Tempo Free Fun, Part Two: You see why I did that. Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski has a record of 9-5 against DePaul. He is 3-3 against DePaul on the road. He has lost two of the last three on the road against the Blue Demons, all of which were played at Wintrust Arena, the site of Tuesday night’s contest.

I also want to swing back to what I put in a section titled “The Stakes” in the preview for the game against DePaul earlier this season:

The Stakes: T-Rank currently gives Marquette a 16% chance of earning a bid to the NCAA tournament, and has the Golden Eagles projected six spots outside the bracket. A win against the Blue Demons along with projecting the rest of the season out changes that to 28.4% and the first team outside the cut line. A loss here means 4.2% and dropping to 11 spots behind the cut line. As discussed on the most recent Scrambled Eggs podcast, if Marquette never makes up the currently missing Villanova and Georgetown games, things get worse in terms of strength of schedule and opportunities to tack on wins. If the Butler game on February 2nd gets swallowed by the Bulldogs’ current COVID pause, things get worse. NCAA tournament caliber teams beat this DePaul team. It’s that simple.

Actually, it’s simpler than that: Don’t lose to DePaul.

And then they lost that game, and then they lost six of the next nine after that, too. I don’t know what’s worse, losing to DePaul, or the home loss to DePaul — the first since 2016, by the way, and yes, that was governed by Steve Wojciechowski as well — not serving as a massive wake up call for every single person that identifies themselves as a part of the men’s basketball team.

Did I call the loss to DePaul a “season breaking loss” at the time? Yes, yes I did. Did it have to be? No! Could it have caused everyone involved with trying to win basketball games to say “oh, man, I should really pull my head out of my ass and do a lot better around here”? It certainly could have! There was nothing stopping that from happening!

Didn’t happen, though.

It would be nice if Marquette could avoid becoming the just the fourth team to get swept by DePaul since The Reformation.... but the way things have gone against the Blue Demons in general under Wojciechowski’s direction, and specifically on the road and specifically earlier this season..... I’m not holding my breath. We’re just playing out the string to the season.

Marquette sits in 10th place in the Big East according to the official conference standings.... ahead of only DePaul. I guess the good news is that the Blue Demons have clinched last place in the league. The Golden Eagles are coming verrrrry close to clinching that #10 spot one place in front of them, as the league standings are going by winning percentage this season. Winning this game won’t guarantee being ninth for Marquette..... but losing will lock up being 10th.

Don’t lose to DePaul.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 3-7, with two wins over Butler and a road win over North Carolina.

DePaul Last 10 Games: 2-8, with a road wins over Marquette and St. John’s. They have lost their last two games.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 79-49.

Follow Along On Twitter

@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that’s us!
@MarquetteMBB - Official MU account
@DePaulHoops - Official DePaul account
@becb_sbn - our SB Nation friends that follow the whole Big East
@WeAreDePaul - 247 Sports’ DePaul site
@BenSteeleMJS - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat writer