Hello Xavier Nation! Your Musketeers are about to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles in a crucial Big East matchup at the Cintas Center. Before the game gets underway, take some time to learn more about your opponent through the eyes of one of their writers. This time we sat down with Brewtown Andy from Anonymous Eagle about the game. Let's see what he has to say.
1.) Hello Wisconsin! How are things going in Marquette Land right now?
Well, right this second, we're still reveling in Matt Carlino's three to Beat Creighton last night in a battle of "Who can win after not getting a field goal for longer than 9 minutes at some point in the game?" Other than that, I would like to think that people are relatively completely fine with how things are. Yeah, losing to Nebraska-Omaha and DePaul wasn't on anyone's to-do list for the season, but given the roster tumult and a head coach that's in the big chair for the first time ever, things are going kind of how we expected.
2.) Now that we are 16 games into the season, what do you think of Wojo?
I don't know if anyone would actually ask him this question, but I'd love to hear him tell stories about how it was killing him to have to stay calm and quiet on the bench as Mike Krzyzewski's assistant at Duke. Steve Wojciechowski is one firey dude, both when things are going for and against Marquette.
As far as actual coaching stuff goes, I'm thrilled with his adaptability. Since the start of the season, we've seen Marquette go from exclusively man-to-man defense, because that's what Wojo likes to do the most, to a 2-3 zone because he realized the limitations of his roster in playing man, to mixing in a 1-3-1 zone in between possessions of 2-3 and man. You guys got to see Exhibit A in Buzz Williams being stuck on a way of doing things last season. Having a coach who 1) recognizes his roster's limitations, 2) masks those limitations, and 3) maximizes his roster's best abilities is incredibly fun. It's a lot like watching Paul Heyman run ECW for those of you that know your 1990s professional wrestling history.
3.) Which Golden Eagles are you expecting to make a big impact in Saturday's game?
I'm going to go with Luke Fischer and Duane Wilson. Fischer will get to tangle with Matt Stainbrook, so that will be fun. After last night's 1-3 performance, Fischer is shooting 41-52 on the season in his eight games. While he's a dynamic offensive threat when he gets the ball both because of his white hot shooting which just will not stop and his passing out of a double-team, Fischer's had some problems on defense. He's averaging 3.4 fouls per game while playing 27 minutes a game, but his per-40 minutes foul rate is 5.0/40. That, kids, is atrocious. Stainbrook's a talented dude, and not just because of his Uber side job, so Fischer's going to have his hands full.
Wilson, on the other hand, caught fire on Wednesday night against Creighton, shooting 5-10 from the field and 3-6 from behind the arc. Before the game against the Jays, Wilson was shooting 8-24 overall and just 2-9 on long range bombs in conference games. That's a 3 game sample size, and our brothers over at Paint Touches went into a little more detail into Wilson's difficulty in his redshirt freshman season. He had a ridiculous 30 point game against Tennessee in the Orlando Classic, so part of his shooting slump may have just been word getting out on Duane. If he's regained his form now, he needs to prove that he's got it back with a solid game against Xavier.
4.) I Love (that's right, with a capital L) your uniforms. Ok this is not a question at all, it's just the uni watcher in me coming out.
Confession: The very first time I saw them in pictures from the 2007 media day, I HATED them. My exact reaction was "Oh, God, we look like a clown car." Now, in my defense,Those unis had much bigger side stripes than ,Then the current versions and the slight update also eliminated the weird large shoulder patches.
If you do like the unis, I should first link you to the 30 For 30 short by Community star and Marquette graduate Danny Pudi on the history of Marquette's untucked jerseys that they wore when they won the 1977 National Championship. Then I should point out that this season is the 98th season of Marquette basketball and, well, wouldn't it make sense to introduce some kind of new jersey for at least one game for a centennial celebration in 2016-17?
5.) How many Big East teams make the big dance and do you see Marquette being one of them?
I honestly think the magic number is seven. I was leaning towards six before Wednesday night, but since St. John's pasted Providence in Rhode Island, I'm going to go to seven. That leaves DePaul, Creighton, and yes, Marquette, as the three getting left out.
Right before the start of conference play, I wrote an article for our site pointing out that the wins were there for Marquette to (relatively) easily get in to the NCAA tournament. It was a simple equation based on the KenPom.com rankings at the time: win at home, lose on the road, but sweep both games from DePaul. You can see how that's kind of out the door already. If the Golden Eagles can't hold on to a 13 point lead on the road against DePaul, then defending the Bradley Center against Villanova, Seton Hall, and Georgetown is not going to be a walk in the park.
6.) Since the game is in Cincinnati, have you ever heard of Cincinnati style chili, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?
I have. My understanding of it is that it's a thin consistency and usually served over spaghetti and with a ton of cheese, then with potential extras, right?
I like the idea of making a basic chili and then adding onions and beans to it as you feel necessary. You'll have a hard time convincing a born and raised Wisconsin boy like me that adding lots of cheese to anything is a bad plan. I understand the spaghetti idea, but I would much rather prefer Frito Pie, where chili is served over a handful (or, for the food truck angle, in a single serving bag) of Fritos.
7.) How do you predict this game will play out?
I'm expecting a gut-wrenching game for both fanbases where the final is determined by one thing: Who gets into foul trouble first: Luke Fischer or Matt Stainbrook. If it's Luke, Marquette's seven players run out of gas and firepower late. If it's Stainbrook, Fischer gets the advantage, which makes Marquette's offense just dynamic enough to give Xavier fits and sneak out a win.
With that said, I'll officially pick the Musketeers, 68-62.