Scouting the Marquette Golden Eagles: Payback Time


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In the last matchup between these two teams Marquette ran Cincinnati off the floor. Literally. The Golden Eagles had an insane 133.8 offensive efficiency rating and scored 95 points on a UC team that allows an average of 35 points less than that per game. The problem in in the first game, and really against Marquette in general, is that opposing coaches find it extremely difficult to slow down the Golden Eagles offense. In essence, Buzz Williams’ offense is Controlled Chaos at its finest in which he throws out the offensive playbook in favor of letting his players generate points on their own, especially in transition. It doesn’t work for everybody but Marquette has thrived in it this season with Darius Johnson-Odom, Jae Crowder, and Junior Cadougan all having played together for the past 2 years. They have extremely good chemistry and feed off of each other’s energy well.

These three on the Golden Eagles create a snowball effect for opposing teams. As they get into a rhythm on offense and score points at a faster and faster pace, opposing teams take riskier and risker shots in an attempt to play catch up. This in addition to a slew of turnovers was the reason the Bearcats got steamrolled three weeks ago.

Key Numbers

In the first half of the last game between Cincinnati and Marquette the Bearcats turned the ball over 9 times including a six turnover stretch that erased a UC lead and allowed the Golden Eagles to establish a lead of their own they would never relinquish. The snowball effect took over and Cincinnati ended up losing that game by a wide margin. MU has the athletes to not only do damage in the half court offense but also create points off of turnovers. Oh by the way, those same athletes force the second most turnovers of any Big East team averaging 17 per game. As you very well know, the Bearcats cannot give the ball away against this team or we will see a repeat of Game 1.

Players to Watch

– Jae Crowder (#32): This guy is just a scoring machine. As a small forward he can make buckets from anywhere on the floor but most importantly threes from the top of the key where Cashmere Wright has found a nice rhythm from recently. The problem is that spot is a great area for players to decide if they want to stop and take the three or drive the lane for a tough layup. Crowder can do both and he leaves defenses guessing as to whether they should crowd him to prevent the three or give him room in case he goes for the two. The Bearcats need to establish early the fact that they will crash the lane hard on him to make him think twice about doing it later in the game. This will allow UC’s guards to cover him tight on the perimeter.

– Yancy Gates: Tomorrow is senior day for Cincinnati’s big man (more on this later) and in the last game he had a pretty good line leading all players with 12 rebounds. But the problem recently has been that Yancy hasn’t turned those rebs into points. I’d like him to finish in the paint and get those easy buckets down low. Overall he needs to establish an I-Will-Not-Be-Fucked-With mentality early in this game so Marquette’s post players simply won’t want to go man-to-man with him.

Final Thoughts and Prediction

The air will be electric tomorrow night at 5/3rd Arena as the crowd will honor Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates on Senior Night. I fully expect these two to play with an extra motor given those circumstances. It also helps that this team will be extra focused coming off a heartbreaking loss at South Florida on Sunday. This game will not be a walk-through as Marquette is extremely dangerous for all the reasons I wrote about above. But, you know what? I’m saying Cincinnati wins and exacts some sweet, sweet revenge on the Golden Eagles. Why the hell not, right?

Cincinnati – 78

Marquette – 72