BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: Marquette @ Connecticut
January 10, 2007
A couple of teams in need of something good to happen meet tonight as Connecticut welcomes Marquette to town. The Golden Eagles, expeced by many to challenge for the conference title, had a tough opening week in Big East play, losing to Providence and Syracuse (at home) to start out 0-2. Connecticut, who has had much made of their pre-conference schedule, has dropped two of their last three games when they lost at West Virginia to open conference play and fell on Saturday night at LSU in a non-conference game. I am a little surprised that the oddsmakers have made Marquette a 9-pt underdog...but, lets take a closer look at the match-ups:
Here are the pregame stories and previews from the beat writers covering the game:
Calhoun Considers Shake-up
Starting With a Question
Calhoun Waffles on Starters (Danbury Times)
UConn Men's Basketball Scouting Report (Norwich Times)
Win at Home is Crucial Now (Norwich Bulletin)
Marquette May See New Faces (New Haven Register)
Calhoun Not Ready to Panic (Connecticut Post)
UConn Players Aren't Slacking, They're Struggling (Sporting News)
A Little Off-Kilter (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Bigger Footsteps (Hartford Courant story on MU's Wes Mathews)
Click below for our brief preview and prediction on this game and don't forget to leave your prediction in the comments section.
READ REST OF PREVIEW...CLICK "Read More" BELOW
The Huskies are 9-pt favorites tonight and the Pomeroy computer still loves the young Connecticut squad, picking them as an 11-pt victor in tonight's contest at Gampel Pavilion on UConn's campus (a key factor). Jim Calhoun is not used to his team scoring under 50-pts like they did against LSU on Saturday night and his initial reactions this week seemed to be changing his starting line-up to find more offense. In the end, I expect the same UConn starters who began the first 14 games to hit the floor for the opening tap tonight as well. I doubt he is going to find much more offense from those not starting, with the exception of Doug Wiggins, but AJ Price and Jerome Dyson are not likely to begin the game on the bench.
Connecticut, as we all know, is super-young. With 13 freshman and inexperienced sophomores, they are going to struggle when the game is not being played in a style that is in their comfort zone. They struggle in the halfcourt and seem to be playing in a hurry too much, which leads to poor decisions and hurried shots. The game has yet to slow down for UConn.
Marquette is a team that can really make you play in a hurry. With a trio of guards that like to pressure the ball and create turnovers with their lightning quick hands, Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Mathews will make the Golden Eagles very dangerous in any circumstance. Marquette's problem has also been putting the ball in the basket. None of those three would be considered strong perimeter shooting threats and with their lack of post offense, teams can fall back and zone the Eagles to cut off their penetration.
Both teams are carelss with the basketball, averaging over 15 turnovers a game each and Marquette is coming off a game in which they turned the ball over 23 times against Syracuse's zone defense. Connecticut is not much of a zone team, so that plays into Marquette's hands, but Marquette does not seem to be a team that will try to force a halfcourt game onto UConn, so they both look to play into the pace the other prefers. It might come down to which team decides to take advantage of the other's weakness...at 0-2, I think Marquette might be a little more careful with the ball and look to slow it down and run when they create turnovers on the perimeter.
NBE Blogger Prediction: Marquette 66 Connecticut 62