BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: West Virginia @ Marquette
January 13, 2006
The surprising West Virginia Mountaineers take their 1-3-1 zone on the road again as they visit the Marquette Golden Eagles in a Big East conference game this afternoon. West Virginia suffered their first conference loss earlier this week at Notre Dame. Marquette dropped their first two conference games but rebounded with a win over Connecticut this week.
Marquette has been susceptible to zone defenses and they will see one constantly today from the Mountaineers. However, it is not your ordinary zone, it is the 1-3-1 that gives opponents fits because it is so unique to prepare for. West Virginia will hope to continue to force Marquette into turnovers and that they will settle for outside jumpers against the zone. When the Golden Eagles are in the open floor and getting to the rim, they are very tough to stop. If you can force them to settle for the long-range shot, they can struggle offensively. Ousmane Barro will have plenty of chances near the hoop, can he duplicate his strong outing against Connecticut?
The young Mountaineers feel pretty upbeat after falling short against Notre Dame. They were able to settle in on the road and make it a very close game and had a chance to tie at the end of their 3-pt loss. Today they will have to protect th eball against a ball-hawking guard trio of Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Mathews and that will put PG Darris Nichols under the microscope. Besides Nichols, the Mountaineers are not exceptionally strong in handling the ball. This is a big key. WVU will also rely heavily on the 3-pt shot and Marqutte has very good perimeter defenders all around.
I expect this to be a close game, but the home team should get enough looks at the 1-3-1 to come out on top in this one.
NBE Blogger Prediction: Marquette 73 West Virginia 66