BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: LOUISVILLE @ MARQUETTE
February 4, 2008
Conference positioning is at stake as Louisville and Marquette both look to break from the masses in the middle of the conference and solidify position for one of the four Big East Tournament byes. The Cardinals beat Marquette in Freedom Hall back in January, 71-51, and the Golden Eagles will look for revenge tonight.
Here are the local media previews on tonight's Big Monday match-up:
Cards on their Mark, Set to Go to Marquette (Louisville Courier-Journal)
MU Rivalry With Louisville Has Developed into a Classic (Journal-Sentinel)
Cards Start Big Week at Marquette (Kentucky.com)
cards Better Be Ready for Primetime (Courier-Journal)
It is a VERY big week for the Louisville Cardinals, beginning tonight as part of Big Monday on ESPN when they travel to meet Marquette and ending late Saturday night with a ESPN Primetime showdown with league-leading Georgetown. The Cards enter tonight's contest at 6-3 in the conference and the second half of their conference schedule is definitely among the toughest in the league.
Marquette played strong and came up with a conference road win, dispatching Cincinnati 75-60 on Saturday. Marquette has now won three in a row in the Big East and got the monkey off their back by winning a Big East game on the road. Like the Louisville schedule, things do not get any easier for Marquette as the Big East heads towards March.
In their prior meeting, Marquette put forth a dismal offensive display, shooting 30% overall from the field, which included an o-fer (0-12) from beyond the arc. The Cards also battered Marquette on the boards, outrebounding Tom Crean's squad 49-34. Terrence Williams (20 pts) and David Padgett (17 pts, 10 rebounds) led the way for the Cards. The Marquette offense was so bad they registered just two assists in the entire game against 13 turnovers, seven of which were committed by Jerel McNeal (16 pts).
Marquette is coming off what is likely their best performance of the season, a 75-60 win at Cincinnati. Ousmane Barro, who has largely been invisible this season, stepped up and scored a season-high 19 pts and added 10 rebounds as the Golden Eagles won the battle of the boards as well. Lazar Hayward also scored 19 in the win. Jerel McNeal scored 13 points, added 7 assists and did not commit a single turnover.
Marquette will need another strong effort from Barro against the big and deep Louisville frontcourt. The Cards have a senior duo of Padgett and Juan Palacios along with a sophomore pair of Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark to face Barro, Dwight Burke and the small forward pair of Lazar Hayward and Dan Fitzgerald that masquerade as power forwards in the Marquette attack. Their lack of size in many instances is covered up by their deep and talented group of guards led by McNeal, Dominic James and Wesley Mathews, who all have help from Maurice Acker and David Cubillan off the bench.
Louisville's backcourt is manned by Jerry Smith, a Wisconsin native who was Louisville's hero in last season's thrilling win in the Bradley Center, Edgar Sosa and Andre McGee. This group, along with super-athletic junior wing Terrence Williams demolished Rutgers, forcing them into 24 turnovers, 87-50 over the weekend as the Cards looked like a classic Rick Pitino club flying all over the court.
If Louisville is going to take their place as the challenger to Georgetown that everyone expected in the preseason, this is the week to do it. Marquette will definitely have something to say about that as the Golden Eagles were also expected to challenge. Marquette is a 3.5-pt favorite tonight on their home floor and the Bradley Center crowd should have Marquette amped. The energy buzz that the crowd should provide the home team should allow the defensive clamps to be put down on the perimeter, making it tough for Louisville to take advantage of their front court advantage. If Marquette can make just enough from the perimeter, they should fend off Louisville in a spirited match-up.
NBE Blogger's Prediction: Marquette 69 Louisville 66
Labels: 2007-2008 Game Previews