BIG EAST GAME PREVIEW: SOUTH FLORIDA @ MARQUETTE
January 29, 2008
South Florida looks to end their futility on the road in the Big East play when they travel to Milwaukee to take on Marquette in the Bradley Center. Expecting a win at one of the toughest venues in the conference might be a tall order, but after seeing Rutgers win at Pittsburgh, hey...you never know!
Here are some local media previews on tonight's game:
Previewing South Florida (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Eagles Need Help on Boards (Journal-Sentinel)
Most National Pollsters Giving MU Respect (J-S)
No. 17 Marquette Looks Toward Fitzgerald to Man the Middle (CNNSI.com AP Story)
Coaches to Start Friendly Rivalry (Tampa Tribune)
Heath Kicks Bulls out of Locker Room (Tampa Tribune)
Head coaches Tom Crean and Stan Heath are very familiar with each other. They both served on the Michigan State staff that went to the Final Four in 1999 under Tom Izzo. Now, they get their first crack at each other when South Florida makes the long trip north to Milwaukee to take on the Golden Eagles.
The Bulls have yet to win a road game in their Big East conference history. While Stan Heath does nto care too much about what has happened prior to his arrivial, his players certainly are and the weight of road losses continue to build and crush any momentum the Bulls seem to earn.
Winning on the road in the Big East IS tough, but winning at the Bradley Center might be one of the most difficult tasks in the Big East. First, the crowd is very energetic for Marquette basketball and the atmosphere is great. Secondly, Marquette is very good and they are 11-0 at home this year and have a 13-game home win streak to protect.
South Florida will look to explot Marquette's soft middle with Kentrell Gransberry, amog the league leaders in scoring and rebounds. The 6'9, 270 lb Gransberry is a force inside and Marquette might have to let Gransberry get his and shut down the rest of the Bulls attack. With the advantage at every other position and one of the league's best defenders in Jerel McNeal to guard Dominique Jones, the Golden Eagles should be able to accomplish that feat.
The backcourt speed, quickness and depth of Marquette is likely to cause USF fits. Forward Lazar Hayward also has a good match-up as USF gets VERY little from their power forward position. Marquette will use Dan Fitzgerald as their 'C', but he will be used to stretch the defense and draw Gransberry from the paint. Marquette can also rotate Ousmane Barro, Dwight Burke and Lawrence Blackledge as well. Both teams are likely to combat match-up problems by using zone defenses. Marquette's perimter quickness and ability for Fitzgerald and Hayward to spot up for the 3-pt shot should help them attack the zone better than USF can.
Anything can happen in the Big East, but look for things to play out as expected tonight. Marquette is a 16-pt favorite and will likely be in control from start to finish.
NBE Blogger Prediction: Marquette 85 South Florida 66
Labels: 2007-2008 Game Previews