NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: MARQUETTE VS MISSOURI
March 22, 2009
INJURY NEWS UPDATE:
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Marquette point guard Dominic James is cleared to play (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) in today's game.
The Missouri Tigers will bring their fast-paced forty minutes of basketball into the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament to face the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Buzz Williams' Marquette squad escaped round one with a 58-57 win over Utah State, riding a 26-point, 8-rebound performance by junior forward Lazar Hayward. The super-human effort of Hayward helped offset seniors Jerel McNeal and Wesley Mathews combining to shoot 6-26 from the floor.
If there was every going to be a game where Marquette misses Dominic James, this will likely be it. James was the quarterback on the floor for the Golden Eagles and his loss pretty much saps their depth, but against a team that will press and force you into a running game for forty minutes, having that experienced floor general on the court is a luxury that Buzz Williams and his team will miss.
Sometimes, Marquette can get a little bit out of control, so Maurice Acker will have to really step up his game to keep order for his teammates, it is a tall order for a player averaging under three points a game on the season.
"For you to go from a situation where you were only playing spot minutes to having to play minutes that were absolutely critical for us just to have a chance not to get blown out of the gym, I think Mo's been accountable in every sort of way, every day since 'Nic has been hurt," coach Williams said of Acker.
To date, even with games against UConn, Pitt, Louisville and Villanova under his belt, this is likely the biggest challenge for Acker since assuming the role as point guard when James got hurt. Just the constant pressure Mike Anderson's team will apply will make Acker vital in every possession and decisions on the fly must be sound.
While Marquette certainly has the talent available to win on any given day, this is one of those match-ups you just do not have much faith in them with. Playing without a big man and now without their #1 point guard will be too much to overcome against the 4-point favored Tigers (according to the college basketball lines). It was a stroke of unfortunate luck that saw James get injured this season, now a match-up where he would have likely shined is possibly the match-up that ends their season.
NBE Blogger Prediction:
update: With James in the line-up, this is a huge lift to the Golden Eagles, especially battling the Missouri pressure. However, it is still a question on how effective James will be, especially offensively.
It definitely makes for some more drama...
Labels: 2008-2009 Game Previews