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Marquette 2009 NCAA Tournament Preview

 

Marquette Golden Eagles - Big East Conference (24-9, 12-6)

Seed: #6 - West Region

RPI: 35

Big Wins: 12/6 Wisconsin (61-58), 1/1 Villanova (79-72), 1/10 West Virginia (75-53)

Bad Losses: 11/29 vs Dayton (75-89), 12/16 vs Tennessee (68-80), 2/6 at South Florida (56-57)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Second Round loss to Stanford

Coach: Buzz Williams (First NCAA appearance)

Marquette Golden Eagles NCAA Tournament history



Probable Marquette Starters:

  • Maurice Acker, Junior, Guard, 2.9 ppg, 1.9 apg

  • Jerel McNeal, Senior, Guard, 19.7 ppg, 4.0 apg, 4.6 rpg

  • Wesley Matthews, Senior, Guard, 18.4 ppg, 2.6 apg, 5.6 rpg

  • Dwight Burke, Senior, Forward, 2.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg

  • Lazar Hayward, Junior, Forward, 16.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg

 

Key Marquette Roleplayers:

  • Jimmy Butler, Sophomore, Guard, 5.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg

  • David Cubillan, Junior, Guard, 1.7 ppg

  • Joseph Fulce, Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg

 

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Why The Golden Eagles Can Surprise:
Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews form a great trio of senior guards. Unfortunately, that trio will be cut down to a duo for the NCAA Tournament. James, who averaged 11.4 points and 5.1 assists per game, before suffering a knee injury will not be suited up for the rest of the season. James was a superb ball handler and rarely turned it over. That job is now Maurice Acker’s. The 5-8 junior will not score as much as James, but he is a capable ball handler who will keep the team under control.

McNeal will do everything. Even if he does not score 20 points in the game, he can still grab six rebounds, dish out six assists and nab three steals. McNeal’s turnovers can still be a problem, but he is down to 2.8 turnovers per game this year, compared to 2.8 last season and 4.1 the previous year. Matthews will use his strength and speed to drive the lane and attack the glass on both ends of the floor. Acker will feel most of the pressure trying to replace James, but it will be much easier with McNeal and Matthews by his side.

 

Why The Golden Eagles Can Disappoint:
For a team that has plenty of experienced guards, they sure are streaky shooters. However, that has begun to change this year, especially for McNeal. He shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc during his senior campaign and that is why Marquette has gone from a Second Round exit last year to a possible Final Four this year.The real problem is in the frontcourt. Lazar Hayward has emerged as a more than capable scorer from inside and out, but the lack of bulk is a problem on the defensive side of the court. The Golden Eagles rarely block a shot and that leads to some easy buckets for the opposition.

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Who To Watch:
The frontcourt is nowhere near as talented as the backcourt, but the group has done a good job accomplishing what the team needs them to. The undersized Lazar Hayward has really burst onto the scene as a junior. The 6-6 Buffalo, NY native is a dynamic scorer who can use his wide 225 pound body to battle in the paint or step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. Dwight Burke has stepped into the other starting frontcourt position, but he averages less than 20 minutes per game.Joseph Fulce and Jimmy Butler are the other options at the four spot and somebody has to at least give Coach Buzz Williams some defensive intensity and rebounding from that position if Marquette wants to make a deep NCAA Tournament run.

 

Marquette By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 79.1 (13th in nation, 2nd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 70.0 (223, 11)

Field-Goal Percentage: 45.8 (79, 6)

Field-Goal Defense: 45.1 (261, 15)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (84, 4)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (123, 5)

Free-Throw Percentage: 71.1 (95, 4)

Rebound Margin: 2.0 (109, 9)

Assists Per Game: 15.7 (33, 5)

Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (20, 2)

 

Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Utah State

 

By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer

 

> Find more 2009 NCAA Tournament coverage online from College Sports Fans and print your NCAA Tournament brackets today!

 


 


 

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