DePaul at Marquette
Marquette can shoot the basketball with any team in Division I – but its hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament will rest on its ability to prevent opposing teams from doing the same. The Golden Eagles look to bounce back from a humbling loss to Butler when it hosts DePaul on Monday.
Marquette’s tournament chances took a decent hit – at least according to the BPI – with Friday’s 94-83 loss to the Bulldogs; the Golden Eagles would have been an 88 percent favorite to participate in March Madness with a win, but fell to 74 percent with the defeat. Of greater concern, it represented the fourth time in six Big East Conference games that Marquette surrendered 90 or more points. Ending its run of poor defense in conference play is of utmost importance to head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s team heading into Monday’s encounter with DePaul, which has reached the 80-point plateau three times in its first five conference games but has just one victory to show for it. The Blue Demons are coming off their worst offensive showing in Big East competition, shooting a dismal 38.8 percent from the field while converting just 5-of-21 3-point attempts in a 71-64 loss to Providence.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT DePAUL (8-9, 1-4 Big East): A quartet of Blue Demons players – Max Strus, Marin Maric, Tre-Darius McCallum and Eli Cain – combine for 54.7 of DePaul’s 75.4 points per game; Strus leads the way at 18.2 points per contest, but was held to just eight on 3-of-13 shooting in the loss to the Friars. Maric (13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds) poured in 15 points and hauled in seven boards in defeat, and is averaging 19.3 points while connecting on 4-of-5 3-pointers over his last three games. DePaul comes into this one as one of the top teams in the nation in offensive rebounding, ranking second in the Big East and tied for 37th among Division I teams at 12.6 offensive boards per game.
ABOUT MARQUETTE (12-6, 3-3): Tightening up on defense might be all that stands between the Golden Eagles and a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament; Marquette has things well taken care of on the offensive end, entering Monday ranked third in the country in free-throw success rate (79.2 percent) and 16th in 3-point field goal percentage (41.0). Second-year guard Markus Howard has been the team’s offensive catalyst; he leads the conference in scoring at 22.3 points per game – thanks in large part to an 89-point eruption in consecutive games against Providence and Villanova earlier this month – and is a perfect 55-for-55 from the foul line. Andrew Rowsey is second in the Big East at 21.3 points per game, and had 31 in Marquette’s 84-64 upset win over Seton Hall last Tuesday.
1. Howard knocked down 18 3-pointers in the two-game stretch against the Friars and Wildcats.
2. Marquette makes an average of 11.8 3-pointers per game, good for fifth nationally.
3. DePaul ranks ninth out of 10 Big East teams in field-goal percentage (43.3).