How They Are Doing So Far:
Many pegged Marquette as a mid-level Big East team that would be right on the bubble come March. And that may still be true, but the Golden Eagles are off to a strong 7-2 start with wins over Louisville and Kansas State. Those are both victories that the selection committee will look back on as very good wins. The losses away from home against Indiana and Kansas are not bad either. However, the loss to the Hoosiers was a pretty ugly 96-73 defeat. The jury is still out on Marquette, but this team has already proven that they can beat just about anybody.
Last Time Out:
On Tuesday night Marquette picked up a 76-69 victory over UTEP. It was not the best game Marquette played by a long shot, but the Golden Eagles maintained a lead throughout the entire contest. Not surprisingly Markus Howard led the way with 21 points. Marquette shot just 4-of-22 from long range and Howard was a big part of that, but the team is talented enough to overcome poor shooting to beat a team like UTEP. Joey Hauser added 15 points against the Miners, while wing Sacar Amin also reached double digits in the scoring column with 14.
Who To Watch:
Last year Howard had another big time scorer by his side in Andrew Rowsey. During the 2017-2018 campaign those two averaged 40.9 points per game. But without Rowsey, Howard has had to do even more scoring than usual. And so far he has done his part, averaging 22.4 points per game to go along with 4.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals. Howard is only 5-11, but he has little trouble working his way through the trees to get to the basket. He can shoot the ball too.
Who Else To Watch:
There was little doubt that Howard was going to be a great leader and scorer for Marquette this season, but there were major questions about who else would step up and help out in the scoring department. The answer quickly became the Hauser brothers. Sam, a 6-8 junior, is second on the team with 14.2 points per game and leads the way with 6.2 rebounds. Little brother Joey, who stands at 6-9, is having a superb freshman campaign, averaging 10.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. The Hauser brothers are also great passers and shooters for big men and they can hurt any defense in so many ways. If nobody else is having a surprising scoring game though, it will be up to the Hauser’s to support Howard.
Wisconsin is playing like Wisconsin of old and they should be able to get the big stops against Marquette when it comes down to crunch time. Of course this is a rivalry game though and you can be sure the Golden Eagles will want to defend their home floor and add another big win to their resume. If the Badgers can make somebody else besides Howard beat them, they should be able to move to 9-1 on the year and cruise through the rest of non-conference play without much trouble.