Marquette will complete its SWAC doubleheader Tuesday evening, when the Tigers of Grambling State head to the Bradley Center.
Unlike Friday’s opener against Southern, Marquette likely won’t have to worry about a close game. Grambling failed to win a single game last season, posting a historically bad 0-28 record. In fact, if the basketball program learns anything from football, Marquette will be lucky to see an opponent at all Tuesday.
The Tigers’ best player is junior college transfer A’Torri Shine. The 6-foot-5 junior guard from Minden, La. led Grambling in scoring last Friday at DePaul. He poured in 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting and added seven rebounds. Marquette will have to track him all night, and he should prove another challenge to Todd Mayo defensively.
Sophomore guard Terry Rose led the Tigers in scoring as a freshman last season, but didn’t play against DePaul Friday. In fact, only nine players suited up in Grambling’s 96-58 defeat to the Blue Demons. This could pose a major problem for the Tigers. Marquette is equipped to wear down smaller, less deep teams by getting their forwards in foul trouble. Davante Gardner especially excels in that regard, and will get plenty of low post looks Tuesday.
Marquette’s big question
Do the Golden Eagles win by fifty?
This game should not and will not be close. It mirrors Marquette’s season opener from two seasons ago against Mount St. Mary’s. That night, the Mount suited up nine players, two of which played only a minute, and Marquette won 91-37.
Grambling won’t suit up a full team either. Is 54 points an ambitious score line for a team that made three field goals in the second half on Friday? Yes. But Marquette should absolutely cruise, and any margin of victory is possible against last year’s worst team in Division I.
Marquette will need to pound the rock inside with Gardner and Jamil Wilson in order to set up driving lanes for Mayo and, well, Jamil Wilson. It would be great to see Derrick Wilson make a field goal, and the freshmen (JaJuan Johnson, Deonte Burton and John Dawson) should see extended time, especially in the second half.
Marquette wins. Obviously. The question is by how much? If the Golden Eagles don’t hold back, shoot well and play effectively in transition, this one could be out of reach in ten minutes. Marquette will run Grambling into the ground and blow them up in the post in the halfcourt. Todd Mayo scores 30 points as Marquette wins 105-50.