Marquette to Bounce Back
After a well-fought 74-63 defeat to No. 20 Ohio State, Marquette looks to rebound against the Omaha Mavericks of the Summit League. After the Golden Eagles' loss to the Buckeyes last year, they struggled to put away New Hampshire in their ensuing matchup, leading by just four points in the final minute. Marquette will have to take better care of the ball on Saturday after turning the ball over 16 times versus Ohio State. They also will have to better defend the three-point line, as they allowed Ohio State to shoot 53 percent from deep.
Steve Wojciechowski and the Golden Eagles do not have a very deep bench to work with. Currently, they only have nine eligible players. Indiana transfer forward Luke Fischer will be a big help, both literally and figuratively, upon his reinstatement on Dec. 14. But unfortunately for Marquette, he is the program's only inactive player, meaning at full strength they will have just ten players. The only other player on their roster is Wally Ellenson, a Minnesota transfer who will not become eligible until next season. The primary reason for this shortage in depth was the coaching change. When Buzz Williams left the program last spring four incoming freshman left as well. Two of them followed him to Virginia Tech, one went to Kansas State and the other to Virginia. On top of that, starting guard Todd Mayo, younger brother to O.J. Mayo, opted to pursue a professional basketball career this past summer.
What this means is that we will continue to see Wojciechowski run eight-man rotations with starters playing roughly 30 minutes. Players will have to play hurt, as Derrick Wilson illustrated against Ohio State while he battled through a knee injury. And underclassmen will continue to see increased action, gaining invaluable experience early in their careers. So far, Marquette has done a nice job staying out of foul trouble but will have to be careful as they face Omaha's physical frontcourt.
The Mavericks rank 4th in the nation with 18.5 offensive rebounds per game. Omaha, like many teams Marquette has faced this year, has a larger frontcourt than Marquette. Omaha has dominated the glass behind the likes of 6'8 senior forward Mike Rostampour and 6'8 junior forward Jake White, who was a member of the Wichita State Final Four team before transferring last year. White missed their last game with a foot injury, but in the season opener versus Central Arkansas pulled down 9 offensive boards. White may miss Saturday's game with the same foot injury, but Omaha's three-point heavy offense (25.5 attempts per game) allows perimeter players to get involved on the offensive glass. Randy Reed, a 6'6 freshman wingman, has averaged 5.5 rebounds per game and grabbed 5 offensive boards in their win over Central Arkansas. If White does not play, Reed and others will have to step up to fill the hole left on the boards. If the threes are falling and Omaha continues to clean up its misses, Marquette may find itself once again struggling in its ensuing matchup to Ohio State.