The Marquette Golden Eagles are suddenly soaring. Winners of six of seven and riding a five-game win streak, Henry Ellenson and the Golden Eagles swoop into their Tuesday night showdown with the San Jose State Spartans of the Mountain West Conference.
Ellenson and fellow big man Luke Fischer have been a dynamite combo down low of late. The duo has averaged a combined 34.2 points in the last five games, helping Marquette run on this five-game win streak that they have been on since being shellacked by the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 19.
Added to it, Marquette hasn't been challenged much. They have won by an average of 21.6 points in the last five games, though that's inflated from margins of victory of 19, 46, and 37 in their last three games vs. Jackson State, Grambling State and Maine. And that's all Marquette's had to do: Beat the teams in front of them that they're supposed to beat. And with a major matchup looming against the in-state rival Badgers this Saturday, a victory over San Jose State is ever so important.
How to watch, listen or stream
Game Time: 8 p.m. ET
Online Streaming: Streaming for this telecast is available via FOX Sports GO where available.
Odds: Marquette opened as an 18.5-point favorite via OddsShark. The line can be found at 17.5 and 17 in other locations.
Records ATS: San Jose State (5-3) || Marquette (4-3)
O/U: The O/U opened at 150.5.
3 things to watch
1. Playing catchup: Marquette hasn't been blazing a trail offensively this year. Their ORtg of 106.9 ranks 137th amongst the 351 Division 1 schools, and that's after this recent three-game stretch where they've scored 80, 95 and 104 points. While the Golden Eagles are on pace to score 110-plus against the Spartans, their offense has been closer to average than elite thus far. With that said, San Jose State's offense has been lackluster. Their ORtg stands at 100.2, good for 246th in the country. The Spartans are scoring just 74.1 points per game, over eight points under MU's average of 81.8. So while Marquette isn't torching the net, San Jose State will likely be playing catchup for much of this one. Especially if MU's recent trend of blowing the doors off their opponents continues on Tuesday night in the 414.
2. Hey Mr. Carter: Henry Ellenson is garnering much of the hype - and deservedly so. Haanif Cheatham has been astoundingly efficient. But the play of Traci Carter is criminally flying under the radar. He's been doing it on both ends, posting an ORtg of 105.7 and a DRtg of 94.3 via Sports-Reference.com. In addition, he's dished out 11.6 assists per 100 possessions, and has an eye-popping assist rate of 33.7 percent this year. That's the 61st-best ranked mark in the country and third-best in the BIG EAST behind Kris Dunn and Maurice Watson Jr. Good company, we think. The freshman guard from Philly will have another opportunity to prove his worth Tuesday night, and we'd suspect good things are on the way.
3. Forcing mistakes: Part of why Marquette has feasted of late has been their teams' inability to take care of the basketball. Their opponent on Tuesday may provide a bit of a challenge in that department. San Jose State is committing turnovers at a rate of just 15.2 percent. By comparison, Marquette's defense is only forcing turnovers at a rate of 18.9 percent, just 0.3 percent above the D1 average. They are simply going to have to take care of business defensively and prevent second- and third-chance opportunities from the Spartans, which they do a lot on their own with poor rebounding abilities.