Over the last two seasons, the story has been the same for the season series between Marquette and Providence. The Friars have won the last two matchups in Providence, and the Golden Eagles won the last two in Milwaukee. Tuesday night, a desperate Marquette team, now sitting at 10-4 and 0-2 in the Big East, hopes to avoid continuing their drought at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in order to get back to their winning ways.
For Providence, who currently stands at 14-1 and 2-0 in the Big East the focus is winning their ninth straight game since a late-November loss to Michigan State in Anaheim, California. The Friars have skyrocketed to eighth in the polls, and it's becoming harder and harder to leave them out of the discussion for Big East favorites. Here's what you should be looking for as these two teams meet for the first time this season.
How to watch, listen or stream
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1. Brian Custer and Bill Raftery have the call.
Live Stream: FOX Sports Go (Where available)
Providence currently stands as a 9.5 point favorite, and the Over/Under stands at 149.
3 Things to Watch
1. Dunn vs. Ellenson
I would be remiss to forget that this game features the conference's top two NBA Draft prospects: Providence's Kris Dunn and Marquette's Henry Ellenson. These two teams go as their star players go; there is a marked difference in performance when both are sitting for extended periods. When Ellenson struggled against Seton Hall in the conference opener, the Golden Eagles faltered down the stretch and lost handily. When he's playing well, they're as dangerous as any team in the Big East. When Dunn takes control of a game, look out below. However, it is important for him to avoid getting in foul trouble, something that he is occasionally prone to do. This game could very well come down to whether Dunn or Ellenson plays the better game.
2. Providence's Big Men
If there is one clear difference that Marquette has in this game, it is their size inside. Ellenson and Luke Fischer stand taller than any player on Providence's roster. Ben Bentil is certainly more than capable of marking one of these players, but the Friars must rely on undersized players such as Rodney Bullock and Jalen Lindsey to mark the other. If Ellenson and Fischer can also close off Dunn and Kyron Cartwright's drives into the paint, it will do wonders in slowing down what can be a potent drive-and-kick Friar offense. These things, as well as an injury to Providence freshman big Quadree Smith, could prove to be an X-factor in tonight's game.
3. Desperate Golden Eagles
Simply put, the Golden Eagles need this win more than the Friars. An 0-3 start would be yet another setback for a team that was an NCAA Tournament bubble team at the beginning of the season, and would keep them in the Big East's basement with St. John's and DePaul, the conference's two also-rans at this point. Marquette needs to obtain quality wins and RPI boosts when they present themselves, and a win over one of the top teams in the country would be a huge boost to a team that is currently on a slippery slope.