Marquette and Vanderbilt will meet on the court in Annapolis, Md. as part of the Veteran's Classic. It will be the first of two games as part of a doubleheader, the other being Ohio State-Navy.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game Time: Friday, November 11, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network (Tom McCarthy, Steve Lappas, Jon Rothstein)
Live Stream: CBSsports.com (Where available)
Vanderbilt is a 1.5-point favorite per OddsShark
This will be the seventh meeting between both teams. So far, the series deadlocked at three wins for each team. The Commodores have won the last two games against the Golden Eagles, winning 77-76 on Dec. 29, 2010 and 74-57 on Dec. 29, 2011.
What to Watch For
Post-Henry Ellenson Era
It was great having a five-star prospect stay home, especially when he got offers from some top tier programs like Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, and North Carolina. He lived up to the hype, averaging 17.0 points per game and 9.7 rebounds per game. Now, the Golden Eagles will have to move on without last season’s Big East Rookie of the Year. With Ellenson out, Marquette only has two players listed at taller than 6-7.
The front court responsibility will rest on Luke Fischer, who’s steadily improved with each passing season. He’s the only Golden Eagle big man with true experience, starting at center in the last two seasons after transferring in from Indiana. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 12.1 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game—not Ellenson numbers—but he is a reliable performer. Will he be able to take the next leap forward as the sole go-to big man?
Everyone’s (Pretty Much) Back
Aside from Ellenson, Marquette also said goodbye to Michael Mache, who appeared in just four games last season. That means every other valuable rotational player is back. Fischer, Jujuan Johnson, Haanif Cheatham, and Duane Wilson all averaged in double figures last season. There’s also Sandy Cohen III and Traci Carter, who played a great amount of minutes for Marquette last year.
It’s Steve Wojciechowski’s third season at Marquette, so his system is going to be very well implemented by now, especially with his recruited players now taking over almost all of the roster spots. Another year of experience should bode well for the Golden Eagles, they’ve improved over the last two years.
The Commodores were fortunate to have not one, but two NBA first round draftees. Wade Baldwin IV (Memphis Grizzlies) and Damian Jones (Golden State Warriors) both elected to leave early to play professionally. While it was great to have them, now Vanderbilt has to figure out how it will replace the tandem.
It may find the answer with Matthew Fisher-Davis, who averaged just below 10 points per game last year. However, he was one of the team’s top shooters, sinking a team-best 44.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Commodores are trying to fill a 7-foot gap left behind by Jones. Defensive specialist Luke Cornet and 6-10 redshirt freshman Djery Baptiste are looking like viable candidates.