Following a big season-opening win against the Vanderbilt Commodores, the Marquette Golden Eagles took care of business against the Howard Bison on Monday night to improve to 2-0.
Now, Marquette heads to Madison Square Garden to take on the Michigan Wolverines in the opening round of the 2K Classic. Our friends at Maize N Brew, SB Nation’s Michigan site, were gracious enough to answer our questions.
Big East Coast Bias: Over the past few years, Michigan has been significantly better offensively than defensively. Is that a trend that looks likely to continue this season?
Maize N Brew: There have been times in recent years where Michigan has shown the ability to grind out games on the defensive end of the court, but this is an offensive program under John Beilein and that above trend you mentioned certainly looks like it will continue. I like their veterans out on the wing, but inside I believe it is still a work in progress inside and those guys have to show that they can stop teams from pushing them around in the post.
BECB: Unlike Marquette, Michigan has a few bigs and more length that they can rely on (Moritz Wagner, DJ Wilson, Mark Donal, Duncan Robinson, etc.). How big of an advantage do you see that to be going into this game
MNB: Michigan's bigs have played well to start the year and we should continue to see them rotate in this matchup. Wilson and Donnal have been sparkplugs so far for the Woverines and it will be interesting to see how they fare against an opponent that is more equal to them in talent level and what not.
BECB: Michigan’s 3-point defense could put them in a predicament in this game against Marquette, as they’ve been shooting hot from outside to start the year. Is this the biggest matchup issue or is there something else?
MNB: I'm not sure that this is a very good defensive team, but any team's best defense is a good offense that can not only match what teams do from the perimeter, but one-up them as well. Michigan is not going to win unless they hit from outside, so they need to at least equal what Marquette does from out there to put themselves in position to win.
BECB: Obviously the level of competition wasn't great, but have Michigan's first two games provided any significant takeaways about this team for you?
MNB: D.J. Wilson has been a major positive for the team so far and it looks like he is going to be a factor this year as long as he stays healthy. Other than that, this is a veteran-laden team with a lot of good leaders like Derrick Walton and I think that could certainly carry them into the NCAA tournament. The difference between good and great is going to be what the Wolverines are able to do down low on both ends and I'd like to see how they progress there moving forward.
BECB: Finally, what is your prediction for this game?
MNB: I think we are in for a shootout in this game that Michigan walks out of as a 81-77 victor.