It feels like forever ago that the Marquette Golden Eagles had this much optimism around them. In the ‘new era’ of the Big East Conference, they’ve yet to return to the NCAA Tournament, a feat that would have seemed unimaginable for a program that, for much of the 2000s, found the tourney almost like a second home.
It seems like that could change by the end of this season. The Golden Eagles enter Saturday with a record of 14-6 and a 5-3 record in conference play. It’s the best mark they’ve had through eight games in their time spent in the ‘new’ Big East, and oh yeah: They just beat No. 1-ranked Villanova on their home floor on Tuesday too.
By contrast, this is a rare off year for the Providence Friars. In the past few years, the Friars have emerged from the lower tier of the conference to a yearly threat. In the past three seasons, Providence has been to three straight NCAA Tournaments, which is a feat that no coach aside from the legendary Dave Gavitt can say they’ve done in Friartown since the conclusion of the 1973-74 season. Ed Cooley is, to be frank, in rarified air in The Ocean State.
However, as alluded to: It seems like that streak is going to end. Barring a run of epic proportions, it feels like we can suggest that the Friars won’t be dancing this year. They’re 13-9 with a 3-6 record in conference, their worst mark through nine games since the 2013-13 season. They find themselves in the midst of a two-game losing streak with losses to ‘Nova and St. John’s as they walk into a Milwaukee which has been a city of horrors for them.
That’s no exaggeration: Providence has legitimately never won a game vs. Marquette in Milwaukee.
Does that come to an end on Saturday afternoon? Tune in to find out!
How to watch or stream
Time: 2 p.m. ET
TV: FSN (Jeff Levering and Dickey Simpkins on the call)
Live Streaming: Fox Sports Go (where available)
Spread: Marquette opened as 7.5-point faves. The line bumped up to 8/8.5.
Records ATS: Providence 12-10 | Marquette 11-9
Inside the Numbers, Pt. 1 - The Skinny
|Adjusted Offensive Efficiency||107.5||121.2|
|Adjusted Defensive Efficiency||97||102.9|
|2PT FG% Allowed||50.6||49|
|3PT FG% Allowed||32.5||36.8|
Inside the Numbers, Pt. II - Four Factors
Players to Watch
Jalen Lindsey: The Murfreesboro, Tennessee native has been outstandingly productive from long range in the past three games. The junior forward has shot a combined 11-for-20 in this recent stretch and the truth is he’s been one of the best 3-point shooters in conference play. Currently, Lindsey ranks fourth in 3-point FG% in Big East play with a mark of 51.2 percent. He’s doing this all while averaging almost five 3-point shots per game, so it’s not like he’s only been pulling up every so often. Facing a Marquette team that loves to take 3-pointers, Providence has an asset in Jalen Lindsey to combat MU’s prodigious shooting from deep. If they can use him to their best advantage, expect him to show out.
Alpha Diallo: After lying in the thickets for much of the season, freshman Alpha Diallo exploded in Wednesday night’s game against the St. John’s Red Storm. The New York native posted a career-high 18 points and the performance also marked the first time that the youngster posted double figures. Diallo did so while shooting 5-for-6 from the field and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. In addition to all of that, Diallo grabbed a career-high eight rebounds and dished out a career high four assists with a block, a steal, and just one turnover in 35 minutes. So, what does Alpha Diallo have for an encore? Hopefully something even half as good from what Friar fans saw from him at The Dunk the last time out.
Markus Howard: Who’s been Marquette’s most productive player by a per 40 minute and per 100 possession rate? If you guessed 17-year old Markus Howard, you’d be right. Howard, who only trails JaJuan Johnson by 0.7 points for first on the team in points per game, has been outstandingly productive by those aforementioned rates. he’s scoring 23.1 points per 40 minutes and 32.3 points per 100 possessions. All this coming while shooting with brilliant efficiency. Providence will have to keep a sharp eye out on him as it’s unlikely that we won’t be hearing from him after he went silent in the game against Villanova earlier this week.
Katin Reinhardt: After starting off sluggishly, Katin Reinhardt has come on strongly of late. In January, Reinhardt is shooting 52.2 percent from the field, 47.9 percent from the 3-point line and an average of 15.3 points in seven games played. In one of his best performances to date, he scored 19 points in the win over Villanova on Tuesday and was integral down the stretch in assisting Marquette with grabbing the lead. We’ll see if he can continue his stellar January on Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee when he takes the floor.