MARQUETTE GOLDEN EAGLES VS. WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS
RANKINGS: Marquette (#55 KenPom) | Wichita State (#6 USA TODAY, AP, #4 KenPom)
RECORDS: Marquette (2-1) | Wichita State (3-0)
TIME: 12:30 p.m. CT/1:30 p.m. ET
WATCH ONLINE: WatchESPN
ALL-TIME SERIES: Marquette leads the all-time series, 4-3. The teams last met on January 2, 1978. They first met back on January 12, 1953.
It’s been a long time, and a lot of things have changed.
The Marquette Golden Eagles passed their first test of the 2017 Maui Invitational. The Golden Eagles defeated the VCU Rams 94-83 on Monday afternoon. Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey starred in the victory, each putting up over 20 points. While they gave up 83 to the Rams, the defense showed itself to be a stout unit at times.
But now, Marquette will have to pass their stiffest test yet. That includes a very good Purdue Boilermakers team they hosted last week. The Golden Eagles will have to go up against one of the best teams in the country in the Maui semifinals: the Wichita State Shockers.
The Shockers themselves had to pass an exam, and they wound up doing so with flying colors. With Markis McDuffie absent, Wichita faced a 17-point deficit with 13:35 to play in the game, and were down by as much as 18 points with 15:50 play against the California Golden Bears.
Well... Wichita State wound up winning by 10, 92-82. Shaquille Morris and Landry Shamet starred in the win, scoring a combined 48 points in the win, with Morris leading with 25 of his own on 10-16 from the field. Morris made 10-14 2-point attempts en route to the win, pulled down seven boards, had four blocks and two assists.
At 6-foot-8, Shaq Morris presents a matchup problem for Marquette. The senior forward has been dominant and efficient in his first three games of the year. With McDuffie out, he’s their go-to player, so MU will have to do everything in their power to key in on him. Shamet, a sophomore, has been brilliant when called upon. He’s only taken 22 shots this season, but he’s made them count, missing on just seven of them. He’s also only missed one free throw. Love small sample sizes.
It may have been a great shooting day, but Cal performed the best of any team so far against Wichita’s perimeter defense. The Golden Bears dropped 10-19 from outside in the loss, an impressive feat against a team that warranted roughly 30 percent from the College of Charleston and UMKC in their first two games. Whatever Cal did, Marquette may want to follow suit. They certainly have the shooters to do it, and they flexed their muscles against VCU, making 13 3’s in the win on Monday.
While the best case scenario, obviously, is MU pulling off a huge win, this feels like a game where there’s just too much talent on the other end. Lord only knows, though, right?