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Northern Illinois vs. Marquette Preview

How about a little Christmas vacation basketball?

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Wisconsin Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

It's the most wonderful time of year for college students. Finals are over and a month of doing nothing stares right at you.

Unless you play college basketball. Then your vacation is a little more entertaining.

After eight days off for finals, the Marquette Golden Eagles are back on the court in the second to last game of their non-conference slate of the schedule.

The Golden Eagles are coming off of a convincing 82-63 win over in-state rival Wisconsin on December 9.

Coming into their contest against Northern Illinois, the story is firepower. Marquette's guard play of Markus Howard (22.5 PPG) and Andrew Rowsey (21.8 PPG) has been one of the top 1-2 punches in all of college basketball. Sam Hauser has also made the jump in numbers between his freshman and sophomore year.

The only question now is who's after that?

Marquette's top three players in Howard, Rowsey, and Hauser has been strong but with the unexpected departure of Haanif Cheatham five games into the season, players such as Matt Heldt and Theo John are going to need to step up in extended minutes.

For Northern Illinois who enter Milwaukee with a 6-4 overall record will look to pull off the upset behind strong play from sophomore Eugene German (19.9 PPG) and junior Levi Bradley (15.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG).

Marquette sits in the top half of the country in three point performances (40.1%) and shot 63% against Wisconsin, but you know what they say.

"You can live by three and die by the three".

The game can be seen at 6 p.m. CT on FS1 or Fox Sports Go.