It’s the penultimate regular season game for Marquette (17-11, 8-8 Big East) and Xavier (18-11, 8-8 Big East). With a tight playoff race for Big East Tournament seeding in the middle of the pack, both teams will be looking to make a last-minute push for a higher seed. For the Musketeers, it is also Senior Night.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game Time: Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at 9 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Brandon Gaudin, Nick Bahe)
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go (Where available)
Spread: Xavier is a 1.5-point favorite per OddsShark.
Records ATS: Marquette 14-14 | Xavier 11-17
The Golden Eagles currently lead the all-time series between both schools, 48-22. The two teams last met less than two weeks ago back on Feb. 18 in Milwaukee. Marquette won 83-61 behind a 34-point performance from Markus Howard, who tied a school record with nine made 3-pointers.
What to Watch For
Stopping a Skid
The Musketeers are back in the comfort of their home arena for the last time this season. The Cintas Center is usually kind to them, as they are known for playing very well at home. However, Xavier is currently going through a rough five-game losing streak - the worst stretch of the Chris Mack Era (est. 2010) - that has been bookended by two losses at home dealt by Villanova and Butler.
The X-Men haven’t tasted victory since beating DePaul at home on Feb. 8. Prior to the Villanova loss that started the Musketeers’ losing streak, they boasted an excellent 12-1 record at home.
Now, they have returned to Cincinnati for the final time this season. MU throttled them in their previous meeting, but the Musketeers are determined to avenge that loss and turn itself around before the stakes are raised even higher in a couple of weeks. Xavier was once one of the top teams in the conference, and maybe Senior Night will provide enough motivation to desperately get back on track.
Howard vs. Bluiett
Part of why the Golden Eagles won so easily last time around could be attributed to the absence of Trevon Bluiett. Bluiett has been the heart and soul of the Musketeers, especially once Edmond Sumner went down with a season-ending surgery. Xavier was in peril, as the junior wing missed a couple games, Marquette included, due to an ankle injury. This time around, he will be healthy and it will be interesting to see how the veteran matches up against the young gun in Markus Howard.
Both are capable of pouring it on as Howard excels from deep, posting a blazing 3-point percentage of 55.4 percent. He was unconscious from deep the last time he played against the Musketeers, but with Bluiett back, will he be able to muster a high-scoring performance like that again?
Luke Fischer Milestone Watch
The 6-foot-11 senior center is on the brink of joining some exclusive company. He sits just 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks away from being one of just 30 players to achieve the 1,000-point, 500-rebound, and 150-block club as a Golden Eagle. He would need a monstrous performance to reach that milestone and he might need more than just tonight to do so.
However, he’s worth keeping an eye on for other reasons too. As of late, Fischer has been vastly limited in terms of being effective on the floor. Over the last three games, he is averaging fewer than 13 minutes per game and just over five points per game. The Marquette big man has been in serious foul trouble in each of the last three games. In fact: He’s fouled out in all of three of them.