How to Watch, Stream, Listen, Follow
Game Time: 1:30pm CT
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
Radio: 1620AM the Zone in Omaha / 540AM in Milwaukee
Odds & Ends
Marquette enters the match-up as a 4 point favorite according to Odds Shark.
Over/Under at 162.5.
If you’ve decided to make the heroic choice of gambling on a game in which none of the players are paid, while the coaches are paid exorbitant amount, then I advise you utilize your dollars for something more productive like that surgery you really need, or that child you’ve been meaning to feed, or those taxes you forgot to pay, or that car registration that hasn’t been renewed since Bush was in office, or more ammo for that gun you keep under your pillow, or food for that elephant you got in a radio contest that’s been running amok in your neighborhood.
In the first game without Maurice Watson as their point guard, Creighton’s offense produced at an impressive clip, surprising a lot of college basketball fans and writers, yet Creighton’s defense was a depressing unit to observe.
Marquette, with the talents of Katin Reinhardt, Sam Hauser, and JaJuan Johnson, routinely got screens at the three point line, which Creighton would bite and go under on, and the Golden Eagles had a wealth of space to fire and time to fire up trey after trey.
Luke Fischer, in his moderately forgettable career at Marquette, torched the Bluejays, was damn near perfect from the field going 8-9 with 18 points on the night. He was a defensive stopper, blocking shots, getting loose balls, and playing out of his god damn mind.
Marcus Foster was phenomenal, scoring 30 points and carrying the entire team on his back, goin 13-24 from the field but got lost on ball screens all day on defense. Davion Mintz, in his inaugural game, put up 17 points in an impressive performance, while his compliment at the ‘1’ in Isaiah Zierden put up 15 points and went 3-3 from beyond the arc.
Justin Patton, the wunderkind from Omaha, the multi-million dollar man, was bounced early from the game as he entered foul trouble. He only saw 19 minutes of game action and put up just 11 points on 5-9 shooting.
Verba de Ludis
An ode to Marquette’s seniors on this fateful regular season finale:
“Luke Fischer - Luke Fischer came to Marquette after a disappointing first semester at Indiana, deciding to transfer closer to his hometown of Germantown, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, and to Marquette. Since his December 2014 debut, Fischer has been a constant in the paint for the Golden Eagles, averaging 11.7 points per game (on 61.8% shooting from the floor over his career) and 5.6 rebounds per game over his time in Milwaukee, . Fischer was a great recruiting get for Buzz Williams at the time, as Marquette had lost or was losing most of its size for the next year in Chris Otule, Jameel McKay, Jamil Wilson, and Davante Gardner. He started off strong, notching 19 points and 9 rebounds to open his Marquette account. He’s had a presence on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court and, until recently, had been a consistent starter in Coach Wojo’s lineups. He’s been a fan favorite since his first appearance, too, being introduced to a loud chorus of “Luuuuuuukkkkkkkeeeeeee” when starters are announced. He’s evolved from a one-move post player to having an arsenal of post moves, and is never afraid to finish an open shot by dunking the ball in the paint.
Jajuan Johnson - Jajuan Johnson came to Marquette from Memphis, Tennessee, and was a freshman in the last year of Buzz Williams’ tenure at Marquette. Sparingly used on offense during his freshman season, averaging only 4.3 points per game, he nonetheless had his coming out party against Cal State Fullerton, notching 18 points on 6-8 from the field. He started off as a less-than-great three point shooter, but after his first two seasons (29% and 21.9% as a freshman and sophomore, respectively) he began to find his collegiate range, averaging 38.5% as a junior and is currently 30.4% from behind the arc this year. Johnson hadn’t been the largest contributor until his junior season, where he was named the Most Improved Player in Marquette’s program. Over his past two seasons he’s averaged 11.5 points per game and has been incredible at creating turnovers for Marquette, as his defensive awareness to get steals by reading the court and predicting passes. He, like Fischer, had been a regular starter until recently in Coach Wojo’s lineups, but still comes off the bench and creates moments of excitement, as he is easily the most athletic player on Marquette’s roster, usually finishing fast breaks or open lanes with emphatic dunks.
Katin Reinhardt - Katin came to Marquette as a graduate transfer this year from USC, after a spell at UNLV before that. He was a vaunted scorer, averaging 12 points per game while a Trojan and being known for his ability to score from anywhere on the floor, whether backing down smaller guards, finishing off the dribble, getting a turnaround jumper to fall, or knocking down a long-range shot. Katin struggled early in his Golden Eagle career, eventually being relegated to the bench in favor of freshman Sam Hauser. Katin has found his niche and his groove in conference play, averaging 11.6 points per game, including the biggest free throws of the season to down Villanova at home in Milwaukee. Katin added a new dimension to the free-flowing Marquette offense, and has been a dynamic threat. Against Marquette’s last opponent, Xavier, he went on an 8-0 personal run and can score in bunches if he gets hot, as he is never afraid to create his own shot from anywhere on the floor (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse). He’s been nicknamed The Assassin by Marquette Fan Twitter account Marquette Nation (@mubbnation) for his ability to knock down backbreaking shots from all over the floor.”
What Creighton failed to do defensively against Marquette in the first game was pretty evident from the jump; defend the Golden Eagles’ vicious ball screens. Time after time Katin Reinhardt would load up from just beyond the three point line, get a screen, dribble past it, and have a wide open look.
Now, Creighton has been burned by this often, so it’s no real surprise that Marquette was able to scout and exploit it. Like the Villanova game earlier in the year, where they were explicitly told not to bite on the Nova pump fake but still did over and over again, it’s going to be interesting to see if they can do this properly.
Speaking of biting on pump fakes, Luke Fischer got Justin Patton out of the game early because he learned that Patton likes to bite on the fake shot. If Fischer wants to replicate that same success then he’ll need to find a way to get Patton out of the game, since Fischer isn’t necessarily a great player, but he’d get eaten up by the better big man.
Markus Howard has been explosive for the Golden Eagles lately, but was pretty subdued by the Bluejays in their first bout. He’ll likely be matched up against Davion Mintz, both true freshman point guards, so perhaps that’ll act as some sort of neutralizer for the two of them.
Finally, Creighton will need to rely on someone other than Marcus Foster to win this game and (potentially) take home the 3-seed for the conference tournament. Cole Huff is seriously due for a big game as he was pretty ineffective against St. John’s on Wednesday. Patton, if he can stay out of foul trouble, would be a highly effective weapon in Milwaukee, since Marquette doesn’t have anyone that can match his size.
Marcus Foster can only take you so far.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see Spaceman Slim light it up.
A man can dream.
If Marquette can replicate their first game’s shooting performance, even if it’s off by ~10%, they’ll win by 10+. If Creighton can usurp that hot shooting performance, they’ll win by 10+.
Which defense breaks first?