Before their showdown with the Buffalo Bulls on Friday, the Marquette Golden Eagles must first get through a preliminary test on Tuesday.
The Golden Eagles host North Dakota for a collision at Fiserv Forum, as MU is in a little bit of uncharted territory. They are currently the only team in the Big East ranked in the AP Top 25, a feat that certainly hasn’t been achieved in quite some time.
At 20th, Marquette has a little to lose here, as a loss could send them spiraling out. A chance for a quality win looms later this week, but it’s important for them to win a game they absolutely should win.
The Fighting Hawks are currently 6-5 on the season and walk into this game on a two-game win streak. They actually defeated the nearby Milwaukee Panthers back on December 9. Funnily enough, they also played Milwaukee earlier in the season, and sure enough, they defeated them 63-60 at UW Milwaukee Panther Arena. They know a little bit about Milwaukee basketball teams.
Their last game was on Friday, in which they defeated D2 Mayville State. They’ve collected three other victories against D2 teams, defeating Northland, Minnesota Morris and Concordia NE. The Fighting Hawks’ losses, meanwhile, have come to the Kentucky Wildcats, Utah Valley U Wolverines, Montana State Bobcats, Idaho Vandals and the UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros.
A pair of seniors lead ND in scoring this season. Cortez Seales and Conner Avants sit at 14.2 and 11.1 points per game thus far, the lone double figures scorers on the team. Seales is ninth in the Summit League in scoring with that mark, a league led by the great Mike Daum of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, naturally. Freshman guard Aanen Moody has been putting in work, averaging 9.5 points per game in the first 11 games of the season. Sophomore forward Filip Rebraca is close behind him with 9.1 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game.
North Dakota hasn’t profiled as a great team this season. Offensively, they’ve struggled to get it going, ranked 311th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. They’ve been particularly careless with the basketball, committing turnovers at a high rate, and haven’t been great on the offensive glass. Defensively, they’ve been okay at best, but they’ve given up a very high 3PT FG%. Granted, teams aren’t taking a lot of 3-pointers against them, but against Marquette that may very well change. So it’s likely that we’ll find out if that’s a weakness, if it’s just an anomaly, or... well, if one game is one game.
Marquette is unsurprisingly a huge favorite in this one. The talent differential is stark and the game is in Milwaukee, where the team has yet to lose this season. In fact they haven’t lost a home game since last February 3, when the Providence Friars clipped them 77-75. You should probably expect MU to keep up their winning ways in Milwaukee.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT
Watch Online: Fox Sports Go