Matchup: Providence (14-8, 5-4) at Marquette (13-9, 4-6)
Date and Time: February 3rd, 2:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. CT
Watch: Fox Sports 1
Line: Marquette (-5)
The importance of this game is no secret to both teams. These two teams are fighting for the sixth seed in the Big East and many analysts have seven teams from the Big East making the tournament. Providence and Marquette are both in the Dance in this scenario, but both are so close to being left out. Securing the sixth seed in the Big East is close to a tournament guarantee, while there are no promises with finishing seventh.
Having lost four of their last five and the last loss being arguably Marquette’s worst showing in the Wojo era, Marquette appears to come in more desperate. Marquette’s Big East record is nothing to boast about, but all six of their losses come to three teams (Villanova, Xavier, Butler). While those three teams have given Marquette big problems, the Golden Eagles have still been able to prove themselves in other matchups. Marquette stomped #13 (at the time) Seton Hall and squeaked out an OT victory at Providence.
But how will Marquette respond to being embarrassed by Butler at home? All Wojo’s squad did was show up against Butler after a promising, yet disappointing 85-82 loss to Villanova last Sunday. Before the Butler matchup, much was made about Rowsey’s and Howard’s difference in Big East play at Home vs. Away. Rowsey dominates at home and Howard dominates on the road.
At home against Butler, Rowsey proceeded to have his worst outing in a Marquette uniform with zero points while looking completely lost on the court. Marquette will need Rowsey to not just show up to score against Providence, but to play smart and be a leader. Look to see if Wojo mixes up the lineup, especially how much/how well Rowsey and Howard play together. In 2017, the Golden Eagles rode the high energy atmosphere of the National Marquette Day crowd to a 83-61 domination of Xavier. A repeat performance could give Marquette the momentum they need going forward.
Providence looks to avoid the season sweep against the Golden Eagles. The Friars have impressed so far in Big East play with quality wins against Xavier, Butler and Creighton. Coming off two bad losses on the road at Villanova and Seton Hall, Providence has proven to struggle on the road. Their single road win in Big East play was a seven-point victory over DePaul. Ed Cooley’s team can claim Marquette’s victory over them earlier in the year was a fluke being that the team was missing star forward Rodney Bullock and Markus Howard went off for a Big East record 52 points.
Look for senior guard Kyron Cartwright to attempt to assert himself early following a 0-9, zero point showing in his last game. Against Seton Hall, Cartwright struggled early and Providence fell into a 41-26 hole at halftime. If Cartwright and the Friars can come out strong they will have a good chance to spoil Marquette’s festivities and end their road woes.