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Xavier hosts Marquette in Saturday’s lone Big East contest

A Saturday with just one game? Weird.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH OR STREAM

Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Streaming: FOX Sports Go (Where available)


Preview

As the Marquette Golden Eagles (17-3, 6-1) look to achieve their best conference start since 2008-09, the Xavier Musketeers (11-9, 3-4) will look for their first win over a ranked opponent this season.

The Golden Eagles have been one of the Big East’s best and brightest teams right now, coming into this game second in the conference behind Villanova. Big East leading scorer Markus Howard comes into the game averaging 24.3 points per game and looking fully recovered from a back injury that he suffered in Marquette’s win over Georgetown when he played just three minutes. In the two games since, he has averaged 23.5 points and 37.5 minutes per game. Another bright spot for Marquette this year has been the strong play of brothers Sam and Joey Hauser. The reigning Big East Player and Freshman of the Week, respectively, the Hausers are currently second and third in scoring for the Golden Eagles, with Sam coming in averaging 15.2 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game, while Joey is averaging 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

The Musketeers come into the game on a two game losing streak, with the losses coming to Villanova and Providence. It’s been a transitional year for the Musketeers, which was to be expected considering the losses they suffered over the offseason. Xavier still has a lot of talent, primarily in the form of leading scorers Naji Marshall (13.1 PPG) and Paul Scruggs (13.0 PPG), but the defense, particularly from long-range, has been a liability. 38.6% of points scored against Xavier this year have come from beyond the arc, which is 19th-worst in the nation and a recipe for disaster when facing a Marquette team that has three players (Howard, both Hausers) then shoot 39+% from three.

Xavier recorded a season-low 52 points last time these teams met, a 70-52 Marquette victory on January 9 in Milwaukee.

While being at home will certainly benefit the Musketeers (Big East home teams have a .559 winning percentage this season), it will take a whale of an effort defensively to slow down the Golden Eagles.