The Wisconsin Badgers will look to get back to their winning ways today after a tough loss to Wake Forest earlier this week. They’ll do so by taking on in-state rival Marquette in the next installment of the I-94 Rivalry. LETS GOOOOOO!
Who (are the Badgers playing): Marquette
What (are they): Golden Eagles
When: 3:30 CT
Where: Fiserv Forum Milwaukee, WI
How (to watch): Fox Sports 1
Line: MU -5, total of 136
Series History: The Badgers are 69-59 in the series and come into this contest winning the last meeting 89-76
Marquette has had an up-and-down season to start the year. The Golden Eagles started the year with wins over Radford and Central Michigan but then dropped their first test against Purdue. Later, Marquette got back in the win column against Long Island University but dropped it’s second test against Mississippi State. After that, the Eagles got a quality win by knocking off Georgia Tech but it seemed like Marquette was just beating teams below them and losing to quality opponents. That narrative changed when Marquette met the 6th-ranked Baylor Bears this weekend and blew the doors off of them 96-70 at Fiserv Forum.
Marquette was projected to finish middle of the pack in the Big East but so far this season they’ve shown improvement to finish higher than that, and these next few games will be crucial for them as the Golden Eagles have Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Creighton over the next few weeks.
Overall, Marquette has a couple of strong scorers they rely on for offensive production. Leading the way is Olivier-Maxience Prosper who is averaging 14.1 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game. Maxience Prosper stands at 6’8” so he is player that can play tough in the post but also stretch the floor and knock down threes. On the year, he is shooting 40% from beyond the arch.
Marquette also has a strong guard in Kam Jones. Jones is also averaging 14.1 points per game and is averaging 2.4 assists per game to go along with it. Jones is more of a slasher that attacks the rim but he has also shown some ability to knock it down consistently from three.
What to watch for Wisconsin
Which defense will we see?
In Atlantis, the Badgers really looked strong defensively but things took a turn earlier this week when Wisconsin met Wake Forest. The Badgers were averaging just 55 points per game allowed but gave up 78 points in a losing effort to the Demon Deacons. Much of that scoring output came from Wake’s Tyree Appleby who scored 32 points in the contest. If Wisconsin wants to slow down Marquette the defense on their guards will have to be a lot better as Kam Jones is a player who can heat up if he starts finding his groove in the contest. Marquette is a strong scoring offense that is currently averaging 82 points per game so getting this game down to a slower pace will be important for Wisconsin.
Which offense will we see?
On the flipside, Wisconsin had one of its best offensive nights against Wake Forest earlier this week scoring 75 points. They got strong contributions from their core as Chucky Hepburn, Steven Crowl, and Tyler Wahl combined for 55 points. If Wisconsin can come out and get similar production from those three they should be in a fine spot depending on the defensive output.
Overall, it would be nice to see Wisconsin put together a game on both ends of the court on Saturday. The Badgers have looked strong defensively most of the season but struggled offensively. When they finally put together a strong offensive performance the defense abandoned them. If Wisconsin wants to win this contest both ends of the floor will need to be ready to roll.
Check back here later as the comments will be open and ready for this highly anticipated matchup!