Good Morning V5ers! The Bulls are back in the friendly confines of the Sun Dome as they welcome in the Marquette Golden Eagles tonight at 7:00 PM. Somehow the honchos at Bristol thought this game was good enough to merit an ESPN2 broadcast, which still baffles me. Jim Lighthall will be calling the play by play on 1250 WHNZ if you can't get in front of a TV.
In last year's contest, Jarrid Famous had a great game last year against Marquette, going for 12 points and 10 rebounds including an efficient 6-7 from the field. Augustus Gilchrist came off the bench and went 3-6 from the field in 20 minutes. Everyone else was awful that night, including Dominique Jones going 6-21 from the field and Mike Mercer going 2-10.
Marquette is coming on a mini losing streak, losing 3 of their last 4 games. Marquette last played a week ago, dropping a tough 75-70 contest to Villanova last Wednesday. Tonight is a near must win for the Golden Eagles if they want to go to the NCAA Tournament again this season. Let's take a look at who Buzz Williams will select for his starting lineup.
PG: 6'3 Sr. Dwight Buycks (10.3 PTS/3.5 REB/4.3 AST/1.1 STL)
SG: 6'2 Jr. Darius Johnson-Odom (16.4 PTS/3.1 REB/2.7 AST)
SF: 6'7 Sr. Jimmy Butler (15.6 PTS/6.3 REB/2.2 AST/1.3 STL)
PF: 6'6 Jr. Jae Crowder (13.3 PTS/6.7 REB/1.6 AST/1.4 STL)
C: 6'11 Soph. Chris Otule
Coach Williams has a pretty short bench, and it starts with 6'4 Fr. Vander Blue (7.3 PTS/3.0 REB/2.2 AST/1.2 STL). Vander is extremely athletic and can get to the rim with ease, but he can't hit the broad side of the barn. He will improve over time, and I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes an All-Big East Team or two before his time at MU is over. 6'1 Soph. Junior Cadougan (2.7 PTS/1.8 REB/3.0 AST) isn't much of an offensive threat, but somehow guys like Junior end up getting 15 points on us and then fall from the face of the earth.
Finally, the only post getting any sort of regular playing time off the bench is 6'7 Sr. Joseph Fulce (3.9 PTS/2.7 REB) Fulce is there to spell either Butler or Crowder. Fulce has been battling a knee injury most of the season, and missed most of the non-conference schedule because of it. Former USF target Davante Gardner stepped up in Fulce's absence, but he's seen his playing time drop dramatically since Fulce's return.
Marquette likes to run a 4 out 1 in offense, with either Otule or Crowder down low depending if Vander Blue is in for Otule. This is a team that will attack the basket and either finish at the rim or kick it out to the open man for three. This is a good three point shooting team with Johnson-Odom, Butler, Buycks, and Crowder all shooting aver 37% from behind the arc. Johnson-Odom and Butler do a good job drawing fouls and getting to the line, which automatically makes me wonder how long Jawanza Poland will be able to stay in the game before getting into foul trouble.
If there is one thing that USF has an advantage, is that Marquette is thin at the post, they hardly run any type of zone defense, and they can't rebound the ball. Maybe Jarrid, Gus, Ron Anderson Jr., and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick combine for 20 offensive rebounds and keep this thing close.
But I don't think that will happen tonight. Marquette will come out focused needing a win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. I wouldn't be surprised if this one becomes ugly quickly.
I will give out three predictions tonight.
- There will be blue and gold polos at the Sun Dome
- Their collars will not be popped.
- USF will lose.
I hope I'm wrong.