FACTS & STATS: Site: Bradley Center (18,850) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: LSU 6-0, Marquette 5-0. Away Record: LSU 1-1, Marquette 0-2. Neutral Record: LSU 0-0, Marquette 2-1. Conference Record: LSU 0-0, Marquette 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Marquette Golden Eagles will tip off a four-game homestand and attempt to stay unbeaten at the Bradley Center, as they play host to the LSU Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers opened the season on a six-game homestand and they came out of it without a loss, highlighted by a 72-67 win over Seton Hall in the Big East/SEC Challenge. This will be the final leg of LSU's three-game road swing. First it fell at Boise State on Dec. 14 (89-70), and it followed that up with a 66-60 win over UC Irvine this past Tuesday.
Marquette has been impressive thus far, logging a 7-3 record by posting quality wins over Mississippi State (89-62) and USC (72-64) in the consolation round of the Maui Invitational, as well as at home over Wisconsin on Dec. 8 (60-50). The Eagles most recently took a short trip north to Green Bay only to endure a disappointing 49-47 loss.
These two teams have met twice before with each coming away with a win. LSU hosted the Eagles last December and claimed a 67-59 victory.
It wasn't the best showing in LSU's most recent outing, as the team made good on only 37.1 percent of its total shots. It did however, hold UC Irvine to an equally poor 37.3 percent effort, allowing it to slip by for a six-point road win. Andre Stringer was the Tigers' catalyst, shooting 7-of-14 from the floor for a season-high 19 points. Shavon Coleman (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Hickey (10 points) were impressive coming off the bench, and while Johnny O'Bryant shot just 4-of-12 for nine points, he ripped down 13 boards. The Tigers are usually much more selective with their shots, making nearly 45 percent from the floor on the season in averaging 76.9 ppg. Coleman has been solid in a reserve role, tallying 14.9 ppg and 8.0 rpg, while O'Bryant III is also a strong frontcourt presence with 13.1 ppg and 9.0 rpg. Stringer adds 11.3 ppg, shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range (18-of-48).
In a defensive struggle against Green Bay earlier this week, Marquette held a 44-43 lead with under five minutes to play, but managed to score just three more points down the stretch as the Phoenix rose to claim the narrow victory. The Golden Eagles spoiled an outstanding performance at the defensive end by shooting a poor 19-of-49 from the field (.388), including 5-of-19 from 3-point range. Jamil Wilson was the only player to register in double figures, netting 16 points off the bench, while Junior Cadougan made up for a poor 4-of-12 effort by handing out six assists. The off night for Marquette was far from what it is used to, as it shoots better than 46 percent from the field for an average of nearly 69 ppg. Vander Blue (12.7 ppg) and Davante Gardner (12.1 ppg) are the team's leading scorers, while Cadougan (8.1 ppg) delivers 4.7 apg. Although no player averages more than six caroms per contest, the team as a whole is strong on the glass, boasting a plus-4.5 rebounding margin.
These programs have very similar makeups, as both are reliant on timely scoring and impressive defensive play. LSU has a handful of strong playmakers, but it has proven to be a different team away from home. Marquette has been outstanding on its home floor, and not much is expected to change in this one.