(21) Notre Dame (22-6) at (22) Marquette (20-7)
Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bradley Center (18,600) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: Notre Dame 16-2, Marquette 15-0. Away Record:
Notre Dame 4-3, Marquette 3-6. Neutral Record: Notre Dame 2-1, Marquette 2-1.
Conference Record: Notre Dame 10-5, Marquette 11-4. Series Record: Notre Dame
GAME NOTES: Two teams still vying for the Big East regular-season title will
square off at the Bradley Center, as the 22nd-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles
play host to the 21st-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Mike Brey's Irish have begun to build some momentum as the season heads
towards a close, with wins in two straight and four of their last five games.
Notre Dame is coming off an impressive 62-41 rout of Cincinnati last weekend
and with the win, moved to 22-6 overall and 10-5 in conference play, a game
behind Marquette and Louisville and two games behind league-leading Georgetown
with three to play.
Buzz Williams' Golden Eagles are in a little better shape, sitting just a game
behind the Hoyas in the conference standings at 11-4. Marquette has won three
of its last four games and comes in off a thrilling 74-71 come-from-behind
victory over Syracuse a the Bradley Center, where Marquette is a flawless 15-0
on the year.
Notre Dame won last year's only meeting with Marquette, 76-59 inside the
Purcell Pavilion and is now 80-36 all-time against the Golden Eagles. However,
Marquette maintains a slim 6-5 edge in Big East play.
The Irish held the Bearcats to just 41 points, the lowest scoring output by a
Notre Dame opponent in Big East play ever. Meanwhile, Notre Dame took care of
business at the offensive end, converting a healthy .468 from the floor in the
lopsided win. Jerian Grant led the way with 13 points in the win. Tom Knight
added 12, while Jack Cooley and Eric Atkins chipped in 11 each.
The Irish aren't a team that will blowout opponents with gaudy offensive
numbers, but rather with efficient shooting (.476) and solid defensive play.
Notre Dame is yielding just 63.1 ppg on the year and boasts of a +4.6
rebounding margin. Cooley, a 6-foot-9 senior, is a big reason for that, as he
is shooting .589 from the floor and leads the team in both scoring and
rebounding, averaging a double-double with 14.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per
game. Grant and Atkins are the perfect backcourt complements, as both can
score and distribute. Grant is netting 13.0 ppg, while dishing out 5.6 apg.
Atkins comes in at 11.6 ppg and doles out 6.0 apg.
After getting benched the game prior, junior Davante Gardner came out with a
renewed vigor, lighting up Syracuse to the tune of a career-high 26 points. A
15-2 run in the second half proved to be the difference for Marquette, which
further clouded up the Big East picture with the win. Junior Cadougan and
Jamil Wilson added 12 points apiece for the Golden Eagles, who really took
advantage of Syracuse foul trouble, outscoring the Orange at the free-throw
The Golden Eagles are another team that has modest scoring outputs at 69.4
ppg, but does so on efficient shooting (.464). Vander Blue headlines the
scoring options for Marquette with 14.3 ppg. Gardner is next in line, coming
off the bench all season long with 12.1 ppg. Wilson (8.6 ppg) and Cadougan
(8.6 ppg) provide limited scoring depth, while Cadougan serves as the team's
top facilitator (4.3 apg).
Both teams are peaking at the right time, but it is the homecourt advantage
that Marquette has at the Bradley Center which should tip the scales in its
favor in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marquette 66, Notre Dame 64
03/02 10:32:44 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.