MU Hosts Georgetown Thursday At 8 p.m. CT
Feb. 25, 2014
TV Info: FOX Sports 1 | Radio Info: 540 ESPN/Westwood One
The Marquette University men’s basketball team (16-11, 8-6 BIG EAST) returns home to host Georgetown (16-11, 7-8 BIG EAST) Thursday night at 8 p.m. CT in a critical BIG EAST Conference matchup. FOX Sports 1 will feature the television broadcast, with Dick Stockton (play-by-play) and Kevin O’Neill (analyst) calling the action from the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Both programs are not only battling for positioning in the league tournament, but are also looking to earn a spot in the postseason. Following the matchup with the Hoyas, MU will wrap up the road portion of its regular season with a two-game swing at No. 8/9 Villanova (March 2) and Providence (March 4).
Marquette-Georgetown Series Now Even
Marquette and Georgetown have now each claimed eight meetings in the all-time series, with all but two of the matchups coming since MU joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06.
The programs first met during the 1941-42 campaign and the Hoyas were able to claim a 35-34 victory. The next meeting didn’t come until the 1971-72 season and Marquette posted a winning 88-44 decision. The series resumed in 2005-06 and the squads have met on 14 occasions since that year. MU is 6-4 against Georgetown under head coach Buzz Williams, including an 80-72 win at the Verizon Center on Jan. 20 this season.
In Marquette’s victory just over a month ago, junior guard Todd Mayo forced overtime with a 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation. The Golden Eagles then netted the first seven points in the extra session, five by freshman guard John Dawson, to pull away for the victory. Senior forward Davante Gardner led the team with 20 points.
Depth Of BIG EAST Difficult To Match
With the postseason rapidly approaching, the BIG EAST is well positioned to place multiple teams in the final bracket. Consider these facts, through games of Feb. 24.
- The BIG EAST has seven teams in the top-60 of the latest KenPom Rankings, second only to the ACC, Pac 12, and Big 12 (more total members), and more than the SEC and all other leagues.
- Nine league schools have a strength of schedule in the top-45 according to KenPom, more than any other league, and six are ranked in the top 75 of the RPI.
- KenPom ranks the BIG EAST as the third-toughest conference in the country and RPIRatings.com lists the league fourth, thanks in part to the narrow differential (second-smallest among all leagues) between its top and bottom programs.
Gardner Leading The Team In Scoring, From The Bench
Senior forward Davante Gardner tops the roster with 14.7 points per game, despite starting just seven games in 2013-14 and being on the court for 26.4 minutes per contest.
The Suffolk, Va., native is one of just 11 players in the nation (courtesy Stats, Inc.) to lead his respective squad in scoring, while starting in less than half of the team’s outings. He has appeared in all 27 contests this year, but has been on the court for the opening tip just seven times.
Only four players (Shawn Lester - Charlotte, Rashad Muhammad - SJSU, Ian Miller - Florida St. - DaShaun Wiggins - Portland St.) have started in fewer games and just Devon Saddler (Delaware) contributes more points per game (20.4).
Mayo Picks Up Scoring Production Down The Stretch
Thanks to junior guard Todd Mayo’s 19-point performance in the Feb. 22 win over DePaul, he has now reached double figures in scoring in each of the last five outings.
During that span the Golden Eagles won 4-of-5 outings and he contributed 14.6 points per contest while shooting 50 percent (21-of-42) from the field and 29-of-38 (76.3 percent) from the charity stripe. He has scored 10-of-more points in 10 of the team’s last 14 contests, with all coming during BIG EAST Conference play. He has never reached double figures in points in six-consecutive games during his career at Marquette.
Marquette Working Overtime In BIG EAST Play
After not playing an overtime contest through the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Golden Eagles have participated in four extra-session outings in league play.
Marquette dropped a 69-57 decision at Butler (Jan. 18), rallied to defeat Georgetown (Jan. 20) 80-72 on the road and fell Jan. 25 at home to No. 4/5 Villanova 94-85 in a three-game stretch. MU also hung on to down DePaul 96-94 on Feb. 22. The Golden Eagles are 9-5 under sixth-year head coach Buzz Williams in overtime contests and each of the 14 games has come in BIG EAST Conference action.
The last time MU played three-straight OT contests came during a league road swing in 2009-10. Marquette downed Cincinnati (79-76), St. John’s (63-61) and Seton Hall (84-83) in an eight-day stretch and actually concluded the regular season with 4-of-5 games that needed more than 40 minutes to decide the winner.
MU is now 54-53 all-time in overtime games, with the first decision being a tough 19-18 loss to Franklin in double OT in 1923-24.
Marquette Looking To Continue BIG EAST Success
Marquette has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success since joining the BIG EAST in 2005-06. In the eight campaigns since MU started play, the Golden Eagles are the lone team to finish .500-or-better in BIG EAST play (one more win will allow MU to extend that streak) each of those seasons. As a result, Marquette is the only current member of the league to compete in the NCAA Championship each of those years as well.