MU Hosts Vanderbilt Thursday Night In Non-Conference Finale
Dec. 27, 2011
TV Info: ESPN2 (Dave O'Brien & Jimmy Dykes)
Radio Info: 540 ESPN (Steve True & Jim McIlvaine)
The No. 14/13 Marquette University men's basketball team (11-1) wraps up the non-conference portion of its 2011-12 campaign Thursday night at 8 p.m. CT when the team hosts Vanderbilt (8-4) at the Bradley Center. ESPN2 will feature Marquette's sixth national television broadcast of the season, with Dave O'Brien (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (analyst) calling the action. Following the matchup with the Commodores, the Golden Eagles will open BIG EAST Conference play for the third time in four years on New Year's Day at home. MU hosts Villanova at Noon CT after facing the Wildcats on the first day of the year in 2008-09 (W, 79-72) and West Virginia in 2010-11 (W, 79-74).
Golden Eagles Switch Roles In Win Over Milwaukee
Several Golden Eagles rank among the league leaders in a variety of categories, but in the Dec. 22 victory over Milwaukee those players displayed their versatility by contributing in other areas.
Guard Junior Cadougan is among the best in the BIG EAST in assists per game (5th, 5.55), but collected just one versus the Panthers. Instead, he matched a career high with 15 points (first time he has ever led team in scoring) and set a personal best with seven rebounds. Senior Darius Johnson-Odom was held well below his season scoring average, but managed to grab a team high and personal-best eight rebounds. Forward Davante Gardner paced the team with four assists against UWM, after collecting a total of just five in the previous 11 games of the year.
MU Extends Series Winning Streak Against Milwaukee
Marquette has matched up with Milwaukee in men's basketball on 39 occasions all-time, coming away victorious in each of those outings.
The Golden Eagles' current 39-game winning streak is the second-longest active run by any program against a single opponent and ranks sixth all-time.
Of the 39 matchups, 36 have come in Marquette's home arena. That current home-court run is sixth in the NCAA Record Book's latest edition.
Marquette Searching For Rare Non-Conference Success
The Golden Eagles have the opportunity to finish the non-conference portion of the regular season with a record of 12-1, which would mark a rare occurrence for a number of reasons.
Marquette hasn't collected 12-or-more non-league victories since 2006-07 and hasn't finished with just one out-of-conference setback since 2004-05 (L, 48-43 vs. No. 15 Arizona). Since MU joined the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1989-90, the program has yet to conclude non-conference play undefeated.
The 2011-12 edition of the squad is one of just six teams in the 95-year history of the storied program to claim at least 10 victories to begin the season. Marquette most recently began the year 10-0 in 2001-02 and rattled off a school-record 27-straight wins to start the 1970-71 campaign.
Is Key To Victory Field Goal Percentage?
Head coach Buzz Williams has stressed defense since he took over the reigns of the program and that focus, along with offensive efficiency, has played a key role in the team's success during his tenure.
Dating back to the start of 2008-09, the Golden Eagles are 60-4 when finishing the game with a field goal percentage even-or-better than their opponents. That includes a 10-0 mark thus far in 2011-12.
Since 2008-09, MU has finished 50 percent-or-better from the field on 42 occasions and owns a 39-3 record (at Villanova in 2008-09, vs. Washington in 2009-10, at Vanderbilt in 2010-11) in those outings.
Jamil Wilson Showing Glimpses Of Potential
Sophomore forward Jamil Wilson has struggled with consistency early in his first season on the court with the Golden Eagles, but Marquette fans are seeing his potential on a more frequent basis in recent games.
The Racine, Wis., native, who redshirted in 2010-11 after transferring from Oregon, chipped in eight points and four rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench against Milwaukee. He netted a personal-best 11 points (lone double-figure game) in the victory against Northern Colorado (Dec. 17) and grabbed four boards.
For the season, Wilson is playing 18.0 minutes per night and shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe. Following the injury to Chris Otule, Wilson is seeing a majority of his action as a backup to Davante Gardner.