Marquette basketball looks to shake off New Year’s Eve blunder

Marquette vs. DePaul

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

January 4, 2014

1:00 PM CT

CBS Sports Network

To say that there was optimism surrounding Marquette basketball going into the 2013-2014 season would be an understatement. Up in Milwaukee, all people were talking about was how Marquette would dominate in their first year in the transformed Big East. The question was not whether the Golden Eagles would make the NCAA tournament, but rather what seed they would be graced with going into the dance.

As the calendar turned to 2014, panic is starting to take over Marquette’s fan base. On New Year’s Eve, Marquette was dominated in every aspect of the game by Creighton. The chess match between Marquette’s coach Buzz Williams and Creighton’s Greg McDermott ended up being like the one played out in the 2006 film Inside Man.

In the movie Denzel Washington’s character, Detective Frazier, thought he had Dalton Russell (played by Clive Owen) cornered. However, the convict was able to escape by being three steps ahead Frazier at all times.

Williams thought he had McDermott’s team cornered with a game plan that included having his athletic forwards hound All-American candidate Doug McDermott all over the floor. Instead, Creighton escaped a potential upset by planning for Marquette’s strategy and creating space for McDermott to shoot by utilizing off-ball screens.

The loss to Creighton dropped Marquette’s record to 8-6 entering a date with the DePaul Blue Demons. While Marquette does have six losses on the season, none have come at the hands of a lower tier team like DePaul. A loss to Creighton did not surprise many, but if DePaul beats Marquette in Milwaukee, I will certainly be pressing the panic button on this season.

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Stop DePaul’s two-headed monster

While DePaul as a collective whole are not seen as a superior team in the new look Big East, they have two players that have been giving opponents problems for years. Seniors Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young, averaging 15.4 and 14.4 points per game respectively, provide a one-two punch offensively for DePaul. Melvin has the talent to be drafted in the second round of the NBA draft this spring due to his ability to take over a game with his shooting. Young will be a nightmare for Marquette’s Derrick Wilson. Wilson struggles to contain guards like Young, that like to slash to the basket as well as step back to hit threes.

It’s Todd’s time

Marquette junior Todd Mayo has never lived up to the name on the back of his jersey and has never respected the name on the front. OJ’s brother has been suspended for violating team rules so many times I lost count when it went into double digits. Fortunately for Todd, this game gives him an opportunity to once again show how dominant of a player he can be in all aspects of the game. Look for him to have the daunting task of trying to stop Melvin as well as carry the load offensively. If Mayo can hit contested jumpers, which he has shown he can do, fans may start forgetting his troubled past.

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Shut up Sandi

DePaul senior forward Sandi Marcius has a knack of getting in opponents’ heads in ways that would make Hall of Fame trash talker Reggie Miller proud. Unlike Miller, Marcius chooses to talk trash in order to make up for his below average basketball talent. However, watching his trash talk distract Northwestern Wildcats star Drew Crawford during DePaul’s December 27th victory displayed how effective this tactic can be. This former Purdue bench warmer will incessantly attempt to get in the head of Marquette big men Chris Otule and Davante Gardner. Otule and Gardner must shut Marcius up by dominating him down low. This should not be hard due to Marcius’ inability to do much defensively.

 

Prediction: Marquette 79 DePaul 70

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