If you’ve been living under a rock recently and have failed to notice, the (No. 23/24) Marquette Golden Eagles will be down on old Rocky Top tonight when they take on (No. 16/19) Tennessee in Nashville. The game is a part of the Big East/SEC Invitational, and MU and UT is the marquee game of the night.
This will be a very dangerous game for the Golden Eagles as they will struggle to match-up with the much bigger Volunteer team. No one knows this better than Golden Eagle skipper Buzz Williams who talked about it earlier this week.
"They have 10 high-major players," Williams said. "But they're really long and really athletic, and they just keep bringing 'em at you.” Eight of UT’s ten man rotation stands at 6’6” or taller, and their study Tyler Smith will do the majorit of the damage. Smith’s 17.4 points, 5.9 boards, and 4.6 assists per game make him a real tripple threat that will challenge the Golden Eagles.
To handle the fast pace and multiple bodies being thrown at them, Marquette will need production from its bench that has been entirely innefective this year. Only 5’6” point guard Maurice Acker is averaging more than four points per game.
Expect the load to fall on the Dominic, Wes, Jerel, and Lazar as usual. The only differece that will be needed tonight, is that all four must be spectacular. This means staying out of foul trouble, knocking down tough shots, and rebounding as if they were all four inches taller.
This is not an unwinable game for MU, but they sure are not the favorites. Expect Marquette to battle Tennessee, but in the end the Vols will have too much firepower.
Prediction: Tennessee 84 Marquette 65
MUTV Remote Coordinating Producer
Marquette University Radio (WMUR) Sports Director