Tonight, the Wisconsin Badgers travel down I-94 to take on their rival, the Marquette Golden Eagles. The game will be at 6 PM CST on FS1 at The Fiserv Forum. The Badgers won last years meeting in Madison 77-61. Below are tonight’s keys to the game. The Badgers come in with a 3-0 record while the Golden Eagles come in at 2-1.
Take Away McEwen and Garcia
Marquette’s best two offensive players are senior Koby McEwen and freshman Dawson Garcia. McEwen leads the Golden Eagles with 15.7 points per game while shooting 42% from the field. He transferred to Marquette last season after spending two seasons at Utah State. McEwen had an up and down junior season. This year, he looks to be more consistent and will be asked to be the go-to scorer after Markus Howard departed for the NBA. He has the ability to shoot from anywhere on the court. Wisconsin will need to know where he is all game and can’t let him get going early in the game.
Freshman Dawson Garcia is 6’11 and 230 pounds. He’s currently averaging 13 points a game, 4.7 rebounds, and is shooting 44.4% from the field. Dawson has the ability to spread the floor and can make shots from anywhere on the court. He was voted the pre-season Big East Freshman of the Year. If Garcia can make his presence known early and spread the court, it will give Marquette a chance to shoot the three. Wisconsin has to know where Garcia and McEwen are all game.
Dominate The Paint and Rebounds
Wisconsin has been dominating rebounding the ball and playing in the paint. Seniors Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter have seemed to do whatever they want in the paint through the Badgers first three games. Potter and Reuvers will be asked to do the same tonight.
Marquette does have a great defender in their own right in the paint. Senior center Theo John isn’t going to light up the points in the scoreboard. However, John is a great rim protector and great at rebounding. He is also prone to early foul trouble. I would like to see Wisconisn go to the paint with Potter and Reuvers early. I would like to see the duo challenge John. If John can pick up a couple early fouls, I don’t see how Marquette can defend both Potter and Ruevers at the same time.
Defense Will Determine The Winner
Both teams have been lighting up the scoreboard early this season. The Badgers are averaging 83.3 points a game. Marquette is similar 78.7 points a game. Wisconisn is giving up 55.7 points a while while the Golden Eagles are giving up 59 points a game. Both teams are playing solid on both sends of the court. Something will need to give.
Both teams are also heavy on senior leadership. Wisconsin will start five seniors and Marquette will start three seniors. In a rivalry game, senior leadership matters. Whoever can take care of the ball the best will win this game. Expect seniors to take control all 40 minutes.
My prediction will be followed by fellow Wisconsin Sports Heroics Badger staff writer Ben Spiering.
Taking care of the ball and playing good defense will determine who wins tonight. Don’t expect scoring to be in the 70’s and 80’s as both teams have done so far. Marquette always plays tough in this series, especially at home. With no fans in attendance, I still expect Marquette to play fast and with a ton of energy. Marquette will go on runs. Wisconsin needs to control the pace and limit the runs.
At the end, I don’t see how Marquette can defend both Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. I expect the Wisconsin due to put up solid games tonight if John gets into early foul trouble. I’m also confident in D’Mitrik Trice and his ability to hit big shots. I think Wisconsin needs one from Trice tomorrow night- Dylan Buboltz
Wisconsin- 65 Marquette- 61
Marquette is going to be a very good test for Wisconsin. One thing that really stands out for Marquette: their ability to get to the hoop. The Golden Eagles love to drive to the hoop, create fouls, and shoot free throws. Marquette currently ranks 4th in the country in free throw attempts. If they can force Wisconsin to foul and continue their aggressive play throughout the game, Marquette could find a way to win this game. However, Wisconsin has too strong of a defense to make this happen. With Wisconsin’s discipline and Marquette’s high turnover rate, I expect Wisconsin to come out on top. The Badgers bench will continue to be successful and provide much needed help in the rebounding game as well.- Ben Spiering
Wisconsin- 72 Marquette- 64