Marquette-Arizona St. Preview
If not for the relative ease of No. 25 Marquette's schedule thus far, the Golden Eagles' woeful offense might have cost them more than just one loss.
They'll likely have to improve considerably on Monday night to keep up with high-scoring Arizona State in Tempe.
The Golden Eagles (3-1) suffered their first loss by a 52-35 score to then-No. 10 Ohio State on Nov. 16, shooting 18.9 percent from the field - the worst shooting performance by a Division I school this season.
A 58-53 home victory over New Hampshire on Thursday wasn't much better with Marquette going 17 of 52 from the floor (32.7 percent), including 3 for 22 from 3-point range. Chris Otule had 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, but his teammates went 11 for 45.
Otule's 86.7 field-goal percentage has been one of few bright spots for a team averaging 67.5 points and shooting 38.1 percent.
"One way or another, without being arrogant or getting my ego involved, we're going to figure it out," coach Buzz Williams said. "And that doesn't mean that we're going to win. But we're going to figure out somehow to get back. Because I'm really ashamed what I have done to contribute to what we have been through four games. And I'm not concerned about who plays, or how old they are, or what position they play, or when they play, or how much they play."
Marquette's other wins came against Southern and Grambling State, which own a combined 1-8 record. Williams' team has had to rely almost entirely on its defense.
The Golden Eagles are limiting opponents to 58.0 points and 34.6 percent shooting.
It could be difficult holding the Sun Devils (5-0) to similar numbers as they seek their best start in 33 years. They haven't been 6-0 since a 7-0 start in 1980-81.
Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski continue to form a potent inside-outside duo. Carson tallied 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a 70-58 home win over Bradley on Friday, while Bachynski had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double. He had posted five double-doubles through his first three seasons.
Arizona State averages 86.0 points and is hitting 48.7 percent of its shots, including 40.2 percent from 3-point range.
Marquette will likely try to dictate the pace, something Bradley had success with at times. Arizona State hadn't scored fewer than 86 through its previous four games, though the Sun Devils still shot 48.1 percent from the field against the Braves.
Arizona State's 52 shots were a season low. Teams are averaging 57.8 field-goal attempts per game against Marquette.
"We like to get out and run. We try to get everybody involved but when the pace is so slow, we're all a little sluggish," Carson told the team's official website, three days after becoming the fourth player in school history to score 40 points in an 86-80 win at UNLV. "That's when we tried to put in a little trap with the press to try and speed them up a little bit. I think that worked to our advantage."
Marquette owns a 2-0 series advantage, winning 71-65 in the last meeting Jan. 4, 1983, at Arizona State.