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UND (6-5) @ #21 Marquette (8-2) 12/18 8 PM


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UND had a solid effort offensively but not defensively against a pesky Mayville squad.  Nevertheless, it was enough to get the win for UND.  Now they hop on the bus to head on down to Milwaukee once again... but this time its against national ranked Marquette.

To say that Marquette is having a good start to the year is an understatement.  Picked 2nd in the Big East behind the defending champs Villanova, the season has lived up to expectations... minus a upset down in Bloomington against Indiana.  They have found their stride in the last two weeks, beating then #12 ranked Kansas State at home, and then later beating their in-state rival #12 ranked Wisconsin at home.  They still have a stiff non-conference test coming up against #14 Buffalo after the UND game, so between beating your in-state rival and having a tough mid-major after this, there is always the chance that they could be walking into a trap.

The Golden Eagles are coached by Steve "Wojo" Wojciechowski, who is in his 4th season at Marquette. Currently he has an 81-61 overall record.  The former Duke assistant is trying to carve his niche in a program that has a rich tradition of great coaches.  He has to follow two tough acts: Tom Crean, who had some kid from Chicago called Wade,  and made a Final 4, and Buzz Williams, who has 3 Sweet 16s and an Elite 8 on his resume at that school. Wojo has the Eagles back to 20 wins seasons, but can he take that next step and lead Marquette to a deep run in March. 

Key Player: Markus Howard (5'11 Junior)

This guard has been a scoring machine and has been one of the better players in the Big East for the past year and a half. He already has a 45 point outing against Kansas State, and a 37 point outing against B-C.  He is a volume scorer and is very good at the free throw line.  UND is going to need to keep him off the line and keep him cold from the field.  

Milestone Watch:

27 - Points that Seales is away from 1000 career points.  Odds are he will accomplish this against UNI but should be able to do it before 2018 is out.

Key Questions:

1) Does Marlon make his debut? 

After sitting out the first part of the season due to academics, it is assumed that Marlon will finally be on the court for this young squad.  For the time being, I would suspect he would come off the bench until he finds his game legs.  For UND, this will be a welcomed addition, giving them another ball handler and experienced scorer.  If he has improved his 3 point shot, he can really solidify the rotation.  

2) Who will get off to a good start: UND or Marquette

Its possible that Marquette comes out with two potential mindsets:  Lets crush this team early or We really can go through the motions.  No matter how they start, UND needs to get off to a better one and punch them in the mouth early.  If they can do that, get a little confidence early... who knows?  

3) Can UND continue to grow and progress as a team?

There's about a 99.99% chance that Marquette wins and wins big, so UND can look at this as another opportunity for growth.  You got nothing to lose: Hit some shots, play great D, and keep getting better before Summit play starts in 10 days. 

The call:

This is a bit of a trap game for Marquette and can easily be a game where they go through the motions.  Could this be the Gonzaga game from last year?  I'm not really feeling it.  I expect UND to play well, but the Eagles will be too much.

Marquette 95-70

Game is on FoxSports Go and FSN North+

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