Thursday, July 5, 2012
Irish Look to Continue to Soar with Rematch Against Marquette
Determination and respect is what fuels this teams success, but revenge and defending their home court winning streak will be the driving force when the 21st ranked Irish (17-4, 7-2) face 16th ranked Marquette (16-5, 6-4) tomorrow in the Joyce Center. Ever since their 26 point loss in Milwaukee, the Irish have been on a roll winning five out of their last six games, including four in a row. Notre Dame has been playing exceptionally well on both ends of the court, and will look to do the same tomorrow.
Marquette, .500 in their last six games, is coming off their first home loss of the season, 71-57 to Louisville last Monday. So the Irish could be catching the Golden Eagles at the right time, while Marquette is getting Notre Dame at the worst possible time for them. The Eagles three guard lineup was deadly from the outside the last time when they connected on 12 treys. This time the Irish will be prepared by showing Marquette different looks.
Although Marquette was hot from beyond the arc, I still like the Irish's chances tomorrow by forcing the Eagles to shoot from the outside. It also didn't hurt when the Irish turned the ball over a season-high 29 times. On the season, Marquette is shooting 35.6% from three point land and are 9th in the Big East in 3 pt. FG's made (6.8 per game).
The Irish will also improve their chances by being aggressive on the boards. Before back-to-back performances of out rebounding their opposition, Marquette was on the losing end seven straight times. Look for an entire team effort led by Big East Player of the Year frontrunner, Luke Harangody and senior captain Rob Kurz to lead the way.
With changing the starting lineup, Coach Brey has seen his team score at will as the Irish are 4-0 and averaging 88.8 points. That's a good thing, because Marquette is the 5th best team in the league holding their opponents to 63.6 points a contest. They also one of the better scoring teams in the conference averaging 76.1 points a game. But with this tradition-rich rivalry, you can throw those stats out the window. Homecourt, the Leprechaun Legion, as well as an Irish team running on all cylinders give Notre Dame the edge.
Look for another total team effort on both ends of the court, with great inside and outside shooting, and minimal turnovers. The sold out Joyce Center will be rocking that's for sure!
Prediction: Notre Dame 85 Marquette 77
~ Notre Dame has played Marquette more than any other team and leads the all-time series 76-33. The Golden Eagles have had success in recent years and are 7-3 in the last 10 outings. The Irish were victorious the last time the two teams played at the Joyce Center with Notre Dame earning an 85-73 win last season at the Joyce Center on February 24, 2007.
~ Harangody owns a career-best 18-game double-figure scoring streak, has scored 20-plus points and grabbed 10-plus rebounds in 11 games and has registered a team-leading 11 double-doubles.
~ Notre Dame ranks in the top five of the NCAA statistics in two categories: assists (3rd-19.1) and rebounding margin (8th-8.2).
~ Marquette is currently ranked second in the BIG EAST and 12th in the nation in steals per game (9.52 spg.).