Breaking Down Marquette-Wisconsin
By By Kyle Dlabay
Wisconsin and Marquette hook up for the 115th time this Saturday night at the Bradley Center. The teams have split the last six games but the Badgers are 7-3 in the last ten games between the Badgers and Golden Eagles. Former Marquette coach Tom Crean always said before the yearly game that the rivalry transcends players and coaches. He was right, Crean is gone and the rivalry is as big as ever with both teams coming in with 6-1 records.
Here's how the two teams match up:
Point guard - Trevon Hughes vs. Dominic James: The slight edge goes to James based on experience. Both players are extremely talented and have the quickness to blow by almost anyone. James had one of his best all-around games last year against Wisconsin. So far this year, James is playing more like a true point guard with an almost four-to-one assist to turnover ratio. Hughes made the play of the year so far for the Badgers on Monday against Virgina Tech when he knocked down the game-winning shot with 0.9 seconds left in the game.
Shooting guard - Jason Bohannon vs. Jerel McNeal: McNeal gets the edge here because not only is he more athletic than J-Bo, he is also shooting better from long range so far this season. That will not continue for the entire season as Bohannon went 3-6 from three-point range in Wisconsin's last game. McNeal has the ability to take over a game on both ends of the floor.
Small forward - Joe Krabbenhoft vs. Wesley Matthews: I believe this match-up is the toughest to call because both players do so much for their teams. Matthews is second in the Big East in scoring so far this season while Krabbenhoft leads the Badgers in rebounding and assists. Krabbenhoft will be a double-digit scorer this year but that's not the main way he helps his team win games. No one in the country has shot or made more free throws than Matthews this year. Matthews, a Madison native, has never scored in doulbe figures against the Badgers. This one is a draw in my book.
Power forward - Marcus Landry vs. Lazar Hayward: Even though Hayward has more points and rebounds this year, the edge goes to Landry based on his all-around game. Landry leads Wisconsin with 17 blocks. Hayward also has fouled out the two games and Marquette can't afford that on Saturday.
Center - Keaton Nankivil vs. Dwight Burke: Nankivil has been more productive this season so he gets the edge. Burke has been in foul trouble for most of the first seven games. However, Burke did have 12 points and nine rebounds in Marquette's win in Madison last December.
Bench - Jon Leuer, Tim Jarmusz, Rob Wilson and Jordan Taylor vs. David Cubillan, Maurice Acker, Jimmy Butler and Patrick Hazel: The Badgers get the edge based on Leuer and his dead-on shooting so far this season. He is 7-8 from behind the arc this season and can score in bunches like he did against Michigan last year. Marquette's bench has been inconsistent with Cubillan and Acker struggling from the field. Hazel did not play in the Golden Eagles' last game because of some bad practices but will most likely will play on Saturday.
Head coach - Bo Ryan vs. Buzz Williams: The big edge goes to Ryan for obvious reasons. This is Williams' second experience in the rivalry as he was an assistant under Crean last season.