JEFF: Marquette-Wisconsin Preview
By Jeff Falconio
The thing I've heard most about today's matchup between Marquette and Wisconsin is this: contrasting styles. I look at this as an early gut check for both teams. First, there's the chance to beef up the NCAA Tournament resumé. Both teams should make the tournament but it's really a question of seeding and those early season wins against tournament-worthy teams can carry some weight with the selection committee. Second, and more importantly, both teams will have the chance to prove they can execute and win when facing a different style.
I can't help but think back to last March when a physical Michigan State squad completely dismantled Marquette. Once Big East play rolls around the Golden Eagles will face defensive-minded teams like Georgetown that can rebound at will. Can Marquette beat a team like that? Brian Butch and company will provide a solid test. Also, I'm still curious to see what happens when Marquette doesn't shoot the ball well. Usually it means the Golden Eagles will lose but eyebrows will be raised if Marquette can grunt out a physical, low-scoring win on the road.
Meanwhile Wisconsin is still putting the pieces together for another run through the Big 10. The question here is can the Badgers win when pressed and forced out of a half-court game? While Marquette struggles with physical teams, Wisconsin struggles with athletic teams. That said, if the Badgers can find success at an up-tempo pace it will help when conference play rolls around. Wisconsin's most athletic player, Trevon Hughes, will have his hands full but if he can go toe-to-toe with Marquette's speedy guards the Badgers will squeak out a win.
I'm a Marquette guy but it's impossible to overlook the incredible home court advantage the Badgers get. I won't be convinced that Marquette can go far until they win in ugly fashion. Wisconsin wins this one today.