Welcome back to our semi-regular feature Friends With Bennies, where we sit down with another Big East blogger to talk about their team. Today we have WarriorBrad from Anonymous Eagle to talk about tomorrow's game with Marquette.
TheUConnBlog: What is Davante Gardner's status for the game tomorrow? I'd never root for a player to be injured, but if Gardner feels like he needs until Sunday to recuperate that's more than fine with me. Assuming he can't go, how will Marquette deal with UConn's size?
Anonymous Eagle: Davante is currently listed as doubtful per Seth Davis and the Marquette beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Assuming Ox is a no-go, expect to see a heavy dose of Jamil Wilson matching up against Andre Drummond. Wilson is undersized, but makes up for that with great length and athleticism. Marquette will also use a lot of help defense on Drummond, primarily with Jae Crowder. Crowder excels at turning over opposing bigs with his quick hands, so Drummond must keep the ball high.
TUB: Darius Johnson-Odom has always been able to score against UConn (he's averaged more than 16 ppg against the Huskies), how can they slow him down?
AE: DJO is a handful because he can score in a variety of ways. Drummond's presence down low will go a long way towards limiting DJO's aggressiveness on the drive. Outside of that, the Huskies must prevent turnovers because DJO can light a team up on the break by finishing at the rim or hitting a trey.
TUB: UConn's biggest struggles this season have come against zone defense. How much of that should the Huskies expect to see from Marquette?
AE: Marquette doesn't play zone. Marquette plays ugly zone. The zone has been employed sporadically and it usually triggers heart palpitations in the MU fan base. Don't expect anything more than a token zone effort.
TUB: Marquette is having a great season this year. What's their ceiling? How far do they have to get in the Big East and NCAA tournaments for you to consider this year a success?
AE: This team's ceiling is fairly low considering their current lofty ranking. The lack of inside depth leaves them too vulnerable to a bad matchup. Personally, a Sweet 16 berth would be considered a smashing success. I would be content with a first round NCAA win and a competitive 2nd round game. Basically what I'm saying is that MU is the product of a very favorable schedule.
There isn't as much passion for the Big East tournament. A semifinals appearance would appease most fans, while a finals appearance would have everyone giddy.
TUB: What's your prediction for the game?
AE: UConn 68 Marquette 62. Drummond will take advantage of MU's size and dominate on the offensive glass.