Rutgers (12-15) at (10) Marquette (22-5)
Wednesday February 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bradley Center (18,600) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: Big East Network, MSG+. Home Record: RU 10-6, MU 13-1. Away Record: RU 1-7, MU 5-4. Neutral Record: RU 1-2, MU 4-0. Conference Record: RU 4-10, MU 11-3. Series Record: Marquette leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will try to stop the bleeding as they head to the Bradley Center for Big East Conference action with the 10th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles.
Marquette and Rutgers have met six times before. The Golden Eagles hold a 5-1 lead in the all-time series after picking up victories in each of the last five matchups.
Rutgers fell for the fifth straight game on Sunday as it was bested 74-64 by the Syracuse Orange. The Scarlet Knights shot 41.9 percent from the field, but slightly won the rebounding battle 34-29 with Syracuse in the loss. Second year head coach Mike Rice's Rutgers team is 12-15 and 4-10 in Big East action. The Scarlet Knights have not been overwhelming offensively, averaging just 65.6 ppg, and they have allowed opponents to outscore them with an average of only 64.7 ppg.
The Scarlet Knights are a very young team as no seniors receive significant playing time. Freshman guard Eli Carter leads the charge with a scoring average of 13.4 ppg. Carter has scored in double figures 20 times this season and ranks third among freshmen in scoring in league play. Myles Mack has been a very serviceable sixth man. In his last 16 games, Mack has netted 10.0 ppg off the bench. With Gilvydas Biruta providing size and scoring from the forward position and Dane Miller's energetic play on the wing, Rutgers has the tools to hang around with nearly anyone, but still lacks the experience.
Marquette enters tonight's bout with a 22-5 overall record and an 11-3 mark in Big East play, which has it tied for second in the conference with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Golden Eagles picked up their third straight win on Saturday as they defeated Connecticut 79-64. Head coach Buzz Williams did not use a player taller than 6-7 against the Huskies, yet the Golden Eagles still finished with a 33-30 advantage on the boards. Marquette is a very talented team offensively, as it is second in the Big East in scoring offense with an average of 76.7 ppg. The Golden Eagles are allowing opponents to produce 65.5 ppg.
The Golden Eagles are led by their dynamic duo of Darius Johnson-Odum and Jae Crowder. Johnson-Odum is second in the Big East in scoring with an average of 18.6 ppg after he netted 24 points against Connecticut. It was the third contest in a row the senior guard scored 20 points or more. Crowder is contributing 16.7 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game. Vander Blue and Todd Mayo are chipping in 8.5 ppg each, while Junior Cadougan is dishing out 5.7 assists per contest.
Marquette holds a definite advantage in this one. Rutgers has struggled on the road this season, and going into the chaotic Bradley Center will not help its 1-7 away record. The Golden Eagles' one-two punch of Johnson-Odom and Crowder is one of the top combinations in the nation, which should help them avoid upsets the rest of the way.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marquette 78, Rutgers 65
02/22 10:33:17 ET