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Marquette will beat Xavier. Da Breakdown.

No witty introductions. It’s all business today.

Marquette’s opening round matchup pits its swiss-cheese defense against one of the nation’s toughest point guards: Terrell Holloway. Tu, as he is called, is quickly becoming the trendy player to watch in ESPN circuts, with his game drawing comparisons to NCAA tournament immortal Stephen Curry. What’s worse for Marquette is that Tu’s numbers seem to support this analogy, 20.2 points per game, 5.3 rbg, 5.1 assist. Xavier is growing as this years’ popular Mulan (see previous blog) behind Holloways’ play. ESPN analyst Dana O’Neil said yesterday, “Holloway is the type of talent that could entertain even the most wayward college hoops fan. He is gifted and driven.”

How do you stop him. Here’s the 2 Wes’ (Defensive) Ways to Win:

1. Zone- Marquette’s zone switches have been effective in recent games, including two extensive periods of zone defenses during wins vs. West Virginia and Connecticut. Against Xavier, there half-court offense is reliant on lane penetration, not lateral ball movement. Holloway, along with sophomore Mark Lyons, create easy scores for big men, or dish to wings for three-point shots. Marquette’s litany of athletic forwards (Joe Fulce NOT INCLUDED) can recover to disrupt three’s after helping in a zone. Also, removing Vander Blue, I haven’t seen a defender capable of containing Holloway one on one. And I couldn’t care less if Vander could hold him to 0 points. Keep him off the court Buzz.

Even if Buzz decides to go man defense, which he probably will, I hope DJO is not matched up with Tu Holloway. Previously when DJO is guarding the opponents best opponents without the rest of a zone (home vs UConn, St. Johns), it seems his offensive production shrinks to a non-existent level. Whether he’s just getting tired, or not focused on offensive production, it would be a shame to see one of college’s best shot creators not produce offensively on the big stage.

Okay, I just did some research. Word is that Jimmy Butler may be guarding the 6-0 Holloway in man defensive schemes. A couple quick thoughts.

a. Can it work? When comparing Holloway to UCONN’s demi-god Kemba Walker, Buzz Williams called Tu faster, and a better user of a ball screen (Xavier’s only offensive gameplan), can Butler keep up with that?

b. Do it- Jimmy’s shut down Marshon Brooks twice, and is a senior playing in his final games at Marquette University. If someone deserves the chance to take the best player head on, its Jimmy Butler.

"This year, I've really focused on my defense and my teammates trust me to guard the best player," he said. "I hope I get the chance to guard Holloway. (taken from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

That’s a winners attitude.

Buzz’s comparisons to Kemba give me hope that he will treat both guards the same defensively, opting for a 2-3 matchup zone against the Musketeers.

Hopefully.

2. Defensive Discipline- Marquette is stronger, larger, and more athletic than Xavier; and probably most teams they compete against. The problem, however, lies in Marquette’s lack of discipline in holding defensive lanes and assignments. Otule will leave his man at a chance for a big block, and guards leave shooters open (aka Louisville’s ogre Marra) to provide help defense that is a big man’s job. Whether this is a coaching error (it is) cannot be determined, but Marquette better figure it out in the next two days.

Discipline extends to defending without fouling. Xavier shoots over 70 percent from the foul line, with guard extraordinaire Tu Holloway shooting an impressive 84 percent. Unlike previous games, offensive stars Jae Crowder, DJO, and Otule (im not worried about Jimmy), MUST STAY away from cheap fouls that give up points and keep them off the floor.

3. Rebounding- Xavier does not rebound well, ranking 12th in both overall rebounds and offensive rebounds. Marquette must limit the Musketeers to one shot a possession, and can hopefully create offensive put back opportunities on the offensive end. Marquette should baby the A-10 big men, showing them a real Big East boxout. Xavier is pretty small outside of 7 footer Kenny Farase, who has limited post moves and should provide a quality matchup with Otule.

OFFENSE

I am quite sure that Marquette will be able to effectively score the ball against Xavier, and speed up the tempo to that frantic pace that Buzz Williams’ thrives on.

Thus, I will keep it short and to the point.

-The entire season, Xavier has relied on a hard man to man defense even with its smaller lineup. It has worked well, as Xavier site in the upper echelon of all A-10 defensive categories. However, im gonna go with the numbers on this one. Marquette sits above the toughest defensive league in America in scoring, so im guessing they can get the job done against the minnows.

-Look for DJO to create easy layups with the smaller Xavier guards on him. Johnson-Odom should have 3 inches and at least 20 pounds of muscle on whichever lineup they have in.

-Buzz should continue his “paint touches” theme, look for Otule to get easy buckets early.

-Down the stretch, its Jimmy time.

-Xavier only plays seven deep, Marquette should have the edge in terms of freshness and energy levels, allowing us to continue our run-and-gun system.


The end.

Ive gone an entire article without a Erik Williams insult. And ive only joked about Vander/Joe Fulce twice. Wow, im maturing, must be this big birthday that’s coming up.

G-O! GO M-U! GO!

I’ve got Marquette in my Sweet 16. Don’t let me down boys.

Facebook: Wesley Herndon
Twitter: @wild_wesley
Email: astead.herndon@marquette.edu

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