Saturday, December 3, 2011

Marquette proves themselves with a win at Wisconsin

Pretty soon, we are going to start having to put No. 16 Marquette into the discussion of the elite teams in the country.

Today wouldn't be a bad time to start, as the Golden Eagles went into the Kohl Center and took down No. 7 Wisconsin 61-54 behind 17 points from Darius Johnson-Odom and 14 points off the bench from Todd Mayo. Making the win all the more impressive is that Marquette was without the services of starting point guard Junior Cadougan, who missed the game after being suspended for violating team rules.

Wisconsin jumped out to a quick, 8-3 lead and managed to have control of the game's tempo until the under eight timeout. Down 17-16 at the seven minute mark, Vander Blue hit a three to spark a 16-5 Marquette run, sending them into the break with a 32-22 lead on the Badgers.

The second half started the same way, as Marquette pushed their lead to as much as 13 points. But Wisconsin had a run in them, using a 16-4 spurt to cut the lead to one. The Badgers didn't get the benefit of the home whistles during their surge, however, as Jordan Taylor got hit with his fourth foul -- a terrible charging call -- that erased an and-one layup with the score 41-33.

And while having Taylor strapped to the bench didn't hurt Wisconsin's comeback, it cost them once that got the game within striking distance. The possession after a Ben Brust layup cut the lead to a single point, Mayo scored at the other end for Marquette to push the lead back to three. Wisconsin's next four possessions ended in missed jumpshots before Juan Anderson got a bucket to push the lead to five. After another missed jumper from Jared Berggren -- his third straight -- Jamail Jones scored to make it a seven point game with just over six minutes left. Wisconsin never had a possession with the game a one possession difference the rest of the way.

What We Learned


- Marquette's perimeter attack is going to be really tough to slow down. This wasn't exactly a secret coming in, but seeing the Golden Eagles slice up a good Wisconsin defense was all the confirmation I needed. We all know about Darius Johnson-Odom at this point, but Vander Blue and Todd Mayo are both weapons. Mayo, OJ's younger brother, is an aggressive scorer, while Blue has shown to have a pretty solid all-around game.

- Jae Crowder is one of the most valuable players on Marquette because of everything that he is able to do on the floor. But Marquette doesn't need him to win. He had just two points and three boards in 24 foul-plagued minutes.

- Davante Gardner, if he ever gets in shape, watch out.


- The Badgers are going to struggle defensively against quicker teams. Wisconsin, as always, is going to play solid and fundamental man-to-man defense, but they just don't have the pieces to stay in front of quicker and more athletic opponents.

- Remember when we all though that Mike Bruesewitz was going to be the second coming of Jon Leuer? Yeah, well, that's not happening. He's a good player, but he's a role player and a blue-collar guy.

- I think we can safely say now that Jordan Taylor is not the same player he was last year. And that's not because his skills have gotten worse, but because he doesn't have the same kind of pieces around him. Leuer and Keaton Nankivil were so good in pick-and-pop situations, and that created so many more chances for Taylor to find assists and make plays in the pick-and-roll. But with Bruesewitz and Jared Berggren struggling this year, Taylor doesn't have those options. He's not the kind of 1-on-1 player that is going to be able to take over a game by himself, and that's showing through right now.

- A three point loss at UNC is one thing. Getting smacked by Marquette at home is a different story.

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