What is currently known as the Big East Conference, will have a good match-up between two nationally ranked teams in the No. 18 Marquette Golden Bears and the No. 16 Pittsburgh Panthers. When both of these teams faced earlier this season on Jan. 12th, 2013, Marquette beat Pittsburgh in overtime, 74-67. Marquette’s Vander Blue led the way, finishing the game with 22 points (6-12 field goal shooting, 1-4 three-point field goals and 9-10 free throws), four assists, and three rebounds.
The statistics between the two teams resembled each other very closely. However, the key stats were free throws and field goals. Marquette’s 76.7 percent free throw shooting percentage (23-30 free throws) bested Pittsburgh’s 50 percent free throw shooting percentage (10-20 free throws). With field goal shooting, Marquette shot close to 50 percent by making 23 of their 48 field goals (47.9 percent). Pittsburgh’s field goal percentage was 39.7 percent (23-58 field goals).
In order to secure another victory, Marquette must continue to force bad shots from Pittsburgh. Controlling the boards and shutting down Lamar Patterson will also be key for Marquette. In the previous encounter, Patterson exceeded his per game average of 10.1 points with a 22-point performance, which included a three-pointer that tied the game at the end of regulation.
Although Marquette is mediocre at best, they have the potential to win the regular season crown for the Big East. Four of their seven regular season games are must-wins (against Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame and St. John’s). Currently, Marquette sits in second place (tied with Georgetown) in the Big East Conference’s standings with an 8-3 record.