Wisconsin basketball renews their rivalry tonight when they travel to Marquette to take on the Golden Eagles.
Despite the pandemic that is changing the NCAA basketball landscape in the 2020-21 season, the Wisconsin basketball team will still play their in-state rival, the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The #4-ranked Badgers (3-0) will travel to Milwaukee to play the Golden Eagles (2-1) tonight at 6:00 PM CT. This will be the 127th meeting between the two teams. Wisconsin is ahead in the series with a 68-58 all-time record. The way the Badgers are rolling, they will look to extend their series lead to 11 games.
The Badgers are sitting at 3-0 and ranked fourth in the country. They have soundly defeated their previous three opponents. Granted, they have played some smaller teams, so tonight will be their biggest test so far in this young season.
Marquette will enter this game 2-1. They started the season 2-0 with wins over some similar opponents to Wisconsin. They defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff (99-57) and Eastern Ilinois (75-50). They lost to Oklahoma State on Tuesday, December 1st, 70-62, as a part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
The Wisconsin basketball team is favored to win this game. They are currently 4.5-point favorites and according to ESPN’s BPI (Basketball Power Index), the Badgers have a 60.9% chance to win this game, despite being the visiting team.
It may actually be good luck to be the road team in this series. In the past 10 meetings, the visiting team has won the game five times. It will also help that Marquette is not allowing any fans to attend their games during this season. That will help neutralize their home-court advantage.
Tonight, Wisconsin’s experience and depth will be put to the test. They will need to slow down Marquette’s leading scorer, Koby McEwen, who is averaging 15.7 points per game. Like Wisconsin, this Marquette team will spread the scoring. They have three players averaging double-digits. Behind McEwen are Dawson Garcia (13.0) and Jamal Cain (11.7).
Big man Theo John isn’t far behind with 9.7 points per game. He also leads the team with 9.7 rebounds per game as well. Reuvers and Potter will have their hands full with John tonight.
The Badgers will also face a somewhat familiar face in D.J. Carton. Carton was a big target for the Badgers, and many considered Wisconsin the favorite before he committed to Ohio State. He transferred to Marquette this year, receiving an eligibility waiver and becoming eligible for the 2020-21 season. He is averaging just 7.7 points per game this season, but he is also averaging 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He will be a big part of the game tonight.
This will be Wisconsin’s first true test of the season. Marquette has already played a tougher opponent and has faced some adversity with their recent loss to Oklahoma State. I’m not sure how Marquette will handle the adversity. I think Wisconsin is a better basketball team than Oklahoma State, and without fans at Fiserv, I think the Badgers will be able to control the game and the momentum. I think this game will be within 4-6 points all night until the Badgers pull away late. I think the Badgers’ experience and depth will be the difference tonight.
Wisconsin 74 – Marquette 63