Most game days, Paint Touches will bring you true previews and scouting reports like we did last season. Included in that list will be three keys to victory. But Marquette won’t be playing Grambling State most game days.
The Tigers have gone 4-53 the past two-plus seasons and haven’t won since their season finale in the 2011-12 season, a 75-72 overtime win at Alabama A&M. While we’re at it, Grambling State hasn’t won a game by double-digits since Feb. 26, 2011. Simply put, this is a program in a shambles and really going nowhere, at least it pertains to facing a Big East team with the second-longest win streak in NCAA basketball.
So instead of giving you three keys to victory, here are five things to watch for when Marquette takes on and defeats Grambling State — and if you’re feeling weary that a victory has already been dubbed, consider that DePaul beat the Tigers by 38 points last week.
1. A more diverse scoring output
Point totals never tell the whole story, and Paint Touches is always one for advanced statistics, but the truth of the matter is that Marquette needs to show some more diversity in its scorers. In Saturday’s win over Southern, only three players scored more than two points. And of those who did not score more than a bucket, only Deonte Burton (1-for-2) was better than 50 percent from the field. Someone on the wing (looking at you, Jajuan Johnson) must deliver some sort of scoring punch from the outside.
2. Crystallizing the rotation
Though Marquette likely will roll tonight, it’s important to note what Buzz Williams does with his rotation. While he is trying not to give anything away before Saturday’s tilt with Ohio State — Chris Otule and Davante Gardner did not play together — Williams will need to begin formulating some sort of rotation to get his team ready for Saturday. Pay attention to which freshmen come off the bench, how long Otule plays in spurts and whether anyone other than John Dawson sees minutes running the point.
3. The starting…lineup
It’s quite interesting, even by Buzz Williams’ standards, that Steve Taylor only played 12 minutes. , two more than freshman Deonte Burton and 60 seconds longer than Juan Anderson. Unless Taylor is still not 100 percent healthy after knee surgery, expect him to get more minutes in this one. With Jameel McKay gone, Taylor will get the nod in the starting lineup and be asked to be more than the “Juan Anderson pseudo-starter.”
4. Derrick Wilson, Take II
The Derrick Wilson bandwagon departs from this website every night, and though his performance against Southern was nothing awful, there’s still room to improve. Three assists to two turnovers, and zero field-goal attempts (he went to the free-throw line four times) isn’t going to get it done in the box score. Wilson said he needed to score more this season; four days before going up against Aaron Craft would be a great time to start.
5. Todd Mayo’s spotlight
Good Todd Mayo is a fun Todd Mayo. We wrote on Twitter last week that when Mayo is on, he can be hotter than anyone on the team. We saw that Tuesday night, as he connected on 5-of-8 shots (2-of-4 from beyond the arc) and got to the free-throw line 11 times. It was great to see the confident Mayo, the one who steps into his shot, flows around the court and is lightning-quick on defense (two steals, block). A lesser outing tonight doesn’t mean Mayo isn’t one of Marquette’s top three scorers, but a second straight “big” night would give the pure scorer boatloads of confidence heading into Ohio State. It’s your stage, Todd.