It’s been a rough start to December for the Golden Eagles. Losing to in state rival Wisconsin is never pleasant, even if the game went better than expected. To throw a little salt in the wound, sophomores Deonte Burton and John Dawson announced they would be transferring at the end of the semester. Dawson, having only played four minutes all season, was an expected departure. Burton, a member of the All Big East Freshman team from a season ago, was a much bigger shock to the Marquette faithful. Dawson is most likely heading to a mid-major but Burton will be heavily recruited by power conferences. The arrival of 6-11 Luke Fischer will help soften the loss of Burton. Marquette has been hurting for a legitimate inside presence all season. Fischer will probably play big minutes just by necessity. They are going to be needed when facing Arizona State and their dominate center.
Mascot: Sun Devils
Conference: PAC 12
13-14 Record: 21-12
13-14 RPI: 44
13-14 KenPom: 45
14-15 Record: 6-3
14-15 KenPom: 68
Coach: Herb Sendek (9th season)
PG: Tra Holder: 6-1 180 FR, 6.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.5 spg, .286 3P
SG: Gerry Blakes: 6-4 195 JR, 12.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.6 spg, .313 3P
SF: Shaquielle McKissic: 6-5 200 SR, 10.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.2 spg, .348 3P
PF: Jonathan Gilling 6-8 220 220 SR, 9.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.4 bpg, .543 3P
C: Eric Jacobsen: 6-10 255 JR, 11.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.0 bpg, .000 3P
Bo Barnes: 6-4 190 RSSR SG, 8.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.7 spg, .462 3P
Savon Goodman: 6-6 215 RSSO SF, NO STATS AVAILABLE (college debut, 2012 4 star recruit)
Willie Atwood: 6-8 210 JR SF, 4.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.3 spg, .300 3P
Kodi Justice: 6-5 180 FR PG, 4.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.1 bpg, .500 3P
Roosevelt Scott: 6-3 180 JR SG, 3.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.8 spg, .200 3P
Chance Murray: 6-2 180 SO SG (played significant minutes the first six games and has rode the bench the last three)
Sai Tummala: 6-6 218 RSJR SF
Connor MacDougall: 6-8 220 FR C
Austin Witherill: 6-0 160 FR SG
Corban Murphy: 6-3 190 SO SG
Cameron Gilbert: 6-10 245 FR C
The Game Plan: It is hard to say for sure what Marquette’s game plan should be heading into this game. Deonte Burton is gone and Luke Fischer is here, and that changes the entire makeup of the team. Marquette isn’t the only one in this game whose roster is getting shaken up. Former top 100 recruit Savon Goodman is finally able to play his first Division I game since being signed by UNLV In 2012. Two felony charges chased him from Las Vegas to Indian Hills Community College and eventually to Tempe. He should make an immediate impact for the Sun Devils, but will most likely do it from the bench. The weakest position for Arizona State is by far the point guard. Sendek has rotated several different players into the position and no one has really stood out. Holder is inexperienced, has a loose handle, and doesn’t shoot very well from outside. Justice is more of the same with a slightly better touch from outside. McKissic, Barnes, and Blakes are all much better off the ball than on. This is a great opportunity for Marquette. Now that they have Fischer to cover the post, we may see a return to the pressure man to man. The lack of a good caretaker point guard could lead to some easy transition buckets. Marquette fans may remember that JjJ had his best game of last season in Tempe. Facing a team without a dominant PG may allow him to repeat that performance. The Sun Devils have a pair of intimidating post players in Jonathan Gilling and Eric Jacobsen. Gilling is as about as closed to Ethan Wragge as you can get without being Ethan Wragge. The 6-8 power forward has made 25 shots from downtown compared to 4 from inside the arc. He shoots at a 54% clip from three and is tailor made to destroy a zone defense. Expect Juan to be in his pocket the entire night. Jacobsen is your typical near 7 foot bruiser. Does all of his damage in the paint…on both ends of the court. Jacobsen averages nearly a double double and 2 blocks per game. He’s no Jordan Bachynski, the seven foot Canadian who blocked Derrick Wilson’s attempt at a game tying runner in last season’s matchup with the Sun Devils, but he is formidable. Luke Fischer will get a baptism by fire in his first game as a Golden Eagle.
Best Case: The ten days off…and Fischer’s presence…allows Wojo to utilize the high pressure man to man he always planned on using. It works. Derrick’s conservative but consistent on ball defense combine with JjJ’s instincts lead to turnover after turnover. Sendek tries four different players at the point, each more disastrous than the last. Fischer is even better than advertised and holds Jacobsen in check while also racking up three blocks. Fischer’s presence opens up lanes for slashing, allowing Carlino, Duane, JjJ, and even Derrick to have decent scoring games. Juan sticks to Gilling like white on Matt Carlino and doesn’t let him get a shot off. Marquette win with a comfortable margin of 12.
Worst Nightmare: Wojo sticks with the zone…and it gets torched. Gilling spots up for his patented corner three and knocks down 5/7 from downtown. McKissic, Barnes, Blakes, even Holder add some treys of their own. A few shots rim out only to be scooped up by Jacobsen for the easy putback. Fischer tries his best but a year off the court renders him lost on both offense and defense. Lanes don’t open up and the offense stagnates. Not nearly bad as the Badger game, but still not enough to win. Marquette loses by 9. Deonte Burton announces that he is transferring to UW-Madison.
Final Predication: Marquette 67 Arizona State 63