As expected, Marquette thoroughly gorged itself on its double helping of cupcakes from the past week. What was a little more unexpected was two consecutive 100 point performances, a feat that had not been achieved in this decade by a Marquette squad. The offense seems to be humming along though the defense has some very legitimate questions. Marquette will have a good opportunity to pad some of those defensive numbers as they face one of the nation’s worst offensive teams in Western Carolina.
1: Devin Peterson: 6-1 170 lb JR PG: 28.8 mpg, 8.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.5 bpg, 1.8 tpg, .315 FG%, .650 FT%, .286 3P%
2: Deriece Parks: 6-5 155 lb SR SG: 25.8 mpg, 10.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.0 tpg, .344 FG%, .300 3P%
3: Haboubacar Mutombo: 6-5 190 RSJR SG: 31.2 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.4 bpg, 2.2 tpg, .512 FG%, .364 FT%, .353 3P%
4: Marc Gosselin: 6-7 205 lb SO SF: 26.3 mpg, 9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.0 bpg, 1.7 tpg, .500 FG%, .900 FT%, .333 3P%
5: Yalim Olcay: 6-8 225 lb FR PF: 17.8 mpg, 3.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.0 tpg, .500 FG%, .667 FT%, .000 3P%
Elijah Pughsley: 6-1 170 lb SO PG
Onno Steger: 6-5 205 lb FR SG
Jesse Deloach: 6-7 230 lb SO PF
Charlendez Brooks: 6-9 240 lb RSJR C
Maurice Smith: 6-6 215 lb FR SF
Adam Sledd: 6-8 220 lb FR PF
Jason McMillan: 5-11 165 lb FR PG
Devonte Fuller: 6-1 186 lb RSSO PG
Kyle Rhoades: 6-6 190 lb SR SF
Ashley Williams: 6-5 175 lb JR SF
• Western Carolina features a startlingly bad offense. The Catamounts are #339 in the nation in Offensive Rating per KenPom. They rank in the bottom 10 teams for scoring offense at only 58 points per contest. Their FG% of 34.4 is also among the top 10 WORST in the nation. It doesn’t get much better from range as only 26.2% of their deep balls have found the bottom of the rim, good for 340th out of 352 teams. Hell, even their FTs clang out as they rank among the 50 worst teams from the charity stripe. In short, Western Carolina does not know how to put the ball into the hoop.
• The Catamount defense is a little more respectable, ranking in the middle third for Defensive Rating per KenPom. Western Carolina will try to slow the game down and win a rock fight on defense. Their opponent’s FG% of 40.4% is in the top third of division 1 teams.
• The player to look out for on Western Carolina is wing Haboubacar Mutomobo. The native Canadian was a reserve last season but has been off to solid start to his redshirt junior campaign. He’s scored in double digits in four of the five contests he’s played in, scoring 8 in the fifth. He started the season with a double double against NCCAA (no that’s not a typo) opponent Hiawatha College. Since then he has led Western Carolina in points, rebounds, and assists. On a team full of brickers, Mutomobo is the only one who can hit a shot, with an eFG north of 55%.
• There is some international flavor to the Catamount frontcourt. Starting PF Marc Gosselin is originally from France and starting C Yalim Olcay is a native of Turkey. Gosselin was the first player off the bench for Western Carolina a season ago and has been pressed into starting duty. He has three point range and is an accurate shooter but doesn’t score in volume. He is the second leading rebounder on the squad and did manage an impressive 14 boards against B1G opponent Ohio State. Olcay is the bigger but less impressive of the two. His size has allowed him to start as a true freshman. He has grabbed some boards and most of his points have come very close to the rim. His defense is not at D1 level and will struggle against legitimate bigs like Luke Fischer.
• Despite being among the 15 worst 3P shooting teams, the Catamounts love to launch them. They are the top 100 in division 1 for three point attempts.
• Western Carolina got their first win against a D1 opponent in their last game, a 58-47 victory over 1-5 Jackson State. They shot it much better than their previous games going 41% from deep and 48% from the floor. They held Jackson State to a miserable 28% FG% and 2-16 from deep. Probably more of an indicator of Jackson State’s quality than a turning point for Western Carolina.
Under Coach Larry Hunter, Western Carolina has been a consistently solid low major opponent. That likely will not be the case this season. The Catamounts lost four starters off of last year’s team and that is just too much for a low major with that level of resources to replace. Marquette’s second line would likely win a game against them fairly handily. With as bad as the Catamounts are on offense, a lot of Marquette’s defensive warts will be covered up. It will be a good chance for Wojo to work on some things on defense because even if mistakes are made, Western Carolina will be unlikely to make Marquette pay for them. Expect Luke to follow up his domination of Houston Baptist with another commanding performance. There simply is no size on the opposing roster to counter a talented big man. Getting good shots off will be more challenging against this solid defense so running the offense and avoiding hero ball will be key. I keep hoping for Reinhardt to have a bounce back game but I don’t think this is the game it happens. Rowsey seems to be losing ground in the battle of the PG position. How Carter and Howard fare in the contest might determine who will get the starting nod against All SEC PG JJ Frazier and the Georgia Bulldogs in Marquette’s next matchup. While you can never look past an opponent, this is a game that Marquette is no danger of losing. Expect the walk ons to get some run.
Western Carolina 57