Pregame Glance: Marquette University – Carrier Classic

Written November 8th, 2012 by Gary Russell II

Last week, if you subscribe to, you got a glimpse of the Ohio State Men’s Basketball team in their exhibition against Walsh. This week, members of tBBC gave you an inside look at the coaching staff. Today, we will take a deeper look at the matchup against Marquette in the Carrier Classic.

It's basketball season, and who better to start with than a basketball school?

School: Marquette University
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Founded: 1881
Student Population: 12,002
School Type: Private Nonprofit
Division: NCAA Division 1
Conference: Big East
Stadium: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Seating: 18,850
Opened: 1988
Head Coach: Brent “Buzz” Williams
Experience 4th Year

For those of you who get the NBC Sports Network, the game will be shown live at 7 p.m. Eastern on Friday November 9. Besides the fact that this game will played on the U.S.S. Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., there a couple more reason that this game will be unique.

First of all, Ohio State will be wearing a special edition camouflage uniform that, in my opinion, is one the sharpest military tribute uniforms that I have ever seen. In addition to all the bells and whistles of the uniforms, venue, and, most importantly, a tribute to the soldiers, both teams are returning three starters from talented clubs last year.

This also only marks the 10th time in history that these two teams will meet. The last two times they have met Marquette walked away with victories, but Ohio State holds the series lead at 5-4.

Both teams have talented guards returning to the starting lineup that should create some interesting matchups. Aaron Craft will most likely be matched up Golden Eagle guard Junior Cadougan. Stat lines say the two are evenly matched (Craft 8.8 ppg, Cadougan 6.3 ppg), but I think where the two differ is in defense. Craft plays stifling defense and Cadougan was key in the Golden Eagle offense with 5.4 assists per game last year. If Craft can shut down Cadougan in the assist category, things may be bleak for Marquette.

Marquette is also returning guard, Vander Blue who averaged 8.4 points and 4.5 rebounds last year. Blue will have the honor of facing Lenzelle Smith Jr. who averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 2011-12. Both men are listed 6-4 and over 200 which could lead to some physical play. Smith and Blue should be battling it out all night trying to create some options for the “Craft”y point guards.

The two guard matchups will play a vital role on how the night goes in regards to both squads’ scorers. The Buckeyes main scoring threat will be DeShaun “I’ve never met a shot I don’t like” Thomas who was second on the team in scoring last year with 15.9 ppg. Thomas must learn to consistently have a better shot selection in his games for the Bucks to be successful. Marquette will look to Jamil Wilson to step up to fill the scoring void left by Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. If Smith and Blue are able to create some additional options, look for Thomas and Wilson to have some premier scoring nights.

The “X” factor in the game may come down to the “newbies”. Ohio State will have 6 underclassmen and one senior to choose from to add support to a talented returning three. Senior Evan Ravenel and sophomores, Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, will vie for paint time. These three will be going up against Chris Otule and Davante Gardner. I would have to say the edge here goes to Marquette simply because Otule is a redshirt Senior with plenty of experience and Gardner is coming off 9.5 ppg campaign.

If you look at the game as a whole, Ohio State holds the upper hand. Craft’s defense should create many problems for Wilson to get the ball to the Golden Eagles scoring threats. Look for Marquette to try to run the court to try to keep Craft’s defense from being a factor. On the offensive end, I expect the Bucks to try to get the ball inside to establish the paint game in order to try to open things up from Thomas and Smith. On both sides of the ball, Matta and Williams will probably show many different lineups in search of the “right” combination.

All in all, it should be an entertaining game with both teams having many questions to be answered. I believe Ohio State’s guard play will outshine Marquette’s but I also believe that it will be a hard fought game with the styles of play that the Big Ten and Big East.

So let’s all tune in to NBC Sports Network at 7pm eastern time to watch a tribute to military personnel, the opening to the 2012-13 basketball campaign, and to watch our Buckeyes shoot their way to a 75-63 victory.

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