After a pair of blowout wins to open the regular season, Indiana welcomes nationally ranked Marquette to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Wednesday night. The Golden Eagles are ranked No. 24 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll.
The game will be broadcast on FS1 at 8:30 p.m. ET with Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson on the call:
The energy in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall hasn’t been anything special through the first two regular season games. That should change tonight.
In their first meeting since 2001, Indiana and Marquette will have a national audience on Wednesday night in primetime. The game will feature two of America’s best guards in Markus Howard and Romeo Langford and also two of the nation’s best forwards in Sam Hauser and Juwan Morgan.
Last season, Archie Miller’s first in Bloomington, Indiana had similar opportunities to knock off ranked opponents on Branch McCracken Court, but never got over the hump. In a season with elevated expectations and the talent to protect its homecourt, this is an important contest for Indiana to start building a NCAA tournament resume.
MEET THE GOLDEN EAGLES
The duo of Howard and Hauser is not only one of the best in the Big East, but also the nation.
After leading the nation in 3-point shooting percentage as a freshman, Howard upped his attempts by a significant margin as a sophomore and maintained most of his efficiency. The 5-foot-11 guard hit 111 3s (40.4 percent) last season for the Golden Eagles and averaged 20.4 points per game.
This season, Howard will have even more freedom as his backcourt running mate, Andrew Rousey (20.5 ppg), graduated. Through two games, he’s averaging 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Howard is also an excellent free throw shooter (91.6 percent), but getting to the line isn’t a major strength of his game.
Indiana will likely put a variety of different defenders on Howard throughout the game and try to force him into difficult looks from the perimeter. Howard had a 52-point outburst as a sophomore and is more than capable of putting Marquette on his back offensively.
If game planning for Howard wasn’t a tall enough task, Indiana also has to account for Hauser. The 6-foot-8 junior forward shot 48.7 percent on 3s last season, which ranked seventh nationally. After offseason surgery on his hip, Hauser looks to be healthy through Marquette’s first two games. He’s shooting 38.5 percent on 3s thus far and is averaging 12.5 points and six rebounds per game.
Sacar Anim, a 6-foot-5 junior, will join Howard in the starting backcourt and will likely draw the Romeo Langford defensive assignment. Anim is a solid finisher (52.7 percent on 2s last season), but shot just 23.5 percent on 3s a season ago on 34 attempts.
Joseph Chartouny, a grad transfer from Fordham, will see the majority of the backup minutes in the backcourt. He was second in the country last season in steal percentage and first nationally during the 2016-17 season.
Brendan Bailey, a 6-foot-8 freshman, has started the first two games alongside Hauser. The Salt Lake City native spent the last two years on a Mormon mission. He’s the son of former Jazz standout Thurl Bailey. Jamal Cain, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, is another name to know in the Marquette wing rotation. Cain is also a capable 3-point shooter (47.3 percent as a freshman). The sophomore has the length and athleticism to become one of Marquette’s best defenders.
In the frontcourt, Nebraska transfer Ed Morrow started the first game for Marquette at the five with 6-foot-9 sophomore Theo John starting the second contest.
Morrow is a physical player who has experience playing in Assembly Hall from his days with the Cornhuskers. John made 57.3 percent of his 2s as a freshman. Joey Hauser, Sam’s younger brother, is also a part of the rotation. He’s played 25 minutes in each of Marquette’s first two games and is averaging 8.5 points and seven rebounds.
There’s no secret in terms of what Marquette will be looking to do offensively. The Golden Eagles were the nation’s 3rd best 3-point shooting team last season and Indiana fans haven’t forgotten some of the 3-point shooting performances that opponents had last season in Bloomington. Keeping Marquette off balance and uncomfortable from the perimeter is pivotal.
What we don’t know about Marquette is if they’ll be able to take care of the ball well enough or defend at an adequate level to slow down Indiana. The Golden Eagles have been sloppy with the ball through two games (22.4 TO%) and were well below average in several key defensive metrics last season.
The Hoosiers looked solid defensively in Friday’s win over Montana State, but the challenge Marquette presents offensively will tell us much more about where this Hoosier team currently stands.
WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO
KenPom likes Indiana by four with a 64 percent chance of victory and the Sagarin ratings like Indiana by 7. The Vegas line currently sits at Indiana by 5.5.
Indiana had several great crowds last season at home, but never registered a win over a team that made the NCAA tournament. This Marquette team is very likely to end up as a contender in the Big East and in the field of 68 come Selection Sunday.
Historically, nationally televised primetime games against marquee competition have brought the best atmospheres to Assembly Hall and tonight should be no different. For an Indiana team with some injury concerns and several freshmen playing key roles, tonight will serve as a litmus test for where this team stands in mid-November.
(Photo credit: Marquette University Athletics)
Filed to: Marquette Golden Eagles