(Photo Credit: @MarquetteMBB)

For the 10th time in 11 seasons, we start 2-0. The season will truly kick off this week with the Hoosiers’ first test against the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Our first two impressive victories were over teams that were overpowered by our strength and athleticism allowed us to learn a lot about where we are at this point. Especially in the victory against Montana State, we got a glimpse of how formidable the defense will be this year. Archie has always preached the importance of our defense in winning games, but now we can see these words are becoming true results when last year we were painfully inconsistent. The victories were what we expected, but the margin and complete dominance was not and is a welcome sight for Hoosier Nation. And as they say, offense wins games, but defense wins…banners.

Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford are the stars that we expected them to be and will continue to be the backbone for the Hoosier team. Morgan hit all his shots in the paint against Montana State and could not be stopped. Reaching a double-double early in the second half and displaying impressive defensive maturity that we would expect from a senior and team leader. Langford still has room to develop, but his strength and athleticism will make him able to reach the highlight reel each night. He will be much more crucial in these upcoming weeks.

The Hoosiers have showed what we are capable of when we cannot be stopped. Now, we will play against a Golden Eagle team that is projected at 28th on Kenpom rankings. For comparison, IU is 26th as of Sunday 11/11. Two teams looking to break top 25, and the winner will surely inch in by the end of the week.

This will be the Hoosiers first test as we play against a comparable 2-0 Marquette team. The Golden Eagles started their season strong against NCAA tournament darling UMBC with a victory 67-42 and against Bethune-Cookman 92-59. Much like the Hoosiers, they have been building up to our match up with warm up games against underpowered opponents to help develop their team at the beginning of the season.

Let’s take a closer look at the Golden Eagles.

Meet the Golden Eagles

Departing Players

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  • Andrew Rowsey – 5’10” / 175 lbs / Guard / Senior – Lexington, VA. Highest scorer on the team last year with 20.5 points per game. Current player for Szolnoki Olaj in the Hungarian League.
  • Harry Froling – 6’11” / 260 lbs / Center / Sophomore – Australia. Announced that he would not be returning to the team after the end of last year. Sporadic playing time when he was on the team. Transfer from SMU.
  • Haanif Cheatham – 6’5″ / 180 lbs / Guard / Junior – Fort Lauderdale, FL. Transferred to Dunk City for his senior season.

Returning Players

  • Markus Howard – 5’11” / 175 lbs / Guard / Junior – Chandler, AZ. One of the top players in the country. Averaged 20.4 points per game last season and over than 40% from behind the arc.
  • Sam Hauser – 6’8” / 225 lbs / Forward / Junior – Stevens Point, WI. Older brother of Joey Hauser. Averaged 14.1 points per game last season and nearly 6 rebounds. One of the most efficient players in the Big East and the country.
  • Theo John – 6’9” / 240 lbs / Forward / Sophomore – Minneapolis, MN. Started against Bethune-Cookman and played 23 minutes off the bench against UMBC. Averaged more than 10 minutes per game and about 4 points per game last year.
  • Sacar Anim – 6’5” / 210 lbs / Forward / Junior – Minneapolis, MN. Starter from 2018, all around solid player. Averaged just under 8 points per game.
  • Ed Morrow Jr. – 6’7” / 235 lbs / Forward / Junior – Chicago, IL. Transfer from Nebraska. Did not play last year for Marquette due to transfer rules. Expect a strong showing from him if he starts or comes off the bench. Led the Huskers in blocks and rebounds in 2016-2017.
  • Jamal Cain – 6’7” / 195 lbs / Forward / Sophomore – Pontiac, MI. Averaged more than 10 points per game.
  • Matt Heldt – 6’10” / 240 lbs / Center / Senior – Neenah, WI. The big man that focused on his presence and rebounding for the team. Minimal offensive output at 3.9 points per game.
  • Joseph Chartouny – 6’3” / 200 lbs / Guard / Senior – Montreal, Province of Quebec. Previous starter and senior transfer from Fordham. Averaged about 12 points each of the last three seasons. Has been coming off the bench thus far this season.
  • Greg Elliott – 6’3” / 170 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Detroit, MI. Out for an extended period of time due to a thumb injury. WIll return in about 1-2 months.
  • Cam Marotta – 5’10” / 175 lbs / Guard / Senior – Mequon, WI. Has scored 4 points in his career at Marquette.
  • Mike Lelito – 6’5” / 190 lbs / Guard / Sophomore – Mount Prospect, IL. Played three minutes last season.

Incoming Players

  • Brendan Bailey – 6’8” / 190 lbs / Forward / Freshman – Salt Lake City, UT. Incoming freshman that spent two years on a mission trip. Part of the 2016 recruiting class for high school. Started the first two games this season.
  • Joey Hauser – 6’9” / 230 lbs / Forward / Freshman – Stevens Point, WI – Sam’s brother, was ranked #52 overall in the 2018 recruiting class.
  • Koby McEwen – 6’4” / 200 lbs / Guard / Junior – Toronto, CA. Transfer from Utah State, will not play this season due to transfer.
  • Buddy Jaffee – 6’3” / 195 lbs / Guard / Freshman – Michigan City, IN. Hoosier high school athlete who played for Marquette Catholic High School in the Region.
  • Ike Eke – 6’9″ / 215 lbs / Forward / Freshman – Detroit, MI. Had back issues last season and was a medical redshirt.
  • Tommy Gardiner – 6’7″ / 210 lbs / Forward / Freshman – Park Ridge, IL. Walk on for the Golden Eagles.

Expectations for the Golden Eagles

Marquette is a team that has high expectations this season much like the Hoosiers. They are frequent fliers to the NCAA tournament and have struggled in recent history. After rebuilding with 5th year coach Steve Wojciechowski, they are expected to compete for the Big East title this season.

Marquette had a defense that was borderline non-existent last year where they ranked 326th out of 351 in allowing opponents to make 47.8% of shots. They realized that this was their Achilles Heel and focused immensely on fixing this over the off-season. Against UMBC, they had an impressive defensive performance that led to a 23% FG for the Terriers and +12 rebounds. And Bethune-Cookman, did not fare much better with 29% FG and Marquette was +8 on rebounds.

But, the main focus of their team is still the offensive firepower. Foremost, can Markus Howard be stopped by any team? He was honored as being one of the preseason all-conference players with unanimous voting and was fourth best in scoring average for the conference last year with tallying 20.4 points per game. His ridiculous efficiency has been on display if you look at any Big East highlight reel where he will always be included. Against Bethune-Cookman, Howard only played 28 minutes and tallied 37 points – the most by any player for Marquette in a home game in the last 12 years.

Sam Hauser is not as flashy, but just as dangerous as Howard as he can fly under the radar. Last year, he had the 11th highest offensive efficiency rating in the country. Despite only scoring 14.1 points per game, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists, he knew the shots he should take and allow high volume shooters like Howard keep firing away. Now, he is expected to be the second highest scorer on the team with the departure of Rowsey (averaged 20.5 points per game).

Most projections have them between 1st and 3rd in the final standings in the Big East. More likely than not, they will finish second or third as Villanova will be a formidable opponent again, but they do have the power to push ‘Nova to the limit. Providence, Butler and St. John look to be tough competition this year as well. A lot hinges on whether or not the Golden Eagles decide to play defense this year. If they manage to pull together a halfway decent defense, Markus Howard and Co. will be a tough team to stop.

Overall, the Hoosiers do seem to have fundamentals established as long as they do not play soft and get points they should be getting for free. We will finally get to see how they match up to an presumed equal opponent.

What to Watch For

  1. Is the Hoosier defense for real? Against Montana State, we put on a defensive clinic that was one of the best performances in defense in IU history. In fact, it was the fewest points IU has allowed an opponent to in the shot clock era. Marquette will score more than 35 and be a much tougher, athletic opponent, but can we control the game our way and force them into poor shot choices like the Bobcats? Markus Howard (26.0 ppg) will be our first test this season. Archie will have his hands full in translating our approach to the next tier of opponent and it will show us how ready we are for the rest of the season.
  2. Rob Phinisee is the right man for the job. The starting backcourt was supposed to include Devonte Green and the addition of Phinisee was supposed to supplement the current line up but he was not going to have a significant amount of play time. Archie noted early on that he has a way of commanding the team that Green has had difficulty with in the past. Now, we play Marquette where there will be no more experimenting with different line ups and 40 minutes of full on choosing the best line up, will Phinisee continue to play at a mature, clean level or will we need to call more upon Devonte to command the backcourt again? Also, he will likely be matched up against Markus Howard this week which will be no easy task.
  3. From downtown to the charity stripe. IU attempted 21 three point attempts, yet converted less than a third of them. Additionally, hitting just barely over half of the free throw attempts is not acceptable. Both of these numbers are surprising for a team that commanded such a strong presence in the paint. Montana State had their hands full with Juwan Morgan controlling the pace of the game and despite putting an emphasis on stopping it, they couldn’t. We will need to punish teams with the three in the upcoming weeks. The free throw was something we struggled with against Chicago State, and we all criticized Romeo for his poor outing, but most players last game underperformed with free throws. We need a top-down emphasis on fixing this problem as this is where we will win (or lose) upcoming games.
  4. Where are the O-boards at? Interestingly, we got out offensively rebounded against Montana State. We need to play tougher and follow through with our shots and not lose on these second chances. Juwan Morgan tallied only a single offensive rebound, but another 10 defensive rebounds last game.

How to Watch

DateWednesday, November 14th
Time8:30 PM EST
RadioHoosiersTV Audio

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