Preview & Prediction: By Blake Hofstad
Dayton (5-0) is one of a slew of teams in contention in the Atlantic-10. Xavier has emerged as the top dog with wins over Memphis and Missouri, but a win over #15 Marquette (5-0) would send a message to the Muskies and the rest of the conference that the Flyers are a force to be reckoned with. To get to this game, Dayton had to survive a terrible shooting night (0-24 from 3-point, 20-72 overall) to knock off Auburn in overtime. If they shoot like they did on Friday, Marquette will make them pay. Chris Wright’s injury was a big reason why they missed the NCAA Tournament last year. He is back, and his Flyers look good. Dayton plays tough defense, and if they can contain Marquette’s guard trio, they have a good shot at this one.
The Golden Eagles are led by their three guards, Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal and Dominic James. All three can shoot, defend and pass. In the paint. Marquette features Lazar Hayward, who is always a double-double threat. After that, there is a drop-off in talent for the Eagles. There are a lot of solid role players, such as forward David Cubillan, but no real scoring threats. Marquette needs to rely on their Big 4, Hayward, McNeal, James and Matthews, to get it done against a very good defensive team in Dayton.
Ultimately, Marquette has too much talent, with their backcourt proving they are one of the nation’s best. But it won’t be easy, as Wright and Marcus Johnson go off. Dayton regains their shooting touch and makes a furious comeback late.
Winner: Marquette Margin: 1-4
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About Blake Hofstad
An avid sports fan, you can nearly always find Blake Hofstad playing, watching, writing or just talking sports. His favorite team is the Wisconsin Badgers, and he is a huge Big Ten and Missouri Valley fan. The two things he hates about college basketball are Duke and the love Duke gets from most media members. You can find more of Blake's work on Onlinesportsfanatic.com.