The last time UConn played Marquette, James Bouknight missed the next eight games.
Now, Bouk is back and the Huskies (11-6, 8-6 Big East) are in the midst of a tournament push. Every game is crucial.
Marquette (11-12, 6-10 Big East) pose an interesting challenge for UConn. The Golden Eagles have had a rough season, currently sitting second-to-last in the conference, only ahead of DePaul. A win would be good for the Huskies — any win is — but a loss would be disastrous.
Even if the Huskies dominate, the attitude will be “that’s what they should have done anyway.” But if they lose, it’ll be a huge blow to their hopes to make the NCAA tournament.
So, who is this team UConn will need to survive on Saturday?
Freshman 6-foot-11 forward Dawson Garcia leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game on 48.6% shooting from the field and 37.1% shooting from 3. He’s also the team’s leading rebounder, pulling down 6.7 per game.
A pair of guards are next, with 6-foot-2 sophomore D.J. Carton and 6-foot-4 redshirt senior Koby McEwen averaging 12.8 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. They’re also the team’s leading assisters, averaging 3.39 and 3.0 dimes apiece.
Two senior forwards round out the starting five: 6-foot-7 Jamal Cain and 6-foot-9 Theo John. Cain averages 9.8 points and 6.1 boards a game, with John right behind him at 8.7 points and 5.7 boards. John is also a good shot blocker, averaging 1.7 per game, good for No. 5 in the conference.
The Golden Eagles are currently riding a two-game win streak, most recently knocking off UNC in Chapel Hill.
The Huskies took down Marquette 65-54 in their previous matchup this season on the back of a 23-point explosion from Tyler Polley. The senior forward shot 8-of-12 from the field including 5-of-8 from 3, kicking off a what was a really promising three game stretch where he broke double digits in points each game. However, since then, Polley has hit double digits in just one of nine games. If he can repeat his performance from their last matchup, it could be just what he needs to jumpstart his scoring.
Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m., and the game can be watched on FOX.