Time to get serious about Marquette, an impressive team arriving at Freedom Hall with a nine-game winning streak. The Golden Eagles are 13-2 and rank 13th in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.
Marquette pounded a pretty good Notre Dame team 92-66 in its last game in Milwaukee, forcing 24 Irish turnovers while hitting 12 of 24 three-point attempts. The visitors are led by Dominic James, averaging 14.9 points per game.
* * *
FAMILIAR FACE — Jerry Smith is the last face Tom Crean wanted to see in Louisville. The Marquette coach actually offered a scholarship to Smith when Smith was in the eighth grade at Wauwatosa (Wis.) High School. Smith went on to become the state’s Mr. Basketball and was a three-time all-state selection, the first in the state’s history. One of the highlights of Smith’s career was the last second three-point shot that lifted U of L to a 61-59 win last February.
* * *
ETU JUAN — Not enough has been made of Juan Palacios joining U of L’s 1,000-point club, the 58th player to make it. He achieved the milestone in the win over Rutgers on Sunday. Rick Pitino, remember, predicted a red shirt year for Palacios.
* * *
GOLDEN EAGLES? Marquette arrives in town as the Golden Eagles for the second consecutive year. They junked the name Warriors a fews years ago. The administration changed the nickname to Gold but met great resistance from the students and alumni. Marquette was even known for many years as the Hilltoppers. With the growing animal rights movement, how long the Golden Eagles will be around is anyone’s guess.
* * *
CRACKED SIDEWALKS: A good place to get a Marquette perspective on the U of L-Marquette rivalry is Cracked Sidewalks. Now if he will share his secret about how he got the the arena in the background, we can look at adding Freedom Hall here.