Marquette is off to a sensational start, having opened with seven wins in its first 10 games and an emphatic victory over rival Wisconsin in its first road game of the season. And things are about to get even better for the Golden Eagles, as they add towering center Harry Froling to the lineup in time for Monday’s home meeting with Northern Illinois.
Froling, a 6-11 Australia native and SMU transfer who was forced to sit out Marquette’s first 10 games, is expected to provide a significant frontcourt presence after averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.6 minutes over 10 games with the Mustangs last season. He joins a Golden Eagles team that shot a red-hot 14-of-22 from 3-point range in an 82-63 rout of the Badgers, prompting head coach Steve Wojciechowski to say afterward: “It was as good of a 40-minute effort that we’ve had all season.” Marquette goes for its sixth win in seven games Monday as it hosts a Northern Illinois team that held off Central Connecticut 61-55 last time out. Eugene German led the way with 19 points for the Huskies, who have alternated wins and losses over their previous five games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT NORTHERN ILLINOIS (6-4): German leads the Huskies in scoring and ranks fourth in the Mid-American Conference in scoring (19.9 ppg), and has shot 50 percent from the field or better in three consecutive games; he has also made 15 3-pointers so far this season, just one fewer than he had in 2016-17. Junior guard Levi Bradley contributes 15.2 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds, and has racked up nine boards in each of his last two games. Northern Illinois has been sensational at preventing opposing steals, yielding just 3.1 per game - the fewest in the nation.
ABOUT MARQUETTE (7-3): Second-year guard Markus Howard has been the driving force behind the Golden Eagles’ offense, leading the Big East and ranking 16th in the nation in scoring (22.5 ppg); he has averaged nearly 30 points over his previous four games while knocking down an incredible 25 3-pointers over that span. Backcourt mate Andrew Rowsey is close behind at 21.8 points and has also been prolific from beyond the arc, making at least three 3-pointers in each of his previous four contests. Rebounding has been a major concern for Marquette, which averages just 31.3 boards per game (32nd out of 351 Division I teams).
1. Howard leads the conference in made 3-pointers per game (4.0).
2. Marquette shoots 79.7 percent from the free-throw line, tied for the sixth-best rate in the nation.
3. Northern Illinois averages just 5.9 made 3-pointers per game, ranking outside the top 300 nationally.
PREDICTION: Marquette 84, Northern Illinois 68