Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 2/4/12
Marquette was able to overcome its lack of size in its last game thanks in part to a breakout performance by Vander Blue. That smaller rotation leading to a faster pace for the 15th-ranked Golden Eagles worries Notre Dame coach Mike Brey as the Big East rivals meet Saturday in South Bend, Ind. Marquette (19-4, 8-2) has won seven straight and trails No. 2 Syracuse by one game for the Big East lead. The Golden Eagles were able to defeat Seton Hall 66-59 on Tuesday without starting forward Davante Gardner, who sat out with a sprained left knee suffered last Saturday at Villanova and is doubtful for this game. While Gardner had boosted his game in conference play with averages of 12.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, Blue averaged just 4.4 points on 32.1 percent shooting in his last 12 games despite starting them all. However, the 6-foot-5 sophomore picked up the slack Tuesday with 16 points and eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end, and his finish of an alley-oop sparked Marquette's second-half comeback. It was the first game in double figures for Blue since Dec. 17. "That's what we need him to do, night in and night out," said teammate Jae Crowder, who had 20 points and a season-high 12 rebounds. "When he does that consistently, I think we'll be even better than (the way) we're playing right now. A lot of teams are disrespecting him because of his lack of consistency early in the year. But once he gets that down, we'll be even better." The 6-8, 290-pound Gardner had taken a starting spot in December after center Chris Otule suffered a season-ending knee injury. If Gardner is unable to play, 6-7 sophomore Jamil Wilson (6.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) likely will get another start. He was the tallest player to appear Tuesday for the Golden Eagles - second in the Big East in scoring at 76.1 points per game - and they'll likely pick up the tempo with an undersized lineup. "I think any time you play at Notre Dame, it's a unique experience," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "How they play is still the same, a frustrating style, particularly for a team built as ours is." That speed is a major concern for Brey, who uses a 'burn' offense to control flow as Notre Dame (14-8, 6-3) tries to grind down opponents. It worked last season against the Golden Eagles, when the Irish overcame a 12-point deficit at home in an 80-75 victory Jan. 22, 2011. It has continued to pay dividends, as the Irish carry a three-game winning streak into this game that started with handing the Orange their only loss. Notre Dame has been off since Sunday, when it avenged an earlier loss to Connecticut with a 50-48 road victory over the previously 24th-ranked Huskies. "Controlling tempo has helped us, but the possessions we had to defend - and they're fewer with the way we're playing - we're really defending," Brey said Thursday. "The defensive identity has been lost in the tempo we're playing offensively but it's been solid." Notre Dame is 6-1 when holding opponents to 65 or fewer points in conference play. The Irish have held opponents to an average of 49.3 points and 33.1 percent shooting during their winning streak. Marquette has won seven of 11 between the teams, but Notre Dame leads the all-time series 79-36.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker