Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/29/13
  Marquette at Creighton Omaha, Nebraska December 31, 2013 9:00 PM CT To say that the Marquette basketball team  played numerous cupcake games to start the season would be an understatement. No disrespect to Cal State Fullerton, Grambling State, or IUPUI, but let’s just say those teams will not help anybody’s RPI. It is not uncommon for a major conference team like Marquette to play various second tier teams to prepare for conference play. One expects a team, especially one that was ranked to start the season, to win these games without much resistance. Marquette was able to beat all the previously mentioned teams, but in the process they discovered glaring holes. These shortcomings have led to five losses so far this season entering Big East play. While the five losses came against elite teams (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Arizona State, San Diego State, and New Mexico) in a year where the Big East is not what it used to be, these early season missteps cause a problem down the road. The predicament that I am alluding to is that every game becomes a must win in conference play. Big East teams’ strength of schedules have deteriorated because of the conference realignment. Gone are the days when a team can enhance their resumes with the possibility of beating Notre Dame, UConn, or Syracuse. Now, teams must focus their attention on trap games against Seton Hall and DePaul. One opportunity Marquette will have to boost their chances to dance in March will be their first conference test against Big East newcomer, Creighton. Kap’s Keys to the Game Will the Real Jamil Wilson please stand up? Yes, I did just throw an Eminem reference into this game preview. Jamil Wilson has been the most frustrating player to watch this year for the Golden Eagles. He has shown sparks of superb play with his ability to knock down any perimeter shot with ease. However, most of the time Wilson throws up contested outside shots that fall nowhere close to the rim. Wilson must find a way to get himself open, which may be tough against the 58th best defensive team in the country according to NCAA.com.  Follow isportsweb on twitter Shut down Doug McDermott When Marquette goes to sleep the night before the game, they will have nightmares about McDermott. A perennial All-American, McDermott’s ability to dominant down low and be lights out from the outside will cause havoc for the Golden Eagles. Look for Juan Anderson and Jamil Wilson to be given the call to attempt to shut down the 6-foot-8 tank. Derrick’s Drives Watch a Marquette game for two minutes and one can see why Golden Eagles fans have a sudden concern about junior point guard Derrick Wilson. Entering the season, fans were worried that Wilson would not provide any offensive spark as the team’s new floor general. He is apprehensive to drive to the basket and if he receives a pass on the wing he gets rid of the ball as if someone lit it on fire. If Wilson can successfully attack the basket against Creighton, than he can successfully set the tone for the rest of Big East play.   Score Prediction: Creighton 81 Marquette 73

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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