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Norfolk State vs Marquette

Time: 07:00 P.M. EST
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Marquette's defense was a weakness on a team that reached the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament last season, so coach Buzz Williams can be forgiven for looking for ways to improve his team defensively even after a 54-point win.

The 21st-ranked Golden Eagles will try to improve on their largest margin of victory in 15 years when they host Norfolk State on Monday night.

Marquette opened the season with a 91-37 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Friday, its biggest win since a 104-49 victory over Prairie View A&M on Dec. 6, 1996.

While the Golden Eagles held the Mountaineers to 29.1 percent shooting and forced 29 turnovers, they gave up 16 offensive rebounds.

"They only had six scholarship guys, so who we prepared to play was not exactly who we played," Williams said. "That incriminates us even more, with 16 offensive rebounds (given up). But to force a team into 29 turnovers and to hold them to the field goal percentage that we did, all of those things were very positive."

Marquette is expected to be an improved defensive team after last season's squad ranked 14th in the Big East in points allowed (68.8 per game) and field-goal percentage (43.8). Much of the increased expectations stem from experience in the frontcourt with Jae Crowder, who had six rebounds and four steals Friday, and 6-foot-11 Chris Otule, who had three blocked shots and five rebounds.

However, Otule also saw room for improvement.

"We were up and down," Otule said. "I think there were times when we relaxed a little bit."

Marquette is counting on the pair to not only be a presence on defense, but be more consistent on offense. Crowder, who averaged 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 37 games - 17 starts - last season, often dealt with foul trouble.

They'll look to help Darius Johnson-Odom, the team's top returning scorer who had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting Friday. Johnson-Odom has been Marquette's top outside shooting threat with at least 71 3-pointers in each of the last two seasons.

Marquette will be without freshman Juan Anderson for another two games after he was suspended Friday for accepting a free ticket to a Milwaukee Brewers playoff game. He also missed the opener.

The Golden Eagles don't figure to have a difficult time against Norfolk State, which returns two starters from last season's 12-20 team.

Marquette will want to contain Kyle O'Quinn, one of the Mid-Eastern Conference's top returning players. He averaged 16.4 points and 11.1 rebounds last season, while Chris McEachin averaged 10.3 points in 18 games, having to sit out the first semester due to transfer rules.

The Spartans are 0-8 against Top 25 teams, losing by an average of 23.1 points. This is their first game against a ranked opponent since losing 70-47 to No. 24 Air Force in 2006.

This is the first matchup between the schools, who are meeting as part of the Paradise Jam.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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MEAC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N.C. Central2-07-595
Norfolk St.2-07-5226
Hampton2-04-6291
S.C. State2-03-8293
Howard1-16-7308
Md.-E. Shore1-15-7253
Delaware St.0-05-6227
Savannah St.0-03-9255
Beth.-Cook.0-13-8339
Florida A&M0-10-9347
Morgan St.0-22-9261
Coppin St.0-21-9307
N.C. A&T0-21-11346
Big East
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Villanova0-010-012
Seton Hall0-09-119
St. Johns0-08-156
Butler0-08-246
Xavier0-08-249
Creighton0-08-3137
Providence0-08-378
DePaul0-06-3189
Georgetown0-06-379
Marquette0-05-459

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