Marquette vs. Syracuse: Golden Eagles' Deadly Offense Won't Drop No. 1 Orange

T.J. McaloonContributorJanuary 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  The Syracuse Orange celebrate after defeating the Stanford Cardinal to win the 2011 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2011 in New York City. Syracuse defeated Stanford 69-63.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

No team is ever perfect. Every one has a flaw that can result in a crushing loss either at home or on the road. The Marquette Golden Eagles can look at this Syracuse Orange team and try to find a flaw to take down the No. 1 team in college basketball like Luke Skywalker taking down the Death Star in Star Wars.

However, despite a Marquette offense that is averaging 78 points per game, it will not be enough to take down the Big East-leading Orange.

Syracuse is one of the most well-crafted ball clubs in the nation. It ranks near the top 10 in every offensive category in the NCAA and has blown out 15 of its first 16 opponents. 

Through those first 16 games, Syracuse is averaging 81 points per game, with a field goal percentage of .499. 

It’s hard enough to defend a team making every other shot, but the Orange’s defense is helping their offense run away with these games. 

Syracuse ranks first in the Big East in steals per game (11) and blocks per game (7.63). Its season totals for steals (177) and blocks (122) have placed it well above the second-place team in the conference, as Louisville trails the Orange in steals (146), and Connecticut trails in blocks (106). 

However, if there is one team in the Big East that can keep up with the high-powered Syracuse offense, it’s Marquette. 

The Golden Eagles rank second behind Syracuse in the Big East in points per game. Marquette doesn’t shoot as well as Syracuse, as it has a .462 field goal percentage, but it makes up for it with a .347 three point and a .709 free throw percentage. 

Against Syracuse, Marquette will have to be almost perfect to pull off the upset on the road. 

However, the road has not been very kind to Marquette this year. 

Two of its three losses on the season have come on the road, where the team shot 36.2 percent against LSU and 44.2 against Georgetown. 

In those losses Marquette was outscored 129-147. 

Just like LSU and Georgetown did before them, the Orange should have no problem in shutting down Marquette’s offense at home this weekend. 

The Orange will cruise to another double-digit victory at home as they start their run to another Big East regular-season championship.