Busting Brackets

Marquette Basketball: 3 keys for Golden Eagles to upset No. 1 UConn Huskies

In a battle for Big East supremacy, the No. 4 Marquette Golden Eagles head to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut for a chance to upset the top-ranked UConn Huskies on Saturday, February 17, 2024 at 3:00 pm ET.
Marquette v Georgetown
Marquette v Georgetown / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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This Saturday marks the first battle between the two top dogs in the Big East Conference. The No. 4 ranked Marquette Golden Eagles head to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the nation’s best UConn Huskies.

Both teams enter this matchup undefeated over the course of the past month - schedules be damned.

During the Huskies’ 13-game heater, Dan Hurley’s group has shown great resilience. Statement wins over No. 18 Creighton (62-48) and Villanova (66-65), along with home/away sweeps of St. John’s and Xavier have paved the way for UConn to sit comfortably atop the AP Top-25 Poll.

Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles have been fighting to prove that their early season losses were anomalies, rather than signs of what’s to come. Injuries to Chase Ross and Sean Jones handicapped Shaka Smart’s rotation as the team dropped three of their first five matchups in the Big East.

But Marquette kept battling. 

Hard-fought wins on the road over St. John’s (73-72), Villanova (85–80) and Butler (78-72) have forced this team back into the National Championship conversation. After entering Week 10 of the season ranked No. 17, Marquette now sits within the top five with a chance to knock off the defending champs this weekend.

Second year guard Chase Ross has since returned for the Golden Eagles, however Sean Jones will remain sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. The sophomore provided a reliable boost of energy off the bench, despite his 5 '10 " frame. Now undermanned and chasing the odds, Marquette’s core group will be heavily relied upon to carry the load on both sides of the floor.

To make matters worse, UConn simply does not lose on home court - at least not in recent history. The Huskies have enjoyed an entire year of success at the XL Center, earning a remarkable 17-0 record stretching back 375 days entering Saturday’s game.

Marquette meanwhile has had mixed results away from the Fiserv Center. Despite some marquee wins, the team is still licking their wounds from the night Jones went down against Butler (69-62), along with the early season losses to No. 2 Purdue (78-75) and Wisconsin (75-64).

It’s the first matchup of the season for the two sides with Big East bragging rights on the line. Marquette and UConn split their two regular season games last season, each defending their home court decisively. However, the Golden Eagles got the last laugh, earning a 68-66 victory in the nail-biting 2023 conference semi-final.

With all that being said, do the reigning Big East Champions really have a shot at upsetting a team on pace for back-to-back titles?