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17th-ranked Marquette opens season against Southern

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Updated: 11/08/2013 11:20 am

Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of NCAA Tournament teams from last season's Big Dance will clash to open up the 2013-14 campaign as the Southern University Jaguars take on the 17th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles at the Bradley Center.

Southern is coming off a 23-10 campaign that ended with a six-point loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. When coach Roman Banks took over the program, it had won only 11 games in the two seasons prior to his arrival. To make matters worse, the team was also facing reduced scholarships and a one-season NCAA ban on postseason play because of poor academic progress. The Jaguars have gone 40-24 in two seasons under Banks and their berth in the NCAA Tournament was their first since 2006.

Marquette enters the 2013-14 on a 25-game winning streak at the Bradley Center, giving it the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation behind South Dakota State (30). Coach Buzz Williams has plenty to replace as he guides his squad into the first year of the new look Big East due to the departures of Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan and Trent Lockett. The Golden Eagles have done nothing but overachieve since Williams has taken over and own a 122-54 record under his tutelage.

This will be the first meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. The Golden Eagles are 13-0 all-time versus members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The Jaguars will be led on the court by Malcolm Miller, who was selected as the 2013-14 SWAC Preseason Player of the Year. Miller averaged 15.8 points per game, was named to the ALL SWAC first team and was also honored as the conference's Newcomer of the Year at the end of last season. Southern also has a defensive anchor in senior big man Javan Mitchell, along with sophomore Christopher Hyder, who is expected be the team's new floor general after logging 19 minutes per game as a rookie. The Jaguars thrived on the defensive end, allowing only 57.3 ppg. to rank first in their conference.

Williams has a solid foundation to begin his sixth season at Marquette in Davante Gardner, who is on pace the become the 45th player in school history to tally 1,000 career points. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound forward is nearly impossible to stop one-on-one in the post and applying a double team will be difficult due to the presence of Jamil Wilson, who knocked down 36 percent of his shots from beyond the arc to pace the Golden Eagles in 3-point field goal percentage last season. Marquette has a potential superstar in home grown freshman Deonte Burton (6-4, 230), who should help out the new starting backcourt of Jake Thomas and Derrick Wilson.

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