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Get to know the MUBB Opponents: Howard

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Get to know the MUBB Opponents: Howard

Marquette opens the 2K Classic with a home game against Howard.

Marquette opens the 2K Classic with a home game against Howard.

Photo by Meredith Gillespie

Marquette opens the 2K Classic with a home game against Howard.

Photo by Meredith Gillespie

Photo by Meredith Gillespie

Marquette opens the 2K Classic with a home game against Howard.

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This is the third in a 12-part series about Marquette’s non-conference opponents.

The Golden Eagles’ first regular season home game will be against a team out of the MEAC Conference. Howard will travel to Marquette as part of the 2K Classic Tournament regional round.

2015-’16 record: 12-20

Final Kenpom ranking: 332

Game time: TBA

Analysis: The arrow is pointing up for the Bisons coming into 2016-’17. Entering his seventh season at the helm, head coach Kevin Nickelberry will have a wealth of experience at his disposal with nine returning seniors.

A part of that group is 2015-’16 MEAC Player of the Year James Daniel III, who led the entire nation in scoring last season with an average of 27.1 points per game. Daniel, a guard, was also MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2013-’14, so expectations will be high for the Hampton, Virginia native.

The Bison’s front court production will fall on the shoulders of center Marcel Boyd. The senior was a double-double machine, putting up 10.4 points per game and grabbing 9.9 rebounds per game — and those numbers were even higher during conference play.

Outside of Daniel III and Boyd, scoring was a struggle for Howard last season. Much of this can be attributed to dreadful perimeter shooting by the Bison. Nickelberry’s squad shot an underwhelming 29.6 percent from behind the arc, a percentage that put them at 335 in the nation. With only one player standing 6-foot-9 or taller (Boyd), the lack of knock-down shooters will hurt offensive production again this season.

As a program, Howard has only tallied three non-losing seasons during their 45 year tenure in the MEAC Conference. Their highest win total in the past ten seasons is 16.

After a strong opening contest against Vanderbilt on a neutral-court, the Golden Eagles return home to face a weak Howard squad. James Daniel III may make it interesting during the first half, but Marquette should run away with this one.

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