Big East NCAA Tournament Capsules: Marquette Golden EaglesPosted by Dan Lyons on March 21st, 2013
Marquette rode a dominant season at home, where the Golden Eagles finished a perfect 16-0, to a 14-4 Big East record which tied Louisville and Georgetown atop the Big East. Buzz Williams’ team notched big wins over NCAA Tournament teams Wisconsin, Georgetown, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh twice. Marquette had a double bye in the Big East tournament, but dropped its quarterfinal match-up against Notre Dame.
Seed: No. 3
Record: 23-8 (14-4 Big East)
Matchup: vs. Davidson in Lexington
Key Player: When he can stay on the floor, Davante Gardner is a total mismatch for most of the teams that Marquette will run into this March. The 6’8″, 290-pound bruiser averages over 11 points in just over 21 minutes per game with remarkable efficiency. He shoots at a 58% clip from the floor, and is among the best free throw shooters in the conference at 84% from the line. When Marquette finds a mismatch down low, he can exploit it and find himself camped there all night.
Key Stat: Marquette really struggles to do any damage from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles are 332nd in the country in three-point field goals made this season, and while they don’t attempt very many (for good reason), there isn’t a single player who they can look to for a clutch three. Jamil Wilson shoots a fair 36.1% from distance, but only three other players on the roster make at least 30% from deep.
Best-Case Scenario: Marquette beats up on two of America’s mid-major sweethearts Davidson and Butler in consecutive games before meeting upstart Miami in Washington. Aggressive defense on the perimeter bothers Shane Larkin, who is forced into a number of turnovers, while Gardner and Chris Otule do a great job of drawing fouls from the Hurricanes’ beefy post players. The Golden Eagles steal a close win and advance to the Elite Eight.
Worst-Case Scenario: Davidson makes a lot of upset-minded bracket owners happy with a major barrage from three-point range, putting Marquette in a big hole early in the game. Buzz Williams applies the press and attempts to get some easy buckets in transition, but a veteran Davidson squad is able to handle it and pulls off the early shocker.