There is no question; Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame was hard to watch. When I think about the final fifteen seconds of regulation that loss becomes even more heart wrenching; Buzz why did we not just foul any of their players and take a one-point lead with the ball?
I am sure he had his reasons and after the job he’s done this year it is hard to question a call he made, but as the potentially last game I am going to see at home for quite awhile I need to blame someone. The loss on Senior Night was probably the hardest for Hayward, Cubillan and Acker, guys who have poured their heart and soul into this team over the past four years. But I know for me, each of these guys have been crucial elements to my continued obsession of basketball over my past four years at Marquette.
It is not even that Marquette lost, but that once again that we had to go through a fourth overtime in five games with fingers crossed, and this time our luck ran out. It is made all the worse by the fact that it ran out against the Fighting Irish of all teams. I am being completely honest when I say I would rather have lost to Depaul again then to Notre Dame. But the one good thing about Saturday’s loss was that in the long run it meant about as little as it could.
Yeah, the Golden Eagles could have picked up some ground in the eyes of the national public, but that is about as far as the damage went. Saturday was more about what was not gained instead of what was lost. With that being the last regular season game we kept our vital fifth seed in the Big East and even with a win the Golden Eagles could not have gotten the coveted double-bye.
We are still considered locks for the Big Dance and with Selection Sunday coming up this weekend it does not look like we are in any danger of losing that lock status. Heck, as long as Marquette can pull off at least one victory in the Big East tournament it probably did not even change where the Selection Committee is going to seed us. Aside from the wounded pride, this was a game that is not going to come back and haunt Marquette.
Right now most analysts have MU somewhere between a ten and a seven seed. A spot we have been in that spot for the past couple weeks, so unless we make a fairly deep run in New York that range should be expected come Sunday. That being said, Marquette has a strong chance to reach the semi-finals if not further in the Big East Tournament.
The Golden Eagles are playing either St. John’s or UConn for their first game Wednesday at 1 CST (do not forget to set an alarm). I think the Huskies are going get past St. John’s but either team can pull off the win and both are going to provide some stiff competition for Marquette. UConn is an especially difficult case because their inconsistent play means that any given game they can beat the best teams in the Big East (just ask West Virginia). However, either way I think Marquette can get past both teams because we have already both teams once this year on the road.
That would mean that the Golden Eagles would then match up with a struggling Villanova team. I know the Wildcats have not played their best ball lately, but I think this is going to be a battle to the wire because in case you have not seen any game the past four years: Scottie Reynolds is ALWAYS on fire when he plays Marquette. I do not expect this game to be anything different, so if we want to win Reynolds has to be shut down.
Provided we get past the first two rounds, Marquette would have to presumably match up against a stacked Syracuse team. I realize Syracuse was just beaten by Louisville for a second time, but this team has no holes and is my pick to win not just the Big East tournament, but the Big Dance as well. That combined with the prospect of Hayward, Butler and Johnson-Odom having to play a 30+ minute game three days in a row is not promising. Even if we lose this game, you can be rest assured it will be close because Marquette loves the nail biters.
If we can win two games in the Big East Tournament and keep it close in the semi-finals, a 6 seed is not out of the question. This would give Marquette a strong chance to win at least one game in the NCAA Tournament. Regardless of our seeding come Sunday, if you like MU basketball your thirst will hopefully be quenched for the rest of the week.
by Joe Beres