Mar 28, 2013, 9:27 PM EST
WASHINGTON, D.C. — All you need to know about this Marquette team can be summed up in a two minute stretch that happened early in the second half of the No. 3 seed Golden Eagle’s 71-61 win over No. 2 seed Miami in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes were a no-show, digging themselves a 14-5 hole in the first five minutes and finding themselves down 29-16 at the half. By the time Jim Larranaga called his first timeout of the second half with 14:47 left in the game, Miami was down 41-23 and you had to wonder if the Hurricanes were ever going to show up.
Well, they did, if only briefly.
Miami came out of that timeout and star point guard Shane Larkin drew a foul, which sent us to another TV timeout. That’s seven minutes of commercials broken up by 16 seconds of game time, enough to knock any team out of a rhythm. Larkin hit both free throws, and Miami immediately threw a press on. They forced a turnover by Trent Lockett immediately, which led to a layup for Durand Scott. Marquette wasn’t rattled, however, and calmly broke the press on their next possession, working the ball inside to Davante Gardner for a layup. Miami answered with a three, cutting the lead to 13 and finally putting together some kind of momentum offensively.
But Junior Cadougan broke Miami’s press singlehandedly on the next possession, going the length of the court for a layup. After another missed jumper from Kenny Kadji, Marquette worked the shot clock, getting a 15 foot jumper from Vander Blue to put them back up 17 with 12:17 left. That lead eventually grew to 21 points, and Miami wouldn’t get that close again until there was less than a minute left on the clock.
The Golden Eagles didn’t get rattled by that press. They weren’t affected by the fact that the first time they really got into a rhythm, they were forced to spend seven minutes sitting on the bench while the NCAA raked in TV’s advertising dollars. Not in the slightest. They calmly broke the press, then did it again, and then slowly but surely extended their lead.
“Buzz’s favorite quote is ‘ring the bell everyday’,” senior forward Jamil Wilson said after the game. What’s that mean? “Getting up and showing up every time.”
“In this part of the season, in March, crucial possessions can come back and haunt you. So we just define toughness by being there every possession.”
And for 40 minutes, Marquette did just that. Miami’s game-plan isn’t a secret. So much of what they do offensively runs through Larkin and his ability to use ball-screens from Miami’s big men to create. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marquette’s focus on the defensive end of the floor was getting the ball out of Larkin’s hands. Every time Miami tried to set him a ball-screen, Marquette trapped him. If they were going to get beat, they were going to get beat by Trey McKinney Jones and Kenny Kadji and Rion Brown hitting threes, not by Larkin coming off of a ball-screen.
Marquette also took advantage of their size inside. With Reggie Johnson physically and Julian Gamble mentally back in Miami – Gamble finished with six points and six boards, the majority of which came when Miami was already down by 20 — Gardner and Chris Otule had their way in the paint, while Trent Lockett swooped in and finished with 11 boards, including one swooping, highlight-reel tip-dunk in traffic. All told, Marquette scored 40 of their 71 points in the paint.
“All of the things that we wanted to do — keep them out of the paint with their drives, keep them off the offensive boards, find the open man on our end and make some threes — we weren’t able to do any of those things,” Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said.
It’s only fitting that Buzz Williams finally broke his Sweet 16 curse with this group of cast-offs and misfits. Perhaps no team in his tenure in Milwaukee has better personified Marquette basketball than this group.
There aren’t any pros on this roster unless Vander Blue develops three-point range. Trent Lockett is a transfer from Arizona State. Jamil Wilson couldn’t crack the rotation at Oregon. Chris Otule called himself terrible coming out of high school. Davante Gardner is a 6-foot-7, 300 lb center that committed to Marquette over South Florida.
Everyone on this Marquette team has a chip on their shoulder. Everyone of them has been overlooked and underrecruited. Everyone of them, including their head coach, has gotten to where they are through grit and determination and effort. They are the epitome of an underdog.
Are they talented? Compared to me, yes. Compared to Indiana? Not as much.
That’s what they want to hear. That’s what they feed off of. Pick them to lose in the opening round? Well, that just means the Golden Eagles are going to get that many more floor burns and fill up the puke buckets in practice just that much more.
“If you just look at our roster, you wouldn’t think we’re an Elite 8 team,” Blue said. “That fuels our fire. There’s nothing we can do about that. When we step on the court, if you don’t give us respect, we’re going to earn it. Sooner or later, you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due.”
“We want to keep being the hunter. We don’t want to be the hunted.”
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Dec 20, 2013, 2:35 AM EST
NEW YORK — UCLA will be worth the watch every time they take the floor this season. That’s just what happens when you have as much talent as the Bruins do. Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams are both going to find themselves in the conversation for being all-americans and first round draft picks by the…
Dec 20, 2013, 1:44 AM EST
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 8 Duke 80, UCLA 63 Jabari Parker finished with 23 points, 10 boards and five assists to lead the Blue Devils to a win over UCLA at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. As good as Parker was, however, the real star of the game of Rasheed Sulaimon, who shook…
Dec 20, 2013, 1:09 AM EST
After winning its season opener against Hawaii Pacific, Long Beach State lost nine straight games in a variety of ways. There were blowouts, and there were also close defeats like their one-point loss to Loyola Marymount on November 14. Dan Monson’s team has traditionally played a brutal non-conference schedule, with the goal being to enter…
Dec 20, 2013, 12:30 AM EST
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Dec 19, 2013, 11:27 PM EST
Top-ranked Arizona remained undefeated on Thursday night, pulling away in the second half and beating reigning SWAC tournament champion Southern by a 69-43 final score. With starting center Kaleb Tarczewski out after spraining his ankle in the Wildcats’ win at Michigan on Saturday freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson moved into the starting lineup, meaning that Arizona needed…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:24 PM EST
NEW YORK — There was nothing memorable about the shot. It was one of six threes that No. 8 Duke made and one of 18 that they hoisted up in the first half of their 80-63 win over UCLA on Thursday night in Madison Square Garden. It was the kind of play that gets taught…
Dec 19, 2013, 8:18 PM EST
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Dec 19, 2013, 6:55 PM EST
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Dec 19, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Last season interior play was an issue for Nevada, as they lacked the pieces needed to supplement what Deonte Burton, Jerry Evans Jr. and Malik Story provided on the perimeter. As a result the Wolf Pack struggled in their Mountain West debut, winning just three conference games and finishing with an overall record of 12-19.…
Dec 19, 2013, 4:08 PM EST
Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker. Those are the names that pique the interest of NBA fans and GMs alike. They are part of the reason that ‘tanking’ and ‘freshmen’ have dominated the talk about basketball throughout the fall. But they aren’t alone. There is Marcus Smart. And Aaron Gordon. And Noah Vonleh.…
Dec 19, 2013, 3:42 PM EST
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 8 Duke vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden Two blue blood programs squaring off in the world’s most famous arena? Yes, please. By now, we know what we’re getting from Duke. They are a team with a loaded perimeter attack that can beat anyone when and if they…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:33 PM EST
Assembly Hall has a new name. Thanks to a $40 million donation from Cindy Simon Skjodt, the place where the Indiana Hoosiers play their home games will now be called … Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Cindy has donated millions to Indiana over the years, and the money will be used to refurbish and improve Indiana’s athletic facilities,…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:21 PM EST
In a new series here on College Basketball Talk, every Thursday we’re going to have a discussion about some of the hot topics in college basketball. Today’s installment? The 12 teams still left undefeated. Who is the first to lose? Can anyone actually make it to February without a loss? Will we ever see another…
Dec 19, 2013, 1:40 PM EST
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Dec 19, 2013, 12:57 PM EST
On Tuesday night, with two minutes left in Michigan State’s blowout win over North Florida, Tom Izzo got on the microphone and honored longtime referee Ed Hightower. It was a great moment, and another reason to love Izzo. But it wasn’t his idea. He stole it from Tom Crean! Check it out: I’m mostly kidding.…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:27 PM EST
New Mexico will be without starting guard Hugh Greenwood against Marquette on Saturday in Las Vegas. Greenwood has been battling a wrist injury for a couple weeks. He initially injured in when the Lobos took on New Mexico State in their first matchup on December 4th. It’s his right wrist, his shooting wrist. Greenwood took…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
It wasn’t quite a buzzer-beater, but LIU-Brooklyn’s Gerrell Martin buried a three to break a 79-all tie and given the Blackbirds a win over Lamar.
Dec 19, 2013, 9:15 AM EST
Saint Louis seems like a fun team to play on. I want to know how many times they had to try that before they finally got it right.
Dec 19, 2013, 2:53 AM EST
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Texas 86, No. 14 North Carolina 83 The Tar Heels remain the toughest team in college basketball to figure out. After knocking off Kentucky to pick up their third win over a preseason top three team, the Heels were once again atrocious from the charity stripe, losing to Rick Barnes and…
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