Marquette Opens BIG EAST Championship Play Wednesday Afternoon
March 8, 2009
The Marquette University men's basketball team opens postseason play Wednesday afternoon at the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Championship at 1 p.m. CT in Madison Square Garden. The Golden Eagles have earned the No. 5 seed in the 16-team event and will play the winner of Tuesday afternoon's matchup between No. 12 seed Georgetown and No. 13 seed St. John's. The winner of Wednesday's contest advances to face No. 4 seed Villanova at 1 p.m. CT Thursday afternoon. ESPN will feature Marquette's 13th national television broadcast of the campaign.
MU Hoping To Build On Last Season's Tourney Run
Marquette is hoping to build on last season's tourney success, when the program made its first-ever appearance in the semifinals. MU owned the No. 6 seed in 2008, defeating Seton Hall and Notre Dame before falling to eventual champion Pittsburgh, 68-61.
The Golden Eagles are 3-3 all-time in the BIG EAST tourney and own an overall record of 15-18 in league tournaments. Marquette's lone postseason title came in 1997 when the squad claimed the Conference USA Championship.
McNeal, Matthews Claim All-Conference Accolades
McNeal was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team for the first time in his career, but Sunday's announcement marked the fourth-straight season he has claimed league-wide recognition. McNeal was tabbed to the all-rookie squad as a freshman and to the all-league second team as both a sophomore and junior. He was also the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the year in 2006-07.
Matthews' All-BIG EAST Second Team recognition marks the first of his standout career at Marquette. He is ranked among the league leaders in scoring (5th, 18.5 ppg.) and free throw percentage (3rd, .821).
Now in its 20th season of conference affiliation, Marquette has had at least one player garner all-conference accolades every year. MU has featured two-or-more honorees in each of the team's four campaigns in the BIG EAST.