MU Opens BIG EAST Tournament Vs. Xavier Thursday
March 10, 2014
TV Info: FOX Sports 1 | Radio Info: 540 ESPN/Westwood One
The Marquette University men's basketball team (17-14, 9-9 BIG EAST) has earned the No. 6 seed in the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament Presented by NEW YORK LIFE and will face No. 3 seed Xavier (20-11, 10-8 BIG EAST) at 8:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, March 13 at Madison Square Garden. FOX Sports 1 will feature the broadcast, with Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Erin Andrews (reporter) on the call. Westwood One and Sirius 93/XM 191 will provide national radio coverage, with 540 ESPN Milwaukee airing the MU broadcast.
MU Hoping To Continue BIG EAST Tourney Success
Since Marquette joined the league in 2005-06, the Golden Eagles are the only conference program to have reached at least the quarterfinals of the league tourney every season.
MU has already earned a spot in the quarterfinals and will be looking to advance to the semifinals for the third time (lost to Pittsburgh in 2007-08 and Georgetown in 2009-10). Marquette is 8-8 all-time in its previous eight appearances in the event.
Marquette has posted an overall record of 20-23 in league tourneys since joining the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) in 1989-90. MU was 0-2 in the MCC, 2-4 in the Great Midwest Conference and 10-9 in Conference USA.
Jake Thomas Happy To See Xavier In Tourney
If any member of the Marquette team is looking forward to facing Xavier in the league tourney, it's senior guard Jake Thomas.
The Racine, Wis., native averaged 17.5 points per game in the two outings this season, knocking down 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) of his shots from long distance. In a victory at home, Thomas knocked down a personal-best six treys and led the team in scoring with 18 points. For the season, Thomas is contributing 8.1 points per game.
Marquette and Xavier split the home-and-home series in 2013-14, with each program winning on its respective home court. The Musketeers posted an 86-79 victory in Cincinnati on Jan. 9 and MU earned an 81-72 decision at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Feb. 15.
The Golden Eagles own a 47-16 overall lead in matchups that date back to the 1958-59 campaign. MU dominated the pairings during the Al McGuire and Hank Raymonds era, at one point claiming 26-straight victories between 1969 and 1983.
Gardner, Burton, Otule Earn BIG EAST Accolades
A trio of Marquette players earned recognition from the BIG EAST, extending a streak that has seen at least one MU team member earn all-conference accolades every season since league affiliation began in 1989-90.
Senior forward Davante Gardner was tabbed All-BIG EAST Second Team and was named the BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year for the second-straight year. He is one of nine players in the country to lead his team in scoring while starting less than 50 percent of the squad's games and is the first-ever player to win the award, which made its debut in 2007-08, on more than one occasion.
Freshman forward Deonte Burton earned a spot on the BIG EAST All-Rookie team. He has appeared in each of the team's 31 games, earning two starting assignments and is chipping in 6.4 points per game in just 12.2 minutes per night while shooting 46.4 percent from the field.
Senior Center Otule is the second-straight Marquette player to claim the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award. Former teammate Junior Cadougan earned the honor in 2012-13. The Richmond, Texas, native is in his sixth season with the Golden Eagles and serves as team co-captain.
Marquette Works Overtime In BIG EAST Play
After not playing an overtime contest through the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Golden Eagles participated in six extra-session outings in league play, which is a new BIG EAST Conference record and MU single-season mark (previous high was five extra-session outings in 1983-84).
Through games of March 8, no team has played more overtime games in 2013-14 than MU. Butler, Cal State Northridge, Mercer, Nevada and Providence have each played six games that weren't able to be determined in regulation play.
Marquette dropped a 69-57 decision at Butler (Jan. 18), rallied to defeat Georgetown (Jan. 20) 80-72 on the road and fell Jan. 25 at home to No. 4/5 Villanova 94-85 in a three-game stretch. MU also hung on to down DePaul 96-94 on Feb. 22 before falling in double overtime at Providence 81-80 on March 4. MU most recently dropped a 91-90 double-overtime decision to St. John's on March 8 in the regular-season finale.
The Golden Eagles are 9-7 under sixth-year head coach Buzz Williams in overtime contests and each of the 17 games has come in BIG EAST Conference action.
The last time MU played three-straight OT contests came during a league road swing in 2009-10. Marquette downed Cincinnati (79-76), St. John's (63-61) and Seton Hall (84-83) in an eight-day stretch and actually concluded the regular season with 4-of-5 games that needed more than 40 minutes to decide the winner.
MU is now 54-55 all-time in overtime games, with the first decision being a tough 19-18 loss to Franklin in double OT in 1923-24.