With Marquette’s latest heart breaking loss to Villanova in overtime, it seems their tournament hopes are slim to none. Before we completely give up on their chances, I’m here to shine a light of hope on it. I know what their record is and how they haven’t beaten a good team yet and that loss Saturday put them in an even bigger hole, but what I saw from the team on Saturday gave me confidence they can pull it together and go on a run. Saturday’s game was tough pill to swallow, coming all the way back to tie it and get to overtime and then laying a huge egg in overtime.
Talk about an emotional rollercoaster for the team and fans? I saw something in this team Saturday that I felt was lacking in consistency before-toughness and passion, two traits we have seen from previous Marquette teams. Saturday and even the game against Georgetown before that, they finally looked like they developed the passion that has made Buzz's Marquette teams so great in the past. I was really pleased with what I saw from the team in the past two games and if they played like this from the beginning of the year, we wouldn’t be talking about a team fighting for their tournament lives.
Jamil Wilson has been the player we expected the past two games doing a little bit of everything. Todd Mayo has hit some huge shots and has given the offense a much needed boost. We have seen Steve Taylor Jr, and John Dawson come in clutch when Marquette needed a spark. All this has made me feel better about the direction this team is going. I get that they still lost on Saturday and they still have a lot to fix, but I honestly think this team has a run in them still and their schedule is rather favorable. Here’s a look at their next 7 games:
The next seven games, with four of them at home, Marquette has a chance to run the table. They face a hot Providence team, Butler and Xavier, the latter two ,on the road, in close games .Creighton, arguably is the best team in the conference. I know there’s chance they could easily go 0-4, but being at home is a big advantage and they could just as easily go 4-0. With the way they played on Saturday I’d be leaning towards the latter. Then you have 3 very winnable road games at St. John’s in the Garden, and Seton Hall and DePaul who they both already beat at home.
I know 7-0 maybe a bit of a stretch, but even if they went 6-1 it would put them right back in the tournament picture. If they went 6-1 their record would be 17-10 with a 9-5 conference record with 4 to play. Their final four have two at home and two on the road. If they were to get to 20 wins and win one or two in the conference tournament they would have a good chance of making it.
All this maybe a long shot, but Buzz has been able to rally his players before and the way they have played the past two games has shown signs they still have life. It will just be a matter of getting over the hill that they have been climbing all season.