Hey, Marquette!! Let’s Dance!!

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: March 15, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — About an hour before the NCAA Tournament field would be unveiled on national TV, the Marquette players, coaches, assembled media, friends and donors of the basketball program gathered in the basement of the Marquette Annex Sunday.

Everyone in that room knew the team would be in the NCAA’s.

They didn’t know where and what day was the game. Marquette coach Buzz Williams didn’t sit down. He paced the room, trying to remain calm.

At 5:00 p.m., CBS uncovered first half of the tournament bracket.

The chances of the Golden Eagles being placed in Milwaukee for the first and second round games were slim to none. After the announcing trio of Greg Gumbel, Seth Davis, and Greg Anthony ran through the Midwest and West regions, the network took a commercial break.

That meant more waiting for the Golden Eagle faithful.

After the upper half of the East region was announced, there was a loud uproar in the room. Marquette was the next team announced. Their opponents are the Huskies from Washington University.

The Golden Eagles as a sixth seed will have their hands full with the 11th-seeded Huskies, Thursday, in San Jose, California at 6:20 p.m. CT. The players had a short practice Monday before they took the five-hour flight to San Jose.

If the team treat their trip as a vacation, it will be a short one.

Or, they can view it as a business trip and beat Washington and possible second round opponent New Mexico, advance to the Sweet 16 in Syracuse for a possible meeting with Big East opponent West Virginia.

Williams admitted he didn’t study the Pac-10 this season, so his staff will have to gather some game tape in a hurry on the Huskies. He also got a favorable seed from the selection committee.

“I think that they gave our program the respect that was deserving of, of our body of work this year,” he said. “I don’t know a lot about Washington. I know that coach (Lorenzo) Romar is one of the best human beings in the business.”

“And I know that Quincy Pondexter is a first round draft pick.

I know that they have a little guard named Isaiah (Thomas) that’s really good. But other than that, I don’t really know a lot about them.”

“I gotta get to the office and get to work on them.”

Some of the Marquette fans who gave up on them are coming back around, especially since their return from the dead in conference play since the New Year. The Golden Eagles finished fifth in the Big East regular season standings and made it to the semifinals of the postseason tournament.

“A lot of people thought we would be in the NIT,” senior Lazar Hayward said. “Or we would finish last in the Big East. I think we’ve shown that we’re definitely a hungry team.”

And now, all Marquette has left to do is prove to the nation that being an undersized team is an understatement.

They have to prove it on the floor.