Another Big East Team Goes Down: Marquette Upset By Washington, 80-78

For more on this game and the teams involved, visit our Marquette blog, Anonymous Eagle, and our Washington blog, UW Dawg Pound.

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Should Buzz Williams Be Blamed For Marquette's Loss?

Yesterday's loss to Washington was Marquette's 16th game this season that was decided by four points or less, the most in all of college basketball. The loss brought Marquette's record in those games to ... 8-8, which is where it should be when you play so many games that could go either way.

Always thinking you can win close game is a curse, because so much can happen to tip the scales. That's why SB Nation's Marquette blog Anonymous Eagle pointed the finger at coach Buzz Williams last night. All season long, Williams has said his team needs to play perfectly because they don't have the talent level to blow teams out. In this case, that attitude may have come back to hurt his team.

When you're constantly telling your players, telling the public, telling your fans that -- in a nutshell -- your team has to be damn near perfect to have any chance to win, what do you expect to happen when your team runs out to a sizable lead?  Will they stay aggressive and continue to do the things that built the lead, or will they start playing tentative, doing whatever they can not to lose instead of whatever they can to win?  Instead of breaking the other team's neck, our guys took a few steps back and said: "Well, maybe they'll suffocate on their own."  Instead of making adjustments -- like, say, switching back to the zone when it became clear in the second half that Washington could take any one of our guys off the dribble whenever they wanted -- we do the same things and hope that the clock runs out with a sliver of the lead intact.

Tonight, that "we've gotta be perfect" mentality came back to bite us in a big way.

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Another Big East Team Goes Down: Marquette Upset By Washington, 80-78

San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Quincy Pondexter's driving bank shot with 1.7 seconds remaining lifted Washington to a thrilling 80-78 win over Marquette in an East Region first-round game of the NCAA Tournament, capping a rough day of competition for Big East teams.

Pondexter, who had 18 points, dribbled to his left, past Marquette forward Jimmy Butler and then leaned in for a double-clutch shot that fell. Lazar Hayward's heave from center court was off the mark and the Huskies (25-9) advanced to play Saturday against either third seed New Mexico or 14th-seeded Montana.

Isaiah Thomas scored 19 and Elston Turner added 14 for the No. 11 seeded Huskies, who were coming off winning the Pac-10 tourney last weekend. It's the second straight year and fourth consecutive time Washington has made it to the second round. In 2009 the Huskies beat Mississippi State before losing to Purdue in round two.

Hayward ended with 20 points and Darius Johnson-Odom tallied 19 for the sixth- seeded Golden Eagles (22-12), who blew a 15-point lead in the second half.

The Big East Conference went into the tournament with eight teams, but lost three on day one thanks to upsets and nearly a giant shocker in the afternoon. Georgetown, a No. 3 seed from the Midwest, was beaten by Ohio University, 97-83. Notre Dame, the sixth seed from the South, lost to Old Dominion, 51-50. Villanova, the second seed from the South, was on the ropes nearly the entire game before pulling out a 73-70 overtime triumph over pesky Robert Morris.

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