Thanks to some great performances of their own and the underperforming nature of Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Louisville, the Marquette Golden Eagles finished second in the Big East, setting themselves up for a three in the NCAA tournament. Marquette only lost once at home this season, and every single one of their losses was to a team that finished above .500.
At one point, in early January, things looked bleak for Buzz Williams' team. Between late December and early January, they lost four out of six games, a stretch which included a loss away to LSU and their only home loss of the year, to the Vanderbilt Commodores. This was simply a case of the scheduling gods not being kind to Marquette, however, as they were handed back to back road games against the Syracuse Orange and Georgetown Hoyas. After losing both of those games in close and heartbreaking fashion, they ripped off seven straight wins and won 13 of their last 15. In the final game of the regular season, they avenged their loss to the Hoyas.
The Golden Eagles head into the big dance after falling to eventual champion Louisville 84-81 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.
Seniors Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder were very effective last year, and it's no surprise that they have been Marquette's two best players this season. Their versatility and ability to score from anywhere on the floor makes them difficult matchups for opponents. They are both very consistent players, so Marquette's tournament hopes will likely hinge on whether or not they can get great performances out of their big two's supporting cast.
Marquette picked up the No. 3 seed in the West Region and will face BYU or Iona, who will face off in a First Four matchup, in the Second Round.
Join our 2012 NCAA Bracket pool to compete against the best and brightest from around the network.
For more on the Golden Eagles, head over to Marquette blog Anonymous Eagle. For more on the 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket, stay with SB Nation's Selection Sunday StoryStream, and stick around SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for a complete printable NCAA Tournament bracket and tons of analysis on who was snubbed, who got the best bracket, and who will make it all the way to New Orleans and the Final Four.