NCAA Tournament: Marquette Takes Care Of Xavier, 66-55

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NCAA Bracket Update: Marquette's Defense Stifles Xavier In 66-55 Win

The No. 6 seeded Xavier Musketeers have faced some good defense team in the Atlantic 10, but none like the No. 11 seeded Marquette Golden Eagles. That was driven home in the two teams' first NCAA Tournament game. The Golden Eagles locked down the Musketeers and held them at arm's length for a 66-55 victory.

Darius Johnson-Odom scored 19 points to lead Marquette, but this game was won on the other end. Xavier shot just 40 percent from the field and barely could hit a three-pointer all game. The Golden Eagles held Tu Holloway, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, to just five points on 1-9 shooting.

Marquette will now face the winner of Syracuse vs. Indiana State on Sunday.  Here's the updated look at the East region of the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.

No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 16 Texas-San Antonio, 76-45; will face George Mason

No. 8 George Mason def. No. 9 Villanova, 61-57; will face Ohio State

No. 5 WVU defeats No. 12 Clemson, 84-76; will face winner of Kentucky-Princeton

No. 4 Kentucky def. No. 13 Princeton, 59-57; will face West Virginia

No. 2 UNC def. No. 15 Long Island, 102-87; will face winner of Washington-Georgia

No. 7 Washington vs. No. 10 Georgia, March 18 at 9:45 on CBS

No. 3 Syracuse vs.No. 14 Indiana State, March 18 at 9:57 on TruTV

No. 11 Marquette def. No. 6 Xavier, 66-55; will play Syracuse-Indiana State winner

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NCAA Tournament Update: Marquette Stifling Xavier At Halftime

The No. 11 seeded Marquette Golden Eagles are showing off their stifling defense against No. 6 Xavier. The Golden Eagles closed the first half on a 13-3 run and lead the Musketeers 33-20 at halftime of this NCAA Tournament matchup.

Marquette's defense has been stifling, and Xavier's offense has been sloppy. The combination of these two things have led to Xavier shooting just 30 percent from the field and turning the ball over nine times. Xavier faces some decent competition in the Atlantic 10, but evidently, they are not used to Marquette's pressure defense. Jimmy Butler has 11 points to lead Marquette, while Kenny Frease leads Xavier with eight points. Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Tu Holloway has yet to score and is 0-6 from the field.

During and after the game, follow along with Golden Eagles fans at our Marquette blog, Anonymous Eagle.

March Madness resources: Printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket ... Full 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule.

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NCAA Bracket Preview, Predictions: No. 6 Xavier Vs. No. 11 Marquette

Want a bit of advice for your 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket? In the No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 11 Marquette matchup, pick whichever team whose star you like better. Xavier's Tu Holloway is one of the nation's best guards, plays the sixth-most minutes of any player in the country, and leads a Musketeers offense that could make some noise in this March Madness bracket. Marquette's Jimmy Butler has a similar profile: he's an incredibly efficient scorer and the unquestioned star of the Golden Eagles lineup. This game will be the second-to-last Second Round truTV game 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule, and tips at 7:45 p.m. Friday from Cleveland. It will probably also be the best game of Friday night.

Xavier's Holloway is a waterbug — listed at six feet — who is also a spark plug. He shoots very well and draws tons of fouls (37th nationally in fouls drawn per 40 minutes), and also distributes very well to his big men down low, Jamel McLean and Kenny Frease. All three of those players have Offensive Ratings over 111, indicating that the Musketeers have a bit of firepower at their disposal. Defense is a less sunny story, though Frease is a seven-footer who can alter and erase shots, and Xavier's frequently got its opponents topped in the media guide measurables at tipoff.

Marquette has more than Butler, too. Though Butler's by far their best offensive player — his Offensive Rating is a marvelous 121.8, 57th nationally, and he's earned that by developing nearly equal capacities for shooting and driving — they rely more heavily on Darius Johnson-Odom outside, and give freshman big man Davante Gardner plenty of touches down low. The Golden Eagles' first unit takes care of the ball very well, and not just because of Jae Crowder's national best turnover rate, but backup guards Dwight Buycks and Junior Cadougan impress no one with their lax ball security.

Star Watch: Butler's one of just two seniors playing more than 20% of Marquette's minutes, and he's on the floor for more than 84% of the Golden Eagles' available minutes. He's also no sure thing at the NBA level, so a strong NCAA Tournament would really help his NBA Draft stock.

Prediction: In the Holloway-Butler duel everyone will be hoping for, Butler gets a late bucket to give Marquette a 78-76 upset.

More Reading: SB Nation's Anonymous Eagle has you covered for all things Marquette sports. Learn more about the Musketeers in our Princeton team preview for more on the Tigers.

Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for the East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.

Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.

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