Let’s face it folks, there’s only so much for college basketball fans to talk about during the doldrums of summer—hence our Top Performance Series, ESPN’s current 50 in 50 series and CBS’ ongoing anonymous coach polling. It’s not that we don’t want to talk about substantive issues, there’s just not much fruit to be juiced.
In that vein, we bring you yet another water-cooler approved topic . The best game series. Much like our previous Top Performance Series, we will be asking you, our loyal readers to give us your input by voting on the match-ups we present in search of the best Marquette game of the last decade.
Now you are asking yourself, what does best actually mean? Best as in most meaningful or best as in most exciting. That’s for you decide. Our ranking system was extremely difficult to finalize and ends up going on gut more than intellect. Feel like we messed up a ranking? Drop us a comment telling us. Think we are morons who clearly are biased since we were 12 in 2002? Tweet us at @PaintTouches. We want to hear from you.
With all that said, it was tremendously difficult to rank games, particularly at the end of the ranking. So hard, in fact, that we couldn’t stop at 16. As such this bracket will have to be settled with a play-in “game.” Without further ado, your 2012 Best Game Bracket.
16(a). 11/26/05 South Carolina (Alaska) vs. 16(d) 3/13/08 Notre Dame (BE Tourney)
The case for ’05 South Carolina: Behind Ryan Amoroso’s career high 30-point outburst and Steve Novak’s clinical 28 points, Marquette topped the Gamecocks 92-89 in an overtime thriller to win the 2005 Great Alaska Shootout. Amorose, a sophomore, was clinical in the overtime scoring nine of Marquette’s 12 points, including what turned out to be a game-winning three-point play down 89-87 with 27.5 seconds to go.
The case for ’08 Notre Dame: Jerel McNeal put on a clinic scoring a then-career high 28 points in 27 minutes of the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament as the Golden Eagles edged the No. 14 Fighting Irish 89-79. Not only is this game significant because of the time, location and opponent (any win over the Domers is a sweet one), but it also represented the first time Marquette reached the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, after going 0-2 in previous quarterfinals.
16(b). 03/03/07 Pitt (Gameday) vs. 16(c) 1/30/10 @UConn (Butler game-winner)
The case for ’07 Pitt:
With a raucous atmosphere that only ESPN’s College Gameday can provide, Marquette topped the No.12 Pitt Panthers, denying them a chance to clinch a share of the Big East Crown. Wes Matthews and David Cubillan both chipped in 20 as the No. 20 Golden Eagles came out victorious 75-71 even without the services of Jerel McNeal.
The case for ’10 UConn:
Looking back at the highlights, how in the world did Jimmy hang so long for that game-winner? This game was a huge sigh of relief for Buzz and co. as they notched their first road win of the season, a 70-68 victory over No. 19 Connecticut. Marquette would go on to win seven of the nine remaining games, keeping the NCAA Tournament streak alive.