The 2013 NCAA Tournament field was announced Sunday afternoon, and Marquette will square off as the No. 3 seed in the East region against the No. 14 Davidson Wildcats on Thursday in Lexington.
The Golden Eagles finished the 2012-’13 season with a 23-8 record, earning a share of the program’s first Big East regular season title after going 14-4 in conference. Their stay in New York City for the conference tournament ended on Thursday in a 73-65 loss to Notre Dame.
Juniors Vander Blue and Davante Gardner were the key cogs in helping Marquette to its eighth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Blue, an All-Big East second-team member, averaged a team-high 14.3 points in 30 games and Gardner, the Big East’s Sixth Man of the Year, was second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.5 points and a team-high 4.9 rebounds in 31 games off the bench.
Redshirt junior Jamil Wilson finished second on the team in rebounding (4.7), while senior point guard Junior Cadougan’s 4.1 assists led Buzz Williams’ group.
The Golden Eagles had their deficiencies, struggling to take care of the basketball and from beyond the arc, but a Big East-best offensive efficiency and defense that came up with timely stops propelled them to their current status after being unranked and chosen to finish seventh in the Big East before the season began.
Despite seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances before this one, Marquette has made the Sweet 16 just two times–the previous two seasons. A year ago it was Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder leading the Golden Eagles to wins over BYU and Murray State, and a year before that, in 2011, Jimmy Butler helped Marquette to wins over Xavier and Syracuse, sending the Golden Eagles to their first Sweet 16 since Dwyane Wade did it in 2003.
As we outlined yesterday, the Golden Eagles’ resume made them a candidate to sneak in as a No. 3 seed thanks to stellar conference RPI and strength of schedule. But they fit in now as a No. 3 seed and will take on Davidson.