Buzz Williams: If the secret wasn’t out before tonight that Williams is one of the best game planners in the country, it certainly is now. The defensive strategy to push Shane Larkin out on pick and rolls and to play a version of zone defense down-low had the Hurricanes’ offense out of sorts. Later in the game, Williams calmly led his team through Miami’s full-court trap. It’s easy to say because it is Williams’ greatest coaching achievement to date, but this was his best-coached game since he arrived at Marquette. GRADE: A+
Junior Cadougan: One assist to three turnovers isn’t the greatest stat-line, but Cadougan played stifling defense on Larkin for most of the evening. He also added eight points and grabbed five rebounds for the second time in the NCAA Tournament (Davidson). He hasn’t had to take over games because of Blue and Jamil Wilson, but he’s running the point well for an Elite 8-bound team. GRADE: B
Vander Blue: The 6-foot-4 junior’s numbers weren’t terrific (14 points on 7-of-12) but he was the perfect example of playing within the game and taking what came to him. It was just another impressive performance from the team’s leader, and props to him for finally getting over the Sweet 16 hump. What a ride it has been for the Madison native, whose draft stock is exploding. GRADE: A-
Trent Lockett: We tweeted this earlier, but Lockett has become the gluiest of glue guys for this Marquette team. His 11 rebounds were a game-high and he was efficient on the offensive end, scoring eight points on 3-of-6 shooting. He also played 38 minutes in the win.
Juan Anderson: He wasn’t very good inside against the Hurricanes, but for playing just six minutes he’s still accomplishing what Buzz Williams needs him for. We’ll be fair and give him an N/A, though he wasn’t all that good.
Chris Otule: He missed two bunnies to start the game, but the rest of the way Otule was brilliant with Reggie Johnson out. He finished with 11 points, three rebounds and an assist in the win. He didn’t record a block, but he was solid inside and also played well on the ball screens.
Jamil Wilson: Marquette’s best player, as told by Vander Blue, Buzz Williams and others throughout the years, continued his torrid pace tonight. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 33 minutes, and had just one turnover. His defense was splendid and his baskets were timely. GRADE: A+
Davante Gardner: Mr. Efficient picked the right time to put together his best game in a month, scoring 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbing four rebounds in the win. He hit all four of his free throws and was able to play 25 important minutes. A big plus for the Ox tonight. GRADE: A-
Derrick Wilson: Just another day at the office for No. 12. His only statistics were three assists, but that was his highest total since Feb. 19. He played more efficient defense that Buzz Williams continues to trust, seeing as he played 12 minutes. He’s the absolute niche role player every great team needs. GRADE: B+
Steve Taylor Jr.: Marquette built a sizable lead early in the first half which allowed Williams to go to his talented freshman for a few possessions. He turned the ball over once, but had a solid entry pass into Otule and, on the next possession, played excellent defense on Kenny Kadji to force a turnover. That was it, but the effects were seen. GRADE: B
Jamal Ferguson: Played one minute.
Todd Mayo: DNP-CD
Jake Thomas: DNP-CD
Dylan Flood: DNP-CD