Even though it seems like Marquette has been trying to not make the NCAA tournament at times in the past month, their play in the Big East tournament has put them in a very comfortable position come March Madness. They entered the tournament as a team that was on the bubble, but still likely to get in regardless, although things could have been real interesting if in fact the Golden Eagles did lose to Providence on Tuesday. But Marquette took care of business in round one and then knocked off the West Virginia Mountaineers 67-61 in round two, and that is more than enough for Buzz Williams' team to be guaranteed a spot in the tournament come next week.
Marquette was led on Wednesday night by Junior Cadougan's 15 points and five assists. DJO chipped in with 11, Davante Gardner had 10, and then Jimmy Butler, the main who has been carrying the team as of late, added another nine. It was an effort that required all members of the team to step up, especially after failing behind early and trailing through the first half. The Golden Eagles were able to do it though, outscoring #20 West Virginia 38-25 in the second half and securing the victory. Any cloud of uncertainty about whether this team would or even deserved to make it to the NCAA tournament has now vanished. Before that though, the Big East tournament is still up for grabs, and Marquette will take on #14 Louisville on Thursday night with ESPN covering the 8pm tip.
Things are a little less joyful on the other side of downtown Milwaukee, as the Panthers are likely going to be staying home next weekend after losing to Butler 59-44 on Tuesday night in the Horizon League championship. UW-Milwaukee had the home crowd behind them, but just couldn't muster up any real offensive attacks, and Butler was able to cruise to victory. The Panthers are 19-13 on the season, but are longshots to make the tourney after the loss, if they are even still in the discussion at all. Butler is back after they win the Horizon, and the Panthers will have to try for another year.