Men's Basketball

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BIG EAST Quarterfinals Preview: No. 24 Notre Dame vs. No. 12 Marquette
Jerian Grant scored 21 points against Marquette in the regular-season meeting.
 
Jerian Grant scored 21 points against Marquette in the regular-season meeting.

March 14, 2013

NEW YORK - Dramatics played a part in Marquette winning its first BIG EAST championship at Madison Square Garden last weekend.

Now, they're beginning a road that could end with another.

The third-seeded and 12th-ranked Golden Eagles look to carry their late-season momentum into the BIG EAST tournament Thursday night against sixth-seeded and No. 24 Notre Dame.

The Last Meeting
Notre Dame64
Marquette72
March 2, 2013
Bradley Center
#21/20 Irish Drop Tight Fight to #22/22 Marquette, 72-64
Jamil Wilson tied his career-high with 19 points and Chris Otule added a season-high 16 to help No. 22 Marquette beat No. 21 Notre Dame 72-64 on Saturday, the Golden Eagles' 25th consecutive home win.

Marquette (23-7) was picked to finish seventh in the BIG EAST before the season, but the team vastly exceeded those expectations. Vander Blue turned the season into a memorable one Saturday, darting to the basket and hitting a layup at the buzzer to seal a 69-67 overtime win against St. John's, giving the Golden Eagles a piece of the regular-season title.

"I wanted to make sure it was the last shot," said Blue, who had four of his 16 points in overtime as Marquette claimed a share of the championship with No. 5 Georgetown and fourth-ranked Louisville

The Golden Eagles hadn't won a regular-season title since 2003 in Conference USA, and the timing of this one is special to coach Buzz Williams since the BIG EAST will be vastly difference come next season.

"That's the icing on the cake for me," Williams said. "I don't have the experience that the coaches and former coaches have had in this league. For a country kid from a town of 2,000 in Texas to be a part of what for the last 30 years has been the best league in college basketball. I am very humbled by all that.

"To play at the Garden, to play for the league and to win it with a last-second shot. It couldn't have been scripted any better."

Marquette has a chance to begin writing another script as it returns to MSG riding a four-game winning streak. The Golden Eagles have reached the semifinals twice since joining the BIG EAST in 2005.

 

 

They were eliminated at this stage by the Cardinals last year despite earning a double-bye.

A rematch in Friday's second semifinal is possible if Marquette can get past Notre Dame (24-8) and second-seeded Louisville can oust Villanova.

Blue led the way in the Golden Eagles' last two wins, totaling 38 points after matching his season low with six in a 72-64 victory over the Fighting Irish on March 2.

Nearly everything else went right for Marquette in that one, though. The Golden Eagles shot 59.6 percent and held Notre Dame to 38.3 percent.

The Fighting Irish are 1-6 when they shoot below 40 percent this season.

Notre Dame only shot 41.5 percent overall in Wednesday's second-round meeting with Rutgers, but connected on 10 of 17 from 3-point range in a 69-61 win.

The Irish have reached the semifinals in each of the last three tournaments but haven't been able to get that first title - and this is their last chance before departing for the ACC next season.

"We expect to be here a while, no question," coach Mike Brey said. "We love New York City. I'll take that over South Bend for a while, so we're going to stay."

For that to happen, Pat Connaughton may need to shoot better after failing to score earlier this month against Marquette, when he missed all four shots - including three from behind the arc.

The sophomore swingman didn't have any similar problems against the Scarlet Knights, sinking 6 of 8 3-pointers to lead the way with a season-high 21 points.

Jerian Grant had 21 against the Golden Eagles and St. John's three days later before shooting 5 of 22 over his last two games, but Notre Dame's biggest concern right now lies with Jack Cooley. The All-BIG EAST first-team forward went scoreless in 15 minutes against Marquette while battling the flu, and he's totaled 21 points in his last three games - including two on Wednesday.

This is the first time these teams have met in the conference tournament since the sixth-seeded Golden Eagles beat third-seeded Notre Dame 89-79 in the 2008 quarterfinals.

Event Calendar

Delta

November 1
7:00 PM
Mercy
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 7
7:00 PM
Catholic
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 12
12:00 PM
Bryant University
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 16
7:00 PM
Seattle University
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 18
TBA
Loyola Maryland
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 21
TBA
Colorado
Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)

ESPN 2
November 22
TBA
Texas or Northwestern
Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)

ESPN 2/ESPNU
November 26
2:00 PM
Chicago State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
November 29
9:00 PM
Iowa
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN 2
December 4
TBA
North Carolina A&T
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 6
9:00 PM
Fort Wayne
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPNU
December 10
12:00 PM
Villanova
Newark, N.J. (Prudential Center)

CBS
December 17
2:00 PM
Purdue
Indianapolis, Ind. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

ESPN 2
December 19
7:00 PM
Colgate
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 28
7:00 PM
Saint Peters
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network Extra
December 31
TBA
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Petersen Events Center)

ACC Network
January 4
9:00 PM
Louisville
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
January 7
3:00 PM
Clemson
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
January 12
7:00 PM
Miami
Miami, Fla. (BankUnited Center)

ESPN/ESPN 2
January 14
2:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va. (Cassell Coliseum)

ACC Network
January 18
7:00 PM
Florida State
Tallahassee, Fla. (Tucker Center)

RSN
January 21
12:00 PM
Syracuse
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN/ESPN 2
January 24
8:00 PM
Virginia
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
January 28
12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga. (McCamish Pavillion)

ESPNU
January 30
7:00 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN
February 4
TBA
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Smith Center)

ESPN/ESPN 2
February 7
7:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPNEWS
February 11
2:00 PM
Florida State
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN/ESPN 2
February 14
7:00 PM
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass. (Conte Forum)

ESPNU
February 18
12:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C. (PNC Arena)

ESPN/ESPN 2
February 26
6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPNU
March 1
8:00 PM
Boston College
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ACC Network
March 4
2:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky. (KFC Yum! Center)

CBS

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