Marquette: Playing It Safe with the Golden Eagles

Nino CollaSenior Writer IMarch 17, 2008

You’ve probably seen those commercials aired by ESPN by now.

Where certain people are using certain methods to pick who they think is going to win.

I promise you though I won’t be using the “Puppy Dog” method or base my Cinderella selection off of mascots.

I’m no dummy, and my momma didn’t raise a lunatic. When there is a free t-shirt involved, you play it safe.

The rules of this “Bracketbreaker Challenge” say teams seeded from sixth and up are eligible to be picked.

So why should I be macho and pick a USC or Kansas State team to not only beat one another but then go on and beat Wisconsin?

The key is pick the best team you think can win two games, because that’s all you need.

I’m not going to claim I know everything or anything about the team I pick, nor about the teams they are slated face, because when you get past a few teams like Pittsburgh, Georgetown and my beloved Blue Devils. I couldn’t really tell you if Villanova has the ability to knock off Clemson.

The first thing I’m going to do is take a six seed because according to the bracket makers, they are the best teams I’m allowed to pick from.

That narrows down my choices to Southern Cal, Marquette, Oklahoma, and Purdue.

The key here isn’t just to look who these teams are facing in their first round match-up, but their second round match-up as well. Does the 14 seed stand a chance of upsetting the three or is the three a potentially weak team?

When I look at all the No. 11 seeds, there is one that doesn’t scare me.

Saint Joe’s is always a dangerous team, Phil Martelli doesn’t have Jameer Nelson or Delonte West but I’m almost positive he knows how to coach.

I saw Baylor take Texas A&M to an insane amount of overtimes, I’m not messing with a team that can last that long and still put you down.

Kansas State led by the super-stud of a freshman, Michael Beasley? No thanks pal, I’ll pass. USC has talent but I’m not touching that with a 10 foot pole.

That leaves me with the Marquette-Kentucky matchup with the winner facing the Stanford-Cornell pairing.

Looking at what Marquette did in the regular season, I can count one out of conference loss, and that was to none other than the Duke Blue Devils. They’ve beaten teams like Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame (twice). They play in conference that got eight teams into the big dance.

Kentucky on the other hand has lost to teams like Indiana, UAB, Houston, San Diego and some team named Gardner-Webb?

That is as close to a lock as I can get when I look at it.

The next round presents the winner of a Stanford and Cornell game. Now I don’t think Cornell stands a snowball’s chance of beating Stanford, but when you narrow down the rest of the three seeds, they might be the most vulnerable.

Of course when you have a three seed like Xavier running around, it’s hard to argue, but my team is Marquette and we have to play the hand we are dealt.

Stanford is sitting there demoralized by the fact they lost three times to UCLA and no out of conference beef on their schedule. They didn’t even go through it undefeated, Sienna a 13 seed in this year’s tournament beat them.

I’m ignoring the No. 11 overall ranking, the fact they’ve only lost seven games all year and putting all my eggs in a good Big East team’s basket.

Marquette finished two games behind what Stanford did, and they were in a tougher conference with a heavier out of conference schedule.

I’ve got the Marquette Golden Eagles. The only player I know is Dominic James, but that’s good enough for me. I’ll take James and his coach Tom Crean and be the safe guy. Go ahead and take George Mason to do the impossible twice.

Plus when it comes down to it, the mascot reasoning makes sense. Golden Eagles’s can take on dancing trees any day of the week.