Marquette Enter Huge Stretch of Games

Mitchell SkurzewskiContributor IJanuary 15, 2010

MILWAUKEE - FEBRUARY 25: Lazar Hayward #32 of the Marquette Golden Eagles encourages his teammates from bench during a game against the Connecticut Huskies on February 25, 2009 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Connecticut defeated Marquette 93-82. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At this point in the season many thought the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball team would be essentially over and they would be blown out of against games against the likes of West Virginia, Georgetown and dropping two games to Villanova.

Well that memo never reached the ears of the Eagles players. Despite starting just 1-3 in the Big East (victory over Georgetown), Marquette have lost three games by a combined five points to two top-10 teams and despite the losses have not hung their heads or felt sorry for themselves.

The Eagles have overcome injuries to incoming freshman Junior Cadougan, sophomore Chris Otule and the transfer of Jeronne Maymon and competed at a very high level thanks to the leadership of Lazar Hayward, Jimmy Butler and coach Buzz Williams.

This team obviously responds and plays hard under Williams and with the adversity this team has overcome and the fact they now know they can play with any team in the country, Marquette is becoming a very dangerous team.

That is what makes the upcoming games against Providence and DePaul so pivotal. If Marquette can win these two winnable games and get to 3-3 in the Big East this team will be playing with utmost confidence. 

Already holding wins over Michigan and Xavier on a neutral site and the victory over Georgetown, if Marquette can win these next two games and play .500 ball the rest of the way this team has a very good chance of making the NCAA tournament, despite the lack of respect from the vast majority of the "experts". That speaks to not only the heart of the team, but to the leadership and underrated coaching skills of Buzz Williams.