2011 NCAA Bracket Predictions: Marquette Will Upset Xavier in East Region
I'll call it right now: Marquette (20-14) will knock off sixth seed Xavier (24-7).
There aren't a ton of upsets to pick in the first round of the East Region, but this one stuck out, and I also predicted that No.9 seed Villanova will knock off eighth seed George Mason. Let's focus, though, on the Marquette game.
On one hand, I would say the Musketeers biggest plus is its experience. Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that Xavier's five starters, and a key reserve, have played in a combined 35 games in the NCAA Tournament.
Marquette? They have just one player, Jimmy Butler, who's played in three NCAA Tournament games.
Oh my. I'd always take the veteran club who's used to the big stage, but then again, if you've got talent and ability, you still have a chance. Seems simple, but it can get you places. Just look at what Butler did last season.
Marquette has three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Jimmy Butler, who is averaging 16 points per game. The Golden Eagles also head into the tournament with wins over Notre Dame, Syracuse, UConn and West Virginia.
Statistically, Marquette matches up well: The Golden Eagles average more in scoring per game (76.1-72.6), are virtually equal in field goal percentage (46.8 to Xavier's 46.3), can get steals with 7.2 per game (5.5) and can block as well, with 3.6 per contest (3.1 by Xavier).
Keep in mind, too: Marquette just beat Xavier last season. The two teams played in the Old Spice Classic on Nov.26,2009, and Marquette won, 71-61.
Xavier won on the boards, 48-32, but Marquette forced 20 turnovers and made seven of 12 three-pointers. Six of Xavier's players from then are still on the team, while four players returned from Marquette.
"We certainly set more ball screens in the half court than we did a year ago," Xavier coach Chris Mack said during a recent teleconference. "I still think we have a competitive group, some tough kids – as does (Marquette coach) Buzz (Williams) – and I think it’s going to be one of the best first-round games in the tournament. We’re vastly different from a year ago, and I think Marquette is as well. It’ll be the same two teams, but different in many ways."
Mack is right: this game will be a good one.
But the Golden Eagles have the wins, they've survived the Big East and in the end, they'll pull off the shocker and take down Xavier.
Most recent updates:
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?