Marquette and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) both play Friday night. The Golden Eagles battle a number two seed, North Carolina and VCU takes on a number ten seed, Florida State.
The Golden Eagles are one of two Big East teams left in the tournament, which originally sent 11 teams into the field. In their first round win over Xavier, Marquette was able to hold them to just 55 points on 41.2 percent shooting. This was thanks to amazing defense on their star Tu Holloway who was one-of-nine with only five points. They were then able to squeak by Big East rival Syracuse, 66-62, on Sunday with help from Darius Johnson-Odom’s game tying three-pointer with less than 30 seconds left to play.
Despite trailing by 10 at one point to the Orangemen, Marquette was able to get the second round win with sharp defense and three-point shooting. They haven’t reached the Sweet 16 since 2003, despite making the tournament the past six years. They now face UNC, who they haven’t faced in a tournament since 1977, where they beat them for the title.
Despite losing the CAA title game to Old Dominion, the Rams have rebounded by winning their past three games against USC, Georgetown, and Purdue. They continue to prove critics wrong, as they now face a usually tough Florida State team. Despite their own weak offensive performance against USC in a play-in game, VCU was able to hold them to 46 points on less than 40 percent field goal shooting. Although they hit just nine of 24 three-pointers, the Trojans only hit one of 11, giving the Rams the edge. They then beat the Hoyas, who lost to a double-digit seed for its third straight NCAA Tournament, by knocking down 12 three-pointers having four players in double figures.
They then completed their third tournament win in five days by stunning the Boilermakers. Their 18-point second round win was their largest ever in the tournament, as they never trailed by more than five and led by as much as 20. Six players scored in the double-digits, as they proved they deserved to be in the tournament.
They now face Florida State in the first 11-10 seed matchup ever, who has beat Texas A&M and upset a number two seeded Notre Dame.