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News: Marquette Claims the No. 2 seed in the South Region

The Marquette men's basketball team got their ticket punched to the NCAA tournament, as they were given the number two seed in the South Region. Their first-round matchup will be against the No. 15 seed Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (ironically, the first name for Marquette's football team from 1940 to 1953). Marquette will play WKU on Friday in Indianapolis at an undetermined time.

The Golden Eagles produced yet another strong season in head coach Shaka Smart's third season at the helm. Marquette posted a record of 25-9, with a 9-8 record in quad one. The season was highlighted with wins over No. 23 University of Illinois, No. 12 Texas, No. 22 Creighton, and their win over then-No.1 Kansas at the Maui Invitational.

Despite that success, the Golden Eagles got hit with the injury bug several times during the season. Sophomore point guard Sean Jones played just 16 games before tearing his ACL, fellow sophomore Chase Ross had a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a month, junior guard Kam Jones had a hip injury and Tyler Kolek missed the entire Big East tournament due to an oblique injury. Due to that, the Golden Eagles couldn't defend their regular season and tournament title, as the defending National Champion UConn Huskies swept those titles this year.

Even without their most important player in Kolek, Marquette made it to the Big East tournament title game after taking down Villanova and Providence to face UConn for the third time this season. To the Golden Eagles' credit, they kept it close, trailing the Huskies by just six points with 7:56 left in the second half. Marquette just ran out of gas, as UConn outscored them 26-16 to take home a 73-57 win.

The South region is a loaded group, led by Houston as the No. 1 seed. Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, Florida, Texas Tech, NC State, Nebraska, and Texas A&M is a gauntlet of a group to reach the Final Four. For those hoping for an all-Wisconsin Elite 8 matchup between Marquette and UW-Madison, the Golden Eagles will have to go through Western Kentucky, Florida, or Colorado/Boise State, Kentucky, and Texas Tech. The Badgers on the other hand would have to take down James Madison in the first round, Duke, and probably upset Houston to get there.

Marquette will hope to have Tyler Kolek back for Friday, and by all indications, that seems pretty likely.

Cover Image Courtesy of the AP


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