Wisconsin, Marquette Will Be Dancing in Boise
By Todd Welter
Marquette and Wisconsin both got invitations to the big dance and they will both be dancing in the same hall. The Golden Eagles made the NCAA tournament as a sixth seed and will play No. 11-seed Utah State. Wisconsin got in as a 12-seed and will face No. 5-seed Florida State. Both teams will be playing in Boise, Idaho on Friday.
This is Marquette's fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and first ever matchup against Utah State in school history. Marquette goes into the dance with a bit of a limp in its dance step after losing point guard Dominic James due to a broken foot suffered in late February. Marquette dropped five of its last six games after losing James and some thought Marquette could end up as an eight seed. Three of those losses came against Louisville, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh --all teams that received No. 1-seeds in this year's tourney -may have been the reason the NCAA tournament selection committee gave Marquette the better seed.
"We're grateful for the sixth," Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said. "I don't know that there is a lot of difference between six and eleven. All of those teams are really good."
Utah State went 30-4 this season and got its invite thanks to winning the WAC Championship on Saturday with a win over Nevada.
"We will have our hands full with Utah State," Williams said. "They run about 200 set plays. Their best player was the player of the year in that league. Playing on Friday is beneficial because we will need every single minute of preparation."
The player Williams was talking about is big man Gary Wilkinson who is averaging 17.1 points per game.
"I am confident in our team," Wilkinson said. "We are going to go out and give the best effort that we have. We can do some damage in the tournament."
The Badgers earned their 11th consecutive NCAA invite despite a 19-12 record and some questions about if their bubble had burst. The Badgers secured the at-large bid thanks to winning seven of their last ten games to go along with a strong strength of schedule. This is the lowest seed the Badgers have had during the 11 consecutive trips.
Florida State (24-8) will pose a very tough test for the Badgers as the Seminoles have won six of their last ten games and advanced to the finals of the ACC Tournament before losing to Duke. During that ACC Tourney run Florida State knocked off the other No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tourney, North Carolina. The Seminoles boast one of the best guards in the nation in Toney Douglas. Douglas handles most of Florida State's scoring with a 20.9 ppg average.
The Badgers' game can be heard live on Newsradio 620WTMJ. Times of both Wisconsin's and Marquette's games have yet to be announced.