NCAA Tournament: Survive and advance Marquette style
I should've added a caveat to my "if Marquette protects the basketball they will win" theme. They needed to make baskets. Indeed, the Golden Eagles outrebounded Davidson and won the turnover battle. But thanks to ice cold shooting Marquette appeared dead in the water until three straight threes in the final minute kept them in the game.
Survive and advance. It doesn't have to be pretty and day one of the NCAA Tournament rarely is. For their part Davidson did their best to give it away. The Wildcats had two 3+ minute offensive droughts in the second half. And there was the two turnovers in their final two possessions as well. Was Marquette the better team today? Nope. Best part about the NCAA Tournament is that you don't have to be the better team for 40 minutes. But you do have to be the better team in the final minute to advance.
A few other early thoughts: Butler played lockdown defense on Bucknell, holding the Bison to just 14 first half points. So in the Marquette-Butler third round matchup look for another grind-it-out performance from both teams. St. Louis also played their game in manhandling New Mexico State. Should the Billikens get to the Sweet 16 they will be a tough draw for Louisville (assuming the Cardinals get there too.)
If there's one team that should know to make their free throws down the stretch it's Memphis. In the final 38 seconds the Tigers were just 3-6 from the free throw line, opening the door just enough for St. Mary's to get off a potential game-winning three that was off target. Survive and advance indeed.