Don’t Let Xavier’s Buzzer Beater Making You Forget Marquette’s Pathetic Defense
Marquette Golden Eagles played Xavier in their third game of the week. A 2-1 week in the Big East with two road games sounded pretty nice. Golden Eagles also would have two NCAA Tournament resume wins with beating Creighton and Xavier. Marquette jumped out to an early lead, but that seemed to be it. Xavier torched Marquette on defense in the second half. There is no reason that this game should have been close in the final two minutes. Marquette could not stop Xavier’s offense for the life of them. Yes, Adam Kunkel hit the big shot late, but Marquette’s defense has next-level bad.
What went wrong for Marquette? – Marquette’s defense continues to fall off a cliff: Earlier this week, the Marquette faithful were screaming at their lungs at Steve Wojciechowski’s coaching. The defense, which some writers spoke pleasantly about, is not there anymore. Xavier had an eye-popping 93% eFG rate from the field. That cannot happen in Big East play or against anyone. Marquette’s defense is falling off a cliff. They’ve been continually worse as the games go on for the Golden Eagles. Can this be fixed? Who knows. Steve Wojciechowski will try but the odds are he’ll come up short.
What went right for Marquette? – Offense showed improvement against a zone: Remember how the Oklahoma State Cowboys were able to throw Marquette off with a simple zone defense? Xavier tried to do that to slow down Marquette’s offense. It did not happen. Marquette continued their scoring attack. They played back-and-forth with Xavier until a final Musketeer run where things looked over until a dramatic final two minutes.
Why is everyone so mad at Marquette – People are tired of being mediocre: Right now, there is a sense of panic that Marquette is going through the same season that we’ve seen for the last few years. Nothing changed and Marquette will still be a fringe tournament team with some highs and some lows. Why Wojo hasn’t been able to put together a few good weeks of basketball is frustrating and disappointing. The defensive improvement was a feather in his cap, but that is washed away. Wojo needs to prove to the base that he isn’t a mediocre coach, but I’m unsure that will happen.
Player of the Game: Dawson Garcia – It will get lost in the shuffle with the buzzer-beater, but Garcia had a great game in this one. He probably looked the best in this game compared to the others this season. That is something to be encouraged by moving forward. Garcia scored 20 points with most of the damage being down around the paint.
Honorable Mention: Adam Kunkel – This guy changed the game. Kunkel could not miss in the second half and helped Xavier push their lead out. Then he hit the game-winner, and the rest is history. Kunkel is a good weapon for Xavier.
Next up: Marquette heads home to play Villanova. Now if this were a true Marquette season, they beat Villanova then lose to Georgetown in a couple of weeks. Nova is a good team like always. Nova’s defense isn’t as good as it’s been in the past, so, we could have a shootout on our hands at the Fiserv Forum on Wednesday.