Hoopcap: Bubble Slips Away From Marquette (Maybe)
Marquette had a 12 point lead with seven minutes left to go in this game. Golden Eagles played a great second half up to that point to pull away from Providence. But the team played to a similar trope we’ve seen all year, Marquette falling apart at the very end of the game leading to a soul-crushing loss. Golden Eagles turned the ball over and fell out of sorts leading to Providence sneak out a victory, 73-69. Golden Eagles’ bubble hopes look more dire by the day as they’ll try to recover from their latest meltdown.
Trying to piece together the final seven minutes of the game is a hard thing to do. What you see are a lot of turnovers on the play-by-play chart, and the bad shot attempts that went along with it. A final run hit Marquette hit, and no one was able to calm it down. They had opportunities, but Golden Eagles couldn’t deliver that knockout punch. There needs to be a closer, and Marquette lacks that, they’ve lacked for the whole Steve Wojciechowski era. Jajuan Johnson and Katin Reinhardt’s insistence on being a relevant part of this offense hurt Marquette in situations like this. Both were brutal.
Luke Fischer does not like the bench
It will be interesting to see what lineup Wojciechowski rolls out against Xavier because it’s clear that his senior, Luke Fischer, hates the bench. He’s been very bad since the move has been made. Matt Heldt, on the other hand, is responding to his extra minutes well. Fischer needs to find that strength in him and be a valuable asset off the bench. The fact both him and Heldt fouled out of two of the last three is a deep concern. They are not playing smart basketball.
Markus Howard continues to be incredible
Let’s not doom and gloom for the whole post, and talk about Markus Howard’s recent shooting stretch. Howard made six more threes on Saturday. He’s on an unreal streak right now of making buckets. Howard continues to be a big shot maker for the team. I’m not sure if it will happen this year, but I’m fascinated to see this team when its seniors aren’t trying to show everyone that they have the biggest dicks on the court in late game situations. Howard should have found himself with the ball in the final moments of the game and somehow did not
Bubble did break Marquette’s way
According to our friends at Paint Touches, Marquette saw 12 of the 15 games that could impact them go their way meaning many bracketologists will have Golden Eagles in the tournament. Providence will be higher, but the last two games are must-wins. I always thought they need to win two of three, and that’s never been more the case. The fact a few teams have slid off the bubble really helps Marquette, but this is a very fluid situation. Xavier has lost five straight, and the two teams will battle to get on the 8-8 deadlock. Four teams have a .500 record. Providence has the easiest road to 10 wins. All four have two games left. If Marquette loses one of two, they probably need to be in the semifinals of Big East Tournament.
Players of the Game: Markus Howard (Marquette) Rodney Bullock (Providence)
Next Up: Marquette heads to Xavier for another big bubble game. Xavier have lost five straight games so you’d think they are due for a win. A part of me wonders if they’ve mailed in the season, but they’ll want to get Marquette for a couple weeks ago. The playbook was good last time around, but Golden Eagles have no answer for their size.