Golden Eagles To Face Kentucky In NCAA Tournament
No. 6 Seed MU & No. 11 Seed UK To Meet In Anaheim Thursday
Milwaukee – The Marquette University (24-9) men's basketball team has been selected as the No. 6 seed in the South Region and will play No. 11 Kentucky (18-12) in the First Round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship the selection committee announced today. The opening-round contest will take place Thursday, March 20 in Anaheim, Calif.
"There's never anything that is remotely comfortable or easy when you get to this time of the year. Everything's a challenge," said head coach Tom Crean. "Certainly Kentucky will be that way. They play incredibly hard. They are great competitors. Their coach is outstanding and they've had an outstanding year.
"Bottom line is it's a challenge anywhere you go," added Crean. "Every game is going to be difficult. You are going to have to beat outstanding teams all along the way. We just happen to face off with a really good one. "
Last time Marquette faced the Wildcats was in the 2003 NCAA Championship when the Golden Eagles upset top-ranked Kentucky 83-69 to advance to the Final Four. Marquette is 2-1 all-time as the No. 6 seed, last garnering the position in the 1994 tournament where they coincidentally knocked off a third-ranked Kentucky squad in the Second Round, 76-53.
The Golden Eagles are 5-4 all-time against the Wildcats in the NCAA postseason, while Kentucky holds a 7-6 overall advantage.
"It's going to be a great match up. They're a tough team," said junior Dominic James. "We know that we put ourselves in a position to get a good seed. I feel like we definitely know where we are as a team. We know our roles and we know what we're supposed to be doing, especially this time of year."
This is the Golden Eagles' third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, its longest streak since 1978-80. Marquette is 4-4 in the postseason tournament during Crean's tenure as head coach. All-time the Golden Eagles boast a 32-26 record in 24 NCAA appearances, including a National Championship in 1977.
"All year long we've been playing extremely hard," said Crean. "Our team has been getting better. We've had some great wins and learned from some tough losses and we're going to need every bit of that to go to California, because Kentucky is much the same way."
Marquette is currently 20th in the Ratings Percentage Index and 21st in the strength of schedule category, according to collegerpi.com.
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No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 14 Cornell - 25 minutes following
No. 8 Brigham Young vs. No. 9 Texas A&M - 4:25 p.m.
No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 16 Mississippi Valley State - 25 minutes following
Saturday, March 22
Marquette/Kentucky winner vs. Stanford/Cornell winner - 3:45 or 6:15 p.m.
UCLA/Mississippi Valley State winner vs. Brigham Young/Texas A&M winner - 3:45 or 6:15 pm