Previewing Marquette

North Carolina's Sweet 16 opponent is No. 11-seed Marquette, which is coming off of its best defensive performance of the year in an upset of No. 3-seed Syracuse. Tip-off on Friday in Newark is set for 7:15 p.m. on CBS.

North Carolina (28-7) vs. Marquette (22-14)
Newark, N.J. -- Prudential Center
7:15pm -- CBS (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg)


"I don't think we are playing to our high school talents. We're not thinking about that. We are both in the Sweet 16 and we're both really good teams. And we're thinking about the game tomorrow. We can't think about what we have been through and what they have been through as players. All we are focused on is the game tomorrow against North Carolina." – Marquette guard Darius Johnson-Odom on UNC players receiving more recruiting attention in high school

"They probably love the Big East and I love the ACC, but by golly, we are playing for North Carolina and I've got a feeling their kids are doing the same thing." – UNC head coach Roy Williams on the notion that Marquette is playing for Big East pride


Season to Date: Marquette enters Friday's Sweet 16 matchup with a 22-14 (9-9 Big East) record. The Golden Eagles have won seven of their last 10 games, but also own an 8-10 mark in away and neutral court games in Buzz Williams's third year as head coach. Marquette's four nonconference losses were at the hands of Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt.

NCAA Tournament Results: The 11th-seeded Eagles upset No. 6 seed Xavier, 66-55, in the second round last Sunday before knocking off No. 3 seed Syracuse, 66-62, on Sunday. Darius Johnson-Odom drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 27 seconds left to break a tie with the Orange to propel Marquette to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.

Local Ties: After scoring 16 points to lift Wakefield (Raleigh, N.C.) High School to the 2006 4-A championship during his junior season, Johnson-Odom encountered a road block otherwise known as the NCAA Clearinghouse. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder attended the Patterson School in Lenoir before enrolling at Hutchinson Community College as the NCAA refused to give him credit for an online course. Johnson-Odom finally won his appeal, and now leads the Golden Eagles in scoring with 16.0 points per game. He's started 34 of Marquette's 36 games and is also contributing 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest.

Golden Trifecta: Forwards Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder join Johnson-Odom as the only three players to reach double figures in either of the two NCAA Tournament games, and that trio accomplished that feat in both games. They have combined to average 29.0 points per game in the two victories while shooting 50.8 percent (30-of-59) from the field, 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from 3-point territory and 82.6 percent (19-of-23) from the free throw line. That scoring total accounted for 66.0 percent of the team's points and included critical baskets in both games.

Stat Breakdown: In Big East play, Marquette led the league in scoring offense (73.2) and rank fourth in field goal percentage (45.0) and 3-point field goal percentage (36.3) and fifth in turnover margin (plus-1.33). From the opposite end of the spectrum, the Golden Eagles rank 14th in field goal percentage defense (45.6), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (34.8) and ninth in rebounding margin (plus-0.4).

Random Fact of the Day:The current starting lineup of Johnson-Odom, Butler, Dwight Buycks, Erik Williams and Chris Otule is 4-1 on the season with each of those starts coming in postseason play. The most utilized starting lineup for Marquette this season was when Crowder replaced Williams at forward, but that group posted a 5-8 record on the season.

Stat to Watch: Otule, the Golden Eagles' starting center and lone player standing taller than 6-foot-8, fouled out of both NCAA Tournament games last weekend.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Golden Eagles, 84-54, on Jan. 13, 2001, at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Brendan Haywood led UNC with 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots and North Carolina held Marquette to 29 percent shooting.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Marquette, 3-1, and has won the last three meetings.

Projected Starters:
23 Dwight Buycks (6-3, 190, Sr.) - 9.1 ppg, 3.5 apg
1 Darius Johnson-Odom (6-2, 215, Jr.) - 16.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
33 Jimmy Butler (6-7, 220, Sr.) - 15.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg
12 Erik Williams (6-7, 210, So.) - 2.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
42 Chris Otule (6-11, 260, So.) - 5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg

Top Reserves:
32 Jae Crowder (6-6, 225, Jr.) - 11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg
2 Vander Blue (6-4, 190, Fr.) - 5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
54 Davante Gardner (6-8, 290, Fr.) - 4.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
5 Junior Cadougan (6-1, 205, So.) - 3.9 ppg, 3.1 apg
21 Joseph Fulce (6-7, 205, Sr.) - 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg

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