LEXINGTON, Ky. - Marquette might be the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament's East Region, but the Golden Eagles are in for a tough outing against an experienced No. 14-seeded Davidson squad in Friday's second-round meeting in Lexington, Ky.
The Wildcats, the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament champions, are making their second straight appearance in the Big Dance and their fifth in the last eight seasons. Marquette is making its eighth straight appearance, including Sweet 16 runs the past two years.
The Eagles come in having won six of their last eight, though they were upset in the Big East tournament quarterfinals by Notre Dame. Davidson, meanwhile, has the nation's longest winning streak at 17 games and coach Bob McKillop will make sure his team plays with no fear.
The Wildcats like to bomb away from beyond the 3-point arc, which should help against a Marquette team that ranked ninth in the Big East in 3-point field goal defense (.318).
ABOUT MARQUETTE (23-8): The Eagles' loss to Notre Dame spurred memories of last year, when Marquette earned a bye into the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament only to lose its first game. If Marquette can make yet another run to the Sweet 16, coach Buzz Williams would certainly be happy with a repeat. "The last time we got beat, we handled it pretty good, which was last year," Williams said. Williams is preaching a one-game-at-a-time approach, just like any other year. "Win one more game, and win another one," Williams said. "We have to be a lot better than we were (against Notre Dame)."
ABOUT DAVIDSON (26-7): The Wildcats didn't get much respect from the NCAA Tournament selection committee despite their lengthy winning streak. But McKillop knows that his team has played some of the top teams tough, including a 14-loss to West No. 1 seed Gonzaga in a November contest Davidson led at one point by double digits. The Wildcats also led the West's No. 3 seed, New Mexico, by double digits on the road before losing by five. "I hope we can capitalize on that experience," said McKillop, who led the Wildcats on a surprising run to the Elite Eight in 2008.
1. Marquette is a No. 3 seed for the fourth time in school history (1979, 2003, 2012). The Golden Eagles are 7-3 all-time as the third seed.
2. Davidson is 8-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and is coming off a one-game appearance last year, a 69-62 loss to eventual Final Four participant Louisville.
3. The Golden Eagles and Wildcats have split their two previous meetings, although both of those games were played in the 1960s.
PREDICTION: Marquette 68, Davidson 63