March Madness 2013: Marquette Wins Another Close One, Followed By Head Coach Buzz Williams Dancing

on March 24 2013 12:39 AM
buzz w
Buzz Williams showed off his dance moves after Marquette's win over Butler. Reuters

The No. 3 seed Marquette Golden Eagles might be the most interesting team still in the tournament.

Buzz Williams's squad escaped past Davidson in the second round by one point, and then barely edged Butler on Saturday night, 74-72. After the game, the head coach was dancing on the court, and it may be hard to blame him. The victory was tense until the final whistle, as Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner combined to convert five-of-six free throws in the dying moments of the game to hold off the Bulldogs.

Free-throw shooting is a major reason Marquette advanced to the Sweet 16. In two games, the Golden Eagles have shot 82.6 percent from the line, compared to their season average of 72.4 percent.

Against Butler, free-throw shooting was the only major discrepancy between the two teams, as Butler shot just 68.4 percent. Marquette also won the free-throw battle against Davidson, 78.9 to 63.6.

The final play of the Butler game was notable after the way the first meeting between the two teams ended on Nov. 19 in Hawaii. Rotnei Clarke knocked down a three-point attempt at the buzzer to win the game for the Bulldogs in one of the most exciting finishes of the college basketball season.

The second meeting went Marquette's way, as Andrew Smith took an off-balance shot that was well off the mark that would have won the game for Gonzaga.

While the Golden Eagles have been involved in several close games in the regular season, they didn't perform to a very high level. In the nine games decided by five points or less, or went to overtime, Marquette lost four of them.

The team is led by junior guard Vander Blue. In the past five games, Blue, who averaged 14.4 points per game, has scored better than 12 points in all of them, and has shot an impressive 46.5 percent in that span.

Meanwhile, Gardner, the second-leading scorer on the squad, has struggled in the last five games. Gardner has averaged just 8.4 points in the last five games, despite finishing the season with an 11.4 scoring average, and with most of his points coming from the free-throw line.

Playing in the competitive Big East, Marquette finished with a 14-4 record, which put them atop the conference with Louisville and Georgetown -- two teams that earned No. 1 and No. 2 seed, respectively. The Big East sent eight teams to the tournament, and Marquette finished the regular season ahead of all but two of them.

Marquette entered the tournament having won four of their last five games. They have had eight winning streaks entering the tournament, and are now working with their ninth.

If the Golden Eagles continue this pace, Williams might be doing more dancing.

More News from IBT MEDIA