The Marquette men’s basketball team looked the part of a rebuilding team less than three weeks ago.
But the entire outlook of the Golden Eagles’ season changed Wednesday night. Marquette shocked Villanova on Justin Lewis’ go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.5 seconds remaining. The 57-54 win marked Marquette’s first win at Finneran Pavilion and ended Nova’s 29-game win streak in the building.
It’s a defining win for this group.
Before the season, if Marquette hovered around .500 and snagged an upset win or two it would have been considered a success for Shaka Smart’s first season in Milwaukee. Marquette has gone from typical rebuild thoughts to something much more.
Expectations growing for MU
The Golden Eagles were picked in the preseason to finish ninth out of 11 teams in the Big East.
On paper it’s hard to fault the predictions or lack of expectations. Marquette saw a coaching change with Steve Wojciehoski out and Smart taking over. With experienced departures and an influx of youngsters and transfers, Marquette has nine new scholarship players. It was a complete roster overhaul besides holdovers Justin Lewis and Greg Elliott.
When incorporating that many new faces and learning to play together, inconsistency is inevitable. Marquette has battled through.
The Golden Eagles got off to a nice start in the nonconference slate with nice wins over Illinois, Ole Miss and West Virginia. But, the Golden Eagles dropped their first three Big East games.
With its road win at 11th-ranked Villanova on Wednesday, the outlook for Marquette has changed nationally. The team seems to be jelling more and more by the game. The defining win is Marquette’s fifth straight win and gone from the cellar to third in the Big East. While the win over Nova has caused pundits to take notice MU collected wins over two other ranked foes in Providence and Seton Hall.
Marquette has built strong resume
Adding up all of these wins shows Marquette can play with anyone and beat anyone.
Just five games ago, Marquette was not even in the “Next Four Out” in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology. Now? The Golden Eagles are a projected 8-seed and rising.
Marquette has already smashed expectations for a rebuilding team. Now, the Golden Eagles look poised to not only contend for an NCAA Tournament berth, but make some noise along the way. The win against Nova may have put what Marquette has done on the national map, the Golden Eagles have been delivering warning calls all season.
For More Great Wisconsin Sports Content
Follow me on Twitter at @MSkurzewski and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here! Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!