The Marquette Golden Eagles defeated the Xavier Musketeers, 65-51, in the final of the Big East Conference tournament. Marquette looked dominant all game en route to their championship victory, as both regular season champions and tournament champions. The focus will now shift to the NCAA Tournament as Marquette will likely become a three seed.
Marquette Golden Eagles Claim 2023 Big East Title With Xavier Win
In the first half, the Golden Eagles got out to an early lead and never looked back. After leading 39-24 to end the first half, Marquette held onto their lead the entire second half. The Golden Eagles got out to a quick 20-4 advantage against the Musketeers within the first eight minutes of play.
Naismith Award semifinalist, Tyler Kolek, led the scoring for the Golden Eagles with 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals. David Joplin added 12 points and three of six shooting from long range off the bench. Kam Jones added 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists to the cause for Marquette.
Marquette played a great game despite struggling with their shooting from the floor. Kam Jones went zero for eight from long range, Olivier-Maxence Prosper went one of seven from the floor, and Oso Ighodaro only took three shots. It certainly was not the ideal way that Marquette saw themselves winning, but it got the job done against a tough Xavier team.
Marquette Wins BIG EAST Tournament with 65-51 Victory Over Xavier
Recap:⤵️https://t.co/UPaysqNTR2#MUBB | #WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/NiasA11iTi
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) March 12, 2023
The Golden Eagles did an exceptional job at limiting their turnovers and utilizing ball screens to get open shots. Marquette turned the ball over a mere four times all game, while also creating 13 turnovers. Marquette scored their points off of Xavier’s turnovers, scoring 17 points off of them. The Marquette Golden Eagles utilized their opportunities to mount a lead the Musketeers could not catch. Shaka Smart has now coached the Golden Eagles to their first ever Big East Conference Title.
What is Next Following the 2023 Big East Conference Tournament?
The Marquette Golden Eagles will face their next opponent in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. On Selection Sunday, the 68 team field and their seeding will be announced live on the NCAA website. With Selection Sunday looming, the question remains where the Golden Eagles will be seeded and who they will face first.
Given their success in the Big East this year and overall dominance, the Marquette Golden Eagles can make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament. The biggest question ahead for the Golden Eagles is not the opponent, but if the team can continue their successful run. Marquette has not lost since their away game at UConn, which ended 87-72. Marquette struggled to play defense against UConn in their loss, which has been the main concern for the team thus far.
If Marquette is able to continue to distribute the ball while playing solid defense, it will be hard to beat them in the NCAA Tournament. The Marquette Golden Eagles are a versatile team that can attack inside or from long range. The offense going into the tournament has been red hot and looks to continue their amazing form. Given the confidence and atmosphere surrounding the team, the Marquette Golden Eagles can be a fearsome competitor for the rest of March.
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