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Marquette One Win Away From NCAA Tournament Invitation

By T.J. Bryce | Posted Saturday, February 16

Right now, the biggest surprise of the 2012-2013 college basketball season has been the play of Marquette. The Golden Eagles have been atop or near the top of the Big East all season, and that has come as a big surprise, as nobody, and I mean nobody saw this one coming. All the experts predicted Marquette to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big East when the season started. As of this moment, the Golden Eagles are cruising into the NCAA tournament although several losses recently to Louisville and Georgetown have raised a couple of questions.

The good thing though, is that Marquette has an opportunity to end all of those questions this Saturday at home against Pittsburgh, permanently. The Panthers are currently ranked 16th in the nation and beating a team like Pittsburgh would essentially punch Marquette's ticket to the tournament, barring a collapse of historic proportions. So what about this game against Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh success this season is built off of the same thing their success has always been built off of- balanced offense, tough defense, and excellent shot selection so there should be no surprises here. The Panthers are currently ranked 7th in the nation in team assists averaging 17.2 per game and they are ranked 14th in the nation in field goal percentage shooting just over 48% as a team.

Marquette meanwhile will never lead the nation in assists or field goal percentage. Heck, they aren't even in the top 40 in either category. However, they, like Pittsburgh, are up to their old tricks again defensively. The Golden Eagles have only given up more than 70 points in game three times this season, and only once since entering conference play. Overall, I expect the final score of this game to be somewhere in the 60's. 

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