In the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, the Golden Eagles of Marquette were the perfect example of survive and advance, winning two games by a total of three points. Vander Blue and Jamil Wilson rallied Buzz Williams' team past Davidson. Then came a big win over Butler.
Thursday night, Marquette put on a show in knocking out ACC regular-season and tournament champion Miami. It was an M&Mer, a surprising blowout.
Perhaps people forgot that the Golden Eagles shared the Big East regular-season championship. This is a quality team.
Williams' club plays so hard night in and night out, and it paid dividends with a 13-point halftime lead. Miami had a season-low 16 points thanks to poor shooting and good defense.
Miami missed 12 of its first 13 3-point attempts. The Hurricanes have counted on an outside attack all season long. Durand Scott, Trey McKinney Jones, Shane Larkin and Julian Gamble combined for one field goal in the first half.
This is a Marquette team that lost in the Sweet 16 each of the past two years, to Florida in 2012 and North Carolina the prior year. The third time was the charm, thanks to a number of players. Wilson hit several 3s and Blue was solid and steady. The Hurricanes could not find an answer for Chris Otule and Davante Gardner up front.
The Golden Eagles built up a second-half lead and Miami could not overcome it. The biggest deficit the Hurricanes overcame in a win this season was 12 points at Virginia Tech, and this was not the Hokies on the other side of the court.
This had been the only region where form held true with the top four seeds in the Sweet 16. That did not last long, as form went out the window.
Marquette was able to move on as Miami's super season ended at 29-7. Jim Larranaga's team set a school record for victories and has a lot to be proud of.