"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Sunday, March 12, 2017

In year three, Wojo guides the Warriors back to the NCAA Tournament

After missing the NCAA tournament in Buzz Williams' last year, Marquette hired another assistant to return the Warriors back to the dance.  As year three of Steve Wojciechowski's tenure comes to an end it was richly rewarded tonight as Marquette's name appeared on Selection Show Sunday for the first time in four seasons.   The bid marks the 32nd trip to the NCAA tournament in school history.  

Marquette had to rally the last three weeks of the season to secure a spot in the field after seemingly well on target in late January.  Four losses in five games put MU in a precarious spot with only five conference games remaining.  Wojciechowski juggled lineups, benched players, demanded some defensive accountability, toughness and it paid off.  Marquette won four of its final five games heading into the Big East tournament.  Despite a loss to Seton Hall in the quarterfinals, most experts had the club safely in the tournament.  Earning a 10 seed today, proved those prognosticators correct.

Marquette will play seven seeded South Carolina in Greenville, SC.  The Gamecocks are one of the better defensive teams in the country, but offensively challenged.  The exact opposite of MU's strengths and weaknesses.  If the Warriors are fortunate to advance, second seeded Duke is likely awaiting them.  The Gamecocks are 1.5 point favorites.  USC has not won a NCAA tournament game in 40 years.

Wojo's rebuild in three years should be commended.  Major roster turnover the past three seasons, young players thrust into important roles, and playing in a top three conference could have made the rebuild longer.   

Social media captured the Warrior celebrations today.

St. Patrick's Day in Greenville, a blessing for bar owners as Marquette fans descend to the Palmetto state. 

No comments: