Davidson has been “Cinderella” before and has the potential to do it again. Bob McKillop is a proven winner who constantly produces teams that play the game hard for 40 minutes and win basketball games. Davidson’s leading scorer at nearly 15 per game is senior Jake Cohen. He is a 6 foot 10 big man that can run the floor and can extend defenses by making the three point shot. He is not a strong rebounder for his size averaging only 5 per contest. Junior forward De’Mon Brooks is more of an interior player however he can also connect from the outside on occasion. Senior guard Nick Cochran is the teams floor leader and is an outstanding 3 point shooter, connecting on over 48% from distance. Junior Chris Czerapowicz is another big body that gives maximum effort on all possessions.
Marquette is a dangerous team as coach Buzz Williams leads with emotion. He goes with his gut as a coach often as 11 player’s average at least nine minutes a game. Vander Blue is a strong guard who leads by example and is a strong finisher around the basket. Forward Davante Gardner plays only about half the game yet is the team’s second leading scorer. Junior Cadougan is the team’s floor general and is comfortable handling the ball against pressure. Guard Trent Lockett and forward Jamil Wilson are the teams two other most consistent players. Davidson played a tough non-conference schedule including games against Duke, Gonzaga, and New Mexico so they won’t be afraid to rise to the occasion.
The tournament has always been kind to teams that can shoot from the arc and Davidson certainly has the ability to spread you out and bury you from downtown. Marquette had a strong season in one of America’s toughest conferences while also playing non-conference games against Butler and Florida (although the Florida game was their worst performance of the season. Marquette is not a team with a star player but they use a deep bench to produce wins. Marquette should have a big edge on the boards which could cause a lot of problems for Davidson. Marquette has recent history on its side as they have made the NCAA tournament for 8 straight seasons and have been to the sweet 16 in each of the last two campaigns. The game will likely come down to outside shooting. If Davidson can consistently get looks at open 3 pointers they are fully capable of knocking them down as they shoot 37% from deep as a team.
The line seems a little strange at only -3 1/2 considering Marquette’s Big East pedigree and overall talent superior to that of their opponent. In the end Marquette’s depth and defensive intensity is certain to play a factor and Davidson will not have enough gas in the tank to withstand them.
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