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The Gold Sheet

The Gold Sheet

(643) NC State at (644) Marquette

(643) NC State at (644) Marquette
March 29, 2024 7PM EDT
Play Rating:
2% – Marquette -7.0 (-110)

It's the age-old question when you get to this part of the NCAA Tournament: How much do you value season-long success vs recent success? Using full-season data, Marquette was one of the best teams in the country. The Eagles are one of only a small handful of teams ranked inside KenPom's top-20 for both offensive and defensive efficiency. The only "poor" run that Marquette experienced this season was when leading scorer Tyler Kolek missed six games because of injury. Four of their nine losses this season came against No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and there is no shame in that. But no one has caught fire at the right time quite like the Wolfpack. NC State ended the regular season with seven losses in its last nine games. The Wolfpack were north of 100-to-1 to win the ACC Tournament, but they won five games in five days while defeating Duke, Virginia and North Carolina en route to the title. The offense that Kevin Keatts is running right now is fairly simple: Get the ball to DJ Burns in the post. If the opponent doesn't double-team him, let him go to work in the post. If the opponent sends an extra man to help, then kick the ball out to the open shooter. Shaka Smart has had all week to prep his team. The three-week break that Kolek received at the beginning of March is probably a blessing in disguise. He has looked fantastic upon return, scoring 39 points with 22 assists in the Eagles' first two games of this tournament. With Coach Smart getting extra time to gameplan for this one, Marquette should be able to take care of business.

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