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When Stewart Mandel's first NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket projection was posted on Sports Illustrated's web site Monday, Marquette led the list of teams on the outside looking in.

The Golden Eagles justified their ranking as the 66th best team in the country and did nothing to bolster their chances of getting an invite to the big dance Wednesday at Texas Christian.

The Horned Frogs, who defeated Marquette once in the 2003-'04 regular season and then eliminated the Golden Eagles' chance of a 2004 NCAA Tournament birth with a victory in the conference tournament, played the role of spoiler once again and won, 63-62.

Just like a year ago, when TCU upset the Golden Eagles at the Bradley Center, 85-79, the Horned Frogs (15-9, 5-5) were deadly from behind the three-point arc.

After senior Travis Diener drained a pair of free throws to put Marquette (16-7, 4-6) up 62-60, TCU guard Marcus Shropshire nailed a three-pointer with eight seconds to play. Marquette immediately called a 30-second timeout, but after the huddle, sophomore Dameon Mason turned the ball over to Nile Murry, and the outcome was sealed.

The Horned Frogs shot just 8-for-22 from beyond for the game, but TCU canned six of those three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and led by as many as 14 with 4:10 to play in the first half.

Marquette answered by going on a 30-7 run that was capped by a pair of free throws by freshman Ryan Amoroso with 7:18 to play.

The 23-point swing was sparked by Marquette's ability to shut down TCU's outside shooting — the Horned Frogs were 0-for-9 from behind the arc during that span — and exploit TCU's inability to defend against screens on the perimeter.

Diener finished with a game- high 19 points and had six points and three assists during the run, but it wasn't enough for the Golden Eagles.

In a repeat of Saturday's victory over Southern Miss, Marquette lacked the killer instinct to build on — or even hold on to — its lead late in the second half.

Part of the problem against TCU was that a number of Marquette players were in foul trouble. Senior Marcus Jackson fouled out with two points and three rebounds with 6:13 to play, and junior Steve Novak sat down for good with 2:42 left after scoring 10 points and grabbing 4 boards.

Marquette will try to rebound from this loss Saturday at East Carolina, but it's looking more and more likely that the Golden Eagles' beaks will be pressed up against the NCAA Tournament glass for a second year in a row.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Feb. 10 2005.