Marquette Wire

TREBBY: Breaking the senior day curse

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This Marquette basketball team has done a lot this season that it hasn’t in a while.

Or ever.

The Golden Eagles won their first preseason tournament since 2006. They reached 13 wins in the Big East for the first time. They, more than likely, will have two All-Big East First Team players for the first time, and should have the Big East Player of the Year for the first time.

Buzz Williams and his team mention the list of goals they have for this season, and how it is quite a lengthy one.

The last one before the start of the Big East Tournament has to be “win on Senior Day at the Bradley Center.”

As a junior, I’ve seen two painful losses on Senior Day, to Notre Dame (in overtime) two years ago and last year to Cincinnati.

This season’s Senior Day match-up is probably the toughest of the three, as the Golden Eagles host its Jesuit counterparts, No. 11 Georgetown.

Marquette blew a 17-point second half lead in Washington, D.C., earlier this year against the Hoyas, allowing them to come back and win 73-70, so there will be plenty of motivation to avenge that defeat.

But this team shouldn’t need to think about that. All it should think about is avoiding the feeling from last year’s loss to Cincinnati on Senior Day.

It was a game where Jimmy Butler put up career numbers, scoring 30 points out of sheer necessity. Butler got little help from the rest of his team, which combined matched Butler’s total of 30.

The season before — when Lazar Hayward, David Cubillan and Maurice Acker were seniors — the Golden Eagles were up by seven over Notre Dame with 1:02 left in the game when the Fighting Irish came storming back, tying the game with two seconds left via a three-pointer from Carlton Scott. Marquette never led in overtime, losing 61-58.

Now this group of seniors, Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, has a difficult test on Saturday afternoon in a game that still has postseason implications.

The Golden Eagles already have a double bye in the Big East Tournament locked up but can finish an incredible 15-3 in conference play. They’re also still fighting to gain a two seed in the NCAA Tournament, a cause which would be aided greatly with a win against the Hoyas.

Not only would the win be beneficial for the team’s resume come tournament time, but it would be beneficial for the seniors’ legacy for that one, final victory in front of their home crowd.

I’m not saying Crowder or Johnson-Odom would be thought of in a less impressive way if they lose, but they have a chance to make Saturday’s game one to be remembered for years to come.

Considering the meaning, impact and occasion of the game, including the talent of the teams involved, a win for the Golden Eagles sure would be sweet.

These two seniors have done a lot of things that their predecessors could not. They truly are revolutionizing the program. They’re setting the new trend for the future of Williams’ team while setting a great example for their younger teammates through their play. The best way to continue that new trend would be to sign out of an arena where they’ve grown as players in front of our eyes with a big win.

I know people don’t realize this is probably the last time they are going to see Crowder and Johnson-Odom play in-person because of all the talk of how deep into March they will be playing — maybe even into April. These two have been the poster-boys of the program’s evolution, and most of us will never see them play again.

So as Crowder and Johnson-Odom will leave it all at the Bradley Center on Saturday, I suggest you do the same as a fan. Go there and show your appreciation for the duo and help them finally give Marquette a sweet victory on Senior Day.

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