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Hauser brothers bring competitiveness to NCAA Tournament

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Hauser brothers bring competitiveness to NCAA Tournament

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

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HARTFORD, CONN. — In the Hauser household, ping pong supremacy is a touchy issue. Just ask who the winner is.

“Oh, me,” redshirt freshman Joey Hauser said definitively. “(Sam) probably says him, but it’s me.”

Sam and Joey Hauser’s competitiveness goes far beyond basketball or paddle sports. Everything from pool to card games to fights in the driveway is a competition. Junior guard Markus Howard has seen it as a teammate and as someone who has spent some holidays with the Hauser family.

“It’s kind of funny to see how they compete on the court and off the court,” Howard said.

Thursday afternoon, they’ll compete together with the hopes of getting Marquette’s first March Madness win since 2013.

“It’s everything I dreamed about, and I get to do it with the person I dreamed about it with,” Joey said. “That’s the best part.”

Playing together in a championship environment is far from a new phenomenon for the Hauser brothers. They won two state titles together at Stevens Point Area High School, losing only one regular-season game in two years on the floor together.

Joey Hauser said “a little bit” of the March Madness run feels similar to those state title runs, but the competition is obviously at a much higher level.

“We have played a lot of big college games so far,” Joey said. “We did a lot of great things in the regular season.”

The Hauser parents might be enjoying it even more than Sam and Joey Hauser.

“My parents love it,” junior forward Sam Hauser said. “It’s a blessing. It’s a pretty special situation.”

Now that Sam and Joey’s older sister has graduated from college, the Hauser parents have traveled across the country to watch their sons play.

“Once our older sister graduated, they fully committed to Marquette,” Sam said. “They’re all in. … “It gives us an excuse to see each other and spend some time together.”

While Joey said they have not talked much together about playing in an NCAA Tournament game, Sam had some wisdom for his younger brother.

“It’s the NCAA Tournament, but at the same time, it’s just another basketball game,” Sam said. “It’s how you have to approach it. Obviously there’s going to be a lot of nerves for everyone, but that’s good nerves to have.”

Sam has the benefit of being one of three scholarship players still on the team who played in MU’s 2017 March Madness loss to South Carolina in the first round. The junior can still vividly remember details of the loss.

“Obviously that wasn’t the outcome we wanted to have,” Sam said. “It wasn’t very fun. Hopefully we have a better outcome this time.”

While the Golden Eagles have a much less hostile environment than two years ago, Sam will have plenty of challenges against Murray State, which has one of the most efficient perimeter defenses in the country.

The Racers held opponents to 28.5 percent shooting from the perimeter in the regular season.

“They have a lot of, especially on the perimeter, very active defenders,” Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “We have to be strong with the ball. … If you turn it over against them, you’re probably going to end up on SportsCenter.”

Sam did not express as much concern against Murray State’s perimeter defense, though.

“We’ve done a great job all year of having different looks going inside and playing in and out,” Sam said. “Eventually throughout the game it’ll open up more looks on the outside.”

The Hausers’ higher competition doesn’t stop the brothers from having a bit of a sibling rivalry in the locker room.

“They’re always arguing at who was better at what when they were little kids,” Matt Heldt said. “They always like to argue about which one is the better Hauser.”

By the end of Wednesday’s locker room availability, each brother still had a claim for ping pong supremacy.

“I heard Joey wins,” sophomore guard Greg Elliott said. “You better not lie, Sam.”

“Lifetime series, I am winning,” Sam said.

“Recently, I have won,” Joey said.

“You have won the last two matches,” Sam said.

As Marquette opens NCAA Tournament play Thursday against Murray State, MU will look for a longer March run than Joey’s winning streak against his brother.

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About the Writer
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish....

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