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The Basketball Tournament 2017 GameThread: #1 Golden Eagles vs #4 Purple & Black

Can the Marquette alumni return to the TBT quarterfinals for the second straight season?

Kansas State v Oklahoma
K-State’s mascot is weird.


#1 Golden Eagles vs #4 Purple & Black

Date: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Steinberg Wellness Center in Brooklyn, NY
Streaming: WatchESPN
Twitter Updates: @GoldenEaglesTBT - @thetournament - @PurpleBlack_TBT - @BringOnTheCats

For the second straight year, Golden Eagles, your favorite Marquette men’s basketball alumni team, find themselves in the Super 16 round of The Basketball Tournament. That’s some pretty nice consistency, but as the team was given the #1 seed in the Midwest region this year, much more is expected from them in this year’s edition of the tournament.

Here’s the roster for Golden Eagles:

Maurice Acker
Juan Anderson
Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge
Dwight Burke
Dwight Buycks
Joe Chapman
Davante Gardner
Darius Johnson-Odom
Jerel McNeal
Jamil Wilson

Trent Lockett is listed on the roster for the team, but he was unavailable last weekend. Lockett was on last year’s roster as well, but ended up not playing at all. We’ll see what happens.

GE reached this point by cruising to an ultimately easy victory over Midwest Dream Squad in the opening round, and then holding on to a lead late against Majerus SLU Crew. Darius Johnson-Odom is the leading scorer for the team through two games, averaging 17.5 ppg, although Davante Gardner (17.0) is right behind them. It looked like Dwight Buycks was going to be the big time scorer again after an opening round 21 points, but he notched just one made three-pointer against the Billikens alumni in last weekend’s second game.

It seems that Marquette is at their best when riding the hot hand until the opponent adjusts to take that away from them, and then moving on to a new focal point of attack. Buycks, DJO, Gardner, and even Maurice Acker have all taken turns carrying the offense through the first two games, and that’s a system that’s bound to bear fruit again. Keep an eye on Juan Anderson, by the way. The California native went for 7/6/2 with a block and a steal against MDS, and then followed that up with an 11/4/2 performance with a block and two steals. He seems to be carving out a fantastic niche for himself on the roster, and Golden Eagles would definitely benefit from a big game from Anderson.

Here’s the roster for Purple & Black, a team of (mostly) Kansas State alumni:

Thomas Gipson III
Stefhon Hannah
Jordan Henriquez
Martavious Irving
Curtis Kelly
Juevol Myles
Jacob Pullen
Jamar Samuels
Shane Southwell
Dominique Sutton

The K-State guys picked up an opening round 79-70 win over #13 seed Canton Bulldogs behind the strength of 17 points each from Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly. Pullen was the star of P&B’s second round win, scoring 21 points on 5-of-11 long range shooting as his team beat Hilton Magic Legends by a final of 90-79. It was a more impressive victory than the final score tells you, as Purple & Black had a 25 point lead with 3:45 remaining.

One thing to pay attention to is the availability of Jamar Samuels in this game. The 2010 Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year came off the bench for his team in their first round game, but after just six minutes, he was done for the day. One of his teammates inadvertently elbowed him smack dab between the eyes, opening up a one-inch cut. It was the kind of cut that needs stitches to close up, both because of size and location, but the important thing here is that Samuels did not play in P&B’s second round game last weekend. He’s had a week to heal at this point, but there’s still a pretty good chance that the cut has not properly healed and he won’t be available for this game. At 6’7” and 230 pounds, the collegiate 10&5 guy presents an interesting size match-up against Golden Eagles, but that’s only if he can get on the court.

Purple & Black has had a guy with a points & rebounds double-double in both of their games this season, and it’s been a different guy in each contest. Thomas Gipson had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the opener, then Domonique Sutton had 10 and 10 in the game against the Iowa State alumni in the second round. Interestingly enough, their 7-footer, Jordan Henriquez, has only played four total minutes in this year’s TBT, with all of that burn coming in their second round game.