THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT 2017
#1 Golden Eagles vs #2 Scarlet & Gray
Congratulations to whichever TBT employees seeded the Midwest Region. We’re getting a #1 vs #2 matchup in the regional final game, which is exactly what you want to get if you’re seeding a tournament. Maybe more so in this case than any of the other three, it was a pretty easy choice to decide before the tournament who the top two teams in the region would be.
Scarlet & Gray is loaded up with guys from the heyday of Thad Matta’s time in charge in Columbus, meanwhile, the Marquette alumni team draws heavily on the roster of guys that went to three straight Sweet 16s under now-former head coach Buzz Williams. Here’s the roster for Golden Eagles:
Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge
Trent Lockett is on the Golden Eagles roster, but he did not play in any of the first three games of the tournament.
Speaking of the first three games, the Marquette guys have had a different leading scorer in all three of their games so far this year. First Buycks led the team, then DJO, and now Davante Gardner had the big number in Saturday’s victory over Purple & Black. That kind of willingness to share the ball will go a long way for GE on Sunday.
Looking forwards, though, let’s see the roster for Scarlet & Gray:
Greg Oden was originally scheduled to play for S&G, but he was ultimately replaced by Sullinger. Sully (that’s what the back of his uniform reads) tied for the team lead in points with Craft in Saturday’s game against Always A Brave, and he posted an 18/11 double-double in the game before that. The battle between Sullinger and MU’s Davante Garder ought to be good viewing, that’s for sure.
One thing to keep an eye on is the status of Jon Diebler. The Ohio native suffered a freak injury on Saturday when he landed and planted on the basketball hoop support. According to the TV broadcast, Diebler struggled to get his shoe back on due to the swelling in his ankle.
More so than in their previous games, Golden Eagles will have to crank up their defensive intensity if they want to win and advance. That starts first and foremost with shutting down Aaron Craft. He had 21 points, nine rebounds, and five assists on Saturday and earned praise from the ESPN commentary crew left, right, and center.