The NCAA Tournament can help make a program become a national commodity. At the same time, the big dance could also provide a place where a team’s reputation can go to die (Georgetown Hoyas, Pittsburgh Panthers). Strangely, despite being a good program for many years, the Marquette Golden Eagles have almost no national perception.
Case in point for the Golden Eagles is Buzz Williams, who is one of the better coaches in the nation, yet no one cares that he has his team regularly prepared for greatness. Williams is not alone — Vander Blue is also overlooked as one of college basketball’s fancy volume-shooters.
ball hogs volume-shooters, such as Marshall Henderson are celebrated, Blue gets torched for not being as elite as people assumed he would be. Blue averaged nearly 15 points per game on the season, but that was still not enough to silence his critics. It seems almost certain that only a great tournament run will save him from being considered a disappointment.
Marquette is set to battle the Butler Bulldogs for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Both teams are well coached, have good players and are going to have to earn the win rather than hope the other team falters. For the Golden Eagles, the victory can be as simple as Blue playing at the level of greatness that most know he has in him.
The platform is there for Marquette to start getting some national shine. A win would not only be great for Williams and the program, but for Blue, who has had to listen to everyone telling him how he hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone