We are Marquette! What to know as men’s and women’s basketball start NCAA Tournament journeys

The energy on campus is palpable as both Marquette’s women’s and men’s basketball teams prepare to compete in their respective NCAA Tournaments. The blue and gold ribbons adorning streetlamps down Wisconsin Avenue are a telltale sign March Madness has begun! 

New to following basketball and looking to get swept up in the excitement? Here’s what you need to know to fit right in with your hoops-crazed friends. 

The men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments take place each March and April, with schools from around the country competing to see who will be crowned national champions. Sixty-eight teams compete in both tournaments and are ranked, or seeded, based on their accomplishments during the regular season. The tournament is played in a single-elimination format, meaning teams that win move on to the next round, while their foes’ seasons come to an end. 

Just six wins separate both teams from a national championship, which the men’s team last accomplished in 1977 under legendary coach Al McGuire. 

As for the teams’ first round matchups? 

No. 9 women’s basketball vs. No. 8 South Florida 

When: Friday, March 17, at 10:30 a.m. 

Where: Columbia, South Carolina 

Where to watch: ESPN2 

What you should know about Marquette 

The Golden Eagles earned their two highest-ranked victories in the program’s history this season, besting then-No. 3 Texas and then-No. 4 UConn. Also a program first, two Golden Eagles were named to the All-BIG EAST first team in Chloe Marotta and Jordan King. Their efforts along with their teammates’ helped Marquette earn its 14th trip to the NCAA Tournament and second under Head Coach Megan Duffy. There’s a giant waiting for the winner of this matchup, with the victor likely playing the No. 1 team in the country, South Carolina. 

The Golden Eagles’ foe 

The South Florida Bulls are a familiar face for longtime Golden Eagle fans. Marquette and USF both joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005 and competed against each other often until the conference was restructured in 2013. The Bulls, who hail from Tampa, won the American Athletic Conference’s regular season championship thanks to a 15-1 record. They should be extra focused after a surprising quarterfinal defeat in their conference tournament. 

No. 2 men’s basketball vs. No. 15 Vermont

When: Friday, March 17, at 1:45 p.m. 

Where: Columbus, Ohio 

Where to watch: CBS 

What you should know about Marquette 

This season has been a historic one, with the squad securing its first ever outright BIG EAST Conference regular season title and its first BIG EAST Tournament championship in Head Coach Shaka Smart’s second year. That helped the Golden Eagles earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest the program has ever secured. Marquette also earned its fair share of individual awards. Smart was named the conference’s coach of the year; Tyler Kolek was named the conference’s best player in the regular season and tournament; and David Joplin was named the conference’s sixth man of the year, given to the top player who does not start for their team. 

The Golden Eagles’ foe 

The Vermont Catamounts have become a staple of the NCAA Tournament in recent years, making the field in three of their last four opportunities. What’s a Catamount, you may ask? Catamounts, also called eastern cougars, were large cats that were last seen in Vermont in 1881. 

Despite its lower seed, Vermont is not to be overlooked. The group is red hot, having won 15 straight games, and played fourth-seeded Arkansas close in a 75-71 defeat in last year’s tournament. 

More information about both matchups can be found on GoMarquette.com.