March With Marquette: What to know as men’s basketball heads to the Sweet 16 

Marquette men’s basketball will compete in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the 17th time in program history — and the first time since 2013 — when the second-seeded Golden Eagles battle 11th-seeded North Carolina State on Friday, March 29. 

After the first week of action, the NCAA Tournament field has been winnowed down from 68 teams to 16. Four victories now separate Marquette from the school’s first national championship since 1977. 

Here’s what you need to know to prepare for Marquette’s next postseason challenge: 

Get in the spirit! 

Marquette will host a send-off event for the team at the Al McGuire Center on Wednesday, March 27. Attendees are asked to arrive by 2:30 p.m. for a 2:40 p.m. departure. 

Those on campus are invited to watch the game at the Union Sports Annex. Cheer gear will be available. Sweet 16 stickers are available in the Alumni Memorial Union and Raynor Library.

Marquette fans can take part in university events in Dallas, including a Golden Eagle Run, a team send-off from the hotel and pregame celebrations. Watch parties will additionally be held across the country and in Paris

Want to teach your friends and family more about Marquette as the Golden Eagles enter the national spotlight? Check out 16 sweet things to know about Marquette

No. 2 Marquette vs. No. 11 North Carolina State 

When: 6:09 p.m. on Friday, March 29 

Where: Dallas 

Where to watch: CBS 

What to know about the Golden Eagles 

Marquette has needed to battle to get this far, erasing a seven-point halftime deficit in the first round to avoid Western Kentucky’s upset bid and surviving Colorado’s comeback effort two days later. Star point guard Tyler Kolek made a jumper inside the final minute of play against Colorado to put Marquette up three points, and David Joplin sealed the deal with a pair of clutch free throws in an 81-77 win. Kolek and fellow guard Kam Jones combined to average 42.5 points per game in the first two tournament outings. 

Kolek is just the third player in the last 10 years to total more than 30 points and 20 assists in back-to-back tournament games.  He is also the first player since Jason Kidd in 1993 to post consecutive games of at least 10 points, 10 assists and five rebounds in a single NCAA Championship. 

Marquette and NC State have played five times, including in the 1974 national championship game. 

The Golden Eagles’ foe 

NC State has been on fire for the past two weeks. As the No. 10 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, the Wolfpack needed to win five games in five days to even make the tournament, besting favorite North Carolina in the ACC championship game to punch their ticket. NC State upset sixth-seeded Texas Tech 80-67 in the NCAA Tournament opener, then ended 14th-seeded Oakland’s magical run with a 79-73 overtime win in the Round of 32. 

NC State is led offensively by DJ Horne, who averages 16.7 points per game, but D.J. Burns Jr. is the Wolfpack player who has emerged as one of the tournament’s stars. Averaging 12.8 points per game, his big personality compliments his equally sizable 6-foot-9, 275-pound frame. 

What could be next? 

The winner of this matchup will compete again in Dallas as part of the Elite Eight on Sunday. That contest will also feature the winner of No. 1 seed Houston and No. 4 Duke. 

Marquette last competed in the Elite Eight in 2013. With two wins, the Golden Eagles will compete in the Final Four for the first time since Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade led the squad in 2003.