Big East Tournament Postgame Presser: Marquette vs. Villanova SF

Big East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Steve Wojciechowski

Markus Howard

Marquette Golden Eagles

Villanova - 94, Marquette - 70

COACH WOJCIECHOWSKI: Obviously take our hats off to Villanova. There's a reason why they have been as good as any team in the United States. And tonight we ran into them at their best. They were terrific and we couldn't match it.


Q. You switched to zone in the second half for a little bit. Villanova starting shooting 3s. Was it breakdowns in defensive scheme or are they just a hot-shooting team?
COACH WOJCIECHOWSKI: Boy, they can really shoot. But they started the second half, they scored five of six of the first possessions in man. So we wanted to try something else. And then they went five of six in zone.

So it's a credit to their offensive power and their ability to shoot. We had a hard time containing them off the dribble. And then when we tried to switch it up they got 3-point shots. And I mean, they shot the eyes out of the ball.

Q. I know it's early, but do you think your team has done enough throughout the season to make the tournament on Sunday? And what will the next three days be like for you and your team?
COACH WOJCIECHOWSKI: I believe we're an NCAA Tournament team. But that's not something I get to decide on. I think our team has had a really good year, especially considering our youth, and I think we've had a really good year. And I think our team is capable of winning games in the NCAA Tournament.

But that's for somebody else to decide. We have to use the next three days to get better. I mean, we still have season left. So we need to get better and we'll try to approach it that way.

Q. Markus, you left the game late in the second half for what looked like a shoulder injury or something like that. What happened on that play how are you feeling now?
MARKUS HOWARD: I was coming off a down screen, and I collided with one of their players. Right when I heard a pop I knew it was something I hadn't experienced before. I wanted to be sure to get checked out by our athletic trainer. Right now it's pretty sore, but I'll just follow whatever they tell me to do.

Q. So you guys start out pretty well. You're able to play Villanova on par, but in the second half you guys fell apart, obviously. How much do you think fatigue factored in when whereas Nova didn't have to play?
COACH WOJCIECHOWSKI: I think fatigue was part of it. But you have to be tougher than that. And again my hat's off to Villanova. I thought there was some fatigue in what was going on, but it was mostly Villanova playing really well.

MARKUS HOWARD: To go off that, too. In March, we have to find ways to win. I mean, a lot of teams are going to be going through the same stuff we are. We can't let it affect us. The coaches did a great team scouting. Us as a team, we have to execute better and have to play with that competitive edge on a night-in-night-out basis, no matter how we're feeling, what the circumstances are. We just have to bring it each and every night and tonight I don't think we did that to the best of our ability.

Q. The strengths on this league, seven of the 10 teams with 19 wins or above. Just overall, you may have two No. 1 seeds or a 1 and 2 seed with Xavier and Villanova?
COACH WOJCIECHOWSKI: I think the Big East is the best conference in the country. We had 70 percent of our teams in the tournament last year. And this year the league's a lot better. I mean, that's saying something.

Last year it was brutal. And 70 percent of our teams got in the NCAA Tournament. The league's better this year. I mean, you're talking about we played Xavier twice and Villanova three times.

I mean, both those teams have a great chance to win a national championship. And the quote/unquote, middle of the pack, I put it up against any other conference in the country. And the fact that we don't get to have unbalanced schedules and you have to play everybody in a home and away makes it -- I think it's the best conference in the country. And I hope other people would view it that way as well.

Q. Markus, you didn't have a shot in the second half yesterday against DePaul. You came out aggressively today. What was your mindset to start the game today?
MARKUS HOWARD: It was just move on to the next. I mean, I can't really focus on one game and what happened in the last game. I have to come out aggressive and do what I can for my team.

I knew that's what I had to do today and I just tried to do that from the jump. But there were certain spurts where you need to let the game come to me. But just when the team's as hot as they were, it's kind of hard to get in a flow like that. But great credit to them, like Coach said.


Joseph Jarzynka