Marquette, Wisconsin hit lucky No. 7s

MADISON, Wis. (AP) —
A day after they simultaneously chalked up major victories in conference play, Marquette and Wisconsin both emerged Sunday as seventh seeds in the 64-team field for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
“Last year we just wanted to go to the NCAA tournament; this year our focus is winning,” said Marquette coach Mike Deane, whose team beat North Carolina-Charlotte 60-52 in St. Louis Saturday for the Conference USA championship.
The Golden Eagles (22-8) meet 10th-seeded Providence (21-11) on Friday at Charlotte, N.C., as part of the Southeast regional tournament of the NCAA. The winner plays Sunday against the winner of the Duke-Murray State game.
The Badgers (18-9), which upset Big Ten champion Minnesota 66-65 in Madison Saturday, will play 10th-seeded Texas at Pittsburgh Friday as part of the East regional. The winner advances to a Sunday game with the winner of the South Carolina-Coppin State game.
Deane said he is glad his team will have some extra rest before starting NCAA tournament play. In the conference tournament, the Golden Eagles played four games in four days in St. Louis, including a tough semifinal with Cincinnati Friday night.
“The thing I was hoping for … was a Friday game instead of Thursday, because it gives us another day to heal,” Deane said.
Among the injured is center Jarrod Lovette who hurt his shoulder after the Golden Eagles returned to Milwaukee.
Senior guard Anthony Pieper sat out almost all of Saturday’s game because of a recurring shoulder injury, but the coach said there’s a chance he will play Friday.
“I think Anthony will try to play,” Deane said. “Our depth helped us win four games the last four days so we’ll be able to deal with the injuries if we have to.
“The kids are confident right now after the way we played in St. Louis.”
Junior guard Aaron Hutchins agreed. “It’s better that we’re playing our best basketball right now than earlier. Everyone is going is going to step up and we feel real good about our chances,” he said.
“We need Anthony and Jerrod, but everybody else will just have to step up again if they can’t play,” senior forward Chris Crawford said. “This is my third trip (to the NCAA) in four years, so I know what to expect. I’m excited and ready.”