WASHINGTON – With the Big East As We Know It coming to an end, Marquette coach Buzz Williams no doubt figured he’d seen the last of Syracuse’s zone for a while.
He’s a got a 290-pound player on the bench who can’t wait to face it again.
“I know about spacing,” Davante Gardner said Friday. “So they’ll change it up and try to lock me down.”
It takes a bit of bravado for a backup junior forward to have a “bring it on” attitude over Syracuse’s 2-3 fortress, especially after the way coach Jim Boeheim’s team dominated Indiana on Thursday night, but Gardner had a standout game against the zone last month and can’t wait for the rematch when the third-seeded Golden Eagles (26-8) face the fourth-seeded Orange (29-9) today with a Final Four berth on the line.
The Big East is turning into the league that just won’t die. Two good runs in this NCAA tournament have created one more reunion for these Big East teams, with the Orange seeking to avenge a 74-71 loss on Feb. 25. After that the teams will part ways – Syracuse for ACC and Marquette for the newly constituted Big East.