INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Third-seeded Marquette tries to win its first NCAA Tournament game in seven years on Thursday when it opens play in the Midwest Region against dangerous 14th seed Holy Cross.
Marquette (23-5) has earned its highest seed since 1979 and is looking to win a game in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since defeating Monmouth in 1996. The Golden Eagles were seeded fifth last year before losing to Tulsa.
Conference USA Player of the Year Dwyane Wade leads the way for Marquette. Wade averages 21.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists and could be playing his last games for the Golden Eagles before bolting to the NBA.
Wade comes off possibly the worst game of his career in the first round of the Conference USA tournament, a 93-76 loss to Alabama-Birmingham. He scored 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting and committed 10 of the Golden Eagles' 30 turnovers.
Marquette also has a strong frontcourt in Robert Jackson and Scott Merritt. The duo combines for 26 points and almost 14 rebounds per game and also is involved in setting screens for Wade.
Holy Cross (26-4) is making its third straight NCAA appearance after losing to Kentucky and Kansas the previous two years. The Crusaders feature four starters who average in double figures and are seeking their first Tournament win since 1953.
Patriot League Player of the Year Patrick Whearty leads Holy Cross and will have to do battle inside with Jackson and Merritt. Whearty is averaging 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds to lead a balanced attack.
The Crusaders have a pair of seniors and two juniors in their starting lineup and all four score in double figures. Heady point guard Jave Meade is an excellent floor leader and may draw the assignment of guarding Wade.
Marquette is 3-0 all-time against Holy Cross.
The winner faces Missouri or Southern Illinois in the second round.