Marquette-Seton Hall Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Buzz Williams is repressing his desire to dance.
Marquette getting a pair of road wins in the Big East this week may have him ready to take the floor again.
With the rest of the conference idle, Williams and the No. 17 Golden Eagles have a chance to gain sole possession of first place by continuing their dominance of lowly Seton Hall on Tuesday night.
Marquette (18-6, 9-3) has won three of four after beating then-No. 16 Pittsburgh 79-69 on Saturday, sweeping the two-game season series from the Panthers and nearly causing Williams to celebrate.
"I want to be really excited and I want to dance in the locker room," said Williams, who was criticized last year for two-stepping across center court to "Country Roads" after a win at West Virginia. "I can't. Because then I won't work tomorrow. And if we don't work tomorrow and don't figure out a way to find a way to beat Seton Hall (Tuesday), then we've lost the impact of what this positive work was."
Williams is also looking ahead to Selection Sunday on March 17, despite the Golden Eagles having a chance to break the three-way tie for first with No. 8 Syracuse and 11th-ranked Georgetown both idle until Wednesday.
"Can we be tough enough that over the next 29 days, can we exhaust every opportunity to improve? Exhaust every opportunity to see where we will be at the end? And along the way, never become satisfied with where we're at," he said.
The Golden Eagles aren't likely to be satisfied with their 2-5 road record, averaging 59.3 points and shooting 40.3 percent from the field. They've scored 73.5 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting while winning all 14 home games.
Marquette will try to capitalize on a meeting with Seton Hall (13-13, 2-11), loser of seven straight and 11 of 12, before a weekend visit to Villanova - the eighth-place team in the conference.
The Golden Eagles should travel down the New Jersey Turnpike with some momentum since they've won 10 of 11 games against the Pirates, beating them 69-62 at home on Jan. 16. However, Marquette fell 85-72 in the most recent meeting in Newark on March 5, 2011.
Vander Blue was limited to three points as a freshman in that matchup, but has totaled 27 points while making 10 of 17 attempts from the floor with Marquette winning the next two.
The junior guard is coming off one of his best performances of the season Saturday, hitting 7 of 8 from the field - 2 for 2 from beyond the arc - to finish with 19 points. That was a dramatic improvement after he went 3 for 10 from the floor while missing all five attempts from long range to get seven points in a 63-55 loss at then-No. 15 Georgetown on Feb. 11.
Davante Gardner had a team-high 17 points against the Pirates last month. The junior forward is averaging 8.9 points in eight games since, despite getting 14 Saturday.
Seton Hall is trying to avoid its first eight-game slide since the 1985-86 season and is 1-5 at home in conference play while averaging 59.8 points.
The Pirates' struggles continued Saturday, when they fell 76-65 to then-sixth-ranked Syracuse and dropped to 0-6 versus ranked opponents this season.
Fuquan Edwin leads Seton Hall with 17.2 points per game, but he's managing 20.3 over the last four games after getting 21 against the Orange. The junior swingman had 12 points against Marquette last month, while Aaron Cosby's 15 were a team high.
Updated February 19, 2013