Marquette wins, braces for hostile environment Saturday

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

LOUISVILLE, Ky., -- Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom looked puzzled.

Marquette's tandem figured they were coming to Louisville for a couple of neutral-site contests so when they were posed about playing in a hostile environment on Saturday against Murray State, they were befuddled. Sure, they knew the Racers would have fan support as the school sits a few hours down the road, but it's not as if Murray State travels like the big boys.

But Steve Prohm's team may have Big Blue Nation on their side. Every Kentucky fan in the building will likely be pulling for the in-state Racers.

"We've played a lot of road games," Crowder said. "I think we'll be fine. I'm not worried about that."

“It's been a long time since I've played an NCAA Tournament game on the road,” added Marquette coach Buzz Williams. “But we'll figure out how to do that between now and Saturday.”

Marquette advanced to the round of 32 with a 88-68 victory over BYU on Thursday afternoon. Crowder led the Golden Eagles with 25 points and 16 rebounds while Johnson-Odom went for 20 points. The contest was never truly in question for the third-seeded Golden Eagles.

Both Crowder and Johnson-Odom said that this is a group that thrives on being the underdog -- and enjoys going on the road in hostile environments. Freshman Todd Mayo admitted that Marquette may have gotten "fat" heading into the Big East tournament due to the No. 2 seed it earned in the regular-season.

"Buzz got the fatness out of us this week," Johnson-Odom admitted.

Marquette prides itself on being the team that plays harder than its opponent. These are guys that carry a chip on their shoulder because many went under-the-radar in the recruiting process and even in college.

"We like being the underdog," Crowder said. "I think that's when we're at our best, when people are against us."

"We thrive on it," Johnson-Odom said.

They'll likely get the chance Saturday with an arena full of fans who will be cheering for Murray State.

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