PHOENIX — If third-seeded Marquette (27-7) is able to hold off seventh-seeded Florida (25-10) tonight, coach Buzz Williams promises he won’t celebrate by doing a dance at center court. He already has gotten in enough trouble for that.
Williams broke out into a solo two-step at midcourt moments after the Golden Eagles defeated West Virginia 61-60 in Morgantown, W. Va., on Feb. 24. Mountaineers fans didn’t appreciate Williams’ dancing to John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads,” and security was needed to keep the crowd from getting at Williams, who later apologized and did so again yesterday.
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“My dancing career is over,” he said. “That was unprofessional. I have apologized repeatedly. I continue to apologize and will continue to apologize. It was not the appropriate thing to do.”
He doesn’t have to apologize for his team, which defeated BYU (88-68) and Murray State (62-53) to reach tonight’s NCAA tournament West Region semifinal. Marquette’s defense has been stifling: BYU and Murray State combined to shoot just 34.4 percent from the field.
Florida defeated Virginia (71-45) and Norfolk State (84-50) to also reach the Sweet 16 for the second straight year and become the first team in NCAA tournament history to score 70-plus points and allow 50 or fewer in its first two games.
“I think Florida has a great team,” said Marquette senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom. “But I think we know when to play fast and we know when to play in the half-court game.”
Williams’ players wouldn’t mind admiring his dance skills again.
“There’s no telling what you might see from our coach,” Johnson-Odom said. “He’s very enthusiastic about what he does. ... And his players, I think it’s a joy to see. He just gets very happy. How couldn’t you love a guy like that?”
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