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Poker Chips Help Marquette With March Madness Comeback Win

Team Collecting Poker Chips In Search Of Championship


The men’s NCAA basketball tournament continues this weekend with Marquette looking to continue the school’s March Madness run. As a 2-seed, they are among the favorites to go far, however the Golden Eagles struggled in the first half in their opening game against 15-seed Western Kentucky before turning things around.

Apparently, some poker chips played a part in propelling the team to victory.

Trailing 43-36 at halftime, the Golden Eagles needed some inspiration and head coach Shaka Smart brought out some unique props to get his team focused and inspired for the second half.

“We created a poker chip for every one of the meaningful experiences that we have had over the course of this season, and we have them all together,” Smart said. “For example, last Thursday we had to beat Villanova twice. We thought we had the game won in regulation, but we didn’t. We had to go win again. So, on the back of that chip, it said, ‘won the game twice.’”

“Those are valuable experiences, chips that our guys have in their pocket, that hopefully we can draw on to play well this week in Indy.”

Many coaches may say that they want their teams to be “all in” during the season, but Smart went the extra mile and had the chips to add to the poker-inspired motivational speech. Smart’s chip chatter apparently did the trick.

“Halftime comes and we’re down a little bit and he’s just trying to fire us up, bring us back out saying, ‘We put our chips in, we’re all in, let’s go after it,’” senior guard Tyler Kolek told Marquette Wire. “So, we come in at halftime we’re down seven and we have that experience to go out there and be able to do what we have to do to take the game.”

The Golden Eagles rallied for an 87-69 win and then beat Colorado 81-77 on Sunday. The team now plays North Carolina State on Friday and hopes the all-in approach eventually leads to a national championship. Marquette has won it all twice, back in 1974 and 1977.