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JR

The Marquette Golden Eagles will do battle with the Miami Hurricanes on Thursday in the Sweet 16. Toronto native Junior Cadougan (@JRwontlose) is the starting point guard for the Golden Eagles. He was kind enough to spend a few minutes with Tourney Central…

Oliver Macklem: Junior, your team has won their two games by a combined 3 points. What have you guys learned from an epic comeback against Davidson and then a back-and-forth game from wire-to-wire with Butler?

Junior Cadougan: I’ve been at Marquette for 4 years now and every season I’ve played in, 70% of our games have been close games, so we’re used to it, especially the guys that have been here.

OM: Looking ahead to Thursday’s game against Miami – they’re a very similar team to yours, in terms of great guard-play and the pace at which they like to play. You’ll be spending a lot of time guarding their leading scorer, Shane Larkin. I don’t think anyone in the country can stop him, but what are the keys to containing a guy like that?

JC: I’ve played in the Big East for 4 years now and I’ve seen a lot of guards similar to him. It’s gonna be a tough task but I just got to come out with the mindset to play hard and grind out every possession and contain him and make him take contested shots.

OM: And it won’t just be you that has to guard him, as one of the signatures of this Marquette team is the depth. Coach Buzz Williams ran out 11 guys against Butler. How does that give you an advantage in this tournament?

JC: It just gives us the opportunity to wear teams down. Some teams go 7-deep, some teams go 6-deep. Even our bench got to build up some confidence, to come in the game and help us do the job. It’s a full team effort – that’s what we believe in.

OM: Junior, this is Marquette’s third consecutive appearance in the sweet 16 – last year you lost to Florida. the year before you got bounced byUNC – what would it mean to you, especially as a senior, to break through into that elite 8 and possibly beyond?

JC: It would be great for us to finally pass the test of the Sweet 16. I’ve been to the Sweet 16 two times and this is my third time. Hopefully I can pass the test the third time.

OM: Your twitter page led me to the iwontlose.com website. It’s a fitness and lifestyle brand. Tell us about your involvement with that?

JC: My boy Adam Ali got me involved with that. It’s about having the mentality of I won’t lose, I will never back down, I will never fear, I will challenge. And it’s a great mindset to share to people.

Indiana v Ohio StateFor the next three weeks, let’s forget about all that is wrong with sports, and more specifically college sports. Put on hold the complaints about the exploitation of student athletes, the arbitrary rulings of the NCAA hierarchy and the culture that promotes athletic achievement over scholastic success. Ignore the tendencies we have to celebrate young men as heroes only to spit them out later as villainous scapegoats. Instead, embrace the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for what it is: the most exciting and dramatic multi-game sporting event in the United States.

March Madness is everything that spectators want sports to be. Upsets, buzzer beaters, foul trouble, swagger and posture. The heart-beating blindness of anticipation. The vicarious elation of triumph. The devastating free fall of defeat. And these are just the qualities that we’ve come to expect. Despite being an annual event with a finite number of potential outcomes, every year the tournament brings with it a fantastic share of surprises.

It’s immense. And it all begins on Tuesday (or Thursday, depending on how you look at it). Here, for your edification, is everything you need to know about the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

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