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Big East Extinction Is Forever - Game 8, Marquette

Part of them is striped, and part of them is white.

Mitchell Layton

The quagga is an extinct subspecies of the zebra. They are brown, with stripes on only the front half of their bodies, and they have white legs.

What Big East school is known for being part striped, part white, and having a Q in its name? Marquette, of course.

Marquette uniform styles over the years have almost always incorporated stripes in some way. In the early 1970s, the team sported horizontal stripes over the whole body, and became a very successful program. The NCAA outlawed the stylish duds in 1972 on grounds that they unfairly distracted the opponents. I can't help but be reminded of the peppered moth, altering its pattern to more effectively survive in a changing environment. Sadly, the NCAA frowns upon evolution. Since then, the Marquette jersey has almost always included stripes, but only over part of the body.

The other thing unique to Marquette is their tendency to have a white guy who just kills USF. Bulls fans of a certain age will remember Travis Diener and Brian Wardle as their tormentors. Lately, this role has been played by coach Buzz Williams, who usually draws up a play that tips the game in Marquette's favor. Except when they completely blow an easy putback, as happened in 2009. It's the exception that proves the rule of how USF-Marquette games are supposed to go:

The quagga also has the rare distinction of having been made extinct before anyone realized it was a species. In the 18th and 19th century, the distinctions among species were not so well defined. Before anyone figured out that the quagga was its own species, they had been hunted to extinction for their meat and hides. (One wonders what quagga tasted like.)

And so it is with Big East extinction. Apparently no one in the league office realized that large public football schools and private Catholic basketball schools were two extremely different breeds, until one had been driven out of the picture through short-sightedness.