- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2011

CLEVELAND (AP) - His voice hoarse, his eyes moist, Buzz Williams took a reflective 9-minute, 27-second chronicle of his career that not even CBS could have interrupted with a TV timeout.

He recounted all the steps: Swiping university stationary to type resumes; begging for a loan to get to the Final Four so he could hand out resumes in a hotel lobby; sleeping in a U-Haul; dreams of becoming a coach at Navarro College.

He wiped his eyes and there was a catch in his throat when he talked about the day he received his college diploma.

Like a kid counting down to Christmas, Williams has kept track of his number of days at Marquette: 1,075 and going.

“I’ve told everybody I’m living the dream,” Williams said Saturday.

Williams lives for the moment, loves his numbers. He rattles off stats, dates of milestone events, and is peculiar with offbeat start times for practices and drills like a real life Raymond Babbitt.

“I try to temper that because it comes across like I’m auditioning for ‘Rain Man,’ he said.

He never did make it as head coach at Navarro after his starting his career there as a student assistant coach. But eight stops later, Williams has left the moving trucks behind and has Marquette parked in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Williams soaked up the moment after the Golden Eagles (21-14) beat Xavier to advance in the NCAA tournament.

He has a more familiar scouting report for Sunday’s game: Big East rival Syracuse (27-7). The 11th-seeded Golden Eagles beat the third-seeded Orange 76-70 on Jan. 29 and believes his team can do it again.

“There’s some preparation that’s already taken place in a quick turnaround that you don’t have to go back and redo,” Williams said.

Good thing. Big East vs. Big East this early in the East region is a rarity.

Connecticut and Cincinnati played Saturday, the first time in NCAA tournament history an intraconference game has been played before the round of 16.

With 11 teams in the 68-team field, this type of rematch was bound to happen.

But so soon?

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