"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Road Trip

Marquette's last road game of the season will be this Thursday night when the Warriors travel to Cincinnati to take on Bob Huggins' Bearcats. MU and Cincy have emerged as genuine rivals during this last decade of both Great Midwest and Conference USA action. This year's Cincy team included the usual mix of veterans and new JUCO-talent, including point guard Jihad Muhammad. Muhammad has struggled of late, and owns an assist/turnover ratio of roughly 1:1. In the past, Cincinnati point guards like Steve Logan, Darnell Burton, and Nick Van Exel have given MU fits, but Muhammad is clearly not in their class, which gives MU a small advantage on the road. Realize that MU's three-point field goal percentage defense has improved dramatically in the last six games as well, also a good sign against a team that makes roughly 35% of their three-point attempts (averaging out to about six per game).

While MU matches up well with Muhammad and his backcourt mates, Cincy's troika of wing and post players (Maxiell, Hicks and Kirkland) all pose tremendous matchup problems for MU (particularly the muscular Hicks). As Preacher Purl said to Coach Dale in Hoosiers, "Tell me, do you believe in zone defense or man to man?" Judging by MU's increased use of the zone in the last few outings, Tom Crean has gotten religion.

Clearly, road wins are tough in this league, so its time to offer a bit of Al McGuire Victory Karma into the mix well in advance of tip off.

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