"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

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Marquette Media Update

Good morning MU fans.....here's a quick look at a few tidbits about your nationally ranked Golden Eagles:

MU hosts the annual Blue and Gold Fund Classic this weekend at the Bradley Center. MarquetteHoops has a curtain-raiser here.

If you are a resident of Richmond, Indiana you are in luck. Citing a 'huge response' from last season's broadcasts, WKBV will carry 15 of Marquette's remaining 22 regular-season games.

BTW, in case you missed it, Steve Novak earned his first NBA start last night for the Houston Rockets, which fell at Phoenix. Novak finished with six points in 19 minutes of action. Congratulations, Steve!

Finally, after digesting the first few weeks of the season SLAM magazine ranks MU in its inaugural top 10.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The winning shot on video

Major hat toip to DJGoldnboy at MUScoop for finding this on MySpace

Here is the winning shot

Nicely done

Monday, November 27, 2006

Whew......MU with thrilling win 65-62 at Valpo

Marquette came to Indiana for their first true road game against a talented Crusader squad ready to pounce on the #8 team in the nation. The game began with MU dominating the open minutes as they raced out to a 26-11 lead largely on the scoring of Jerel McNeal, the Ooze and Wes Matthews. Homer Drew's club put on a late run of 13-5 to close the half and trail only 31-24. Dominic James had only 2 points in the first 20 minutes.

The second half was a red hot affair for Valparaiso as they shot over 60% and made 8 of 10 3-pointers to grab the lead from MU 44-40. Dominic James then decided to make his trip back to the home state a memorable one. He almost single handedly lifted MU on his shoulders and carried them to victory by scoring 15 of his 22 points in the last 6:23 of the game. Despite dreadful shooting from behind the arc, his outside shots and free throws at the end were the key. James finished 11 of 13 from the free throw line, a place he has struggled from this season.

Trailing 44-40, MU went on a 9-0 run to retake the lead at 49-44. The Crusaders would not fold and hit a 3 to cut it to 49-47. A James 3 pointer made it 52-47 only to have Valpo score on two straight possessions to tie the game at 52. Valpo would then take a lead again only to have James tie the game at the FT line.

In the final minute the two teams matched dramatic shot with dramatic shot. James hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to go up 62-59. Valpo responded by nailing an improbable three with under 20 seconds to tie the game. MU took a timeout with 13.1 seconds to hold out for the final shot. MU was able to get James open for a three pointer which he nailed with 3 seconds left. Valpo took a final desperation 3 at the buzzer that was straight but hit off the rim as MU escaped with the 65-62 victory. James finished with 22 points including the last 18 scored by Marquette.

MU moves to 7-0 on the season while Valpo drops to 3-2 and now must face two more ranked teams this week with games Butler and at #1 Ohio State.

One thing is for certain, when MU is not shooting well from the outside they are vulnerable. Relying on Dominic James for such an unbalanced attack could prove problematic for MU down the road. Tonight James bailed them out despite a poor first half. In games in the future MU will need a more balanced attack, especially from their bench. MU had only 12 points from the bench tonight.

Ousmane Barro continued his effective play with a double-double, 10 points and 13 rebounds. The 6'10" junior has more than doubled his rebounds per game average from a year ago, and is playing twice as many minutes per game as he played last season.

Here's an informative thread on MUScoop that includes a first-hand account of the game.

The Northwest Indiana News on 'Everbody's All-American'

Mike Bennett's article in the Palladium-Item

Todd Rosiak's MJS Story

AP Story

Box Score

Go Marquette Story

McNeal, James win weekly Big East awards.

Congratulations to Jerel McNeal, who was named Big East Player of the Week earlier today. He was recognized his 18 ppg/6.5 rpg aveage for the week, combined with six steals versus Duke and seven assists against Texas Tech.

Dominic James added to his growing list of awards by making the the Big East weekly honor roll. He was recoginzed for averaging 20.5 pts. while taking MVP honors at CBE Classic.

Also named to the team were Providence's Sharaud Curry, Syracuse's Demetris Nichols, Villanova's Curtis Sumpter and West Virginia's Darris Nichols.

Cincinnati's Vince Deonta Vaughn won Rookie of the week honors.

Read Marquette's coverage here.

MU moves up to #8 in AP Poll & #9 ESPN/USA Today Poll

ESPN has moved Marquette into the 8 spot in the weekly rankings, up from 13th the previous week. UCLA is now #1.

In the Coaches Poll, following Florida's loss, Ohio State is the new #1 team, UCLA leapfrogs #3 Pitt to #2, And Florida drops to #4.

Wisconsin drops to #13.

Here's the complete list from the ESPN site:

1. Ohio State (11) 6-0 740
2. UCLA (13) 4-0 734
3. Pittsburgh (5) 6-0 708
4. Florida (2) 6-1 690
5. Kansas 5-1 572
6. North Carolina 4-1 571
7. Alabama 5-0 566
8. Texas A&M 5-0 532
9. Marquette 6-0 450
10. Duke 5-1 424
11. Washington 5-0 393
12. LSU 2-1 379
13. Wisconsin 5-1 373
14. Syracuse 6-0 325
15. Connecticut 5-0 308
16. Arizona 3-1 298
17. Memphis 3-1 263
18. Butler 7-0 232
19. Maryland 7-0 209
20. Nevada 5-0 205
21. Gonzaga 6-1 201
22. Wichita State 4-0 187
23. Georgetown 3-1 179
24. Georgia Tech 5-1 175
25. Texas 4-1 69

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTESIllinois 52, San Diego State 44, Michigan State 42, Air Force 35, Oklahoma State 24, Michigan 24, Arkansas 20, Kentucky 13, Xavier 10, Louisville 6, Tennessee 5, Creighton 4, Oral Roberts 4, Oregon 3, Brigham Young 3, Southern Illinois 2, Virginia 1.
DROPPED FROM RANKINGSTennessee 21, Kentucky 22.

Marquette Travels to Valparaiso

The Marquette Golden Eagles will put their undefeated record on the line on Monday night on the against the 3-1 Valparaiso Crusaders.

Here's the AP preview of the game.

Here's the official Valpo preview.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Battle of the Marquette Transfers

For those of you keeping score at home, Karon Bradley, former MU player, now Wichita Shocker, beat Dameon Mason, former MU player, now LSU Tiger, 57-53.

This was a big road win for the #24 ranked Shockers who will certainly move up in the polls after beating #6 LSU. Mason eeked out 7 points in 33 minutes, while Bradley accounted for 11 points in 20 minutes off the bench, including the shot that put the Shockers ahead for good.

Karon's departure from Marquette was because he wanted more PT, and to be closer to home. Mason was a starter, plenty of PT, yet MU was coming off a rough year and Mason seemed to bolt for greener pastures, just like he did in High School, or so the story went. Of course, Marquette went on to a surprising 4th place finish in the Big East the very next year.

Box Score

Game Story

Friday, November 24, 2006

Funny anecdote from MU's win over Duke

Ah, reader feedback is good for the soul. So is winning on national TV against a marquee program. Per this email it looks like MU expanded its fan base with the Duke win:

MU Hoops :

How big is the Duke - Carolina rivalry ? I was covering the pre-season NIT semis last bight at the garden and casually asked a few North Carolina cheerleaders if they were 'Marquette fans' a day ago. Turns out they were on the bus to New York and constantly checking cell phones for score updates, and all rooting for Marquette. Tom Crean & comany had some instant fans that night.

Ray Floriani
Basketball Times
Be sure to check out Basketball Times, one of the best publications around......always a great read.

Ray, thanks for the feedback!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Media Update -- Rosiak and a gem in the ChiTrib

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to you all.....we hope you enjoy the holiday and time with family and friends.

On the basketball front, Todd Rosiak is back with his engaging weekly feature, Jump Shots. This week's offering is a good one, with reflections on the Duke win and some of MU's emerging talent. Click here to check it out.


In the Thanksgiving edition of the Chicago Tribune, Skip Myslenski dedicates another column to the Golden Eagles, --- his second this week. Myslenski notes that 'Marquette proceeds with guarded optimism'. Myslenski talked to Coach K about MU and here's what the Hall of Famer had to say:

"Their whole thing is set up for their perimeter," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski added. "So they have the green light, the freedom and the ability to use their athleticism. And they're strong. They're not just quick. They're strong, so they can take bumps, get into areas and make plays.

"Until you play against that quickness, you can't practice [against it]. We don't have that. You're playing against something you're seeing for the first time, so you're half a step too late. … Their guards are good rebounders too. In college, when you have a perimeter like that you can win big."
Call me silly, but these remarks read like a recruiting homerun for Tom Crean and his coaching staff!

More media updates
The Marquette Tribune has a series of articles on MU's fast start this season here.

In case you missed it, Dick Vitale is impressed with your Marquette Golden Eagles.

Who is the national leader in steals? If you guessed Jerel McNeal, you win.

Will MU be ranked in the top 10 next week? Our blog explains the possibilities.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We're Number 1 with a bullet

USA Today / Sagarin Ratings

1) Marquette
2) North Carolina
3) Duke
4) Alabama

Make sure to check out our daily RPI ratings in the right hand margin as well....some good movement after yesterday's win.

Even Dick Vitale is taking notice.....gotta love it!

Is a top 10 ranking possible next week?

With MU ranked 13th in the AP poll this week, there's a possiblity that MU will move into the top 10 for the first time since 2003.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the polls tend not to reward wins so much as punish losers. For MU to move up into the top 10, three teams have to move down.

Two of them are easy to find--of the teams ahead of MU in the polls, #11 Memphis and #9 Duke just lost.

Let's take a look at the rest of the field:

#1 Florida hosts plays #10 Kansas. This game represents the best opportunity for a 3rd team ahead of MU to stumble. If Kansas loses again, they'll tumble in the rankings as their record falls to 2-2. If Kansas wins, no way will MU leapfrog them in the rankings.

UPDATE: Florida is not the host--it's a neutral site game in Las Vegas. Kansas will play Ball State in the same tournament the night before.

#2 UNC plays Gonzaga in the NIT semis, then either Butler or Tennessee. If UNC loses to Gonzaga, its doubtful that they'll fall out of the top ten--perhaps down to 6th or 7th. If they lose two games (which they won't) it opens up a spot for MU.

#3 Pitt hosts Florida State. FSU is 4-0 this year, and predicted by some as an NCAA team--but its highly unlikely that the Panthers lose at the Pete.

#4. Ohio State plays Youngstown State. It will be the upset of the year if tOSU loses to the defending last place Horizon team.

#5. UCLA plays Georgia Tech for the Championship of the EA Sports Tournament in Maui. This one is iffy. If UCLA loses, they'll drop, but perhaps only a spot or two. Georgia Tech has some respect--they're already ranked #19--and they just beat Memphis.

#6. LSU hosts Wichita State. If LSU loses--a distinct possiblity--they'll drop out of the top 10 and MU will move ahead of them.

#7 Wisconsin plays at Missouri State. Missouri State is a tough team. Both teams recently played Delaware State. Missouri State won by 23. Wisconsin by 12. This is no gimme for the Badgers. If UW-Madison loses, MU moves ahead.

#8 Alabama hosts Texas Southern. If Texas Southern wins, it would be the 2nd biggest upset of the year (see tOSU/YSU matchup above).

#9 Duke already lost.

#10 Kansas plays #1 Florida (See Above).

Of course, the polls have been known to do strange things--attempting a rational analysis to an oftentimes irrational system should be for fun and discussion only.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Marquette Topples Duke

Marquette beat the Duke Blue Devils tonight in Kansas City to earn the 2006 CBE Classic Championship. With the 73-62 victory Marquette moved to 6-0 on the young season, while Duke fell to 4-1.

Dominic James led MU's relentless attack tonight, tallying 25 points and seven assists. James dominiated the second half, keying MU's decisive run by scoring 11 of the team's 12 points midway through the final stanza.

Jerel McNeal was stellar as well with 17 points to go along with five steals. Duke simply had no answer for the aggressiveness and quickness of Marquette's backcourt, as Paulus and company were completely overmatched on both ends of the floor.

On the baseline, Ousmane Barro continued his effective play with eight points and six rebounds. Barro's improvement from last season is apparent -- the 6'10" junior consistently finished strong in traffic and remains active defensively. In addition, Dan Fitzgerald's inspired play was critical tonight. After drawing two quick fouls in the first half, the 6'9" junior proved to be a tough match for the Blue Devils as he tallied eight points and five rebounds (including three ORBs) -- numbers that belie his effectiveness.

Marquette's defensive scheme held the Blue Devils to just 37% shooting, and rendered Scheyer, Henderson and Paulus ineffective for most of the evening.

Offensively, MU was able to drive to the basket effectively throughout the contest. The Golden Eagles once again moved the ball crisply on offense while wreaking havoc defensively -- a trend that Marquette fans would like to see continue.

Congrats to Tom Crean's crew!

Rosiak puts James in the spotlight in this article about the win.

Here is the AP article from ESPN.com -- their lead story this morning.

Box Score.

Here is the GoMarquette.com story on MU's title.

Paul Day at the Marquette Tribune does a nice job on the big win as well.

Coach Kommercial....it's Duke time

Even if you have seen it 100 times.....it's worth checking out again...make sure your speakers aren't on too loud.

The Coach Kommercial with Duke's Coach K

Marquette, Duke Set to Battle in Kansas City

Dick Vitale is sure to be apoplectic tonight when his beloved Duke Blue Devils take on the Marquette Golden Eagles in the championship game of the CBE Classic. Tipoff is schedule for 9pm CDT on ESPN.

Vitale, who spent most of his time analyzing Bob Knight, Rick Pitino, and even the unloveable Sonny Vaccaro last night, won't deviate from the script this evening. Get ready for a command performance from Dukie V tonight.

Maybe Tom Crean's Marquette Golden Eagles can broaden Vitale's view of the college basketball landscape tonight.

Marquette rolls into the CBE finals with a record of 5-0. After frustrating outings against Hillsdale and Idaho State, Crean's squad has scored at least 87 points in each of their last three outings. Led by James, Matthews and McNeal the Golden Eagles' offense is producing open looks and transition baskets routinely, much of it keyed by a smothering, aggressive defense.

Duke is led by lottery-pick-waiting-to-happen Josh McRoberts, and the primary object of Dick Vitale's affection, point guard Greg Paulus. However, the emergence of junior DeMarcus Nelson is the most encouraging development in Durham this year. The oft-injured junior is off to a fast start this season, and led the Blue Devils with 23 points in last night's win over Air Force.

Here are a few game previews:

The Associated Press previews the action right here.

One of Tom Keegan's minions offers this preview in the Lawrence Journal-World.

DraftExpress offers a quick preview.

Monday, November 20, 2006

MU Blasts Texas Tech

Stifling defense and terrific ball movement keyed Marquette's 87-72 win over Texas Tech tonight in the CBE Classic.

Marquette (4-0) will play the Duke Blue Devils in the championship game on Tuesday night in Kansas City. Duke grounded Air Force tonight, 71-56. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 9pm CST.

Marquette never trailed tonight, building a 46-31 lead at the half. The key sequence in the game happened in the opening half when the Red Raiders pared MU's 11-point lead to just six with 5:30 to play. MU responded with a clutch 'three' from Dan Fitzgerald followed by back-to-back dunks from Wesley Matthews, the latter ended as a three-point-play the hard way, to extend the lead back to 14 points, 37-23.

Marquette's backcourt was spectacular in the victory. Matthews keyed the MU attack, pouring in 20 points and handing out six assists. Jerel McNeal played his best game of the young season with 19 points on nearly 50% shooting from the field, while handing out seven assists, grabbing seven boards and making three steals. McNeal's defensive intensity and ability to find the open man on offense were notable tonight.

Dominic James tossed in 16 points, and freshman David Cubillan turned in his third-consecutive impressive performance with 11 points and five rebounds. Ousmane Barro had seven points (all in the first half) and seven rebounds.

Marquette's aggressiveness paid off on both ends of the court. The Golden Eagles shot an impressive 55% from the field, while out-rebounding Texas Tech by 39-25.


Here's one for Jerry Wainwright...Skip Myslenski of the Chicago Tribune made the trip to KC and filed this report- part game recap, part assesment of the MU squad.

The guys at MUScoop have a bunch of great photos here.

Here's a first-person recap of the game from a poster at MUScoop.

Box Score

AP Story

Journal-Sentinel story

ESPNU...home of many MU broadcasts

A little shameless plug. Marquette is on ESPNU tonight and potentially tomorrow night. In addition, Marquette and the Big East will be on ESPNU considerably over the next 6 years with the new contract. DIRECTV and DISH have ESPNU. Most cable systems do not. Call your cable operator or get a dish so you can watch MU play.

Marquette Takes on TexasTech

Marquette will take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Monday night in Kansas City in the semifinals of the CBE Classic. The game will feature two of the nation's best guards -- MU's Dominic James and Tech's dynamic Jarrius Jackson. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30pm CST on ESPNU.

The Golden Eagles (4-0) advanced to the CBE semifinals after victories over Idaho State and Detroit at the Bradley Center last week. Marquette comes into the game on a roll -- the Golden Eagles put up 182 points in their last two games, shooting the ball exceptionally well while playing suffocating defense against a pair of lesser opponents. Now its time to see where this team really stands.

Marquette is paced by its exceptional backcourt of James, McNeal and Matthews.......and now the steady, surprising freshman David Cubillan as well.

The Red Raiders (4-0) punched their ticket last weeek with victories over Gardner-Webb and UALR in Lubbock. Most recently, Bob Knight's squad squeaked out an unxpectedly close win over North Dakota State, 85-81, on Friday night.

To get us ready for this 'final four' tilt, we're pleased to welcome Jeff Walker of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal to Cracked Sidewalks. Jeff is the Red Raiders' beat reporter and was good enough to share his perspectives on Tech -- just in time for Monday night's matchup. Jeff, thanks very much.........take it away!

CS: Texas Tech is led by its own 'Triple Threat' of Jackson, Zeno and Burgess. Can you break down their games for us?
Walker: Jay Jackson is the leading returning scorer in the Big 12 Conference and he hasn’t slowed down in Texas Tech’s first four games. After averaging 20.3 points per game last season, Jackson is averaging 24 points per game through four games. He can drive to the basket and float a tear-dropper in the bucket, or he can draw fouls. He’s already been to the line 27 times and made 25 (93 percent). Zeno is a southpaw that is athletic and drives to the basket. He’s a better driver than shooter, but he can also rebound and pass. Burgess may be the quickest and most athletic player on the team. He needs work on his outside jumper, but he’s averaging 5.8 rebounds per game as a guard. He was named the JUCO Player of the Year last year.

CS: Jackson is off to a fast start, averaging more thant 20ppg again this season. Is he the best player in the Big 12?
Walker: Jackson was named to the conference’s all-Big 12 First Team and appears to be living up to the billing. To say he’s the best in the conference is a subjective opinion, but he’d be in every coach’s starting lineup.

CS: After a disappointing 15-17 campaign last season, do you expect the Red Raiders to rebound and finish in the upper echelon of the Big 12 in 2006-2007?
Walker: Where Texas Tech finishes will depend on a lot of things, some in their control and some out of their control. The Red Raiders have the most depth they’ve had in Bob Knight’s six seasons in Lubbock, so depending on how quickly the young faces develop will determine where Tech finishes. Out of their control will be how some of the maturation and new coaching changes affect the other schools. Texas is young, Baylor is up-and-coming, and Kansas State has Bob Huggins. Tech could finish anywhere from third to seventh.

CS: What types of teams give the Red Raiders the most trouble?
Walker: Tech has never been very good at rebounding throughout most of Knight’s tenure in Lubbock. Part of that may be because the Red Raiders shoot pretty well, so they have fewer chances at offensive rebounds. Tech, though, has been outrebounded in all four games this season.

CS: What types of teams to they matchup best against?
Walker: Knight’s motion offense is good at breaking down teams that play man-to-man defense. Once the Red Raiders reach conference play, many teams try to mix in heavy zone defenses.

CS: Which player on the Texas Tech team will surprise people the most this season?
Walker: Tech has a 7-footer from Bosnia named Esmir Rizvic. He still needs to develop some, but he’s the first 7-footer at Tech in two decades and has shown signs of solid play.

CS: Coach Knight is closing in on the all-time wins record. How is the team responding to the national spotlight?
Walker: The team hasn’t talked about it much. With Knight, that should be expected. It’s a cliché, but they focus on the next game. They are aware of the record and that they are a part of history, but they haven’t seemed to let it bother them.

In addition to completing this Q/A with us, Jeff mentioned that the Avalanche-Journal is preparing a special section that will run when Bob Knight sets a new standard for victories later this season. We'll be sure to link to that here when it runs.

In addition, here's the Associated Press preview of Monday night's tilt between the Red Raiders and the Golden Eagles.

CSTV previews the game on the Texas Tech website here.

Here's MUScoop's pre-game information header.

Here's the Scout.com preview from Marquette Hoops.

Todd Rosiak focuses on Bob Knight in his preview this morning.

The Kansas City Star looks at the CBE final four here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

MU cruises to a 95-62 win over EMU

The big question before today's matchup with Eastern Michigan was which Marquette team would show up. Would it be the offensively challenged team that barely survived matchups against Hillsdale and Idaho State? Or would it be the team that turned on the offensive jets and showed Detroit no Mercy?

For about five minutes on Saturday, it sure seemed like it would be the former. Eastern Michigan ran off to a 6-0 lead, while Marquette missed its first four shots from the floor. Jerel McNeal finally got MU in the game, and MU was off the the races.

Despite only playing offense for 35 minutes, MU managed to put up 95 points, and cruised to a 95-62 victory.

Dominic James led five Marquette players in double figures, with 17 points--16 in the 2nd half. He also led the team with 6 assists. Jerel McNeal and Lazar Hayward had 8 boards apiece, and Trend Blackledge pulled down 7.

Devon Dumes of EMU led the Eagles with 16 points. Nobody else cracked double figures.

The bench was the story of the game for MU. Trend, Fitz, David Cubillan, Dwight Burke and Lazar Hayward put up an amazing 46 points. Before the game, MU Coach Tom Crean commented that he wanted to see contribution for a rotation that went 10 deep. The team responded.

Two concerns--first, obviously, was the slow start, wich MU eventually overame easily. Second is the poor rebounding performance, with MU trailing EMU 18-13 at the half.

Next up for MU: Texas Tech coached by HOF coach Bob Knight. MU was on the short end of a double overtime matchup the last time MU faced Knight, falling to the Indiana Hoosiers in a 19831985 NIT game in Bloomington.

Tom Crean made the following points in the post-game radio interview:
 Happy the team played solid 30 minutes—not the first five or the last five minutes. Team scored 95 points in about 30 minutes.
 Couple of times we traded baskets, but held them to 33% overall, 38% from the three.
 Considering how early they were in the bonus, holding EMU to 20 FTs attempted not too bad.
 We were outrebounded by 8 in 2nd half—Crean not happy. He was emphatic on where we stood—shouldn’t have been down five. Not rebounding offensively the way the team should.
 Hayward has a feel around the rim. Getting his legs. Needs defense, ball handling to get more minutes. Proud of how he’s competing—getting better.
 Burke solid—needs to be in the rotation but has to earn it.
 Air Force incredible how well they played.
 Duke is Duke—athletes, skill, talent energy.
 TT quickest team we’ll face all year—five guys who can play the wings
 We might see 800 to 900 screens against TT.
 Blocks & Steals good performance. 38 deflection by halftime, but gambled too much today. Not containing the dribble and ball-side penetration.
 Need to get a lot better at transition defense and communication in full court.
 Excellent job defending EMU’s best player.
 Crean’s first ever college game was EMU/CMU.
 Team will go to reception to see Coach Wooden, Larry Brown, Dean Smith, Oscar Robertson, etc.
 Excited about this—guys will never forget. Then have a chance to play against excellent basketball

Here is the GoMarquette.com recap.

Here is the AP recap of the win.

MUScoop has a group of terrific photos from MU's romp at the Bradley Center.

Todd Rosiak reports here.

And here is the UPI recap.

Marquette Hosts Eastern Michigan

The Marquette Golden Eagles, fresh off of a dominating victory over Detroit, will look to build on its 3-0 record when they host the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center. Tipoff is set for 1pm CST.

EMU stands at 1-2 in this young season. The Eagles were clipped in Ann Arbor by Michigan 80-51 on Sunday night. Coach Charles Ramsey, an EMU alum, is looking to revive a once strong mid-major program. The Eagles are coming off of a 7-21 season.

EMU is led by sophomore point guard Carlos Medlock, the reigning MAC player of the week. Medlock, a starter as a freshman, averages nearly 15 points and 4 assists per game for the Eagles. Medlock struggles with turnovers -- he committed a whopping 116 last season and has turned it over 11 times in three games so far this season.

Jesse Bunkley, a 6'4" junior, is chipping in 10 points per game in the early going and is shooting a strong 43% from three-point range. A guard-oriented team, EMU has been out-rebounded in each of their first three games.

Former Marquette Golden Eagle James Matthews is listed on the EMU roster, but has yet to play this season. EMU's student newspaper previews the Eagles 06-07 campaign in this article.

Marquette counters with its Triple Threat and the emergence of three newcomers; Lazar Hayward, David Cubillan and Trend Blackledge -- each delivered their best performance of the young season earlier this week in the win over Detroit.

Cubillan has been a revelation in the early going. The lightly-recruited freshman has proven to be strong with the basketball and is a terrific on-the-ball defender. Cubillan has committed only two turnovers in some 57 minutes of action, while shooting 55% from the field. His emergence as an effective combo guard adds another dimension to the Marquette attack. Coach Tom Crean seems committed to easing the point guard burden on Dominic James, and while Wesley Matthews has logged time at the point it looks like Cubillan can play that role as well.

MU enters the game sans the services of 7'0" senior Mike Kinsella, out with a stress fracture in his foot. Thank goodness Ousmane Barro is off to a fast start this season.

The big question for Marquette fans going into tonight's game is -- which team will show up? Marquette delivered lackluster performances in its first two outings of the season before dialing it up against Detroit. Will the team build on the win, or slip back a bit -- perhaps looking ahead to Monday's matchup with Texas Tech in the semifinals of the CBE Classic?

We'll find out soon enough.

Check out the MUScoop preview header here for more information on this game.

Here's the GoMarquette.com preview.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Center Mike Kinsella out 6-8 weeks with stress fracture

If Mike Kinsella didn't have bad luck he would have none at all. The often injured center for Marquette has again been plagued by the injury bug. A stress fracture in his left foot is the culprit this time around.

"The early look is 6 to 8 weeks. We're hoping he's back by Big East time," said coach Tom Crean early Friday evening. "It was a different foot. It was just one of those things. Fortunately with our training staff and doctors, they caught it and handled it right away and we got the read on it this morning."
Get well Mike!!

More from Todd Rosiak

An "historic time" for college hoops

This Sunday marks the inaugural class inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The inaugural class is made up of Dean Smith, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Wooden and the family of basketball founder Dr. James Naismith. The hall will be located in Kansas City, MO which is also home of the CBE Classic championships which Marquette will participate in starting Monday.

Coach Crean described the new opening of the hall as an "historic time" for college basketball.
"It's going to be an honor being there when the initial class goes into the Hall of Fame," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, a past president of the NABC.

The hall will not compete with the Naismith Hall of Fame, but is intended to recognize the great college basketball players and coaches through history. The example of Ralph Sampson was used to portray a fantastic college player that was unable to duplicate that play at the professional level. He is an ideal candidate for this Hall of Fame.

The complete FOX Sports article is here

Big East Preview with Kevin McNamara

We have a special edition of Cracked Sidewalks today -- one we're especially excited to publish.

Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, one of the Big East's most respected beat reporters, was kind enough to preview the 2006-2007 season for the readers of Cracked Sidewalks.

Kevin covers the Providence Friars, the pride of the Ocean State, and maintains a college basketball blog as well. Kevin has covered the Big East for nearly two decades. You'll find his blog here, as well as on the right nav bar of our site. In addition, take a look at Kevin's take on the nation's best players and teams here.

So -- on with the expert Q&A/preview of the 2006-2007 Big East season with Kevin McNamara:

CS: Kevin, how do you see the Big East unfolding this season?
McNamara: I think the popular theme of the Big East taking a step backwards this season could be off a bit. I agree that the conference won’t have the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country like last year but I see another 8-10 teams on the bubble in March. That’s deep and that’s good for the fans. One thing to ask is which conference is good? The ACC’s third best team, Boston College, just lost to Vermont (although they played without C Sean Williams). Texas may be the third best team in the Big 12 and they have a team of freshmen. The Big 10, the PAC 10, just who is loaded this year? No one, it seems to me.

CS: Who will be the surprise team in the Big East this season? Biggest disappointment?
McNamara: Big surprises will be Syracuse and maybe Louisville. If they get healthy (Padgett and Jenkins are vital), the Cards can be a top 15 or so team. Rick Pitino does not take losing lightly and he didn’t enjoy last season at all. As for the ‘Cuse, I find it odd that some people can pick Marquette and UConn over Syracuse, which has four starters back and adds Paul Harris. Jim Boeheim will win 20-25 games again.

Disappointment? I have my doubts about a few teams. UConn is so very young that I wonder if Jim Calhoun can keep everyone positive and happy into February. He’s a great coach, so anything’s possible but too many freshmen is never a good thing.

I never did get the fascination with DePaul. Throw out their thrashing of Syracuse (a fluke?) and did the Demons look very good against anyone else last year? They need to prove it before you get excited. Also, sorry to Warrior (the rightful nickname) fans but I’m not sure how good
Marquette is. I love Dominic James, who I picked for 1st team All-America, but everyone else needs to keep progressing at a good rate to see that team in the top 10-15 in the nation. Tom Crean, however, could get that done but I see this group as being one year away as long as James sticks around.

CS: Which coaches are on the hot seat?
McNamara: Several coaches will be on the so-called `hot seat’ every year in this league, mainly because of the Big East Tournament set up. Quite simply, if you miss New York, you’re in trouble. This year, coaches who need to avoid that include Mike Brey, Tim Welsh and Norm Roberts. I feel for Rob McCullum at South Florida. Who knows when he DOES make New York.

CS: What are your impressions of the Marquette program?
McNamara: Unfortunately, I did not travel to Marquette last season because of a family issue. From everything I hear, I think Marquette is as well-positioned as any non-football school in the Big East. The reasons are the coach, Tom Crean, who is talented and aggressive; a great arena and practice facility; a rabid fan following; Dwayne Wade, the ultimate, modern-day recruiting tool.

CS: With the success of the Big East football teams this year, not to mention the Big East basketball prowess, has the conference moved beyond the 'inevitable breakup' scenarios?
McNamara: I would say yes but I’ve also learned in 18 years covering the league that you never say never. It certainly won’t break up in four more years, as was first predicted. The football success, as long as it continues, does solve the football schools’ problem of security within the BCS. But just as important is the on-court success of the basketball schools like Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova. If St. John’s, Providence, Seton Hall and DePaul come through, that’ll only make the group more valuable and less likely to be dismissed by the footballers.

CS: Looking back to last season, was there anything about the dynamics of the 16 team league that surprised you?
McNamara: Although the coaches certainly had a lot to say about it, the intensity of games at the lower end of the league to get to New York certainly caught me by surprise. Not going to a conference tournament is the only thing I really do not like about the league. It’s wrong but also seems unavoidable. Quite simply, it will get a coach fired nearly every season and makes the Big East and the Ivy League the only leagues in the country where kids can’t enjoy a small taste of March’s Madness.

CS: Historically, the Big East has been a physical conference, dominated by teams with deep frontlines. Are guard-oriented programs like Villanova, Marquette, and now DePaul the wave of the future, or will frontcourt-dominated teams continue to set the pace?
McNamara: College basketball is a guard’s game, especially with the elite big men not sticking around college very long. I think you can’t be too guard-oriented, although a Villanova with 3 NBA players is an exception. I think this Marquette team doesn’t have that type of guard talent. They’ll need solid big man play from Ousmane Barro and Jamil Lott to win an NCAA Tourney game. And DePaul? Their guards don’t belong in this conversation. Just ask Northwestern.

Kevin, thanks very much for your time and expertise. We'll follow your coverage of college basketball all season long!

*image credit: Providence Journal online

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's a jersey thang...just ask Kentucky, Duke, Kansas

There is a logical answer why schools retire jerseys and not numbers. There simply aren't enough numbers to go around. There are a total of 37 usable numbers in the college basketball game due to the rules of the game. A number cannot exceed 5 on the uniform. Therefore the available numbers are 0, 00, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55.

That's it, no more. The NBA allows any number from 0 to 99, but not the NCAA.

As a result, many schools retire jerseys and not numbers. There are obviously exceptions where schools truly retire a number never to be used again. However, at schools with a longstanding tradition and winning ways, the number of numbers to be honored over the years would make it impossible to field a team if numbers were truly retired.

Case in point, Kentucky. The Wildcats have retired the jerseys of 36 players. As we mentioned above, there are only 37 usable numbers so if Kentucky had truly retired 36 numbers there would be only one number left to be used.

Kansas has retired 19 jersey numbers. Their criteria for retirement is as follows: "Originally, one must have been a four-time All-America or MVP of the NCAA Tournament but now All-Americans and Academic Al-Americans of the year are eligible

*Note: 9 jerseys have been retired since criteria changed in 2002-03 season"

North Carolina has retired both jerseys and numbers....30 of them to date. A number retirement is the higher honor. Criteria for the Tarheels: "For a number to be retired the player must have been a National Player of the year; for a jersey to be honored a player must have been an All-American, the MVP of a national championshop team or one of "top 10 players in the country"

Duke retires jerseys and numbers also...11 of them so far. They believe in retiring the jersey while the player is still active in their Senior year.

UCLA retires jerseys...only 7 to date. Criteria for a Bruin retirement is "Must be a three-time All-American, a National Player of the Year or a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame."

The list goes on and on....Oklahoma, Florida State, etc.

All that being said, do I expect a UCLA player to wear Kareem's #33 anytime soon? No. That is probably where George Thompson is coming from. There are retired jerseys and then there are RETIRED JERSEYS. I'm sure he felt slighted and MU should have been more aware of the situation. It seems a simple phone call to Cords or Crean would have worked this out very easily without taking the story to Garry Howard and Bob Wolfley (when was the last decade that Wolfley...a MU alum...had a front page story) was unnecessary and petty quite frankly. George could have grown some cashews, too....or at least some common sense. Does he really think someone at MU intentionally did this? I would hope not. An obvious mistake that a simple phone call from George to Cords could have solved the entire thing.

BTW, this just keeps getting better -- now the Associated Press has picked up on the numbers game.

Fun With Numbers

Looks like MU has some fences to mend with its all-time leading scorer, George Thompson. Yesterday, Thompson decided to resolve an issue with MU via the media rather than simply picking up the phone and dialing the institution he's been affiliated with for some 40 years. Bob Wolfley penned a blistering account of the gaffe in today's paper.

Thompson learned Monday that his number had been unretired from a friend - and this is the part that irks him - who attended the University of Wisconsin. The guy was teasing Thompson about it.

"What's this about your number being unretired?" the friend asked, Thompson told a reporter who called about the issue. "I said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'Well, they have a freshman wearing number 24. I thought once they retired a number, it was retired.' "

GT is clearly pissed off.

"It's unfortunate that no one down there, whoever made the decision, had the balls to call me and at least tell me they were doing it," Thompson said.

Hey George, what's unfortunate is that you took this issue to the media first. Nothing like airing dirty laundry, eh? As you point out in the article, you've been affiliated with MU for decades and have known Cords and Crean for a long period of time. Why throw your Alma Mater under the bus?

GT, you should have run a smarter play here.

Regardless, Bill Cords, ever the team player, came to the rescue

"Oh, geez," Cords said when told of Thompson's reaction. "No one would ever, ever here in this program or at this university would ever do anything to (offend him). We revere George Thompson. . . . Nobody wants to do anything to make anybody feel badly."

Perhaps as a result, Cords called later Wednesday to reveal that starting with the Golden Eagles' next game Saturday against Eastern Michigan, Hayward would wear No. 32.

What a most unpleasant misunderstanding. Bill Cords, we're gonna miss ya. GT, here's a URL with a list of phone numbers and contact information for the MU athletic department.

Lazar Hayward, enjoy jersey #32.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Floored (A must read for college hoops fans)

I read this article last week in the Los Angeles Times and thought it might be something others would enjoy. It's worth 5 minutes of your time as Bill Plaschke writes about USC's new basketball court and the unlikely name that it bears...courtesy of an anonymous donor.

The anonymous donor is believed to be on the Forbes 100 list and worth more than $3 billion....not bad if you can get that kind of scratch.

Check out this story, quite a tribute.

Marquette Announces 2007 Recruiting Class

Scott Christopherson, Trevor Mbakwe, Patrick Hazel and Damian Saunders......congratulations and welcome to Marquette University.

Read all about it here at GoMarquette.

Here's a link to the MarquetteHoops coverage.

Now the big question....who is not coming back next year? With all four recruits signing their Letters of Intent, that puts Marquette one over the scholarship limit for next season. It's anyone's guess. Does DJ go pro? Does a player transfer? Is someone graduating early?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

That's More Like It: MU buries the Titans

Just hours removed from an underwhelming effort against Idaho State, the Marquette Golden Eagles blitzed the Detroit Titans tonight, racing to a 87-45 victory in the second round of the CBE Classic. MU shot a blistering 55% from the field tonight, including 10-19 from 3-point territory -- a far cry from last night's mindless scattershooting.

Marquette advances to the CBE final four in Kansas City where they'll look to deliver some chin music to Bob Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders on November 20. Texas Tech coasted to an easy win over Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday night.

Nursing an 11-8 lead five minutes into the contest, MU ripped off an 11-1 run to open up a 22-9 advantage. MU ran away and hid from there, heading into the half with a commanding 46-22 lead. Wesley Matthews and Dominic James keyed the blowout, each delivering eleven first half points.

Marquette's defensive intensity was impressive; 20 of MU's first 46 points came off of Detroit turnovers. The second half was more of the same as the Titans had no answers for the Golden Eagles. For the game, Marquette forced 27 Detroit turnovers while limiting the Titans to just eight assists. Jerel McNeal keyed MU's suffocating defense, holding the Titans' Brandon Cotton to just seven shot attempts.

When it was over James led MU with 20 points and five assists, while Wesley Matthews tallied 15 points and eight boards. Two freshmen had breakout performances tonight -- Lazar Hayward with 14 points and David Cubillan with 10 points. Ousmane Barro played well again, logging a team-high 30 minutes while contributing 8 points, 6 rebounds and three blocked shots (and equally important -- no foul trouble once again).

This game was a laugher -- exactly what this young, developing team needed. Marquette (3-0) will host Eastern Michigan at the Bradley Center on November 18. The EMU game is not part of the CBE Classic. MU rejoins the CBE tournament in Kansas City on November 20.


Here is the GoMarquette official box score.

Here is the updated AP article about the game via GoMarquette.com.

Here is Todd Rosiak's recap, 'Course Reversed'.

Mike Bennett of the Palladium-Item offers this article.

John Dodds' Marquette Hoops site has this recap.

MUScoop has a bunch of great photos from last night's game.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I just got back from the Marquette/Idaho State tilt. The previous blog entry more than adequately described how Marquette stunk up the Bradley Center with brick after brick, and I don't need to belabour that point.

What I do want to comment on is an aspect of crowd behavior tonight. Three occasions, after frustrating empty trips down the court, the Bradley Center faithful booed. It wasn't Boooooarro, or Boooooourke to cheer on Ooze or Dwight. It was honest to goodness jeering -- something I haven't heard in years.

While you might be frustrated with these kids' performance, there is NO PLACE for booing college athletes on their own home court. They're not screwing around on the court, they're playing their guts out, and if they weren't, you know Coach Crean would send them to the end of the bench, or hell, back to take an early shower.

Just saying. There's no crying in baseball, no booing at the Bradley Center. Gotta support the team.

For the non-booers out there, here are some action shots from the game .. I admit, there's a good chance none of these shots fell.

Marquette wins in Overtime...that's right...OVERTIME

A performance that reeked of a stench that could not be found since watching Ric Cobb's UWM Panthers, Tom Crean's squad nearly shot their way out of the CBE Classic on opening night. MU somehow hung on to win 59-56 over lowly Idaho State despite shooting 29.7% from the floor and 51.6% from the line (16-31). Amazingly, MU hauled in 21 offensive rebounds and forced 24 turnovers yet still nearly lost the game on its home court.

What is most troubling is that the many of the same difficulties MU had with Hillsdale played out again in this clunker against Idaho State. A pattern is developing, and that pattern is ugly early on. This team cannot shoot from the field or the chartity stripe --- it misses Steve Novak dearly right now.

At this early juncture nobody has filled the void for MU, not even the so-called Triple Threat. In tonight's victory McNeal, Matthews and James shot a combined 13-43 from the field which included an anemic 4-19 from beyond the arc. The trio also struggled from the free throw line, making only 7 of 17 attempts.

To suggest this team is worthy of a top 20 ranking flies in the face of reality. That being said, this squad is led by three sophomores, has a handful of new contributors and is very young....and it shows more than anybody expected. Still, there's something to be said for gutting out a win under these circumstances.

In tonight's game, MU jumped out to an early lead and appeared on their way to an easy victory. That is until Idaho State decided to play zone, testing the Golden Eagles' outside shooting. To put it mildly, the zone worked and based on the results, MU will see zone the rest of the season. Idaho State clawed back to tie the game at halftime, 28-28.

In the second half the Bengals led much of the way with MU trailing by as many as eight points at one juncture, 40-32. Tom Crean finally went to a pressing defense which put the Bengals on their heels and allowed to tie the game at 40-40.

Marquette had a chance to win in regulation trailing 53-52 when Jerel McNeal was fouled with 3.5 seconds left in the contest. He was also cut on the play and had to be removed from the game due to blood on his jersey. Dan Fitzgerald, enter stage left. Fitzgerald missed the first but nailed the second freebie to send the game into overtime.

In the OT period both teams couldn't buy a basket other than a Dominic James three-pointer to start the extra period. A Bengals three-pointer tied the game until Ousmane Barro was fouled with 30 seconds to play. Barro, an unlikely candidate, actually made both free throw attempts....a chore that apparently was next to impossible for his teammates this evening. Barro also corraled 10 rebounds for the Golden Eagles in 31 minutes of foul trouble-free action.

Despite struggling mightily in back to back outings, MU is now 2-0 on the season. No blood drawn, but the gauntlet is just beginning.

MU will play Detroit tomorrow night for the right to advance to the CBE Final Four in Kansas City. Detroit defeated Maine tonight 57-50. Former Golden Eagle Brandon Bell will suit up for the Titans, the first time he's faced his former team and coach.

We will link stories to this article as they become available later tonight. Time to exhale, have a beer or kick your dog....whichever you prefer.

Media Recap Updated

Here's the updated AP story which includes a few player quotes.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has these observations

Here is the box score. Read it at your own peril.

Zoning Up Marquette article on Scout.com

GoMarquette.com reports on the game as well.

Mike Bennett of the Palladium-Item recaps the tilt this morning.


The win against Idaho State was our 1350th all-time.

Marquette will play Detroit tonight for the 88th time. Marquette holds a 60-27 lead over them in the series.

The only schools MU has played more than Detroit have been DePaul, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

Marquette loses to Florida for National Title

Well, at least according to the New York Post. Nice to dream in November. Expectations are insane for this team right now, way too high in my opinion. I think we will struggle early and hopefully come on, but I actually see us not finishing in the top 5 in the Big East.

Click here for the full page version

Good or bad, Big East never bigger than now

From the PhillyBurbs.com website, an interesting look at the Big East with their new found football powers and the impact on the small Catholic school members.

Nevertheless, the pressure on the non-football schools and their coaches — on Villanova coach Jay Wright and Marquette's Tom Crean and Seton Hall's new hire, Bobby Gonzalez — is still substantial. For this to work, they have to maintain the competitive balance they achieved last season. Of those eight Big East teams in the NCAAs, four were from I-A football schools, but four weren't.

“If that balance ever got out of whack,” the AD said, “then the football schools might say, "We're carrying the whole load here.' “

Complete article here by Mike Sieleski

CBE Classic tonight with MU vs Idaho State

Tom Crean's Golden Eagles take on the Idaho State Bengals tonight in the first round of the CBE Classic. The winner will take on the winner of the Detroit vs Maine game also being played at the Bradley Center this evening.

Marquette will look to eliminate many of the mistakes made Friday night against Hillsdale College in Marquette's season opener.

Journal Sentinel writer Todd Rosiak offers this analysis of the upcoming game against Idaho State.

Marquette Hoops has a preview also of Monday's game including the probable starters for the three teams joining Marquette in this tournament.

Here are the game notes from the Idaho State athletics home page. Joe O'Brien will coach his first regular season game at the helm for the Bengals tonight.

For more information on the CBE Classic, formerly the Guardian's Classic, click here.

The SportsNetwork also adds their two cents into tonight's matchup.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Classy move by Tom Crean

TC talks up Dameon Mason in an article from the Baton Rouge Advocate. Classy move by TC. Looks like the parting of ways benefitted all concerned here.

“I think LSU fans will see a young man who got better while he was here by developing a great work ethic and always playing hard,” Crean said. “The thing I never had to wonder about with Dameon is that he wants to win very badly and hell work as hard as he can to help his team do that. The maturity he’s gained from sitting out is something that will give him an even stronger understanding of what he can do.”

Friday, November 10, 2006

Marquette earns 1st victory of season .... unimpressively

Hillsdale College is known as one of the most conservative schools in the country and is ranked #1 in the nation by the Princeton Review's The Best 361 Colleges 2007 listing of colleges where students are "most nostalgic for Ronald Reagan". Of course that doesn't translate particularly well to the hardwood as the Gipper was known more for his football tie-ins then anything associated with hoops. You would expect this right leaning school might have been more concerned with the election outcomes from Tuesday then pretending to have any chance tonight against a nationally ranked squad. Think again.

Someone forgot to tell the Chargers that they had no shot in this basketball game as they led Marquette 36-32 at halftime and stayed closed until about the 6 minute mark in the game. The 16th ranked MU Golden Eagles ultimately prevailed 76-66 in a game that was surprisingly close.

Tom Crean clearly could not have been pleased.

"One game into the regular season, and we've already been taught how we have to play," Marquette coach Tom Crean said.
Pre-season All-American guard Dominic James struggled with his shot all game long, making only 3 of 15. The big three (James, McNeal, Matthews) combined went only 11 of 42 for a chilly 26.1% shooting touch. McNeal did finish game-high with 19 points on 7-22 shooting. McNeal also had a team-high five turnovers.

On the bright side, freshmen Lazar Hayward (6 pts, 5 rpg in 16 minutes) and David Cubillan (5 pts, 2 rebounds, one assist and 0 turnovers in 19 minutes) played well in their first regular season action.

Next up for Marquette are the Idaho State Bengals on Monday night as the CBE Classic at the Bradley Center.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Story

GoMarquette.com recap

The Palladium-Item recap

"Controlled Chaotic Fear" at IrishEyes.com

Sports Network Recap

AP Story

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Associated Press preview (and more): Marquette - Hillsdale

Found in the Tuscaloosa News of all places -- but its a terrific preview especially consdering the lousy game we're likely to see. Tonight, Tom Crean's Marquette club will take on Hillsdale on Friday at the Bradley Center as the Warriors open the much-anticipated 2006-2007 season. With one of the best backcourts in the nation, a decided home court advantage, and a remarkably athletic roster, Marquette figures to be among the Big East and the nation's best this season. Time to play ball (and for fans going to the game tonight -- time for a schedule magnet as well)

"We can do amazing stuff when we're all together,'' Matthews said of last year's tournament appearance. ``We were kind of new to the whole experience, only having three seniors who'd been to the NCAA tournament, so it was kind of a culture shock."

In addition, GoMarquette.com previews Friday's tilt here. Tom Crean is looking for a different perspective from this year's squad:
"I think our whole focus in the off-season and preseason has been getting into the season. Our team can't play with a hunted mentality. They have to play with a hunter's mentality..........I don't think we are the typed of team that has talent and toughness from top to bottom yet where they can just come out and play through a bunch of mistakes in games. We are still really young and we don't have years of experience to fall back on. We have to have an incredible mentality in every game."
The Palladium-Item in Richmond, Indiana previews the MU season here. A nice job by Mike Bennett, who makes sure that Richmond's favorite son remains top of mind at home.

And the guys at MUScoop have a nice feature on their site -- click here to see a preview section that is full of links and resources.

Crean comments on UCONN's 9 new players

"It can't just come from Coach Calhoun," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "No matter how many rings he's won, no matter what that Hall of Fame trophy looks like, it's got to come from more than the head coach and assistant coaches. It's got to come from the players. I've never been around having nine new players, but I've been around having a whole new lineup, and that's what happens."

Complete article in the Hartford Courant

Welcome class of 2007...recruits sign letters

Scott Christopherson signed his letter of intent to play at Marquette earlier today. A local television station captured the event. Scott verbally committed to play at Marquette two years ago and signed on the bottom line this afternoon. Here's the LaCrosse Tribune's coverage of Scott's decision.

In addition, the Waterbury paper confirms Damian Saunders' commitment to Marquette in today's editon.

Wisconsin Hoops editor Mark Miller stated that Trevor Mbakwe was sick today and unable to sign his Letter or Intent, but will do so later this week.

That means MU needs only to receive LOIs from Damian Saunders and Patrick Hazel to complete the class. If all four sign and come to Marquette, it will put Crean's club one scholarship over the maximum allowed. This would mean either someone is leaving the program next year (James to the NBA, transfer, etc) or perhaps one of the four may not sign.

Hat Tip to Rocky Warrior on MUScoop

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Individual Picks: The Season Game-by-Game

As you saw earlier this week, the collective Cracked Sidewalks team pegged MU as the third-best team in the Big East in our pre-season predictions. None of us would argue that Pitt and Georgetown are the class of the Big East, and we seem to agree that there's little difference between MU, Syracuse, UConn and Louisville. The difference between teams 3-6 is nominal, perhaps indistinguishable. Looks like MU gets the nod based on the Triple Threat. The schedule might also work in MU's favor just a bit -- MU closes with 5 of its last 8 conference games at the Bradley Center.

With the season opener against mighty Hillsdale looming on Friday night let's look into the crystal ball and declare this team's fate for the 2006-2007 season! Who will be Pollyanna?! Who will be Cassandra?!

Individually, the bloggers called on the spirits of Karnak The Magnificent, Jimmy The Greek, Nostradamus and the wacky psychic from The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.......here for your consideration are the pre-season picks from members of the Cracked Sidewalks team:











Idaho state(CBE)





DMU or Maine(CBE)










CBE Semifinals (Texas Tech)





CBE Semifinals (Duke)





@ Valpo





NW State (B&G Classic





Princeton (B&G Classic)





Delaware State




















Morgan State





Savannah State





@ Providence










@ UConn





West Virginia





@ Louisville





@ Pittsburgh





Seton Hall




















@ Georgetown





@ DePaul















@ Notre Dame

























Syracuse receives $3 Million from Carmelo Anthony for basketball practice facility

Carmelo Anthony has agreed to donate $3,000,000 to Syracuse University to build a new basketball practice facility.


Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony, who helped lead Syracuse Univ. (SU) to the ’03 NCAA men’s basketball championship, has committed a $3M gift to the construction of a basketball practice facility at the school. Anthony’s gift is one of the largest donations to SU athletics and is thought to be one of the largest by a current pro athlete to the college they attended. The new facility would be located in the Lampe Athletic Complex at SU and would contain two practice courts, locker rooms and office facilities (SU).

In Denver, Aaron Lopez reports the donation represents 20-25% of the estimated $12-15M cost of the project. The building “will carry Anthony’s name and could open as soon as 2008.” Lopez writes SU coach Jim Boeheim approached Anthony about the idea while both were with the U.S. national team at the FIBA World Championships this summer, “just weeks after Anthony signed a five-year, $79[M] contract extension.” Boeheim: “I wanted one name on (the new building). The name to me is special because of the national championship and the person who helped us win it. He was only here one year, but it feels like more.” Lopez notes former NBAer Steve Smith donated $2.5M to Michigan State Univ. in ’97 to fund the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 11/8).

Big East Bloggers Tab James As Big East's Best

The Big East Basketball Report today announced its pre-season awards as voted on by bloggers and other online community moderators. Contributors selected Dominic James as the pre-season player of the year in the Big East. Find the full report here.

MU Media Update

Colin Fly of the Associated Press is back. In his latest effort, Fly delivers a curtain-raiser for the upcoming season focusing (as you'd expect) on MU's talented backcourt. In addition, while he was left off of the AP's pre-season All-American team, Dominic James did receive votes for that honor.

Per the updated post below on new commit Damian Saunders, here's Todd Rosiak's article on the verbal.

Today is the beginning of the NCAA's early signing period. MU is expected to secure signed LOIs from three forwards (Saunders, Trevor Mbakwe, and Patrick Hazel) as well as combo guard Scott Christopherson.

The Georgetown Voice is channeling Cracked Sidewalks. Reporters Mike Stewart and Keenan Steiner predict a third-place finish for Marquette in the Big East. These guys deliver a solid Big East preview today. In another article at the Georgetown Voice, Phil Perry eschews local beverage preferences in handing out a nickname for the MU squad in his pre-season ranking.

And don't forget about the Marquette wiki at MUScoop.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cracked Sidewalks' Big East Predictions

The 2006-2007 basketball season is finally upon us. Unlike last season, Marquette won't sneak up on its foes in the nation's best basketball conference, though that does not curb our enthusiasm for Tom Crean's squad. But the Big East is darn tough....and predictions are part of the fun.

Today, the Big East Basketball Report issued its first Power Poll for the season -- we'll contribute to that every week, so be sure to check out their inaugural poll when you can.

Now now for your consideration, here are the Cracked Sidewalks' Big East pre-season picks:

Projected Big East Overall Standings

1. Pittsburgh
2. Georgetown
3. Marquette
4. Syracuse
5. Connecticut
6. Louisville
7. Villanova
8. Providence
9. DePaul
10. Seton Hall
11. St. John's
12. Notre Dame
13. West Virginia
14. Rutgers
15. Cincinnati
16. South Florida

Pittsburgh and Georgetown are a cut above the rest of the league this year, while teams 3-6 in are relatively interchangeable. Based on what MU returns and the precedent set by Villanova's undersized squad last season, we believe the Golden Eagles are the best of that bunch. Losing Steve Novak is non-trivial, but with the conference's best backcourt along with a deeper, more athletic roster, the Golden Eagles should soar this season. Syracuse is a notch behind MU, while UConn and Louisville have young talent that will learn how to win consistently by February, if not sooner.

Other notes......Providence, despite losing Donnie McGrath, has plenty of potential with McDermott, Curry and freshman big fella Ray Hall -- and Tim Welsh knows he's in a 'win-or-else season'. Look for PC to surprise on to the upside. We also think the Mountaineers lost too much for a team that relies on a precision offense and will struggle to make the Big East tournament. But we've been wrong about Beilein before.

On to the individual awards.

Big East POY: Aaron Gray

1st Team All-Big East:
C -- Aaron Gray, Pittsburgh
F -- Jeff Green, Georgetown
F -- Curtis Sumpter, Villanova
G -- Dominic James, Marquette
G -- Sammy Mejia, DePaul

2nd Team All-Big East:
C -- Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
F -- Juan Palacios, Louisville
F/G -- Wes Matthews, Marquette
G -- Paul Harris, Syracuse
G -- Levance Fields, Pittsburgh

3rd All-Big East:
C -- Haseem Thabeet, Connecticut
F -- Wilson Chandler, DePaul
F -- Geoff McDermott, Providence
G -- Jerel McNeal, Marquette
G -- A.J. Price, Connecticut

A few observations......We think Sammy Mejia is going to be the reason DePaul fights for an NCAA tournament berth down to its last game of the season and averages closer to 19 ppg. We also think Juan Palacios will finally play the way Pitino envisioned him when he arrived at the 'Ville. Wesley Matthews will prove that the injury he sustained last season did not hinder his development. He'll surprise the Big East this season. Levance Fields is going to be a special player -- Pitt played better with him on the floor last season than it did with the now-departed Krauser running the show. Price and Thabeet will keep the Huskies a top-5 Big East team this season.

Big East FOY: Paul Harris

1st Team Freshmen All-Big East:
C -- Haseem Thabeet, Connecticut
F -- Derrick Caracter, Louisville
F -- Vernon Macklin, Georgetown
G -- Paul Harris, Syracuse
G -- Scottie Reynolds, Villanova

2nd Team Freshmen All-Big East:
C/F -- Stanley Robinson, Connecticut
F -- Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia
F -- Lazar Hayward, Marquette
G -- Eugene Harvey, Seton Hall
G -- Jeremiah Rivers, Georgetown

As for freshman of the year, the race will come down to Thabeet, Caracter and Harris, and if Harris keeps the 'Cuse in the hunt, he wins it. We think he will. Our sleeper for freshman of the year is Seton Hall's electric Eugene Harvey, or perhaps Jeremiah Rivers if he emerges as a steadying influence on the Hoyas.

Now let's play some baskeball!