"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

Saturday, December 02, 2006

North Dakota State owns Dairyland

In the last 12 months, North Dakota State has spanked the University of Wisconsin-Madison at Madison, drilled UW-Green Bay and tonight knocked off #8 Marquette in Milwaukee in the finals of the 45th Blue and Gold Classic. The Bison won their 4th straight game.

Kansas joins MU as two top 8 teams that were knocked off today. The Jayhawks lost to DePaul. Throw in USC's loss to the UCLA Bruins today in football and you can conclude it wasn't a very good day to be in the top 10.

Marquette shot a horrendous percentage from the field again (35%), a trend that has to worry Tom Crean and his staff. Dominic James finished with only 8 points and most of those were cosmetic. James and Wesley Matthews were a combined 6-22 from the field tonight (including 1-8 from behind the arc). Jerel McNeal led the team with 16 points, the only Golden Eagle to finish in double figures on the night.

MU finished the game shooting 35% from the floor including only 20% from the 3-point line for the second consecutive night. MU only made 57% of their free throws. Amazingly, MU lost the game tonight despite turning NDSU over 25 times.

The Bison deserved the win as they simply played better than MU tonight.


Game recap

GoMarquette recap

Todd Rosiak's article on the surprising defeat


Anonymous said...

Damn I was rooting for you guys to help the Big East from sinking today with the losses of G'Town and Syracuse.

It's games like this that scare me that Pitt might go down when they weren't supposed to...tomorrow at Auburn makes me nervous.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how we can lose a game with 17 offensive rebounds. It worries me that we cant score on second and third chances because we clearly have demonstrated that we arent a three point shooting team....

Gene Frenkle said...

Just got back from the game. Ugly with a capital U. Couldn't hit anything. Crean mixed and matched the lineup all night.

Couple things stood out:
1) Barro didn't play much in the second half. Wasn't very effective tonight. Still, looking wayyy better on the glass so far this year.

2) Dominic James was either sick tonight, or had Crean send him a message by not playing him that much. He looked slow. His shot was off. And his intensity was nowhere to be found (much like most of the team).

3) Sitting James until a few minutes left, left me thinking...Crean, I think, was putting this one on the players. If they don't want to show up and treat every opponent equal, he'll let his players sleep in the bed they made...at least, this early in the season. I don't think he "wanted" to lose the game, but I honestly think Crean made the decision that he was letting the players decide if they wanted it and he let them fail on their own by making mistake after mistake.

A game such as this - early in the year, non-conference, at home, versus a team you are supposed to beat - will be good for them in the long run. As Crean said in the post game, they skated by a couple games like this earlier in the year and got the W. Not so tonight.

From a maturation standpoint, I think this game will do nothing but help them.

4) By February, McNeal must cut down on the turnovers. It sounds like a broken record, but he is still turning the rock over too much.

5) Cubillion has shown me lots of guts and determination and fire for a freshman. Him and Acker next year running the point guard should be something to watch. (assuming that James goes pro...which I don't think he's remotely ready for yet).

Go MU. See you at the BC Tuesday.

Gene Frenkle said...

Just wanted to clarify my point in what I was trying to say above regarding Crean:

Bottom line, Crean was trying to teach the guys a lesson. You don't want to play the right way, you don't bring the intensity you should, fine. You'll either get benched for some time, or we'll role with the punches and you'll get what you deserve.

Obviously, Crean wants to win every game, but again, it's my opinion that Crean could see the writing on the wall that they weren't going to win this game tonight with about 10 minutes left in the game. Not once did I feel like they were going to comeback.

I think Crean sensed that too.

Thanks. Great site.

Anonymous said...

I agree that MU cannot afford to have McNeal leading the Big East in turnovers again this year. But in games like this and Idaho State, and probably a few more to come, McNeal carries the team. 7 steals coming out of his defensive pressure and the only player who can break a zone with his drive and put up some points when nobody is shooting. At least he always seems to be bringing energy.

Fitzgerald and Hayward need to become the three point threats we were counting on. I also didn't understand why Blackledge was playing on the perimeter nowhere near the ball when he was in. Unless he's going to learn to shoot 3 pointers he needs to be down low. Cubillan will have to keep taking as many or more threes as he's been the only consistent 3 point shooter. The outside shooting has to improve or the zone will only stay as tight as it was in this game and the Idaho State game. Forcing shots doesn't help any though; Matthews took the same 3 at the top of the key with a hand in his face three times tonight.

Anonymous said...

Also, there had to be something wrong with James tonight. He was on the bench much of the second half, even exiting during crunch time. With his second half dominance there's no way Crean sits him if he can help it. He still needs to learn to have more than 4 points at half time of any game if he wants to play in the NBA.

Anonymous said...

shooting is this team's Achilles Heel. Lousy FT shooting (again) and a rotten effort from deep - - boom, the game is lost.

I did not see the game -- but any idea why MU didn't press much?

Anonymous said...

Seems like there were a ton of reasons to press more tonight.

Down in the second half.

Facing a team that's got a lot of heartonly six or seven guys deep.

With big men who were clearly outplaying us in the paint.

An MU squad that clearly couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

Even if James was ill, hurt or just battling the cramps that he's had on and off since he got on campus, it seems like the other guys could have picked up the slack and the tempo with some full court pressure.

Gene Frenkle said...

Good point regarding Fitzgerald and Hayward. They came in with a reputation of shooting the rock and hitting threes. I've been saying all year they need to run some penetrate-and-kick-out plays to Fitz or Hayward (or Cubillion).

Fitz has proven he can hit the open look, why not at least run a play for him a few times a game?

Still wondering what was with James yesterday.

In the end, I think the loss will help the team. While I love seeing them in the top 10, they aren't legitimately a top 10 team...yet.