"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 30, 2006

Marquette defeats Savannah State. Big East play next

MU overcame a sluggish first half in which they only led by one point to ultimately cruise to victory 69-51 and finish 13-2 in their non-conference slate. MU will now enjoy the New Year and begin Big East play on Thursday at Providence in their Big East opener. Providence was crushed last night at Florida State by 30 points but played without their best player who was recently suspended. Providence is currently 9-3 on the season and expected to be back at full strength.

MU was led by Dominic James and Wesley Matthews who each scored 22 points this afternoon. No other MU player finished in double figures. Lazar Hayward finished with only 2 points on the afternoon and Jerel McNeal suffered a terrible shooting day (1 of 9) to finish with just 6 points. McNeal also turned the ball over 6 times and was benched to start the opening of the second half in favor of walk-on Craig Kuphall.

MU defensively did not generate the turnovers we have become accustomed to. Only 14 turnovers today, however Crean's club did hold SSU to 34% shooting overall and just 21% from beyond the arc.

Offensively MU was fairly efficient with the exception of McNeal's struggles. 15 assists, a very solid 50% FG percentage and nearly 42% from beyond the arc. Wes Matthews was a torrid 7 of 8 from the field including a perfect 2 for 2 from deep. As a team, MU shot 67% from the free throw line, respectable by Golden Eagle standards this year.


AP Recap

Photos of the game courtesy of MUScoop can be found here.

Todd Rosiak recap

Quotes from the game via GoMarquette.

Here's the MarquetteHoops recap.

Marquette takes on Savannah State

The Golden Eagles finish their out of conference schedule this afternoon when they host Savannah State at the Bradley Center beginning at 1pm CST.

Here's that reliable AP preview from Alabama.

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

Here's the MUScoop information page for today's game.

BTW, in case you missed it here's a great article about Trevor Mbakwe by Todd Rosiak. The most memorable line in the article has nothing to do with TM though, it was this one: "Dwight Burke has been slow to develop." The truth hurts sometimes.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Media Update: Big East preview, Dominic James and more

The Connecticut Post previews the upcoming Big East season with team-by-team capsules. Based on the slot, it looks like the eds here have MU pegged as the fourth best squad in the conference -- and figure the Golden Eagles will lose at UConn in a revenge game. Here is the link.

Mike Bennett of the Palladium-Item calls Dominic James' spectacular success at MU as the story of the year for the Richmond, Indiana community. Mike's 2006 swan song can be found here.

The Providence Friars, who will host MU in the 2007 conference opener in less than a week, travels to FSU tonight sans Sharaud Curry. Game preview here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

WBY Shootout continues tonight

Hey, don't forget that the 2006 Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout continues tonight at the Al McGuire Center. Mark Miller and his team have info on their Web site. Dodds has info on it as well here.

His new yearbook is also out -- and can be ordered online. Enjoy!

A good day to be Jerel McNeal

While Wesley Matthews called his teammate "underrated" after the Morgan State win, it appears that folks actually have been tracking McNeal's strong play of late:

Now, about that snub of Dominic James from the DraftExpress mid-season list.....

Recruits perform: Williams and Mbakwe lead teams to wins

Nick Williams
Nick Williams led his team with 16 points and was a key player in LeFlore's defensive scheme as the Rattlers overcame Solon (OH) 59-51 in the T-Mobile Invitational. LeFlore, ranked #11 in the latest USA Today poll, moved to 16-0.

Williams hit three 3-pointers (3-6 from deep by my count), and keyed the Rattlers' defensive scheme as the lead defender on their full court press. After trailing by a point at the half, LeFlore took control of the game by outscoring Solon 20-8 in the third quarter thanks to terrific defensive pressure.

Physically, Williams reminded me of Wesley Matthews -- a long, athletic perimeter player. LeFlore is loaded this season and Williams does spend a fair amount of time on the blocks in their offensive set, making his efficient outside game all the more impressive. Its unclear how effective Williams is with the dribble (he rarely handled the ball away from the basket), though his aggressiveness on the offensive glass was impressive.

Here is a recap of last night's game -- check out the remarks from the LeFlore coach....he has a great approach. LeFlore advanced to the championship game tonight at 7:45pm CST against Los Angeles Fairfax. Tonight's game will be televised on the Versus Network, channel 608 on Directv. Versus is the former OLN.

Trevor Mbakwe
Mbakwe's St. Bernard's squad topped Marquette High School last night at The Al, 61-52. Per John Dodds, " Mbakwe slowed by foul trouble...25 min...22 pts...7-14 FG/8-8 FT/9 reb/5 blocks[influenced 4 others...]...very good prospect" Follow the thread here.

The Journal-Sentinel recaps yesterday's games in the WBBY here.

Congratulations to both Nick and Trevor!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Recruit Evaluation: Trevor Mbakwe

Sometimes content comes at you when you least expect it. I'd like to thank the fan who took the time to post a comprehensive evaluation of Trevor Mbakwe on our 'Media Update' post from earlier today.

I've taken the liberty to re-post that comment verbatim here.......please note that Mbakwe plays later this evening at the Al McGuire Center:

I'm an MU student from the Milwaukee area and went to see Mbakwe play last night against Wauwatosa West HS at the Al.

The program listed him as 6-7 and seeing him practice at first, he didn't really look quite that big, maybe because he was a little skinny--think maybe a tad bigger than Wes. His feet were huge, and he was fairly pigeon-toed, so I was skeptical of the kid's physical stature at first. The first play of the game, however, a guard dished Mbakwe the ball and he dunked right over Tosa's two big men (one of which was benched for a good 5-8 minutes because he laughed in disbelief of Mbakwe's play) and still managed to draw a foul. Tosa then got the ball, their PG drove to the hoop for a layup and Mbakwe immediately flattened it against the backboard for a monstrous block. Not a bad start; he had me on my feet twice in under a minute.

For most of the rest of the game, Mbakwe continued to score well in the paint, and actually had a pretty jumper but failed to play with anywhere near the same intensity with which he had started. He actually had a laziness about him, often being the last guy on his team back on defense and sometimes completely absent. His coach, on more than one occasion, yelled at him to fire up and start rebounding better. St Bernard's--Mbakwe's team--had been up by around 10 for most of the game until the 3rd quarter, when Tosa West started to make a strong comeback. Mbakwe shaped up quickly, snatching a good amount of rebounds and staying consistent with scoring in the paint. The game went down to the final seconds, with Tosa only down by a basket. Mbakwe came up with a key steal before the buzzer and his team won. He tallied, at the very least, 5 blocks in the game, and led both teams in scoring, with 25 points.

Mbakwe's Strengths:
1. Surprisingly "big" down low as a consistent rebounder.
2. He has a decent jumper, which is more than can be said for any forward on MU's team right now, save Fitz. He also hit most of his FTs.
3. Boxed out pretty well, and meanwhile he wasn't afraid to step off his guy to come up with a big block or steal.
4. Can be counted on to make a big play.

Mbakwe's Weaknesses:
1. Seemed a little lazy for long stretches, not going up for rebounds or running to play D. Hopefully experience with fast-paced MU will fix that.
2. A bit clumsy with the ball, like most big guys, but Tosa stripped the ball a few times while he was looking to make a pass.
3. Needs to gain weight. Cross your fingers that he'll grow a little.

Overall, I was impressed and excited to see that we might actually have somebody consistently reeling in rebounds for a change. I can't wait to see him playing for Marquette.
Well done!!

Want more? Check out this thread on Trevor from Marquette Hoops.

Nick Williams on Versus Network now

MU's 2008 commit will hit the floor with his LeFlore teammates momentarily (4:40ish CST). Channel 608 for you Directv subscribers. LeFlore is playing in the T-Mobile Invitational -- check out this link for a team photo and roster.

Media Update: suspension, props for James, recruits on display

Plenty of info to report today:

1) Sure, sure ... I know MU has to get past Savannah State first, but it looks like MU's conference opener became just a bit more intriguing (or at least the build-up to it just did). According to the Providence Journal's Kevin McNamara, the Friars' star point guard Sharaud Curry was suspended yesterday. It is unclear if he'll return in time for the January 4th conference opener when the Friars host MU - - - but my $$ says Tim Welsh will make sure his leading scorer is on the floor when the Golden Eagles come to town. The Friars are currently 9-2 on the season.

2) Meanwhile, notable basketball scribe Frank Burlison offers up mid-season All-American teams in his latest effort and gives Dominic James the nod as the nation's top point guard. According to Burlison, "James got it (the first-team nod) for exceptional back-to-back performances against Texas Tech and Duke in Kansas City."

Here is the full column from Burlison.

3) If you wanna get a look at 2008 MU commit Nick Williams, tune into VS. Network (the former OLN) today at 11:30am CST.

4) For the MU fans in Milwaukee, get to The Al to check out the 2006 Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout. Mbakwe and Christopherson are on the dockett - - Mbakwe plays MUHS tonight.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Conference play is right around the corner

.....and the New York Sun previews the upcoming season for readers today, team by team. Check it out.

Kevin McNamara delivers a dose of reality and credibility to message board madness at PC. This article ran on Christmas eve, but in case you missed it.

Draft Express slots MU in as the #17 team in the country in their most recent poll. I'll take the ranking but call bul@!#t on their assertion that MU's win over Duke does not stack up because they are...."not sure Coach K even cared about winning" that game. Sorry fellas, that's bogus. Oh, and the Texas Tech win looks pretty good for MU as well. Draft Express slaps MU a bit more (if you can believe it) in their Wisconsin capsule -- by not considering the Badgers' road win over MU a notable out of conference win. This should be instant bulletin board material.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.
May we all have eight MU tickets under our tree.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Marquette pounds Morgan State

Marquette topped Morgan State 77-57 tonight at the Bradley Center, moving to 12-2 on the season.

Jerel McNeal was spectacular tonight leading MU with a career-high 25 points to along with seven assists. Dan Fitzgerald dropped 11 points -- the only other Golden Eagle in double figures.

Lousy opponent? Yes.

Are the players that MU needs to produce in conference play delivering (read: McNeal and Fitz?). Yes.

Did they make a few free-throws? ...I'll take 81%, 13-16.

AP Recap


Here's a TERRIFIC recap of the game from one of our commenters.....terrific stuff.

Rosiak on McNeal's career night.

MUScoop recaps the post game interviews in this thread.

Gimme the win and let's have a Merry Christmas.

BTW, to all of our readers -- Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Be safe and enjoy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Diener as "The Closer"

He may not be appearing with Kyra Sedgwick on TNT anytime soon, but Orlando Magic guard and MU alum Travis Diener is one of their five "closers" for Wednesday's 86-83 win over the New Orleans Hornets.

From the AP recap:

¶ Trailing by five with 9:51 left in the fourth quarter, the Magic rattled off a 17-3 run in less than five minutes to take an 84-75 lead. Reserve Travis Diener, who rarely plays in close games, led the way with nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Diener played just over 30 minutes and finished with 13 points, one assist, one rebound and one steal. He went 4-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-7 from 3-point range, accounting for all three of Orlando's 3-pointers. He has averaged 13.3 points in his last three games, going 8-for-15 from 3-point range and 13-for-20 overall.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Golden Eagles soar over Golden Grizzlies

Marquette moved to 11-2 on the season with an 80-62 victory tonight at the Bradley Center. Dominic James led MU with 20 points and 9 assists. Marquette shot a season-high 59% from the field tonight......1% better than their collective effort at the free throw line (where they were 18-31).

You can't make this up.

Still, a solid win at home with balanced scoring for the good guys. James was joined by McNeal (17), Barro (11) and Matthews (10) in double figures, with David Cubillan chipping in eight points.

McNeal is McEfficient
Jerel McNeal continued his resurgent play, turning in another efficient performance tonight. McNeal was 6-9 from the field on his way to 17 points, five boards, six steals, and four assists (and just two tunovers).

McNeal's decision-making has improved dramatically in the last four games, most notably in shot selection and in protecting the basketball. After a woeful shooting night against NDSU, McNeal is shooting 53% from the field in the last four games while moderating shot attempts to roughly 11 per game. McNeal remains effective inside the arc, shooting 47% from there this season -- so its no wonder that he's only attempted eight 3-pointers in the last four games combined. Smart.

Consider that in MU's first eight games, Jerel was hoisting up more than four 3-pointers a game (and making them at an 18% clip). Moreover, in his last two games McNeal has just three turnovers against six assists. These are good signs. McNeal's improved play is obvious.

Now, about those free throws, fellas.


Here is the AP recap.

Recaps of the post game interview sessions can be found here at MUScoop.

Game photos can be found at MUScoop.

Here is the box score.

Rosiak included perspectives from NBA World Champion Dwyane Wade in his recap.

Scout.com recaps the game here

Here is the recap from the Oakland site.

BTW, here's a GREAT article from the Palladium-Item about one fan's special night:

Natasha Snyder's memorable night in Milwaukee.

Should Big East teams be concerned over Conference RPI?

There's been some interesting chatter on the message boards on whether or not the Big East's rank in the RPI (currently 6th overall) will have an impact on NCAA tournament bids.

If the Big East isn't doing as well, who's doing better?
The Big East's drop in the Conference RPI is a result of a decline in overall winning percentage, down from .775 last season to .752 so far this year. The Big 10 has an even bigger drop, falling from .802 last year to .737 so far this year.

The Pac 10 is the big gainer, with a .793 percentage, up from .696. The MVC is up modestly, and the other major conferences are largely unchanged. Based on this, we might expect to see the collective teams in the Pac 10 and MVC get another bid this year, and those in the Big 10 and Big East to receive one less.

We've all heard the offical NCAA party line that teams receive bids, not conferences. But that's only part of the the story. The other part is how concentrated the wins and losses are within the conference. For example, last season, the Missouri Valley conference had 6 teams with 11+ wins. But eveyone else was 3 or more games below .500.

What were the overall statistics last year?

By conference, lets compare overall winning percentage, number of NCAA teams and percentage of that league's teams that made the NCAA tournament last year.

Big 10: .802 overall winning percentage, NCAA selected 6 of 11, or 55%, of their teams
5 teams over .500, 2 teams .500, 4 under .500

Big East: .775, NCAA selected 8 of 16, or 50% of their teams
7 teams over .500, 1 team .500, 8 teams under .500

ACC: .797, selected 4 of 12, or 33% of their teams
5 teams over .500, 1 team .500, 6 teams under.

SEC: .758, NCAA selected 6 of 12, or 50% of their teams
6 teams over .500, 6 teams under

Big 12: .761, NCAA selected 4 of 12, or 25% of their teams
5 teams over .500, 7 teams under

MVC: .710, NCAA selected 4 of 10, or 40%
6 teams over .500, 4 teams under

P10: .696, NCAA selcted 4 of 10, or 40%.
5 teams over .500, 5 teams under.

With the exception of the ACC, there's more or less a trend that the higher non-conference winning percentage, the more teams make the tournament.

What was wrong with the ACC? The two teams over .500 not invited were Florida State and Maryland. Maryland finished 5-8, with all five wins against bottom division teams (Virgina twice, Georgia Tech twice, and Miami once). They didn't have a single conference win against Duke, UNC, BC or NC State. Florida State was marginally better, with a win over Duke--but probably lost their bid with a conference tournament loss to Wake Forest in the opening round. Wake last year had the 2nd worst performance in the ACC since 1999.

What does that mean for the Big East.

How many conference wins do you need to get a bid? You better be over .500 in conference to expect a bid. Not .500--better than .500. And hitting that magical 9-7 record is as close to an NCAA lock as you can get. Of the 39 teams over .500, 34 were NCAA tournament teams.

Flordia State (19-9 / 9-7), Colorado (20-9 / 9-7), MIssouri State (20-8 / 12-6), Creighton (19-9 / 12-6), and Stanford (15-13 / 11-7) were the only teams with better than .500 records not to make the NCAA.

Lets face it, 15-13 isn't going to get you in--Stanford lost too many non-conference games. Florida State was discussed above. Colorado has a suspect record out of conference, and won just one game against an upper half team in the Big 12. And the MVC teams were probably shafted. The bottom line is that unless you've collected all your wins against bottom dwellers (or have no outside quality wins like against, say, Duke), 9-7 is a pretty safe NCAA record, and outside the MVC, 10 wins is a lock.

Is .500 good enough in a power conference? In a word, No.
Only 1 of 4 teams with .500 records were selected (Michgan State yes. Michigan, Maryland and Cincinnati no).

And below .500? Forget it. Only 1 team--Syacuse--was below .500 and made the tournament. And they won the Big East's automatic bid. There were no sub-.500 at-large bids.

The bottom line is that the current 6th place rank of the Big East in the RPI ranking of conferences probably isn't a killer. Parity in the conference is, however. The number of bids will probably be a funtion of how many teams finish with 9 or more wins.

MU hosts Oakland

Coming off of a blowout win over the UMBC Retreivers, the Golden Eagles welcome the Oakland Golden Grizzlies to the Bradley Center tonight. Sharp-shooter Erik Kangas leads Oakland - -nailing 43% of his treys.

Please shut him down tonight.

Scout.com preview.

J-S on lousy FT shooting.

GoMarquette.com preview.

Monday, December 18, 2006

MU releases historical hoops footage on DVD

Wow, this is fantastic. MU's library, archives and special collection teams completed the digital conversion of Marquette men's basketball games from 1935-1990. The project was funded by the M Club.

Wanna see Doc's dagger against ND? How about the 1977 national title game? Any takers for Robb Logterman blowing out a few pairs of LA Gear sneakers at Cameron Indoor Stadium? MU has all you need to know right here.

Media Update: Diener, Sichting, TC and Jerel

Former Marquette Tribune sports editor John Casper pens a terrific article about the pride of Fond du Lac, Travis Diener. Diener's minutes have expanded of late, and he's become a solid contributor for the Orlando Magic. Here's Casper's take.

The Star-Tribune catches up with Marquette assistant coach Jerry Sichting today -- and details his ups and downs of scouting and coaching in the last several years. Seems like Coach Sichting is enjoying the challenge, "The effort, the camaraderie and the teamwork is a lot different," Sichting said. "It's kind of refreshing how hard these guys work every day. And then to go to class on top of it? I have nothing but respect for them."

And here's a an encouraging tidbit from Coach Crean after this weekend's blowout win over UMBC: “The first half was one of our best defensive efforts of the entire year. I think our offense has continued to improve,” Crean said after No. 20 Marquette beat Maryland-Baltimore County 68-46. “I think we’re on the cusp of playing really good basketball.

Rivals.com came through with a clutch article on Jerel McNeal, MU's premier stat-stuffer. McNeal, coming off of a solid performance over the weekend, is one of the nation's most energetic players and tenacious defenders.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Time Magazine names us "Person of the Year"

Well sort of.....Time Magazine names Bloggers Person of the Year...

"IT'S YOU! YOU were named TIME magazine 'Person of the Year' Saturday for the explosive growth and influence of user-generated Internet content such as 'blogs', video-file sharing site YouTube and social network MySpace... You -- YES, YOU -- beat out candidates including Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, China's President Hu Jintao, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi... YOU, YOU, YOU....

Here's the Time Magazine cover story. No mention of this Marquette baskeball blog in the article however.

Diener plays well again, this time Magic win

Continuing to get extended minutes as Jameer Nelson recovers from an injury, MU alum Travis Diener had another solid outing in Saturday's 81-74 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Diener, coming off the bench, had 11 points and four assists in 26 minutes. He went 4-for-6 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range and added a free throw, helping Orlando's reserves outscore their counterparts from the Cavaliers 40-8. Afterwards, Diener provided a quote from the AP recap:

"That just shows how deep our team is," Diener said. "We've got some guys hurt who play major minutes so this was a chance for us to provide a spark and do something with the time we're given."

Diener is now averaging 5.5 points in eight games while shooting 48.4 percent (15-for-31) from the field, including 47.6 percent (10-for-21) from 3-point range.

Marquette smokes the Retrievers

Marquette finished final exams this week just in time to take out their frustrations from last week's loss to UW-Madison to crush the UMBC Retrievers. Marquette won 68-46. Crean's club was led by Dominic James' 17 points on 8-16 shooting. Jerel McNeal added 15 and newcomer Lazar Hayward tallied 13 points and seven rebounds in the winning effort.

The Golden Eagles shooting struggles continued to manifest themselves however. MU shot a pitiful 33% from the free throw line on 6 of 18 shooting. For the game MU shot 45.2% and made just under 29% beyond the arc.

Jerel McNeal shot a surprising 60% from 3-point range today. McNeal has struggled all year from that spot but made three of his five deep shots against UMBC. Even more encouraging, McNeal only turned the ball over once tonight. Dan Fitgerald also shot well from deep as he sank 2 of his 3 bombs.

MU outrebounded UMBC 38 to 27 and recorded an impressive 12 steals. Tom Crean was exceptionally pleased with the first half defensive effort as MU notched 37 deflections in the first frame. The Retrievers were held to only 14 points as MU led 36 to 14 at the break.

AP Recap


Rosiak sums it up well -- the good defense and lousy shooting continue.

Here's a thread on the post-game interviews over at MUScoop.

First-hand account of the game here.

Here's the Scout.com recap.

GoMarquette.com recaps the game as well.

Friday, December 15, 2006

MU hosts UMBC

Time for TC to work his late December magic with the 2006-2007 Marquette Golden Eagles........much like he's done in the past. The work begins on Saturday at 1pm CST when MU hosts UMBC.

Here is the GoMarquette.com preview.

Here is the Appleton Post-Crescent preview.

Nice job by Rosiak here -- a focus on Hayward's progress.

Always solid -- here is the AP's take.

Marquette Hoops preview.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Diener plays well in Magic's loss to Bobcats

See, there was a reason why the Magic refused to give into those trade requests for Travis Diener. Check out the line from the feisty point guard in Thursday's 99-89 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats: 5-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, 3-for-3 from the line, totaling 16 points as well as three rebounds, three assists, one steal, no turnovers and three fouls in 26 minutes.

In his six games prior to tonight, Diener totaled 17 points in 49 minutes, making just 6 of 19 shots. Here's to hoping former No. 34 will get a couple spots closer to Brian Hill come Saturday when the Magic play Cleveland.

Christmas Presents for MU Fans

So you've got a handful of shopping days before Christmas. Maybe you don't know what to get the MU fan on your gift list? Maybe you've been a good fan all year, and are writing to Santa to drop some hints? While you're dreaming of sugar plumbs, here's a great list of items you might see under your tree this year.

Tom Crean released a book last month: Coaching Team Basketball .. if you were a good boy this year, you could have gotten a signed copy at one of the 3-4 signing sessions around Milwaukee bookstores.

Every fan needs tickets and a T-shirt. $40 bucks gets you 1 ticket to 2 games, plus something gold you can wear to the games.

Blue Package: MU vs. Syracuse, MU vs. Providence (Wade figurine night!)

Gold Package: MU vs. West Virginia, MU vs. Louisville

Every true fan needs a media guide. If you're not a season ticket holder, you can buy one at the Warrior Shoppe on campus, or by calling Marquette at 414.288.7447. $20 bucks. If you're cheap and had access to a color laser printer, you could print one out.

Want go Old School?

Basketball fans can order DVDs of games from 1935 to 1990: More than 200 men's basketball games, spanning 1935 to 1990, are now available on DVD. Raynor Memorial Libraries' Department of Special Collections converted the game footage from 16 millimeter film. Archivists used a variety of sources to enhance the description for each game. A complete inventory/index is online and DVD copies may be ordered at $10 per DVD.

How about a Todd Townsendreplica jersey? Ok, ok, you could call it a Dominic James replica, too. But my man Double-T went to a Final Four, so every kid wants one for Chirstmas.

Of course, there's hundreds of other products atShop.Marquette.edu!

There are a few items you can't find at MU's Warrior Shoppe, butBradleyCenterSports.com has this great Marcus West replica jersey and many other Marquette items.

How about a "Real Warriors" / WarriorsForever.com vintage t-shirt? $18.99

Or how about this Marquette Warrior T-shirt ..$25 on eBay!

Bid now .. that guy probably only has 18 more cases of those in his basement.

Now this is cool. I didn't even know they had this. Golden Eagle Floor Mats, for the politically correct MU fan. Floor mats!

Oh, wait, this is even better. A whole page of Marquette carpets .. bath mats, basketball rugs, the works.

If you forgot to give your MU friend a book last year, you can make up for it with a book from 2005 .. Tales from the MU Hardwood.

Tales of Marquette Basketball takes a look at the high, and low points from McGuire to Crean and everything in between by weaving personal interviews with many great Marquette players and coaches including Hank Raymonds, Rick Majerus, Mike Deane, Tom Crean, Glenn 'Doc' Rivers, Jim Mcllvaine, Travis Diener and Tony Smith as they give insight to memorable moments, both on and off the court.

How about the Coach Al McGuire Motivational CD? This CD contains motivational teachings from Coach Al McGuire regarding Leadership, Opportunity, Self-Confidence, and Goals. This CD was narrated and produced by Robert A. Bryd Jr., the last player recruited by Coach Al McGuire.

Too much commercialism?

Donate some dough in your Marquette fan's Blue & Gold fund.

Or .. for those of you who like books with long titles .. how about "I Remember Al McGuire: Personal Memories and Testimonials To College Basketball's Wittiest Winning Coach and Commentator, As Told By the People Who Knew Him"

Or "Al McGuire: Colorful Warrior".

Just search Amazon for Al McGuire. There are too many books to list!

But of course, if you're reading Cracked Sidewalks, you really find out why it's called Cracked Sidewalks. Here's the book.

Noteworthy links

While the Marquette basketball teams trudges through finals week, I wanted to point out a few new links we've added on our right nav bar:

  1. We linked to these folks earlier in the week, but I highly recommend the new Big East Hoops Blog. Be sure to get there today -- the guys do a fine analysis of MU in their current post and note that ,"It’s hard for me to get a read of Marquette, but I think they’re in for a rocky year." Perhaps, but methinks its too early to write-off Marquette, this is still a good basketball team. The team's pressure defense, defense inside the arc, improved rebounding year to year, and ability to force turnvers are all positives. If shot distribution improves and the pace of play is heightened - who knows. Last year's team turned the corner once conference season began -- something few (any?) expected to see.
  2. Tired of lousy news from college athletics? Check out Good News in College Sports, courtesy of The Courtmaster.
  3. Here's the new St. John's basketball blog.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Successfully navigating conference play

Many thanks to one of our faithful readers who pointed out an interesting column from Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports. Kellogg's latest effort looks at six key factors to consider when evaluating a team's prospects for navigating a tough conference schedule -- attributes of conference champions.

What I've done below is summarize Kellogg's criteria in bold and offered up Mr. Anonymous Commenter's narrative in red. I've added my thoughts in italics. What do you think about how MU stacks up using Kellogg's criteria?

1. A 60/40 blend of experience and talent.
"MU seems to be around 30/70..."

2. Toughness -mental and physical.
"We're pretty strong there for the most part." Yes, MU plays hard and overall team defense and the improvement in rebounding reflects that.

3. A go-to player.
"If Crean would play James at the point in the first half of games we would have one for more than 16 minutes in the second half of every game." James is MU's only potential go-to guy.

4. Winning on the road
"The one road game was a struggle. Against the Big East we might have some problems. I'd probably be satisfied with 3 conference road wins." I'll take the road win and still believe that the wins on a neutral court over Duke and Texas Tech are impressive. Few Big East teams have played meaningful road games to date anyway.

5. Make shots
"We're in deep trouble." MU's poor free thow shooting isn't helping here either -- not to mention the team's inability to make sure the right players are taking the most shots.

6. Balance and versatility
"There are a lot of players who can play multiple positions, not hurting here." Agreed. Methinks MU's versatility will emerge substantially over the next six weeks with the improvement of Hayward and increased roles for Fitz, Trend and Cubillan.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Recruiting Update: Rotnei Clark and Jamychal Green

MUScoop linked to an article on Rivals.com about two of MU's targets for the 2008 recruiting class: PG Rotnei Clark of Claremore, Oklahoma and PF Jamychal Green of Montgomery, Alabama. Scout.com rates Green as one of the top 20 juniors in the nation. Here's a link to the MUScoop thread on these kids.

Tom Crean already has one verbal commitment for the class of 2008 in swingman Nick Williams from Mobile, Alabama.

Hey, its early --- but TC has a track record of securing early commitments and its clear that PG and PF will be 'need' positions for the 2008 class. Here's a look at the potential makeup of the Marquette basketball roster at that time:

Dominic James
Jerel McNeal
Dwight Burke
Wesley Matthews

Maurice Acker
Lazar Hayward
David Cubillan

Scott Christopherson
Patrick Hazel
Damian Saunders
Trevor Mbakwe

Nick Williams
2008 recruit TBD
2008 recruit TBD**

I don't think the most optimistic MU fan expects Dominic James to suit up for MU in the 2008-2009 season, so the PG slot is a 'must have' for the 2008 freshman class. Clark is a high-scoring PG (34ppg as a sophomore) with a reputation as an exceptional shooter. MaxPreps lists him as one of the top 16 players in the state of Oklahoma regardless of class.

Inside, the current roster projection shows just four potential inside players on the roster in 2008. A strong PF would be ideal especially since Hazel and Saunders look to be more effective facing the basket. A big man who will demand the ball on the blocks and deliver --- wow, that'd be ideal for the 2008 class.

**pending availablity subject to roster turnover or NCAA scholarship expansion

Put your brain to work

.....for somebody other than your boss. The Marquette Wiki over at MUScoop is coming along and can always use new content. Link to the MUScoop Wiki here.

Come to think of it, if you need a reference guide to aid in your 'wiki-ing', don't forget to order the 2006-2007 Marquette Basketball Media Guide. Get your copy by calling MU at 414.288.7447

Marquette Remains Ranked

Despite losing two of their last three games, Tom Crean's Marquette Golden Eagles remain a fixture in this weeks' rankings. The AP slots MU in at #20 while the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll puts MU at #22 in the nation. Here's a link to the full top 25 for each poll.

Please note that the rankings (a bunch of them) are updated daily on the right navigation bar of our blog.

In addition, the Big East blogger community maintained its high opinion of Marquette basketball. In the Big East Basketball Report's latest poll, MU is holding steady at #3 in the conference. Here's the link.

For an interesting breakdown of the rankings, go visit the team over at Big East Hoops.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


As Samuel Gerard said, "What. A. Mess."

What is with MU's offense?

Earlier this year TC indicated that MU's offense would be decidedly up-tempo, perhaps pouring in upwards of 80 points per game consistently. Something is amiss because in four of MU's last five games the Golden Eagles have failed to reach 70 points. In fact, MU has not topped 80 since the convincing win over Texas Tech in November.

One-third of the way into the season, coach Tom Crean's higher octane offense is MIA. Other than a few Dominic James dribble drives around the right side of the lane, the bulk of MU's offense revolves around the old stand by: one pass, many dribbles followed by a curl and or one-on-one move from the left of the free-throw line exteneded. In Saturday's game, I stopped counting the number of times MU's guards forced the ball into the middle of the lane only to force up errant shots against taller, wider defenders in half court sets. What's the point?

Inexplicably, sophomores Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews have endured season-long sophomore slumps. Neither player has taken a major step forward this season, particularly offensively. McNeal continues to struggle on offense, shooting a lower percentage from the field and free throw line than last season. Also, his failure to protect the basketball can no longer be dismissed as simply a consequence of his frenetic style of play.

In addition, at 20% shooting from 3-point land this season one has to wonder why McNeal is allowed to shoot from that distance at all. Afterall, McNeal is a respectable 45% from the field inside the arc where he can out-quick just about anybody. Let's play to our strengths, it tends to work. Realize that Grant Hill, yes that Grant Hill, attempted a total of three 3-points shots in his first two seasons at Duke. As a junior, he was 4 for 14. As a senior? He made 39% of his shots from deep - - on 100 attempts.

Time is on Jerel's side. So is talent. Reigning in his offensive game is overdue.

Freeing up David Cubillan and Dan Fitzergald to shoot more -- from any distance -- would be a wise move. These two are among MU's most efficient offensive players who simply do not get enough field goal attempts. Food for thought - - - Cubillan has made twice as many three pointers as McNeal this season, though sophomore has hoisted nearly 25% more attempts than the freshman.

Still, neither Cubillan, Fitzgerald nor the highly-touted Lazar Hayward, who appears to be a fine player though not the shooter we were led to believe, can replace the sublime Steve Novak. But you have to wonder why these players don't have their numbers called more often.

In an offense that is all too comfortable chipping the paint off the rim from deep, Marquette will not touch 80 points consistently again this season unless the focus shifts to pressure defense. The fast break is MU's best offensive play, half court sets are not working.

Thankfully, MU is one of the nation's best when it comes to forcing turnovers, collecting steals, and defending the two-point shot. Crean's squad is stout and intense, with quickness and length on the perimeter which are difficult to simulate in practice. Just ask Coach K.

So why doesn't TC force this team to play to its strengths? Here's hoping TC hits the remix button and realizes what it is not - - last year's team.

For the first time in Crean's career at Marquette the trifecta is not a given, at least not for the guys who are hoisting up the most attempts. Unless the shot distribution changes (even that might not work), this squad can't shoot the 'three' well enough to force defenses to spread the floor, which negates any advantage MU's quickness and speed can create.

Wanna beat MU? Pack it in and wait for the long rebound.

Its time for a change. Its time for insane pressure defense which can create a faster pace, its time for larger roles on offense for Cubillan, Fitzgerald and Hayward, its time to pull the three-pointer from McNeal's repertoire, its time for ball reversals, its time for Lott, Barro, Blackledge and Burke to fill the lanes........its time to press and run, press and run, and run some more.

We've seen the alternative, and its not working. As a wise man once said, 'the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.'

Saturday, December 09, 2006

No Joy.

I think my wife summed it up well. About 4:30pm, she was flopped on the floor, still clad in gold, and said "Blah. It feels like all the joy has been sucked out of me. Can we just go to bed now?" -- It didn't help that we had to endure some very classy UW fans chanting "F-YOU MARQUETTE" on the way back to our car.

GoMarquette.com Recap

Here are some Game Photos I took .. probably the only ones you'd want to see are the shots of Bill Cords, who was honored at half time.

P.S. Hey, Marquette? Could we figure out a way to keep UW fans from coming to this game and screwing with the Home Court juju? Easily 30% of the crowd was wearing Red, and that's just unacceptable. Since the tickets were never sold to the public, the only way a ticket could be had was through the season ticket holders who could buy 10. Ok, ok, and the people who bought 5-packs. That's another way. Please, no more 5 packs for UW fans.

As a good Season Ticket Holder, I took my allotment and brought 10 MU fans (who I forced to wear gold.) New system for 2008: Find out who the traitorous Season Ticket Holders are, and penalize them 5 Blue & Gold points for each person wearing red in a seat they purchased.

MU falls to East German women's swim team

Alando Tucker and his East German women's swim team mates of Butch, Chappell and Stiemsma knocked off Marquette 70-66 at the Bradley Center. It was Maurice Ryan's first win ever over Marquette on road in a defensive struggle. Tucker finished with 28 points in his 5th year playing against Marquette.

MU continued their trend of shooting poorly and were saddled with foul trouble the moment Tim Higgins threw opening jump ball. Two MU players fouled out with another finishing with four. Barro picked up his 4th foul only 2:19 into the second half after getting a rebound and then elbowing a badger in the chops. An amazing call that the announcers questioned. Jerel McNeal picked up his 4th foul about 6 minutes later.

MU's Dominic James finished with 19 points, almost all in the second half...a trend that has been mind boggling of late.

The East German swim trio of Butch, Stiemsma and Chappell did their best to clog the middle and force MU into tough shots and perimeter play. They succeeded more often than not. MU again shot below 40% and their 3 point shooting was an abysmal 17%. More of the same of late.

MU's defense was the lone shining stat as it has been all year long. The Badgers turned it over 21 times, a huge number for a Maurice Ryan coached team, but MU often did not cash in on those turnovers. Case in point in the second half MU made a steal and had a 4 on 1 break out when McNeal tried to feed Dominic James an alley oop only to airmail the pass high over his head. MU could have cut the lead at that point to 3 points.

Box Score

Recap from AP

Paul Day at the MU Trib.

Student Section representing!

Saw this on Channel 12. If any of these students are your children, call them and tell them to go back to the dorm and start studying for finals week!


Want to know more about what the students are up to? Here's a thread, started at 4am, by students at MUScoop.com. And another.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Big Ten Wonk preview by the numbers

For the uninitiated, the Big Ten Wonk is one of the best college hoops blogs around with terrific insight rooted in deep statistical analysis. John Gasaway jumped in to preview the MU game against the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Saturday.

As the Wonk points out, maybe there will be no missed threes in this game.

LOL. If that happens, I really like MU's chances on Saturday afternoon -- especially when you realize that MU's shooting is more erratic than any Big Televen team so far this season. (no shock, eh?)

Wanna scratch your head a bit?

  • -Jerel McNeal leads MU in field goal attempts . . . . not a good thing considering he's at 38% from the field overall and a dismal 20% from 3-point land.
  • -Despite his defensive prowess is a net negative performer on the floor.
  • -McNeal is averaging more TO's per game as a sophomore (4.0) than he did as a freshman (3.7) -- astonishing.
Still, you can't measure intangibles (McNeal can deliver those in droves), and MU will need those in full effect on Saturday.

Ring Out Ahoya!!!!

"You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder"

Attaboy, Mickey.

Rivarly games are what make college athletics special, and tomorrow's game between Marquette and the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a quintessential example. This is class warfare. Public vs. private. Tradition vs. badger-come-latelys. On and on.

Oh and its also about respect. Just ask Jerel McNeal, as Todd Rosiak did:

"I'm just walking through the lobby looking at the Christmas trees, and they're all decorated differently," McNeal recalled. "And one of the trees was a Wisconsin Badger tree, with all the Badgers in the red and white and everything. So I'm looking for the Marquette tree and there wasn't one there. And I'm thinking, 'This is downtown Milwaukee. Why have you got a Wisconsin Badger tree and no Marquette tree?'

".......Hey, man, we may be in Milwaukee, but there's so many people here that don't even respect us. They act like there's only one team in the state, and that's the University of Wisconsin.

I've had enough. Que the theme from Rocky.

BTW CS fave Jim McIlvaine has a great blog over on ESPN Milwaukee's site....check it out -- he stops the UW-Madison spin machine today.

If you feel the need to say something nice about Madison, join the fun at MUScoop.

ESPN's Andy Katz on the rivalry

For a red-faced view of the game, here is the Badger Herald.

Here's the Wisconsin State Journal.

2006-2007 Marquette Basketball Media Guide

OK, I recieved my 2006-2007 media guide about a week ago -- this is one impressive edition.

There's much more information in here than I anticipated including a nice feature on Doc and Dwyane, along with loads of history about the program.

Well done by MU.

If you want to order one, give MU a buzz at 414.288.7447

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Content, content everywhere.....

OK, the game against the University of Wisconsin-Madison is right around the corner. Finally. I for one can't wait for conference play to start anyway. In the meantime, here are a few links that you should take a look at:

  1. SoCalWarrior started a fun photo caption blog over at MUScoop. These things are hilarious, so get in on the ground floor.
  2. John Keegan at the Marquette Tribune basketball blog looks forward to the BADger game.
  3. Keegan also reports on the upcoming game for the paper, proper.
  4. ESPN Insiders can listen to a podcast features BADger apologist Andy Katz, with a bit on this weekend's big game.
  5. I forgot to post the SI cover story on the 2006 Sportsman of the Year.
  6. Andrew Sharos at Dodds' site also previews the MU/Madison tilt.
  7. GoMarquette posted its preview for Saturday's game.
  8. In a column sure not to run on the front page of Friday's sports section, Bob Wolfley discusses Saturday's matchup with Jay Bilas, who will call the game with Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery.
  9. A new MU/UW-Madison preview on Scout.com.

Breaking News: Badger Killer En Route to Milwaukee

The Cracked Sidewalks staff has learned that noted British badger roadkill expert Arthur Boyt is en route to Milwaukee for Saturday's game between Marquette and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Boyt, the world's foremost roadkill culinary expert, is expected to scape badger carcasses from the floor of Al McGuire Court late Saturday afternoon before wowing the crowd in a special episode of the BBC's 'The Iron Chef, The Roadie'.

In a statement, Boyt said "from what I've been told, badgers that migrate on easterly routes in Wisconsin rarely make it home alive, so there will be plenty of vittles to go around." Mr. Boyt, who calls badger sandwiches his favorite meal, will also use the trip to Wisconsin to promote his upcoming cookbook on roadkill delicacies.

When reached on his car phone in pursuit of dinner on Wednesday evening, Boyt said he "could not let Saturday's badger roadkill go to waste" and believes that "the hot air associated with this particular breed of badger will make for a decent pate if properly harvested. These badgers are a soft lot." Boyt did not express any concern over the questionable instinct of his prey.

In a rare show of support, Boyd's trip will be underwritten by PETA.

A PETA source - - who would speak to us only on background for fear of upsetting supporters of the ogranization - - indicated that, "America's Dairyland is over-run with vermin, and we hope that Arthur's leadership will help regulate the unwanted badger population which is known to spread maladies like tuberculosis, rabies and a failure to double-down on the post in March."

Boyt, who has eaten roadkill regularly for 30 years, famously revealed his culinary fetish to the world last year in the Sun newspaper, where he was pictured with his prey.

Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm CST on Saturday at the Bradley Center. Boyt's feast will begin at roughly 3pm with a pre-sale book drive to follow.

Boyt's creedo, which appears on his letterhead and in a variety of collectible items available on his rural estate reads:
License to kill badgers by the government of the United Nations. Man, free to kill gophers at will. To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Todd Rosiak Chat Transcript

He didn't get to all of the questions but the chat was interesting nevertheless. In case you missed it, click here for the link.

Weekend Menu: Badger Stew

...fresh roadkill is anticipated on Saturday

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MU crushes the Hornets....bring on the BADgers

Marquette bounced back from their first loss of the season to cruise past the Delaware State Hornets 65 - 48 tonight at the Bradley Center. Jerel McNeal led MU with 16 points while three teammates also chipped in double figure point totals. Making a surprise start tonight was Dan Fitzgerald who took full advantage of the opportunity hitting three triples and snaring 7 rebounds. It was the 150th victory for Tom Crean in his tenure at Marquette.

MU shot 50% from the floor, a stark improvement from the last game, and helpd Delaware State to just 35% shooting tonight. Interestingly, MU was outrebounded -- the first time this season that the Golden Eagles were beaten on the glass. The struggles at the free throw line continue (10-19, 53%). That shouldn't be much of an issue against Wisconsin, however, since they rarely foul anyone...cough...cough.


AP Story

Box Score

Todd Rosiak's take via the Journal Sentinel

Here's the GoMarquette recap, highlighting TC's 150th win.

Marquette Hoops on Scout.com offers this recap

Pomeroy Puts MU Under the Microscope

and with helpful analysis from co-blogger MUTPM, it is apparent that MU is not ready for it's closeup. Wanna get nervous? Check out these stats:

  • - MU is 328th in the nation at defending the three-pointer. Opponents are shooting an astonishing 43.4% from 3-point range against MU. Only Rutgers is worse in the Big East;
  • - MU is 249th in the nation in FT%;
  • - MU turns the ball over on more than 20% of its possessions -- 123rd 'best' in the nation, but still better than nearly 2/3 of the teams out there.
Incredibly, the Triple Threat are shooting a combined 27% from 3-point land this season ..... and the folks they are guarding are hitting at 43% clip. Now realize that Matthews and McNeal are both struggling to make their own the free throws as well (both are far below last year's pace)......my oh my.

On the positive side of the ledger with Pomeroy's stats:
  • - MU is 16th in the country in ORB percentage-- a good sign of aggressive play;
  • - MU is 5th in the nation in steals percentage (better than 16%);
  • - MU's defense is 4th best in the nation at forcing turnovers.
Astounding fact buried in these stats: MU's opposition is shooting better from outside the arc than inside the arc against us. MU is 328th in the nation at defending the three-pointer, and 26th defending close shots and that is without a true shot blocker.

On balance these numbers are ugly, but its early.....still, for a guard-oriented team I expected to note greater success with shooting percentages, FTs, and turnover percentage.

Pomeroy has MU stats updated through the NDSU game -- check out the MU page.

If the numbers are Greek to you, check out this post which explains the individual stats.

Here is a link to the Big Ten Wonk's explanation of tempo-free stats.

Marquette Hosts Delaware State


Of course I might have thought the same thing before Saturday's game against North Dakota State. MU enters the game at 8-1 while the Hornets are a less threatening 2-6. Note however that the Hornets return all five starters from last year's squad -- a team that lost to MU 60-48. MU led by as many as 23 points in the second half of the game after leading by 14 at the break.

Here is the AP preview of tonight's tilt.

Here is the Appleton Post-Crescent preview of tonigh's game.

Here is Rosiak's preview.....a particularly good one.

Rosiak examines who's hot and who is not here. And Todd notes that MU could "become the lone team in college basketball to sport "Brand Wade" uniforms and shoes." Very cool.

Ideally tonight's action is merely a tuneup for the game against the University of Wisconsin-Madison game on Saturday.

BTW, here's a nice article on Marquette Hoops about Ousmane Barro's terrific start to the 06-07 season.

Monday, December 04, 2006

MU drops to 17 and 20 in the polls

In the AP poll Marquette dropped to #17 this week. The coaches gave MU a bigger hit and slid them down to #20.

That means Bucky is the favorite for this Saturday which is fine by me.

Dywane Wade: Sports Illustrated's 2006 Sportsman of the Year

.....kudos to Roy S. Johnson's Sports blog for breaking the news. DWade is the Sportsman of the year.

Here's the article from CNNSI.com. Look for Dwyane on HBO's Costas Now on Tuesday night at 10pm EST. Wade will receive the award in NYC on December 14.

While Roger Federer's sublime 2006 must have given the editors pause, Wade is an inspired choice.

In just a few short years, Wade has become the face of the NBA --- the kinder, gentler, more professional and approachable NBA. Wade is the anti-AI, the anti-Kobe --- the kind of player that can bring fans back to the professional game, and who's remarkable dominance in the 2006 playoffs cinched one of the most surprising titles in recent NBA history.

Need proof? Dwyane's Q-rating is higher than Carmelo Anthony's or LeBron James'. In fact its higher than Brad Pitt's. At 31, Dwyane's Q-rating is second only to Michael Jordan when it comes to sports figures.

No tattoos? No posse?

No problem.


The Sun-Sentinel.

The Dominic Factor

Basketball is big in Indiana, and in towns like Richmond the passion extends to fortunate sons who play college basketball beyond the state line. Richmond's love affair with Dominic James is well-known -- realize that the local radio station carries MU games, for example.

Today's Palladium-Item offers a glimpse into the passionate Richmond fan base with a pair of articles........just the kind of thing a bummin' MU fan needs to see today.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Falling RPI..............

After last night's loss to North Dakota State, Tom Crean's squad went into a free fall in the RPI ratings .... or perhaps they should be called the RIP ratings. The ratings are located to the right of this page.

Personally, I believe this loss might not be the worst thing in the world. MU has been dodging bullets all year and expectations have been crazy. A little return to earth may be just what the doctor ordered. This also assures Marquette will be the underdog against Wisconsin this Saturday which is a position I would rather be in.

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

Holy Expectations....MU picked for Final 4 on CBS

Seth Davis of CBS Sports had his college preview at halftime of the Kentucky vs North Carolina game. He went through the top players and teams in the country. Dominic James listed as the best point guard in the country.

Then he moved to his Final Four picks.



He has Kansas winning it all.


Well, two of his Final Four Picks went down in flames today. Marquette lost at home to North Dakota State and Kansas lost to DePaul. OUCH

Friday, December 01, 2006

Barro Leads Marquette to B&G Championship Game

Ousmane Barro has arrived.

The 6'10" junior turned in his finest performance at Marquette -- a 21 point, 13 rebound, 3 blocked shot effort that keyed the Golden Eagles' victory over the Northwestern State Demons at the Bradley Center, 83-67. Barro established a new career high in scoring tonight and matched his personal best in rebounding. Want proof? Check out the MUScoop photo gallery from the game.

Marquette will play North Dakota State on Saturday for the championship of the 2006 Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic. North Dakota State defeated Princeton earlier in the evening, 57-50.

Dominic James turned in another magnificent second half performance, finishing with 19 points, 13 in the second half. Wesley Matthews (14 points) and Jerel McNeal (13 points) contributed to a balanced offense tonight.

But the night belonged Barro, who delivered his second double-double in as many games. Barro was dominant throughout the game, finishing 10-13 from the field. The Demons simply had no answer for Barro's size and aggressive play. The big man's career night came at an important time for MU -- the Golden Eagles were dismal behind the arc again, going only 1-9 in the first half finishing at 20% for the game (3-15).

Early on, it appeared that the blizzard took a toll on the Demons as MU raced out to a 17-5 advantage. Northwestern State fought back to close the deficit to 36-32 at the half. Barro and Wesley Matthews led MU with 9 points each at that juncture, a half highlighted by 22 points in the paint for MU.

In the second half, MU charged out to a 50-32 lead on the strength of a 14-0 run through the first four minutes. Much like the first half, the Demons weathered the storm and cut the lead to as close as eight points several times, but were unable to seriously threaten Marquette's advantage.

With the victory, Marquette improves to 8-0 on the season.


Tom Crean's post game comments, courtesy of MUScoop.

Here is the updated AP recap.

Here is the CNNSI box score.

Here is the Marquette Tribune report.

Todd Rosiak on Barro's career night.

J-S box score.

Marquette Hoops recap.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

December has arrived with a flurry of snow, and all of Milwaukee County is under a blizzard warning. Marquette is CLOSED. The Blue & Gold Luncheon for the Classic has been CANCELLED.

Currently, the games tonight are scheduled to be played. The snow should be ending between 1-3pm, and the roads should be plowed by then. That doesn't mean the roads will be cleared, of course, since there are dozens, if not hundreds, of accidents on the system today.

Ah, brings back memories. Remember back in 1987 when Marquette was snowed out on Finals Week? Easily the sweetest memory of Freshman year.

The Blue & Gold Classic Returns

Where do you turn for the first word on Marquette game previews?

For my money, the Tuscaloosa News can't be beat.......courtesy of the Associated Press of course. The fine folks in Alabama gobbled up the preview of Friday's tilt between the Marquette Golden Eagles and the Northwestern State Demons. If you don't think the Demons can play, ask Steve Alford. The Demons are 4-2 on the young season.

MU will look to build on its impressive 7-0 start and reclaim the Blue & Gold title once again. The Golden Eagles fell to an NCAA tournament-bound Winthrop team in the championship game of last year's Classic. MU has won the Classic championship 29 times.

Is this team destined for 27-3?
Ken Pomeroy's blog and statistics site are in mid-season form already. Just for kicks I checked out his predictions page for MU - - Ken's analysis projects MU to a 27-3 season right now. Hey, its insanely early to project that far into the future -- but its kinda interesting to consider the possibilities even if they are far-fetched for now. Read Ken's MU projection here.

- The guys at MUScoop have a comprehensive series of links and info for the upcoming game as well.
- Todd Rosiak contends that MU's gut-check win at Valpo pushed the team to new heights, setting up a 'special season'.
- Michael Hunt on the strength of basketball in the state of Wisconsin.
- GoMarquette.com's official preview can be found here.
- The Appleton Post-Crescent does a nice job with their preview.

I don't want to be accused of looking ahead, but what the heck.......MU's next opponent could be the Princeton Tigers. The SportsProf provided a quick assessment of the Tigers in a recent post. Check it out here.

Finally, Happy Message Board Anniversary to John Dodds and IWB over at MarquetteHoops.com -- their community is now three years old. Time flies. Well done, fellas.