"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, January 31, 2008

MU to recognize US military and their families

For $10, Marquette fans can donate MU/UL tickets to family members of Marines stationed in Iraq. Read all the details here on the MU site.

January Wiki top 10

Time for another edition of the Marquette Sports Wiki Top 10. Each month, the wiki has grown in popularity, this month, coming very close to 100,000 pages of MU goodness served up to fans.

And, of course, here are some quality pages, not getting lots of hits, but worth your time:

MU recruits lighting it up

Here's a quick update on MU's 2008 recruits:

Tyshawn Taylor led the nation's best high school team with 21 points and seven boards in an 81-50 win over Neptune last night. With the win, St. Anthony improved to 15-0.

Down in Alabama, LeFlore High School remains the top ranked team in the state with a 26-2 record. Nick Williams had a huge night in the Rattlers' 87-61 win over McGill-Toolen earlier this week. The 6'4" shooting guard led LeFlore with 28 points, five rebounds and six steals. Williams is averaging 20 ppg this season, and like Tyshawn Taylor was recently named a finalist for the McDonald's High School All-American game.

Tyler JC won last night despite losing MU commit Joseph Fulce for the last six minutes of the game due to fouls. Tyler JC is now 17-1 on the season. Fulce was more impressive last week with a 20 point, 11 rebound performance in a win over Panola College. TC was in the house for that effort.

Over to Houston we go for some tidbits on 6'10" Chris Otule. It is difficult to track Fort Bend Bush on a game-by-game basis, but a quick rip through Jim Hicks' RCS Sports site indicates that the big fella is scoring in double figures consistently. Keep in mind that Otule only averaged 5ppg as a junior. One of FB Bush's biggest wins this season came over perennial power Sugarland Willowridge, 63-51. Otule led Bush with 15 points in that game, and had 16 points in a 46-44 win over Travis High School earlier this week. Bush is now 20-7 on the season and ranked #7 in the state by MaxPreps.

Me gusta.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Marquette Wins Ugly

Lazar Hayward scored a career-high 23 points to go with 8 rebounds and Wesley Matthews added 16 as the Marquette Golden Eagles topped the South Florida Bulls 62-54. Marquette (15-4, 5-3) appeared flat all night, and was tied with just five minutes remaining before Matthews connected on three 3-pointers late to rally the Golden Eagles to victory.

Once again MU was outrebounded. Once again MU started slowly. Once again MU shot poorly. Once again MU's offense relied far too much on isolation plays which put little pressure on the defense. The results? It took MU nearly 12 minutes to reach double figures in the first half. Asked at halftime about the slow start, Crean responded "we're not good enough starting games. We'll get that addressed another day." That day cannot come soon enough since halftime adjustments didn't take hold..........it took MU 15 minutes to score 10 points in the 2nd half.

Another serious problem tonight was Marquette's free throw shooting, which clocked in at a miserable 58% (18-31).

Dominic James was benched for much of the game, and Coach Crean was obtuse during the post-game interview on why DJ was out. James ended up with a career-low 3 points in 11 minutes, shooting 1 for 7, and 1 for 6 from the charity stripe. His running mate Jerel McNeal was also unimpressive. McNeal finished with 6 points on 2-9 shooting, forcing shots and turning the ball over three times.

On the blocks, Marquette was manhandled by USF's Kentrell Gransberry who finished with 15 and 15 before fouling out on a questionable call late in the game. MU had no answer for Gransberry, who just didn't have enough help to help the Bulls break through for a Big East road win.

On to Cincy.


"I'm focused on what it takes to win that game, and playing momentum. Sometimes it's just not people's nights, you know? And when you don't have depth there's not a lot you can do about it. When you do, you do something. I thought he did a nice job defensively. But I'm not really worried about all that. We needed to win the game. That's the focus."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bulls on Parade

They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells
They rally round tha family! With a pocket full of shells

Bulls on parade

Come wit it now!
Come wit it now!

Know what? USF coach Stan Heath just might invoke the passion of Rage Against the Machine on Tuesday night when his struggling Bulls (10-10, 1-6) take on the nationally ranked Marquette Golden Eagles (14-4, 4-3).

The Bulls enter Tuesday's contest mired in a six game conference losing streak. How bad has it been for USF since beating Rutgers to open Big East play? Well, the Bulls lost these six games by an average of fourteen points -- with each loss coming in double digits.

Come wit it now!
Come wit it now!

Despite their record the Bulls do have talent, particularly explosive big man Kentrell Gransberry. The 6''9, 270 pound senior averages a double-double (17 and 11) and has scored 20 or more points in seven of his last eight outings. The trigger man for the Bulls is precocious freshman point guard Dominique Jones. The youngster plays 34 minutes per game, is second on the team in scoring at 15ppg, hits 41% from deep, and carries an impressive A/TO ratio of nearly 1.5/1.

After a much-needed win over DePaul this weekend, Dominic James and crew should be chomping at the bit to hit the floor again. James keyed MU's dominating second half surge on Saturday to help end the modest two-game win streak. Despite the win, concerns remain over the disappearance of any reasonable post options and the Golden Eagles' inability to control the backboard in conference play. Still, the Golden Eagles are 11-0 at home and with the defensive pressure Crean's crew can apply against a young backcourt ...... advantage Golden Eagles.

Two key matchups to watch:

  • Turnovers. The Bulls play to a negative turnover margin, while MU averages nearly four more take-aways than turnovers. The Golden Eagles lead the Big East in steals per game, but the Bulls don't help themselves much defensively -- they are last in the Big East in thefts.
  • Three-point shooting. Marquette leads the Big East in 3-point field goald percentage defense (30%). USF is one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league, connecting on 36% from deep.
If the Bulls can protect the basketball and shoot well from deep, MU could be in for a tougher fight than many expect.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm CST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Full Court, channel 694 on Directv.

Media Updates

Update: IWB's SportsBubbler.com has a great preview and video footage of a pre-game press conference.

Wade and Diener deliver a night to remember for MU alums

I doubt many alums had a better basketball weekend than those who attended the Marquette Club of South Florida's most recent event. On Saturday night, the alums gathered to watch Dwyane Wade's Miami Heat top Travis Diener's Indiana Pacers......and the night was capped by a meet & greet with the pros.

With special thanks to Dan Reinfeld of the MU Club of South Florida, here's a slideshow of the post game gathering. Very nice!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Marquette tops Blue Demons

Marquette returned to the win column tonight with a 79-71 win over the DePaul Blue Demons in front of a record crowd of 19,037. Dominic James led the Golden Eagles with 19 points. After leading by just a bucket at the half, MU poured it on in the second half building an 18 point lead before settling for the eight-point win.

With the win, Marquette moves to 14-4 overall and 4-3 in the Big East. DePaul fell to 9-10 and 4-3.

Jerel McNeal chipped in with 15 points and Lazar Hayward delivered 14. In an interesting twist, Crean started senior Dan Fitzgerald tonight rather than Dwight Burke. Fitz landed up with two points.

Updates to follow. Talk about the win over at MUScoop. Next up for Marquette are the USF Bulls who stampede the Bradley Center on Tuesday night.

Media recaps

Friday, January 25, 2008

MU looks to bounce back, hosts DePaul

After a week to stew over ugly back-to-back road losses, the Marquette Golden Eagles (13-4, 3-3) return home on Saturday to take on the DePaul Blue Demons (9-9, 4-2). For more than a decade the Blue Demons have been a welcome opponent on the schedule -- Marquette has beaten DePaul in 26 of the last 32 meetings, though the Golden Eagles did fall short at the Bradley Center South last season.

After last year's aberration, it is time for the Golden Eagles to return to form and bludgeon the Blue Demons......if only DePaul was as rotten as most college basketball fans have come to expect. Fact is, Jerry Wainwright's crew is a major surprise these days boasting a 4-2 record in Big East play. The Blue Demons struggled early this season, but a combination of quick guards and an improved inside game is paying dividends in conference action. Coach Wainwright has one of the league's most dynamic freshman duos in center Mac Koshwal and forward Dar Tucker. The 6'10" Koshwal averages 11 points and nearly eight boards per game. Tucker is the team's second leading scorer at 13 points per game. Senior Draelon Burns, a Milwaukee native, leads the Blue Demons with 15 points per game. Good players, all.

As for MU.....we've had a week to consider the back-to-back road blowouts. Look for MU to come out with a ferocious defensive effort on Saturday night, and hope that the offense gets back on track. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST on ESPNU.

Here are the Top Five Numbers to Know about DePaul. As always, information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report and Game Plan.

9 - DePaul has played nine games against teams in the RPI Top 50

  • DePaul has played Creighton (43), Kansas (3), Vanderbilt (14), Mississippi (12), Clemson (26), Villanova 2x (37), Providence (44), Georgetown (11)
  • They are 2-7 in these games with wins against 'Nova and Providence
  • PS - Marquette has played 8 games (record 4-4) against the RPI Top 50
27 - DePaul's national rank at protecting the ball
  • The Blue Demons only turn the ball over on 18.2% of all possessions (less than one in five possessions)
  • On the other hand, Marquette forces opponents into a turnover rate of 23.7%
  • It may not seem like a big difference, but we almost always force our opponents into more turnovers than they usually commit
  • Turnovers are the matchup of the game
271 - DePaul's national rank at effective Field Goal Defense
  • DePaul allows opponents to average 52.6% at effective Field Goal Percentage against them
  • Hooray! Finally an opponent that isn't in the top 20 at eFG% defense (Unlike UConn, Louisville, and WVU)
96% - Pomeroy's prediction for Marquette to win the game
  • In some bad news, Pomeroy also predicted that we'd beat Louisville (66%) and UConn (66%)
  • Feel much more confident about this one, however, because we are back at home
5 - Marquette's national rank at steals
  • We have a thieving defense, averaging a steal on 14.4% of all possessions
  • That's almost ten steals per game, or a steal about one out of seven defensive possessions
In summary, DePaul has a decent offense but they don't fare so well on the defensive end. Look for Marquette to force a lot of turnovers, especially steals against a team that doesn't usually turn the ball over. Expect that our team will get out and run and hit open shots in front of a lively home crowd. It's time for our offense and defense to get healthy.

Above post is a joint contribution from NY and Henry Sugar


Cracked Sidewalks turns three!

1,269 posts and counting....

When we started this blog three years ago, none of us had any expectations about what might happen. So far, so good -- it is still loads of fun and our readership continues to grow, that's a good combination.

Thanks very much to the terrific group of contributors who have helped us along the way, especially the core group we have now. In addition, to the guys at MUScoop -- you're terrific partners out here in cyberspace, many thanks.

Most of all, thanks to the readers for making our hobby a part of your Marquette basketball experience. We'll continue to do what we do best here -- aggregate content from around the Web and produce rich, compelling, original content on the Marquette Golden Eagles.

........and now back to basketball.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Big Zero

My guards and forwards are better than yours........and to prove it to you, I won't even attempt to score from the post. Play ball!

So goes the most puzzling aspect of Tom Crean's 2007-2008 strategy. It does not matter that Ousmane Barro demonstrated marked improvement year-to-year for the first three-quarters of his career, for some reason the big fella has digressed into an afterthought in the Golden Eagles' offense. To be fair, Barro might never have been more than that in previous years, but Ooze has bottomed out as a senior and the shenanigans of bringing him off the bench to prevent foul trouble must end.

Once and for all: Dwight Burke is not a Big East quality post player. Repeat it again: Dwight Burke is not a Big East quality post player. Despite the Fools' Gold fans discovered earlier this season, Burke has returned to form but for some reason Barro remains a bit player on a team that desperately needs a post option, a role he filled just last year.

Last season when MU played its best ball, Barro was at his best. A year ago, Barro enjoyed a stretch of unprecedented success by scoring in double digits in seven of nine Big East contests. MU won eight of those games, including three on the road. Barro's best game in that stretch was arguably his double-double at UConn, a mindboggling feat given MU's performance in Storrs a few days ago.

Fast forward to 2008..........Barro has attempted only 10 shots in the last four Big East games combined. If that's not enough, Barro has not scored in MU's past two games, and since piling up 14 points in the Big East opener against PC has contributed 12 total points combined in his next five outings.

As Henry Sugar pointed out in yesterday's sublime post, MU is relying on a high-risk strategy this season and abandoning the post plays a huge role in that approach. Basically, MU relies more on lower percentage shots (especially from three), which is inherently less reliable. So by refusing to incorporate Barro as part of the offense -- he made nearly 60% of his shots last season, folks -- MU is eschewing one of its most efficient options in favor of less reliable alternatives. Beyond the pure numbers, by abandoning the post entirely this season (and the subsequent decline in Barro's assertiveness on the blocks in this needlessly diminished role), the Golden Eagles have become one dimensional on offense -- drive and kick -- and therefore much easier to defend.

It is time to reinvest in the post and resurrect Ousmane Barro.

**thanks to Henry Sugar for his contributions to this post

Marquette - High Risk Stock?

It’s been a rough week in Marquette-land. Not only has the team lost two straight games on the road, but they’ve looked bad doing it. Furthermore, because of the six days off between games, there is plenty of time for fans to stew and post aplenty.

A big part of the frustration with the team is that, while they have looked so good against some teams, the team has looked equally poor against WVU, Louisville, and UConn. Is there any reason that Marquette can look so good and yet so bad?

In our opinion, there are two basic reasons. The team has not been maintaining their early-season strengths, and they play a fundamentally risky strategy dictated by personnel.

Not dancing with the one what brought ya

Two of Marquette’s non-conference strengths were Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) and effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%). As a reminder, OR% is the percentage of total possible offensive rebounds. Every defensive rebound by the opponent is a potential offensive rebound. Effective Field Goal Percentage is Field Goal Percentage adjusted to account for the extra value of a three point shot. Shooting 4/12 from three is the same as shooting 6/12 from inside the arc.

Marquette has been one of the strongest teams in the nation at Offensive Rebounding Percentage. At one point, we were securing over 45% of all available Offensive Rebounds. However, once Big EAST play started, the team has been gradually declining every game.

In addition, our offensive eFG% and our defensive eFG% are both suffering some terrible trends. Even against Duke and Wisconsin, we were above 50%. The team is just not playing well on both ends of the court when it comes to making and preventing baskets.

Of course, the team’s recent poor performance isn’t news. Neither does it explain the high variability of our recent wins and losses.

Inconsistency Means Higher Risk

The graph below takes a look at the point spread standard deviation for Marquette for the season. The average point spread deviation for college basketball is somewhere around 14-15 points (according to Dean Oliver's "Basketball on Paper"). An extremely inconsistent team has point spread variations around 22, which has been graphed on the line above.

As you can see, early in the season, the team was definitely more around the NCAA average, but lately we have been very inconsistent. This inconsistency is a sign that our risk has been exposed. In other words, if the team wasn’t using risky strategies, we’d be losing or winning by less.

Risk and Reward

As most people know, there’s a fundamental principle in investing. Lower risk investments have lower potential returns, and higher risk investments have higher potential returns. Well, it turns out that this principle applies to other things beyond just investments… such as basketball!

If a team is an underdog to an opponent, they can shift the game plan to account for more risk. It gives the underdog a chance to win over a favored opponent, but also a chance to get crushed.

So what is a “risky” strategy that can shift a game? Again, referencing Dean Oliver’s "Basketball on Paper"

  • Pressing – points off of the defense or gives up easy baskets
  • Shooting Lots of Threes – lower percentage shots that are worth more
  • Slowing the pace down – limits the opportunities a better team has to prove itself
  • Playing a zone – which causes opponents to shoot threes and slows down the game
  • Fronting the post
  • Releasing your guards
  • Sending your guards to the offensive boards
  • Playing particularly oversized or undersized lineups

A well-known example is Dick Bennett’s old UWGB teams that would slow the pace down in the NCAA tournament and shoot threes in an attempt to keep the game close and beat a more talented team.

Is Marquette a high-risk stock?

Recognize any of those risky strategies above? Pretty much the only strategies that the team doesn’t adopt regularly are a full press, slowing the pace down, and playing a zone. Even then, MU has an aggressive scheme on defense. Marquette manages to combat the high variability of their risky strategy by pushing the pace. The fundamental need for these strategies is our depth at guard (and weakness in the post). When the strategies work, we force turnovers, get easy points on the break, and grab offensive rebounds off of those missed shots. We run opponents out of the building.

However, when opponents shut down the transition game and/or play zone and/or slow down the pace, Marquette needs to hit extra threes in our recent games. Once the shots start missing, we’re toast and the higher risk strategy has been shut down.

We are almost certainly a high-risk stock.

How do we add some bonds to this portfolio?

Big men, duh! Think of big men like the nice, safe part of your portfolio. Marquette’s big men are like bonds. They aren’t flashy and they should contribute their min amount. If the big men disappear, like they have been lately, then there’s no balance. Taking the analogy further, a really talented big man is like owning a blue chip stock. They deliver consistent results and high growth, and maybe even a dividend. Unfortunately, our current roster makeup has none of those blue chips. (Okay, this analogy has exhausted itself)


It’s never any fun to watch Marquette get blown out, and it has to be even more frustrating to the coaching staff to see such inconsistency. The offensive rebounding and effective Field Goal percentage can improve, and part of the problem is execution on the court. However, it appears that our team “is what it is” in terms of makeup and strategy. The good news is that the coaching staff is already looking at things the same way. If you check out Coach Rab's latest entry (always a great read, but get an RSS feed please), you'll notice an emphasis on playing with confidence, rebounding, and continuing to attack with our quickness and athleticism.

If you’re a glass-half-empty sort of person, just recognize that the team plays some high risk strategies and try not to get too frustrated if we get blown out again. If you’re a glass-half-full type, hope we get hot at the right time and get better performance from our bonds (last one, I promise). The team does have a lot of talent, and can certainly go a long way given the proper circumstances and effort.

Two quick alumni updates

OK, more content to come later today but in the interim, here are a pair of items passed along from fans of the blog:

  • "McGuire," Dick Enberg's one-man play about Al McGuire, will run at Hofstra University's Black Box Theater in Hempstead, NY on Feb. 9 and 10. Here is the blurb from the Daily News.
  • Also, if you have the good fortune to live in South Florida perhaps you can jump into the fun when the Miami Heat host the Indiana Pacers game on Saturday, January 26th 2008 at 3:30pm. I should have posted this last week (skiing got in the way!) -- because the MU club down there will host a post game meet and greet session with Dwyane Wade (and hey, maybe Diener shows up too). OK, I am green with envy. For more info click here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MU's top 100 players: author's final thoughts

The following is a wrap-up comment from John Pudner, author of the recent series on Marquette's top 100 players of all time:

Thanks for everyone's feedback, this really was fun and I really did want the feedback, particularly the ones that referred to additional info. The one pick I really blew was Tony Smith, who it's clear should have been in this top 10. I really didn't boost Doc Rivers much for coaching, but I can certainly see Smith and Chones somewhere in the Top 10 and bumping him and Tatum just outside it.

OK, Smith was my worst pick, I really penalized him too much for his teams going 54-60, when I should have looked at it as him saving the program during those years. I know most of you seem to think McIlvaine was my worst choice, so I will make the case one last time and then shut up - because I really had and have no attachment to McIlvaine, the numbers just keep leading me back to him.

It sounds like I may be all alone in defending McIlvaine as a Top 15 to my grave, but he is the one case where every time he gets criticized and I take another look at more stats and history, I end up feeling even stronger that he is a top 10 player.

If stopping points is just as important as scoring them, his 1994 season is one of the greatest ever. He is listed as the national defensive player in the year by the NCAA book that came out in 2005. His 1994 team allowed almost as few points a game (61.7) as the pre-shotclock 1977 NCAA champs (59.4) and far fewer than Wades' final four team (69.5).

That team allowed the lowest field goal percentage (35.8%) of any team since they started keeping the stat in 1978 except for the 2000 Stanford team that had three 7-foot defensive specialist on their front line. Believe it or not, the year before when we beat Kentucky in the regular season, it was the only time in the history of MU that we have beaten a No. 1.

When going through the Top 25 individual seasons of all time we don't have any of the top 25 scoring years, or rebounding years. But Mcilvaine's 142 blocked shots in 1994 is the 22nd best season ever, and his career total of 399 is the 17th best season ever and puts him only 13 blocked shots behind Shaq. Mark Anglavar's 53.5% 3-point percentage in 1989, and Tony Miller's 956 career assists are the only other individuals to make a Top 25. (granted many of these stats weren't kept until the 1970s, but the fact that McIlvaine is so near the top of the thousands of centers who have played since then just make me credit for defensive dominance, and the team was also tops in the nation in field goal percentage in 1993 with 39.3%.

Maybe I'm also just biased because I feel like if he were playing this year, I wouldn't care if he never came down the court on offense. We could get plenty of points between James, McNeal, Matthews and Hayward, then the could just go for steals knowing that if someone got by them, McIlvaine would have their back.

**To read all of John's entries, click on the tags below.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marquette's Greatest Players - Top 10

The following is the final entry in a series of guest columns written by John Pudner ('88).

We at CrackedSidewalks wish to thank John for this great series.

When some of my friends heard I was ranking the Top 100 players some laughed – thinking about the Dwyane Wade bobble head on my desk and the authentic MU Wade jersey I wear occasionally. However, when I crunch all the numbers and weight everything I have to give a slight – very slight – edge to Bo Ellis ahead of D. Wade as the greatest MU player of all time.

But it’s not just close between Wade and Ellis – there is a clean break between the greatest 9 players in Marquette history - and the other 630 players who have put on the uniform. I truly believe you could make an argument for any of the top 9 players as the greatest player in MU history – and I do not believe you could make an argument for any player from Earl Tatum 11th place on down the list. It just depends how much you weight statistics, dominance and the impact on the program. I weight all three as equally important, giving a score of 0 to 15 in each of those areas, then adding them up. Theoretically a perfect player could get a 15 + 15 + 15 = 45, but of the 640 players rated, the average score is 2 + 3 + 2 = 7 – so the average score is actually just 7 of 45 as only truly great accomplishments get the player any points:

If I had based these rankings solely on my 1st criteria, STATISTICS, then I believe you could go with George Thompson, Dean Meminger, Don Kojis or Terry Rand. The numbers those four put up are truly staggering, and match up with just about any other player in the country.

If I had based these rankings solely on my 2nd criteria, DOMINANCE, then 1st place would be a toss-up between Wade, Maurice Lucas and Butch Lee. Wade and Lucas were so good they ended up dominating the NBA, both leading teams to titles. Wade was a 1st team All-American, Lucas was 2nd team All-American in college. Wade was the most unstoppable, as even Dallas 5-on-1 defense set wasn’t enough to stop him as he took the NBA title from them. Lucas wsa the baddest man in the NBA, as he flattened Darryl Dawkins with one hit in route to his NBA title. While Butch Lee was not as dominant in the pros, he was the only MU player ever voted as the top college player in the country.

On both these counts, Ellis ranks just slightly behind the players mentioned – but he moves to the top of the list based on his IMPACT on the program. As great as his stats were, he separated himself from the other greats by leading MU to the NCAA championship game TWICE – the only two times MU has made the championship game. On both those teams, Ellis was either first or second on the team in both points and rebounds with 12.2/8.5 his freshman year when MU lost to NC State in the title game, and 15.6/8.3 his senior year when MU won the title over UNC.

If Wade or Lucas had played four years instead of two, I might move them into first – but only Ellis played four years. If any of the other top 9 players had taken their teams to two championship games, they might be in first – but only Ellis did. The photo of Ellis standing on the rim after claiming the 1977 title will always be a classic just behind McGuire crying on the bench.

The following are the ratings and descriptions of each of the greatest 10 players in Marquette history.

Key: All-time ranking among Marquette players, Name, (years played), Ratings based on statistics + domination/pro career + impact on program = overall rating.

1, Maurice (Bo) Ellis, (1974, 75, 76, 77) 13 + 14 + 15 = 42 Notes on why in Top 100: Only player on both Marquette's NCAA Runners-up in 1974 AND Champions in 1977, and was in the top 2 in rebounding AND points on both teams as both a freshman and a starter with 12.2/8.5 and 15.6/8.3 - 1st Round pick. One of only two MU players to record 1,000 rebounds (Kojis 1,222, Ellis 1,085) and 6th all-time in scoring 1,663, just over 100 behind leader 1st place George Thompson's 1,773, and they didn't start keeping track of blocked shots until 1980. And he was every bit as good the two years in between as he racked up a 101-18 record during his four years at MU – the only other starter to win 100 was Tatum at 101. You can even through in the intangible for his role in “Hoop Dreams.”

2, Dwyane Wade, (2002, 03) 14 + 15 + 12 = 41 Notes on why in Top 100: MVP of NBA Finals in 2006, 5th overall draft pick, 6,200 points in first 3 NBA years, All-Star every year after All-American in last year at MU, led MU back to final 4 in 2003 with 21.5/6.3, 71 steals, and led team with 43 blocked shots. Extra credit for being the spokesman for the University and single-handed destruction of Kentucky and Pittsburgh in NCAA, then Dallas Mavs in Championship.

3, George Thompson, (1967, 68, 69) 15 + 14 + 11 = 40 Notes on why in Top 100: All-American who got MU to the next level through 1969 - still top scorer in Marquette history at 1,773 despite playing before shotclock (and only playing the NCAA mandated three seasons), then scored 8,000 more in the pros. Only MU player ever to average more than 20 career ppg, and just misses top 10 rebounding at 688. In his three years of shattering rebounding and scoring records, Thompson led the Warriors to the NIT championship game, then the NCAA tourney, then to the Elite 8 to become Marquette's all-time leading scorer. The Elite 8 run came in a year that was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but Thompson led the team to their first Top 10 finish in the polls and backed it up with the Elite 8 run.

4, Alfred (Butch) Lee, (1975, 76, 77, 78) 12 + 15 + 13 = 40 Notes on why in Top 100: MVP of 1977 Championship team after his length of court pass to Whitehead won semi, then National Player of the year the next season before being the 10th overall NBA draft pick. The first Puerto Rican to make the NBA after he dominated the US Olympic team, and I gave him a bonus point for his dominance in the Olympics. Even though he didn't have the dominant NBA career of Wade, Lucas or Rivers, the fact that he was picked as the top player in the country in college forced me to give him a perfect 15 on dominance.

5, Dean Meminger, (1969, 70, 71) 12 + 15 + 13 = 40 Notes on why in Top 100: The 6-foot "The Dream" led the team to a 78-9 mark in his career. Top scorer (18.8 ppg) on the last team to turn down an NCAA bid, when No. 8 Marquette refused an out-of-region bid to go to the NIT where he beat Dr. J and Massachusetts, Pistol Pete and LSU and finally St. Johns in their home city of New York, then followed that up by being top scorer again on the undefeated (26-0, 21.2 ppg) regular season team that finally lost in the Elite 8. 1st Round Pick, over 2,500 NBA points. Meminger and McGuire had the best records of any MU 3-year starters in history, going an identical 78-9 mark (89.7% winning percentage).

6, Terry Rand, (1954, 55, 56) 15 + 11 + 13 = 39 Notes on why in Top 100: Leader of the most important season (1955) prior to the national title, as the 6-foot-8 center put Marquette on the map with a 22-game winning streak leading to Marquette's first ever Top 10 ranking (No. 8), which they backed up with their first ever Elite 8 finish in the NCAA behind Rand's 15.9/14.7 season. The team Rand led was so good, that the team's leading scorer and rebounder from the 1954 season, Russ Wittberger (19.4/8.5), did not even START for the championship season. The next year he led MU to the NIT while becoming the first MU player to score 20 ppg with an incredible 20.3/13.1 campaign, and drafted by Minneapolis of NBA - All-American who led the team in scoring and rebounding all three years. Second all-time with 12.7 rpg. The other two seasons the team was just 11-15 and 13-11.

7, Glen (Doc) Rivers, (1981, 82, 83) 12 + 15 + 11 = 38 Notes on why in Top 100: Rivers suffocating defense and incredible passing for 3 years at MU and 13 years in the NBA was coupled with 1,200 points at MU and 10,000 in the NBA as he was picked as both an All-American and and NBA All-Star. The only thing he lacked in my scoring was an NCAA run, but he does get a few bonus points for his coaching, most recently leading the Boston Celtics to the top record in the NBA this year. Doc's only faults are that after I enrolled at Marquette in 1983, he decided to leave for the NBA so I didn't see him play live, and he let his son go to Georgetown! (extra points for coaching Celtics). His ferocious defense led to 2.3 steals per game, the same as Wade and only slightly behind McNeal and Johnson.

8, Maurice Lucas, (1973, 74) 12 + 15 + 12 = 38 Notes on why in Top 100: 2nd team All-American who led NCAA Runners Up 1974 in both points and rebounds (15.8/10.6) as a 6-foot-8 center/forward. Had a 23-rebound game. 1st round pick, NBA All-Star with more than 12,000 career points, and averaged 20.2 ppg to lead Portland to the 1977 NBA title. Only 2 seasons at MU before draft. Basketball Digest called him one of the toughest men in basketball after he flattened Daryll Dawkins with one punch. Only the fact that he only played two years keeps him from competiting for the top. If either Lucas or Wade had played four years at Marquette, they would have been the top player in school history. They are the only two-year players to make the Top 10 list.

9, Don Kojis, (1959, 60, 61) 15 + 15 + 8 = 38 Notes on why in Top 100: Statistically the top player in school history even though at the time a 6-foot-3 player could play front line. Still, Kojas 21.4/17.1 in 1960-61 was only slightly better than his previous two seasons, he is still the top rebounder in school history. After being picked in the 2nd round of the NBA draft, scored almost 10,000 pro points and was an All-Star two of his 12 NBA seasons. If team had made a run in 1959 tourney, he would challenge for the top spot under these rankings. His career 15.1 rpg is easily tops all time, with Terry Rand 2nd at 12.7, and his total rebounds of 1222 beats Ellis' 1085 - the only other 1,000 rebound player.

10, Earl Tatum, (1973, 74, 75, 76) 10 + 14 + 13 = 37 Notes on why in Top 100: Starter for NCAA Runners Up 1974 with 10.1/5.1 as G/F, and only got better going All-American two years later before being 2nd round pick, over 2,500 NBA points. He had the best record of any 4-year player in Marquette history, as his teams from 1973-76 went 101-15 for an 87.1% winning percentge. (only backup Barry Brennan played all four of those years with Tatum).

John Pudner, Journalism ’88, was Editorial Editor and then News Editor for the Marquette Tribune. He was named top sports news writer in Virginia in 1991 while working for the Charlottesville Observer and wrote a weekly column on his rankings of baseball pitchers for the New York Post before leaving journalism for a career in politics and government affairs.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Marquette Road Woes Continue

Marquette was easily beaten by the UConn Huskies today, 89-73. Don't let the 16 point gap fool you. This game wasn't close. When down by 29, Marquette scored 35 points, nearly half their total, in the final 9 minutes to narrow the gap.

Marquette's shooting woes continued for the first 30 minutes of the game, shooting around 28%. As UConn had a 20+ point lead, MU hit a number of late 3 pointers to make their final numbers a respectable 40% from the field and 47% from long range.

Road wins are tough to come by in the Big East. 43 games have been played, only 9 visitors have left the court with a victory. And 5 of those wins were against the 4 worst teams in the BE. We were 3 point underdogs, on the road, half of us predicted this as a loss, and surprise, we lost.

HOWEVER. Marquette's performance during the last two games, road games indeed, has been dismal. UL shot 49% and UConn 54%. MU has been out-rebounded 5 straight games now, with a whopping -11 today. Our game of slash to the basket hasn't worked with enough efficiency to actually win games. Ooze and Burke have a grand total of zero points, 7 rebounds, and 11 fouls between them in the last two games.

In short, while our last two games have been on the road and were expected losses, it's the way we've lost that's most troubling.

Marquette has 6 days off, then plays DePaul on Saturday night at the Bradley Center.

AP Recap / Box / Play by Play

UConn Preview

It's taken us a bit of time to get the UConn preview up and going, so it won't be as in-depth as we've done for previous games. Still no word yet on whether or not Dominic James will play today. Considering that we have beaten UConn the last two seasons, we're sure that Coach Calhoun has reminded his team and they will be fired up. Winning today will be a tall task even with DJ in the game.

Here are some quick links for the game

Rosiak's preview focuses on Maurice Acker
Rosiak's blog covers quite a bit of good info on UConn
Eric Silver has another good preview at MarquetteHoops.com

Top Five Numbers to Know about UConn. As always, information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report and Game Plan

39.1 -
UConn's Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%)

  • The Huskies are #22 in the country at OR%
  • However, they are only 190 in the country at defending against Offensive Rebounding
  • It's basically like Marquette is playing themselves in this aspect, as we are #27 on offense and #225 on defense for OR%
  • Marquette has to get healthy on offensive rebounds
9 - UConn's national rating at effective Field Goal Defense
  • Much like facing Louisville, UConn does a great job at preventing their opponents from shooting a high percentage
  • A lot of this comes because UConn is #2 in the country at limiting 2-point field goals, only allowing opponents to shoot 37.2% from inside the three point line
2 - UConn's national rating at block percentage on defense
  • UConn gets a block on 20.5% of all defensive possessions
  • That's a block one out of every five times that an opponent tries to score
  • Maybe 7'3" Hasheem Thabeet has something to do with this?
30% - Minimum Free Throw Rate by an opponent in four of five UConn losses
  • Free Throw rate is Free Throws / Field Goals Attempted
  • Of course, UConn has only allowed opponents to get a FTR this high four times, which we're sure is highly related to that massive block percentage
  • In good news, Marquette has managed a FTR higher than 30% eleven times
  • In bad news, UConn is #7 in the country at getting to line for Free Throws as well.
35 - UConn's national rating at pace for the game
  • Uconn likes to push a quicker pace to their games at 72.5 possessions per game
UConn is strong in a lot of the same areas that Louisville was, such as blocks, limiting 2-point field goals, and limiting overall effective Field Goal %. However, they are not as strong on preventing offensive rebounds and they use a faster pace in their games. Watch to see which team does a better job of getting to the line. This one is going to be a tough game.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Louisville Numbers Recap

In our Louisville Preview, we said to watch for several things. First of all, Louisville is doing an outstanding job at Defensive Efficiency, especially on limiting 2-point field goals. Second, Louisville is limiting almost all opponents to under 35% Offensive Rebounding Percentage. Finally, Louisville likes to keep the pace down.

Four Factors Review

Hey, new season lows! It's no secret that Marquette shot horribly, but here is how horribly they shot. Marquette's previous low at Offensive Efficiency was 89.0 (against Seton Hall), and before that they'd never been below 100. Marquette's previous season low at effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) was 40.2%, and our season average is 53%. We are one of the best teams in the nation at both of these areas, but not last night.

Marquette also achieved a season low at defensive Free Throw Rate. The 59% number for Louisville means that about 60% of the time that Louisville attempted a shot, they also shot a free throw.

Not only that, but yet again, Marquette did not do well on Offensive Rebounds. This is...

A Very Bad Trend

Looking at the graph above, we can see the moving 5-game average for Marquette's Offensive Rebounding % (blue) and our opponents' OR% (pink). That sloping downward trend started once Big EAST play began. Remember too that Marquette was once as high as #7 in the Nation at Offensive Rebounding, but we're now at 28 and falling. Plus, our opponents are doing better and better against us.

Not to point to doom and gloom, but two of our team strengths this year have been effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) and Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%). Once the Big EAST started, both of those areas have gradually gotten worse. These two trends need to reverse themselves to allow MU to have success this season.

Individual Ratings

If you are looking for a silver lining on an individual basis, it's that Wesley Matthews and Lawrence Blackledge had a net positive game. After that, the whole team pretty much did poorly. James and Hayward had their worst games of the season (statistically), but expect that to rebound. Hopefully, James will be able to play on Sunday.

An Argument to Play Blackledge More... sort of

There have been increasing calls to play Blackledge more. He certainly brings an energy to the game, and performed admirably against Harangody. Blackledge's blocks and dunks are a spark, but does he deserve more time?

First, some perspective on the graph above. It's a cumulative view of each player's contribution on a per-game basis. Upward trends are good and downward trends are bad. One is looking to see a trend that is overall positive or overall negative. Looking at the trends of the cumulative point contributions for our Three B's, we can see a few things.

  • Both Burke and Barro are in a serious slump. Ever since the West Virginia game, their net contributions have declined consistently every game. This isn't really news.
  • Blackledge's season net contributions are actually overall negative, but...
  • Since the Sacramento State game, Blackledge's contributions have been trending slightly up (except for WVU)
Blackledge isn't exactly tearing things up from a contribution perspective, because he's basically flat. The difference is that his net contribution isn't negative like Burke and Barro. It's kind of like being "queen of the pigs". Therefore, the Cracked Sidewalks view is that Blackledge deserves more time... sort of.

The team needs Barro and Burke to break out of their slump soon. We are going to need them for the rest of the season.

Let's move on and get ready for UConn.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MU Lays Powder Blue Egg @UL

Marquette rolled out its 4th uniform of the year for a big road game versus Louisville on national TV. If you like that color, it was the only bright spot of the game. The Cardinals owned Marquette tonight, with a final score of 71-51.

In short, Marquette couldn't shoot and couldn't rebound. MU hit a meager 30% from the field, and big goose-egg 0-12 from behind the arc.

UL out-rebounded MU by 13. Marquette has a serious rebounding problem, being bested by 13, 10, 4, and 12 over the past 4 games.

Finding a player of the game for Marquette is tough. McNeal had 16 points on 7-17 shooting .. but he also had a whopping 7 turnovers. Blackledge is my personal best off the bench winner. He's consistently added energy on both ends of the floor for several games now, and one wonders why he isn't getting more minutes.

To add injury to insult, Dominic James, in an off-balance attempt at a circus shot, braced his fall and re-injured his bad wrist. No report has been filed on his condition, but with the UConn game three days away, on the road, I would be surprised if DJ heals in time.

So, what does this all mean? Losing at Louisville is not surprising. None of us here at CS predicted this game as win. However, something is to be said about the way in which we lost. Horrendous shooting from long, medium, and short range, which was nearly the opposite of MU's performance 5 days ago vs. Notre Dame. Being out-rebounded each and every game, however, is more of a concern. We've gone .500 being out-rebounded, and I'd expect that to continue if it isn't addressed.

AP Recap / Box / Play by Play

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Louisville Preview

While Louisville has its Kentucky like Marquette has its Wisconsin, something special happens every time the Cards and the Warriors meet up.

Take this audio from a decade ago, January 3, 1998.

Wardle hits to win the game, 71-70.

Since 2000, MU and UL have matched up 16 times. The record? A fitting 8-8. Nearly half of those games, the visiting team has won on hostile ground. Overtimes, triple overtimes. One, two, three point games, won on the last bucket, time and time again. Strap in.

Want to Win the Big EAST? How about starting by winning some games on the road? Maybe against a key rival? How about against a team that we love to hate?

Here are the Top Five Numbers to Know about Louisville. As always, information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report and Game Plan.

66% - Pomeroy's computer simulation gives us a 66% Chance of winning this game.

  • Ah, if only games were played on computer, instead of on the court
  • Considering that home teams have managed to hold serve consistently this year, treat this with some skepticism
11 - Louisville's National Rating at Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
  • Efficiency is ((Points / Possessions)*100)
  • Their Adj Def Efficiency (85.7) is 11 out of 341 teams, whereas their Offensive Efficiency is only ranked 64
  • Louisville is clearly winning games on the defensive end, having only allowed four teams to crack 100 (none in the last seven games)
  • On the other hand, Marquette has only been below 100 on offensive efficiency once (against SHU)
95% - Pace is 95% correlated to Louisville's Offensive Efficiency
  • In other words, Louisville does better on offense the more that they push the pace
  • However, Louisville only averages 66.7 possessions / game
  • That is one of the slowest tempos in Division 1 (211 out of 341)
  • Expecting the run-and-gun pressing team from Louisville? Maybe, but it's not helping them force a faster tempo.
  • In fact, Louisville is average (ranking of 162) at forcing turnovers from their opponents
8 - Louisville's ranking at 2-point FG% Defense
  • Louisville is only allowing opponents to achieve 40.3% on two-point field goals
  • The Cardinals are also ranked in the top 10 in blocks
  • Marquette is making 53% of our 2-point field goals, so something has to give
2 - Number of times that Louisville has allowed an opponent to get over 35% on Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%)
  • OR% is the ratio of total potential offensive rebounds. Team OR / (Team OR + Opponent DR). Each defensive rebound by the opponent is a potential offensive rebound.
  • Louisville is holding opponents to an average OR% of 30%
  • Marquette is averaging 39.4% on offensive rebounds, but we've been below 33% against our last three opponents
  • Will Marquette be able to recapture the Offensive Rebounding prowess?
Although the reputation of Pitino's teams is that of the running, pressing teams that drop 100 points, this year's Louisville team is largely winning on interior defense. I actually think that a quicker pace helps tip towards Marquette's favor, but only if that means we're able to create offensive rebounds and quality shots in the paint.

Expect another great game on Thursday night. Overtime, Triple Overtime, maybe more.

Time/TV: 6pm CST, ESPN2

Links, Links, and More Links

Official Game Links
Louisville Blogs (lots of good stuff to read through)
Marquette previews
  • Rosiak's Blog looks at Louisville with an Interview of Tom Crean
  • Rosiak's Blog takes a look from Louisville's perspective. Interviews of Rick Pitino and Terrence Williams. Nice job, Todd
  • Another fine preview by Eric Silver at MarquetteHoops.com
  • Rosiak's Preview from the Journal-Sentinel, highlighting how important this week is for MU
National Coverage
..written by Henry & Hilltopper

edit: Added lots more links

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why we love to hate Louisville

Marquette v. Louisville.

This is arguably the Big East's best rivalry, and one of the very best in the nation. If you've followed this series for the past dozen or so years, these names and scenarios will raise your blood pressure:
  • Steve Novak

  • ....and Jerry @!#% Smith
As Tom Heiser points out in his blog, this series has risen to great heights. Tom notes this fact from columnist Rick Bozich

After 12 years apart, the schools resumed playing in Conference USA on Feb. 28, 1996. Marquette won. In double overtime. The score was 80-79. The winning basket came on a three-pointer by Aaron Hutchins with three seconds left. Starting with that game, the teams have played 12 games decided by five points or less, and five that have stretched into overtime.

So, here's the deal. These programs have a healthy respect for one another, and I'd posit that the respective fan bases do as well. But -- sometimes there are teams that you just love to hate.

I love to hate Louisville. Tom Heiser loves to hate Marquette. The folks at the Card Chronicle are having a blast here with a Tom Crean caption contest......and the game is still days away.

So, in keeping with the links above...

Here are the top 5 things I love to hate about the UL rivalry:

#5) The last second no-call on Wardle during the Senior Night Triple OT loss at the Bradley Center. A killer loss. Wardle played a remarkable 52 minutes that night for nought.

#4) "I'll take Niv Berkowitz and the 47 points" The overhyped and overmatched PG led Marquette to the worst loss in team history, a 99-52 thrashing at the hands of the Cardinals at Freedom Hall back in 2005. Oh, the game was on national television. Buzzkill. Thank goodness the Three Amigos arrived soon after.

#3) Reese Gaines. After hitting his game winner at MU - a clutch shot just moment after Diener's apparent dagger - the Madison native pranced around the court in defiant celebration. At least this story had a happy ending. Gaines' reward was the right to work for a Marquette graduate the following fall (he was drafted by Doc Rivers' Orlando Magic). Heheh.

#2) The insipid 'C-A-R-D-S' chant heard at the Bradley Center every year by the pockets of UL fans in the crowd.

#1). Slick Rick Pitino. I know he's an easy target, but I'm a simple man. Pitino rode back to the Bluegrass State and many expected him to replicate the nearly unparalleled success he had over in Lexington. It has largely not worked out that way for Rick where recruiting gaffes, a rash of injuries, and a few underachieving squads have managed to temper progress....just a bit. Not that I am complaining, because if I were a complainer Slick Rick would point out that whining is not one of the 10 Traits of Great Leadership in Business and Life, nor will it help me understand the Ten Steps to Overachieving in Business and Life. Tony Robbins has nothing on this man!

All of this and we have two more days to talk about this game. Enjoy a mini 'rivalry week' :-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Marquette's Greatest Players #11-26

The following is the fourth in a series of guest columns written by John Pudner ('88).

Dominic James is the 17th best player in Marquette history already. If he leads Marquette to a couple of NCAA wins this year he could potentially break into the Top 10, whereas if he is a little off down the stretch, he could drop to the second best player on his current team because McNeal is so good.

James has started every game he has played, and can do everything a guard can possibly do with 1,095 points, 363 assists, 133 steals (2.0 spg is 6th all-time) and 263 rebounds as a guard. His freshman year was the best year of any freshman in MU history, and he was 4th place all-time in sophomore scoring with 506 points. And while MU fans seem a little tentative about getting their hopes up for the tourney after recent first round exits, the current No. 10 ranking bodes well.

If you take out the ridiculously successful 1970s, in which MU finished ranked in the Top 10 every season, we have been ranked in the Top 10 at the end of three seasons and each year the team backed up the ranking with a tourney run. In 1955, Terry Rand led MU to an 8th place ranking, and then backed it up with our first Elite 8. In 1968, George Thompson led MU to a 10th place ranking, and then backed it up with a Sweet 16 run. In 2003, Dwyane Wade led MU to a 6th place ranking and then to the Final Four. Jim McIlvaine led MU to a 17th place ranking in 1994, and then backed it up with a Sweet 16 run. If Dominic still has MU in the Top 10 at the end of this season, then backs it up with a Sweet 16 run, then he will probably end up in the Top 10 MU players of all time.

Back to McIlvaine, I had some push back from graduates of the early 1990s who viewed Damon Key, not McIlvaine, as the key to the 1991-94 teams. Certainly an argument can be made for either of the two, who were as dominant a 1-2 inside punch as you could have. Through their first three years together, Key was clearly the better player as he was All-freshman in 1991, then 2nd team all conference in each of the next years, while McIlvaine didn’t receive any awards nor match Key’s stats those first three years.

If weighing just career stats, you could put not only Key, but teammates Roney Eford and Tony Miller higher than McIlvaine. However, when measuring the impact on the program, 1994 may have been the most important year ever – and that’s when McIlvaine could not have been bigger. Remember MU had been through a DECADE of not making the tourney, and 1994 was the year they went to the Sweet 16 with a 76-63 drubbing of Kentucky.

As good as all of his teammates were, McIlvaine not only made all-conference for the first time – he was voted the MVP of the Conference. He was named the top defensive player in the COUNTRY that year, as he finished swatting his 399 career blocked shots (well over twice what any MU player has done). Only Butch Lee being ranked as the top player in the US in 1978 is more impressive – the writers, coaches and NBA scouts all judged McIlvaine to be the best of the four, taking him with the 32nd choice of the draft and soon thereafter signing him to a $34 million contract. He played in 401 NBA games, and as great as the other three were, none were drafted by the NBA or ever played an NBA game, though Miller had a great career in Europe. I reevaluated many of my draft rankings after feedback from other grads, but McIlvaine is one 7-foot-1 center I need to stay with.

While Key had better rebound and scoring stats, McIlvaine’s blocked shots are so much better than any MU player that I put him ahead – to have a guy back their blocking 3, 4, 5 or 6 shots every game means he was also altering a lot of other shots, the equivalent of scoring an extra 5 or 10 points a game.

The only problem with Ronnie Eford being so good, is that his arrival was basically the end of William Gates career (see Column 1). Certainly Allie McGuire was not only an incredible player –he graced Sports Illustrated as the guy who made MUs offense run in the early 1970s – but the fact that he was Al McGuire’s son is a huge asset.

The following are the rankings of the 11th through 25th greatest players in Marquette history. As outlined in my last column, the three numbers that are added are, in order, statistics, dominance and impact on the program. Theoretically a perfect player could get a 15 + 15 + 15 = 45, but of the 640 players rated, the average score is 2 + 3 + 2 = 7 – so the average score is actually just 7 of 45 as only truly great accomplishments get the player any points:

Key: All-time ranking among Marquette players, Name, (years played), Ratings based on statistics + domination/pro career + impact on program = overall rating.

11, Jim McIlvaine, (1991, 92, 93, 94) 14 + 13 + 9 = 36 Notes on why in Top 100: His 399 blocked shots by this 7-foot-1 star is such an incredible number, well over twice what any other Marquette player has ever had, that when you add his 1,278 points and 673 rebounds, he challenges for the best pure stats of any player. He capped his dominance inside by taking Marquette back to the Sweet 16 appearance for the first time in over a decade, being named as Conference MVP as well as NATIONAL Defensive Player of the Year. He was a 2nd round pick and played more than 400 games in NBA after signing a $34 million contract with Seattle.- and should get bonus points for chasing a jealous Shawn Kemp out of the Seattle. The fact that McIlvaine was the best player in the conference, and the best defensive player in the country in one of the most important seasons in the history of the school for me puts him a little higher than Key, who was clearly the better player the other three years they played together.

12, Jim Chones, (1971, 72) 10 + 14 + 11 = 35 Notes on why in Top 100: Only two seasons at MU were 26-0 and 21-0 starts in which he combined for 19.0/11.7 double double, before becoming 2nd round pick, and scoring over 7,500 points in NBA in 10 seasons. Consenus All-American and considered most complete big man in country. ABA allowed underclassmen, so he jumped. 6-11 C-F. Chones and Lackey combined for a 53-5 (91.4%) win percentage in their two years there, second only two Gary Brell's 54-4 mark in his two years that overlapped the 1971 season.

13, Jerome Whitehead, (1976, 77, 78) 9 + 14 + 12 = 35 Notes on why in Top 100: His tip-in at buzzer against UNCC to send Marquette into 1977 NCAA Championship was the most important moment in Marquette history - and he was just behind Ellis with 262 rebounds and 10.5 ppg, 2nd round pick, over 4,500 points in NBA. Led the team wtih 8.3 rpg the year after the title.

14, Travis Diener, (2002, 03, 04, 05) 11 + 14 + 8 = 33 Notes on why in Top 100: Final 4 team with 11.8 ppg and led team with 184 assists, 2nd round pick, averaged over 10 minutes per game in first 2 seasons, 3rd all-time leading scorer while at Marquette.

15, Lloyd Walton, (1974, 75, 76) 9 + 13 + 11 = 33 Notes on why in Top 100: Ran offense as 6-foot guard for NCAA Runners-up dishing out 138 assists and 9.4 ppg, more than 1,000 NBA points.

16, Michael Wilson, (1979, 80, 81, 82) 12 + 10 + 8 = 30 Notes on why in Top 100: 6-3 guard had 272 steals to form one of the highest pressure defensive backcourts with Doc Rivers, leading the 1982 squad with 16.1 ppg before playing in the NBA.

17, Dominic James, (2006, 07) 11 + 13 + 6 = 30 Notes on why in Top 100: Leader of our current 10th ranked team that is just a couple of missed layups away from beating Duke and being No. 7 - 38th Marquette player to top 1000 points and could pass George Thompson if stays next year, 348 assists and 252 rebounds in first 70 Marquette games, will be in NBA next year or 2009. Has started EVERY game in his career, and was rookie of the year. One of only 6 players to average at least 2 MU steals a game since.

18, Tony Miller, (1992, 93, 94, 95) 11 + 13 + 6 = 30 Notes on why in Top 100: One of the true greats, top QB prospect who chose Marquette and brought them back as one of the top 3 point guards in the Country - breaking Kentucky's press to take them back to the sweet 16. The school's all time assist leader with 956, and played another 12 years in Europe as one of the top steal/assist guys.

19, Bob Lackey, (1971, 72) 10 + 12 + 8 = 30 Notes on why in Top 100: All-American during senior year with 15.2/8.1 as a 6-foot-4 guard, then 71 NBA games. Chones and Lackey combined for a 53-5 (91.4%) win percentage in their two years there, second only two Gary Brell's 54-4 mark in his two years that overlapped the 1971 season.

20, Bernard Toone, (1976, 77, 78, 79) 7 + 10 + 13 = 30 Notes on why in Top 100: Marquette's NCAA Champions 1977, 2nd round pick, Played in NBA. Famous for the fight he got into with Al McGuire in the locker room of the 1st Round game in 1977 in which he said McGuire had renegged on a promise to start him. McGuire said the fight helped the team regroup to win the title.

21, Roney Eford, (1993, 94, 95, 96) 10 + 10 + 9 = 29 Notes on why in Top 100: I recounting the William Gates story in my first column. While Gates nagging injury may have kept him from reaching the top, the other factor was the arrival of Eford who was just too good for Gates to get many minutes from 1993 on. Eford scored over 1,400 points at Marquette, and was extremely versatile inside or out with 150 3-pointers and over 697 rebounds, and conference freshman of year - on Sweet 16 1994 team, and 2nd in scoring with 12.5 for 23-6 team in 1996.

22, Tony Smith, (1987, 88, 89, 90) 13 + 12 + 3 = 28 Notes on why in Top 100: I got to see one of the best play, as Tony came my senior year and was All-American three years later with 23.8 ppg. Ranks in top 5 in MU history in scoring, FT and FG made, assists and steals despite not having strong teams, then became 2nd round pick, over 2,500 NBA points. It's pretty tough to top his stats over 4 years at Marquette, and the only thing keeping him from being in the Top 10 was a very weak supporting cast during his four years at MU. The team actually went 54-60 despite his incredible play those four years.

23, Aaron Hutchins, (1995, 96, 97, 98) 11 + 11 + 6 = 28 Notes on why in Top 100: over 1,400 points at Marquette, 5-10 guard kept a very balanced MU attack running with an incredible 215 assists to go with team high 14.0 ppg in 1996, followed by 172 assists and 13.4 to finish just behind Crawford the next year in ppg. Scored and his assists led to all MU starters averaging double digits on 23-8 team in 1996.

24, Damon Key, (1991, 92, 93, 94) 10 + 11 + 7 = 28 Notes on why in Top 100: The 6-foot-8 forward is 7th all-time leading scorer at Marquette, and on the incredible inside duo with McIlvaine that led Marquette 1994 team to the Sweet 16 with an upset of #3 seed Kentucky, 76-63. One argument I got when circulating an initial Top 100 list to friends was that Key was really the key to these teams, not McIlvaine, and that is a legitimate argument. If you look at the four years as a whole, Key does have the edge as he was voted to the conference all-freshman team in 1991, and then was 2nd team all-conference the next three years while McIlvaine was not recognized until 1994. The steadier performer of the incredible duo underneath. See McIlvaine for why I have him higher.

25, Allie McGuire, (1971, 72, 73) 9 + 8 + 11 = 28 Notes on why in Top 100: Ran the greatest regular season teams, between the NIT Title and the NCCA Runner-up, and was featured on Sports Illustrated cover for being, "The Man Who Makes Marquette Go." In Dick Enberg's one-man play, a Marquette player complain that Al McGuire is playing his son Allie is playing in front of him, and basically Al says of course he is biased toward Allie. Of course I'm biased too - only a few games in the NBA but he was Al McGuire's son so how can you overestimate his importance to Marquette's tradition! (bonus for his dad's coaching). Meminger and McGuire had the best records of any MU 3-year starters in history, going an identical 78-9 mark (89.7% winning percentage).

John Pudner, Journalism ’88, was Editorial Editor and then News Editor for the Marquette Tribune. He was named top sports news writer in Virginia in 1991 while working for the Charlottesville Observer and wrote a weekly column on his rankings of baseball pitchers for the New York Post before leaving journalism for a career in politics and government affairs.