"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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Now that's more like it: MU Thumps #22 Pitt


Starting from the last 3 minutes of the Notre Dame game, through Seton Hall, and into an electric Bradley Center on Saturday Night versus #22 Pittsburgh, Marquette has played 83 minutes of inspired basketball with a 72-54 beat down of Pitt. Marquette now moves to 8-5 in BE play, in 5th place.

Jerel McNeal led the team with 17 quiet points, followed by a superlative effort by The Oooze, who racked up another double double, 14 points, 12 boards.

But they weren't the only stars last night, in that, MU got solid contributions from just about everyone. While James only had 4 points, he had a whopping 12 assists. Matthews accounted for another 10 points. And the Cube is back, with 13 points, hitting 3-5 from behind the arc.

The only minor disappointment last night was Trevor Mbakwe, who played his first minutes as a Warrior. With the expectation that Trevor farts thunder and craps lightening, his grand un-redshirting was uneventful at best, missing one shot, and getting zero boards in 8 minutes. If the game was tighter, I don't believe Crean would have played him for more than 1-2 minutes.

A note should be made about the crowd .. it was fantastic. Raucous. Students filled their section to the brim. That crowd went to 11. Some of it was for Pittsburgh, some for the Converse commercial, some for the Final 4 ceremony, and some for the Mbakwe unveiling. It will be interesting to see the Converse commercial, once complete. I thought the Bradley Center could have done a better job informing the non-students (who make up 75% of the crowd) what was going on, and to join in with the We Are--Marquette chant. I'll have video up later today.

Huge win. Next up, @SJU and home vs. Rutgers. Can you smell a 4 game winning streak?

One more item: Could Pitt fans be bigger a-holes? Quote: "Please let James have a broken wrist" and .. "I hope James has to have his hand amputated." Wow. Classy fan base.

I need to put up a picture of a guy who sits a row behind me. Clearly, he reads Cracked Sidewalks.

I give you, the Cracked Sidewalks Fan of the Game:


Anonymous said...

EASY QUESTION. Why does Crean leave DJ in the game with a 20 point lead? Dj reinjures his wrist, is taken out, and then put back in. Please don't tell me because DJ wanted to go back in.

By the way, Crean does get the messages from the boards and is sensitive to them. But there is a filter system in place.

Anonymous said...

I think it was a way to send a message to the team. Their defensive intensity had slipped for a couple of series. I think it was his way of refocusing to them that, "hey guys this game isn't over. Step up"

Anonymous said...

Exactly, we had a big lead, but there was a fair amount of time left. How buffonish would we look if Pitt came back and beat us. In hind sight after he took the fall we say, "maybe he shouldn't of been in the game." I mean, if it was Jerel, Wes, Lazar, Oooze, etc. we would of been saying the same thing. It happened to be DJ. I hope he is ok. Great to see DJ get 12 assists. He was awesome with the passes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the opportunity to answer that question. I know Tom, and I wondered the same thing. Here's exactly what Tom said, "well that's right", but you know I activated Trevor because he had a good practice and he wanted to be more a part of the team for a few games this year, so I feel now I have more flexibilty and I could put DJ back in."

Championships Matter... said...

Finally. Everything worked just right; the team was good and we showed what we can be.

No doubt the Big East is tough, but if this is the team we will see through March, we're gonna have fun again.

Nice job Coach. Nice job team.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic performance. I can't think of a single player who DIDN'T have a good game. Really. I mean, Matthews' minutes were down, but he made some plays.

If had to gripe about anything, I'd say Cubillan needs to dial back on the shimmies after three pointers. Enthusiasm is one thing, but that's just embarrassing. He played great, though!

Anonymous said...

I would agree no reason for James to be in the game w 6 mins left. I was really happy to see Jerel play well, when Ooze is a factor MU usually wins, and Dominic was superb minus his shooting. Once again my biggest gripe we shoot way too many 3's. We can get mid-range jumpers and that high screen slip cut to he basket regularly vs a zone. If Dominic is healthy no one can stop his penetration ergo pick and roll. We get wide open 3's so I understand taking them but it's not really our strength. During games(close games) when the long jumper isn't falling we need to take better shots period. Dominic especially needs to lay off the 3's and take the 15-17 foot jumper.

Anonymous said...

This is turning out to be bizarro-season. Instead of going in our annual mid-to-late february swoon, our worst bball seems to be behind us and we seem to have that out of our system and headed in the right direction. Instead of a major season ending injury (diener, mcneal), we're getting healthy (depending on james) with mbakwe getting the green light. When you look at things from a distance, we played great before james hurt his wrist and have played great since it's gotten better. In between when he was hurt, we struggled. As long as everyone stays healthy and continues to play with energy and intensity, I'm really starting to believe this might be the year we finally do something in the post-season (keeping fingers crossed, knocking on wood).

Anonymous said...

Those comments by Pitt fans are way out of line, but I have to admit James' injuries seem to have more than a bit of drama to them. Don't forget, it was against Pitt when DJ basically got brushed in the shoulder and the marginal contact sent him headlong beneath a table, about 45 feet from where the contact took place.

I know his wrist is hurting, but it is a sprain, right? Is it necessary to lay on the floor? Can you not get up and get yourself off the court?

James had a great game last night and I really hope he's OK, but somebody's got to tell him to quit overreacting to these things. He's been doing it for three years.

Great, great game!!

mu_hilltopper said...

If DJ puts up 12 assists per game, he can put on a 1-act play and do a musical right there on the court, as far as I'm concerned.

It's amazing the amount of commentary and vitriol people have when they witness a 20 year old kid getting hurt. AS IF any of us old farts wouldn't be rolling around in agony twice as long.

Anonymous said...

This site sucks.

Anonymous said...

"This site sucks" <-- Pitt fan bitter about losing to us 4 out of 5 times.

Anonymous said...

Maybe James' injuries are overly dramatic, much like Cubillan's enthusiasm for making threes. But no Pitt fans would care if they weren't 2-4 against us in James' career, and James didn't play some of his very best games against them. If Pitt was 5-1 against us over the past three seasons, they might find it funny how James always seems to be wincing in pain, but they wouldn't wish injury on him.

Gene Frenkle said...

Yep. That game was friggin' sweet. Everyone contributed. Even Fitz made a nice left handed scoop there in the second half surge.

I loved seeing Mbakwe out there, but anyone that thinks he'll be pulling down double-doubles is crazy.

He'll be getting some minutes and working in practice and building experience. But, he's another big body that's more athletic than Burke. It's a shame he'll only play 8-13 games this year, but I'm still glad he's getting the experience. It will help us for next year.

Anonymous said...

Following up -

DJ went back in because TC wanted to win by 20 and not 6 to show that we are truley back and to improve the perception of the bad losses.

I agree w MU warrior - put o a drama and WIN the game. He does thet -- get used to it. He does play through pain well and has experienced real pain.

Mbakwe will be good. Its a good e=decision for us and him. He has the opportunity to fill a real need on this years team this year and should do so. If he is as good as it seems, it will not hurt his long term goals, either NBA or other high leaugue other places (europe or other where he can make a goood living).

Keep in mind tht those were about 3 people on the Pitt board and a posting does not reflect their fan base although thiose posts were reprehensible. For "this site sucks" - Bite me.

For long term prospects - I think we are turning a corner and headed in a great direction. Our losses were to very high quality teams. Crean detractors can shut it for now (I have not heard form you follwoing this game). Our problems vs big man teams are due to injury and reasonable prospects not turning out. We don't need a psycho like the guy from Minnesota (now at SD state).


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Anonymous said...

I gotta say I'm not sure if the Big East is really good or way overrated. I think Memphis, Kansas, UNC, and UCLA are a step above the rest of the teams but after that it's a crapshoot. If MU makes 3's during the tourney they can beat anyone, if not they could be one and done. I'd love to see Coach K manage our team. Look at what he's doing with the Dukies. That's a team w no size and marginal athleticism and they're #2 in the country. Pretty amazing.

Zuch said...

Duke may not have size, but they would be far from unathletic. Nelson, Henderson and Thomas would be excellent athletes, and guys like Smith, Singler, King and Scheyer not exactly slouches. Also, they have 4-5 very good perimeter shooters (while we have Cooby and Fitz). The Coach K/Dickie V myth may fool some people, they have as much pure talent as everyone other than Kansas and Memphis.