"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

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2007 Recap, 2008 Predictions

Last season, after the MSU debacle, I wrote a post with a number of predictions, some funny, some realistic. Most came true. We're all in a funk right now, and for lack of something more substantive, let's review how I did:

The March 2007 post started out: "Ok, a few days have gone by, we're all still licking our wounds. Time to talk about the future." Ouch. Still applicable in March 2008.

  1. 2007: I predict ...DJ will be on the team next year. And the "shooting slump" will be a distant memory. I predict he'll be better than he was Freshman year, and stay all 4 years at Marquette and be an Academic All-American. Mostly right. DJ was at MU and his shooting improved somewhat.
  2. 2007: I predict one guy will leave the team, and one incoming recruit will not arrive. Half Credit. Saunders didn't make the team.

  3. 2007: I predict Mr. Basketball Scott Christopherson will not red shirt. Bingo. Probably should have, though.

  4. 2007: I predict TC will sign a juco guy this summer. For grins and chuckles only. Half Credit. Fulce may not be for G&C.

  5. 2007: Last year, Marquette basketball fans raised over $1,300 for Al's Run. I predict we double that number next year. Sadly, not double, but $1645 isn't chump change.

  6. 2007: We'll start the pre-season ranked about 15th. Close. Some services ranked us as high as 8th, others around 13-14.

  7. 2007: I predict Mo Acker will be a fantastic addition to the team. I predict we'll sneak him on the court as a 6th man, being so short, no refs notice. -- But seriously, Mo will be a difference maker next year. Great defender, great 3 point shot, lightening quick. Pretty close. Mo hit a lot of big shots this year. I always pick an unsung guy, and Mo was my favorite player this year.

  8. 2007: There'll be a bobblehead next year. I'll guess Jim McIllvane .. or maybe Al McGuire? My vote is for Joe Chapman. And I'm thinking the George Thompson bobblehead is two years away. Scratch that. The bobblehead will be Hank Raymonds. Oh, who am I kidding. There'll be another D. Wade bobblehead, belt buckle, voodoo doll, keychain, snowglobe, and/or t-shirt giveaway. "Wade Bucks," spendable at the concession stands, will drop from the Bradley Center ceiling. Not even close. No Bobblehead. 5 year Final Four paperweight.

  9. 2007: I'll predict a Lazar Laser Pointer night giveaway .. hmm .. given out after the game. Close. How about them light sticks for the GTown game?

  10. 2007: And someone else's number will be retired. Tony Smith is due. Wrong again.

  11. 2007: I predict none of the incoming players will have 3, 11, 14, 15, 20, 24, 41, 43, 44, or 77 as their jersey number. For sure. No doubt about it. No brainer.

  12. 2007: The Jesse White Tumblers will play half time this year. And those inflatable zoo animal guys. Can't remember what they were called. Zooropa or something? They'll be back. Half Credit. Zoomania came back at the GTown game.

  13. 2007: MU will have its 3rd annual Haunted Hoops scrimmage again. Layup.

  14. 2007: I'll guess Robert Jackson is some sort of assistant coach next year. I'll predict there'll be some interest for Todd Townsend at another program. Pure speculation, but he needs exposure to another system. Double-T was my favorite player years ago. All the other assistants will stay. Todd Townsend did go to Northeastern.

  15. 2007: I'll predict our OOC home schedule contains more high interest games than last year's, including homers against UWM and UWGB and a mystery team. Izzo now owes Crean, so maybe MSU will come to the BC gratis? Added to 9 BE home games, the season ticket holders will be happier with the value. Partial Credit. UWM was a well attended game, but UWGB didn't happen, nor did any other high-interest OOC home game. With the 9 BE games, there were a boatload of high quality games at the BC this year.

  16. 2007: I also predict there'll be a lot of complaints about the reseating process for season ticket holders, since it was announced it will be held at the Al, and not the Bradley Center where people can sit down and start their personal ass-groove. No surprise here.

  17. 2007: I predict after 11 years of going to the Bradley Center, I will finally get on the jumbotron next season. Come on. My kid is very cute. Nope, but the old couple behind me got on the Kiss-Cam TWICE. So unfair.

  18. 2007: I'll predict we win the Maui Invitational in November .. but lose to UW in Madison, extending their streak, and that Christmas will be canceled (again) because of the loss. Exactly wrong!

  19. 2007: I predict 1290/1510AM will boost their power output. Or an angry mob will burn down their antenna tower. One or the other, not sure which. I predict "Antenna Night Giveaway" where all in attendance at the Bradley Center will receive a powerful AM radio antenna so they can listen to the post-game as they drive home. Partial credit. We're now on 540AM, which flipped the trouble. People inside the city get a poorer signal, those outside Milwaukee get a much better signal. Keep trying, ESPN Radio, keep trying.

  20. 2007: And speaking of media, I predict there'll be a lot of complaints about ESPN's contract with the Big East. While every game will be "broadcast," a great number of games will be on ESPNU (satellite only) and herky-jerky ESPN360, which few receive. This did not happen, glad to say. MU had a great TV package this year.

  21. 2007: I'll predict on a post-game show, Crean will say the crowd at the Bradley Center was phenomenal. This happened 42 times.

  22. 2007: I predict the student section, after half don't show up for a "lesser" game, will be demoted to the "9th best Student Section in the Country." True dat. MU has a core group of ~1000 students that show up rain or shine, and ~3000 who only show up when they feel like it. Discouraging.

  23. 2007: I predict one game there'll be an announcement that the crowd is the biggest in Wisconsin history. It happens every year. Partial Credit. A new record of 19,085 was set vs. GTown, but the announcement was not made because PuertoRicanNightmare complained about the announcement so much, MU didn't make it.

  24. 2007: I predict Tom Crean will invite the Cracked Sidewalks team on a road game trip. (cough) SADLY, FALSE.

  25. 2007: I'll predict no hand or wrist injuries to anyone on the team. There'll be a concussion or two, of course. There always is. Nope. DJ hurt his wrist.

  26. 2007: I predict we'll go 12-6 in the Big East. 12-6 was close. I lowerered my expectations to 11-7 before the season began.

  27. 2007: We'll get a better seed next year in the NCAAs, like a #3-4, win 1 game and lose in the 2nd round -- and that one of those games will be against another of Coach Crean's buddies, prompting 2,000 more stories about how tough it is to play against a friend. Very close. We bettered our seed by 2, did win one, lose the next. And the stories weren't about the Stanford Basketball Coach and Crean, it was about their Football Coach, Harbaugh, and Crean.

2008 Predictions:

  1. DJ, Wes, and McNeal will all be back for their Senior year. Since we are over committed on scholarships, someone will have to leave. One could guess that Pat Hazel may want playing time at another university.

  2. It wouldn't shock me if Buzz Williams got a head coaching gig somewhere. Didn't I read TCU was sniffing around? All the other coaches stay.

  3. Another Former MU player will join the coaching staff, because it happens every year. What's Scott Merritt up to these days?

  4. Mbakwe will get better. I don't see him exploding like Lazar did, though.

  5. Scott Christoperson .. won't play many minutes in Big East play next year. While Scott may be our future long distance shooter, I can't see him getting quick enough to defend BE players.

  6. Marquette will go 12-6 next year, 1-1 in the BET, 1-1 in the NCAAs. I think I've seen this movie before. While Fitz and Ooze will be missed the most, the incoming freshmen Fulce, Williams, Taylor, O'Tule will fill the gap, but they are freshmen on a team with 3 starting seniors.

  7. It's going to be a long off-season.

Sorry for the lame predictions this year. Still gloomy from our Stanford loss.


James said...

Last year when MU lost to MSU - I was upset, but could still watch other NCAA games. Not this year. I haven't even looked at ESPN or CBSsports. Its just too painful. What a shame - Marquette could have been a major headliner in the next few weeks.

anonymous said...

Give me a break. MU had a good year. Stop crying and watch some basketball.

Michael said...

The loss has me gloomy too, but the team is now competetive on a yearly basis. We're playing in a major conference and appearing on ESPN or CBS several times a year. Looking at the big picture, most schools would kill to be in this position.

Derek said...

I think the 2008 Predictions are a little bit too pessimistic for a few reasons. First, I will concede that we did not probably improve enough up front to get too excited. However, what makes me most excited is that ever since the G-town game, this team went from being DJ's team to Jerel's team. He carried us on offense and we were foul trouble away from the Big East championship and a lucky fallaway from the Sweet 16. With this being Jerel's team, DJ can focus on passing and getting his assist numbers up which should help his draft prospects anyway. We should put 2 players in the league after next year and hopefully Wes can assert himself more and maybe get three in.

Also, Taylor and Nick Williams look awsome. We are going to be even more stacked at guard and if the seniors have a bad shooting night we should be able to come back with more fire power.

Another thing, I think Trevor will be as good as Ooz if not better. He really got after it when he first came back but looked alittle lost out there without being in ryhtm on the team. I like having Burke and Trevor with experience up front.

Finally, what if Lazar gets consistent? We would be pretty dangerous if he showed up every game. Now that he is a junior, he should be confident enough to get after it even more.

Zuch said...

It will be really nice to see what a healthy Trevor and Scott C. can do after healing up in the offseason. For that matter, the return of a healthy DJ would also be really nice, as he was shooting in the high 30's from 3 and had a 50% or so effective field goal percentage before the wrist injury.

For the team to a major step up and be a contender for a Big East title and Final Four bid, we will need Trevor or even Dwight to establish themselves as a major threat down low. However, as long as they give us solid, consistent play on the interior, this team should win 12+ Big East games and a make a run to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

warriorsforever said...

If MU only wins a single NCAA game next year, then Crean is just not doing his job. And the tenure of the big 3 was a failure.

Henry Sugar said...

If MU only wins a single NCAA game next year, then Crean is just not doing his job. And the tenure of the big 3 was a failure.
That's your opinion. And it's worth the internet paper that it's printed on.

ultimatemaxim said...

Thanks for calling out the student section. The only thing worse than their attendance is the whining in the Tribune about how the student section should be on the sidelines.

Gene Frenkle said...

This year Crean said he was concerned about Barro getting into foul trouble early. Next season, this must be applied to Lazar. Too many times this year he got two quick ones in the first half and he was useless the rest of the way.

Also, is it me, or does he get a reach-in or blocking foul at the top of the key, 30' from the hoop at least once a game? That always killed me.

I predict Scott C will have little effect on the team next year. He's too slow on his feet, and his release is too slow. Williams and Taylor will step in.

And I too think it's Jerel's team. I don't see how this team isn't as good as this year. Looking at how the rest of the B.East is shaping up, I'd say they are 1-2 more B.East wins better.

James said...

I agree about Crean. Don't get me wrong he's done a heck of a lot for MU's bball program, no question. But now that we are back as a presence in the NCAA basketball world we need to take the next step. That is- to recruit the tough guys, win a Big East Championship, and consistenly win games in March. I agree, if Crean deserves to be on the hot seat this year.

Lurch91 said...

Glad you now have to register to post a comment.

It's rediculous to think Crean HAS to get to a Final Four to make the "big 3"'s tenure successful. You realize other teams with just as much talent (or more) are TRYING to beat us don't you?

The knock on Jim Calhoun in 88-89 is the smae thing you all say about Crean, Can't win a big game/when it counts. To think Jim Calhoun was almost run off at UConn.

If Crean gets run out of town, MU basketball will be set back 10 years. We'll suffer through a few Bob Dukiet's, before we find a coach that can get us back to where we are/were today.

Derek said...

Coach Crean is getting highly regarded recruits from Alabama and Texas to come to Marquette instead of playing in the Big 12 or SEC. He got Lazar to come from Buffalo. He got Taylor to come from New Jersey. Not everyone can do that. With a coach than recruit more than Wisconsin/Chicago/Minneapolis, MU is in good shape. I'd take good recruting over good X's and O's any day. (though I think Crean is still a good game coach actually. i.e. the adjustments he made at half against nova)

I think we have to realize that this just was not our year. Trevor and DJ were hurt. Unlucky events against G-town and Stanford would have made this season a huge success the other way. This will all average out.

Padgett killed us this year and he is gone, and Hibbert is gone. Besides Thabeet, we should be all right matching up in the front court. West Va. and Syracuse will be home games if we alternate (I don't know if the BE does that for sure) which should be wins next year. Hopefully we won't draw Louisville and ND as home and home (imagine if we got DePaul, St. John's, and Cincy or something... hopefully not two top 4 teams again). Also, Wisco will be played at the BC in a rebuilding year for them and our Thanksgiving tourney features us in Chicago against Dayton. Plus, we play at Tennessee, a game that can only help us, and would not hurt us if we lose. The schedule looks very favorable next year.

Also, another summer of shooting for DJ, Jerel, Wes, and Lazar can't hurt.

I am very optimistic about next year. I know everyone is still down about Stanford, and I am still a little bit sick to my stomach, too. But I really think we will be all right. This team sort of reminds me of that Illinois team a few years ago with the three guard lineup, and a versatile power forward. I definately think everyone is being too pessimistic.

Derek said...

One other reason to look forward to next year is the progress that Burke showed after Trevor took his minutes. It shows a lot about him the way it looked like he kept working after losing time. I think we can count on him having a strong off season and being a solid rebounder next year. He and Trevor will make each other a lot better and I think we should be all right defensively up front. With the way he responded to Trevor taking his minutes, I see Burke working his tail off thinking about the Lopez twins. The Stanford loss may have helped in the respect.

Burke did put us in position to win the G-town game don't forget. He will hopefully surprise us next year.

Dr. Beeper said...

So glad to see you have to register. Hopefully this will clean up the garbage posts, at least a little. Just been watching the All-American Game and it gives some perspective. All these kids going to Louisville and Georgetown, etc. Its tough to compete with that. MU (Crean et al) are doing more with less. Its great that we can stay competitive without the major recruits that typically do not want to come to Milwaukee.

Gene Frenkle said...

Here's the thing about Crean that I think everyone needs to separate:

Recruiting success vs. coaching success. In particularly, as it pertains to the big guys.

People bash Crean on landing a solid big man. And I can't really defend that, only to say so is every single coach in the country. You win some recruts, you lose others. But everyone would agree that we are not that good down low.

Then...compare that to the teams B.East record the last three years. We are the best in the league in the reg.season. If that's the case, and we are winning without the help of quality big men, then Crean has to be doing something right.

He can't have the success he's had with only a guard-oriented team in the big east without doing something right.

Just a thought. And thank god you have to register now. Interested to hear if anyone went to the McDonalds game tonight to see our buddy Iman Shumpert.

Dr. Beeper said...

Even Duke didn't have a quality big this year. There just aren't that many to go around.

James said...

I'd like to mention that the arguement regarding recruits not wanting to go to school in Milwaukee is bull. Milwaukee is improving dramatically as far as beautification is concerned and the city offers all the amentities of a larger city. I refuse to believe that Pittsburgh or Louisville or Syracuse are infinitely better destinations Next, MU focuses soley on basketball. The best of the best is given to our basketball players. Recruits should fee comforted knowing MU is 110% behind the program. Oh, and for fun, the Lopez's are dicks.

Dr. Beeper said...

I love milwaukee as much as the next guy. And once they move in, most athletes love it here because it is a great city. But to say that Milwaukee is regarded nationally as a priority destination for recruits (i.e. chosen over most east coast cities) is simply ridiculous

James said...

Let me clarify. I am not saying Milwaukee should be a #1 destination on anyone's travel list, I'm just saying I don't think the city of Milwaukee is so terrible it deters all the good recruits. There are plenty of other cities in the BE that are total duds.