"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, March 08, 2008

MU Ends Season with Thumping at Syracuse

Marquette, a pre-season Top 10 team, was picked to compete for the Big East Title, instead ended the season with a whimper, losing at Syracuse by fifteen, 87-72.

Marquette could not stop Syracuse's starters, two of whom hit 20+ points, and 4 hit double digits. Syracuse shot a blistering 58%. On the other side of the court, Syracuse served up a 2-3 zone that, for the 800th time, has proven to be Marquette's kryptonite.

Jerel McNeal had 22 points and 6 rebounds, the only bright spot for Marquette.

While my prediction to finish the BE season 11-7 was derided as pessimistic the time, it turned out to be spot on. Marquette returned their entire 10-6 team from last year, but the team I observed in practices and pre-season scrimmages this year appeared to have the exact same strengths and weaknesses as last year's squad. Same team = same results.

However .. while the team met my "expectations" I am disappointed, as they were low expectations. 5 of our 7 BE losses were blowout-double-digit thumpings. 9 of our 11 wins came against the lower half of the Big East. While we had no "bad" losses, we had few wins versus quality teams, winning 3 of 11 games versus Top 50, a stat that does not bode well for the NCAA Tournament.

Many thought we'd compete for the Big East Title. Instead, we ended firmly in the middle of the pack. Three years of the "Big 3" have gained us a 4th place finish, 5th place, and now 6th place. Time is slipping away.

Marquette has locked up the #6 seed in the BET, and should play 8pm CST on Wednesday, most likely versus Seton Hall, who MU beat twice this year. A second round matchup versus Notre Dame is predicted, which is much better than if we were a #5 seed, playing UConn in the 2nd round

AP Wrap / Official Box / Play by Play

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haven't had a chance to check anything but here... Who was that a-hole off SU's bench espn kept showing??? Could there be a more annoying person?
Also, Fitzgerald seemed more along for the ride with that weird ass foul. He kept his hands on the ball the entire time. It's a dumb foul, but nothing more.

Anonymous said...

I hate losing but this loss doesn't bother me as much as most. Granted, a win would have been great but I'd much rather get Seton Hall, Notre Dame than Providence, UConn. I think this is a better path for MU getting to the Big East Semis, which would negate today's performance. I'd rather get to the Big East semis or finals by losing against the Cuse than beat them and lose on Thursday in MSG.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever watched uglier basketball? Al McGuire may not have won many big games in hos career, but at least he lost with elegance and grace. He had a nicer wardbrobe, too.

wildbillsb

Anonymous said...

Best part of the game...the guy with the Warriors gear sitting right behind Boeheim.

Way to represent!!

PS: I thought McNeal and Matthews played well offensively. Nobody played well defensively.

Anonymous said...

Get to the Big East semis or finals? Have you seen MU beat any decent opponent on the road since December? I called it after the Villanova game: Marquette ends the season losing 4 of 5. I see a first or second round exit in the Big East tourney, a #7 seed, and another season ending on the first weekend of the NCAA tourney.

I know that I should be happy that we're making the tourney for 3 straight years, but it's so frustrating to basically watch a team just NOT GROW UP at all. I'm also kinda wondering how some of Crean's players actually get worse with time, e.g. Todd Townsend, Scott Merritt, Dan Fitzgerald.

By the way, Hilltopper, your predictions were almost spot-on. Scary.

mu_hilltopper said...

Thanks. Had I flipped the Duke/UW win/loss, and the Nova/GTown win/loss, I would have had them all.

(cough) lots of these predictions came true, too.

Anonymous said...

I know MU fans don't want to hear it, and no one is a bigger MU fan than I, but this team is not an NCAA lock. I assume they will get in based on their RPI and the assumption that the Big East is a monster conference, but with the exception of the win at Wisconsin(December) they have zero signature wins. If my math is correct 1 win vs the Big East top 6. They have clearly underachieved and have been outcoached in almost all of their close games. Duke and Gtown were games lost by Crean period. Memo to Mr. Crean: You'll get in and likely be a 7 or 8 seed unless you win the BE tourney. If you lose in the 1st round, just assume that next year will be your last with a repeat performance. We can find someone better, who doesn't earn 1.3 mill a year be a nonfactor in the tourney. I'm eager to see his recruiting class next year, but enough is enough. Also, the Mbakwe decsion was slightly idiotic.

Anonymous said...

I can live with a loss at Syracuse, but it was the way they played today - no focus, no energy, just a disgrace. I don't know who gets the blame for this one: coaching staff not having the team prepared? Players not having any pride or emotion? Crean for recruiting a dysfunctional team?

alwaysawarrior said...

The loss was unfortunate, but the real story to me was that, once again, Jim Boeheim sat quietly on the bench and out coached Tom Crean while Crean ranted and paced and yelled and screamed. One would think that after 3 years now in which opposing teams have figured out that all you have to do to beat MU is play a 2-3 zone - that by now MU would have developed an offensive scheme that is designed to be used against the zone.

The "three passes around the perimeter and have a short guy clang a challenged 3-pointer" is not much of an offensive strategy in my humble opinion.

At least this one wasn't lost due to a lousy in-game strategic coaching decision... this one was lost on Day 1 of the season.

My prediction now is a one and done for MU in the Big East Tourney, an 8 seed (at best a 7 in the NCAA) and a likely early exit there, unless they play a team that refuses to play zone defense.

I do hope for better, but must be realistic.

One thing we must hope for is that James has an excellent tournament season. The team does win more when he plays better... and hopefully with good tournaments under his belt he'll leave for the NBA (even though he's not near good enough) and we can get rid of his dysfunctional game for next year.

Go Warriors!

Anonymous said...

Why does anybody expect us to be able to beat teams that have us crushed inside?? We are totally dominated due to our lack of physical presence. Our team was poorly recruited in that it is not well rounded. The three amigoes are good, but they are too small to carry a team, especially since they are not pure outside shooters. Fitzgerald is a joke as an outside threat, way to inconsistent. Barro is dominanted physically and Mbawke was brought back way to soon. Either that or he is sadly lacking in mobility and jumping ability. Crean has missed out on every big man he has attempted to recruit. This team is the result. Put Brian Butch at the 5 spot and what do we have????? 20 points and 14 rebounds last game.The Big East is a physical league- so are the top teams in the major conferences- its not logical to expect us to win consistently! As Al Mcguire used to say WE NEED AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER!! Al used to make it his responsibility to bring in that one Bluechipper each year. Its time for Crean to step up in that regard. Can't keep missing and signing another guard instead. Let"s hope for the best' but unfortunately I am not to optimistic in regards to the Big Dance. Hopefully this O'tule kid will be moer than a stiff next year>

Anonymous said...

Embarassing loss. Has Crean ever heard of in-game adjustments? He has a 6-2 (McNeal) guy getting schooled by a 6-11 guy (Greene)inside, but make no move until its too late.

Henry Sugar said...

If Marquette were a stock, I would short it. I am decidedly bearish on this team's prospects for the next two weeks.

What an embarrassing loss (yet again).

Anonymous said...

We're Doomed! We're Doomed! OMG.
Seriously, DJ seemed to be non-sharp. Like was still bothered by the end of the GT game. It's to bad it's the end of the season and Crean is now experimenting with playing two bigs at the same time. The two big lineup may have worked if we had started to employ it at the beginning of the season instead of now. It's now show time.

Anonymous said...

Based on this years progress next year is a bit worrisome. As I felt when Trevor was activated that is a very questionable decision. Yes, I know "he wanted to be part of this team" and "wasn't going to stay five years." I'm glad TC has such confidence in the wisdom of freshman. That should help recruiting.

Anonymous said...

One fan cries that Hazel and Scott must not like the team because they aren't playing a lot. Another fan cries because Crean lets another freshman play who didn't redshirt. Glad our players are mature at least.

Anonymous said...

How is it that the 3rd highest paid coach in College Basketball cannot run a zone offense? MU can only win against a decent apponent if the other team plays man to man, they force turnovers, and make 3's. I saw no offensive strategy or defensive strategy in this pitiful performance. What I did see was a embarassing coaching performance, complete with ridiculous pacing on the sidelines and no game adjustments whatsoever. Offer the Butler, Drake, or St.Mary's coach 1.3 mill to come here.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Tom has a contract to 2016-2017. Unless you want to pay him off. So get used to his pacing and lack of game plan.

Anonymous said...

One of the blog posters,I believe last week, commented "...and what does Syracuse have?" I hope he is now able to answer his very profound question.

Gene Frenkle said...

Not a good game to say the least. Hate seeing that as the last regular season game. Can't say I was shocked by the end result. And not a good time to play their worst game in a month. Terrible, terrible defense. You aren't going to win much allowing 70% from the field for a half...I don't care what you do on the offensive end.

What I was shocked over was the terrible lack of attacking by the three guards. There was no attempt at penetration whatsoever until it was too late. Just throw it around the three point line. Some of that is coaching. Just as much is on the players. James looked friggin' terrible. DJ is the PG...the most powerful, important position on the court. He has to take charge out there and be smart. He's in his third year. I expected more from him yesterday.

0 free throw attempts at halftime is all you need to see regarding our ability to go to the hoop.

Cubi looked awful too. If he's not going to take open threes or open jumpers, he has no business being out there.

I still think bringing Mbakwe back was a good decision. He'll be better off next year for it, and he shows more toughness down low than Burke (althogh, it would be nice to see Trevor finish a couple more shots off).

I still like this team, but like Hilltopper predicted and most everyone knows, we aren't the most balanced team in the world at all to say the least. Need something from down low.

Get a couple B.East tourney wins and one NCAA tourney win, please boys. Please, coach. Otherwise, it will be nothing but anonymous calls for your head for the next 8 months til the season starts.

Anonymous said...

I think we are just the most inconsistent team in the country. Even the ND, Georgetown and Duke close losses along with the Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame wins give hope. If we beat Seton Hall and Notre Dame and win one NCAA tournament game then I think we go into next year with momentum.

I do believe Mbake coming back helps - we've got a good recruiting year but need to take every shot we have to show we can play inside in order to recruit a key big man, so let's take our shot. Also completely disagree we can afford to have DJ leave - I don't think you ever notice how much you miss a point guard until he is gone, and I invision another NIT first round loss like the year Travis got hurt if DJ wasn't running the show.

Anonymous said...

ESPN Bracketology has our NCAA draw as starting against Denver against Massachusetts (was Va Tech until this weekend), then Indiana, the Tennessee and Duke. I haven't seen Massachusetts but wouldn't mind that draw, as I do believe we can beat anyone who relies on man-to-man.

Anonymous said...

Crean obviously doesn't understand that his shooters need to shoot and passers need to pass. Stop screaming all the time. FIRE CREAN FIRE CREAN!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Give that man a crying towel.

Anonymous said...

UMASS beat Syracuse in 'Cuse. I live out here and see them every week, we don't want any part of that team or it's one and done yet again.

Anonymous said...

UMASS beat Syracuse in 'Cuse. I live out here and see them every week, we don't want any part of that team or it's one and done yet again.

Anonymous said...

Yea, we have been waiting for the ideal draw for the last to years. It didn't happen then and it ain't going to happen now. Either we can beat whoever we play or we can't. Later with praying we get a good draw.

Anonymous said...

Holy Cross was also a "bad matchup," as we were lucky to win that one!

Anonymous said...

Fire Crean and get Rob Jeter!!!!

Anonymous said...

Check your medication

Anonymous said...

I believe I said it best last week after the loss to GT.

"MU LOSES TO THE ZONE DEFENSE AGAIN"

write it down, wrap it up, and sell it. It is the same thing every game.

strategy to beat MU: Zone defense, force them to shoot, cruise to victory.

thank you, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

It just makes me so frustrated: another year, and the same story, Marquette underperforms at the end of the season and I'm afraid that means bad news for the BE Tourney and the NCAAs. Is this the year I actually pick against my beloved team in the first round? Most brackets wouldn't look strange with MU getting upset there.

Anonymous said...

Well at least we aren't sitting home. We might lose or what is the point of playing?