NEW YORK CITY - After almost twelve hours of basketball we found out the higher seeds ‘held serve’ for the first time this century. You have to go to 1997 to find the last time there wasn’t at least one upset in the Big East Tournament’s opening round.
General stat notes…
Best offensive efficiency of the day - Villanova 116
Poorest offensive efficiency - Seton Hall 77
Slowest paced contest - PC- West Virginia a 64 possession game.
Fastest pace - ‘Nova-Syracuse 71 possessions
The keys to Marquette’s victory over Seton Hall per Tom Crean were rebounding and Jerel McNeal. Marquette owned the boards 56-37. The edge was 25-13 off the offensive glass, In fact Marquette had 25 offensive boards while the Hall had 24 defensive rebounds. Marquette‘s ORB percentage was an obscene 51%. Marquette’s board prowess played no small part in fouling out three Seton Hall frontcourt players.
Last season McNeal was on the sidelines with an injury. Against the Hall he had a 21 point, 9 rebound, 4 assist night. Just a sterling all-around effort. His 9 boards were more than any Seton Hall player.
Crean didn’t mention it but Marquette took great care of the ball (15% TO rate) against a team that likes to pressure. Thought the Marquette mentor made a great move early second half. Guards did most of the scoring for the Golden Eagles the first 20 minutes so Crean called Lazar Hayward’s number down low the initial two possessions after intermission. Gets the big man involved and gives the Hall something else to worry about on D.
Tough question. Bobby Gonzalez was asked about his thoughts regarding Commissioner Mike Tranghese saying , on Tuesday, that the Big East would investigate his behavior this past Sunday. Gonzalez said, “no comment. I’m just here to talk about the fine effort these kids had tonight and we have conducted ourselves with class all year.” Whatever. Let’s just say Gonzalez was a model citizen on the bench tonight.
Marquette and Notre Dame have met 110 times but never in New York. They will have that initial get together in the Big East quarterfinals.
Among those in the house was former Cincinnati and NBA great Oscar Robertson. Want to guess how much the Big O could command in today’s NBA market ?
**Ray Floriani is a New Jersey-based freelance basketball reporter.