"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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

MU named to 2009 Old Spice Classic field

Gary Parrish of FoxSports is reporting that Buzz Williams' squad will be part of the 2009 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, FL. The tournament is typically played in late November over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Seven teams were announced today for the field:

  • Alabama
  • Baylor
  • Creighton
  • Iona
  • Marquette
  • Michigan
  • Xavier
The eighth team will be announced at a later date according to Parrish. Three Jesuit schools are in the field (MU, Creighton, Xavier) along with a fourth Catholic school, Iona College.

Marquette will be talented, but young next season. It may well be the first tournament in a number of years that MU is not considered a good shot to be in the finals.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

MU passes Michigan for 16th all-time in the AP poll

I figured after tonight's nightmarish performance we might as well talk about a nice milestone that MU accomplished this past week. With MU's AP top 25 ranking this week, they moved into solo possession of 16th all-time in the AP poll. The poll has been conducted weekly during the college basketball season since 1949. This week's appearance marks MU's 313th time MU has made the AP top 25 (or top 20 as it used to be in the old days). Marquette was tied with Michigan at 312 appearances prior to the week starting. Marquette now trails Iowa by two appearances for 15th all-time and Georgetown by just 4 appearances.

The way the Golden Eagles performed tonight, this may be the last time they appear in the top 25 for awhile so it's time to relish it while we can.




Avg RK

High RK

1. North Carolina 744 6.86 1
2. Kentucky 723 6.63 1
3. UCLA 634 7.54 1
4. Duke 604 6.47 1
5. Kansas 564 8.09 1
6. Indiana 498 10.36 1
7. Louisville 478 11.59 2
8. Syracuse 429 12.52 1
9. Arizona 413 10.20 1
10. Illinois 407 10.78 1
11. Cincinnati 355 10.14 1
12. Maryland 351 11.68 2
13. NC State 324 11.16 1
14. Georgetown 317 11.59 1
15. Iowa 315 13.23 1
16. Marquette 313 11.26 1
17. Michigan 312 10.15 1
18. Oklahoma 291 12.56 1
19. Notre Dame 288 11.08 1
20. Alabama 286 13.52 1
21. Michigan State 282 11.52 1
22. St. John's (NY) 281 12.00 1
23. Ohio State 269 9.22 1
24. Connecticut 262 9.58 1
25. Wake Forest 256 13.13 1

MU Massively Fails First Test of Year: Dayton Wins 89-75

After snacking on 5 cupcakes, Marquette faced its first real competition of the year, facing up against the Dayton Flyers. Buzz Williams' Warriors fell behind in the first few minutes and were destroyed by the A10 Dayton Flyers by 14 points.

MU was out-scored, out-rebounded, out-hustled.

Depending on your prescience, the loss either exposes or confirms Marquette's weaknesses. No production from our 5, terrible shooting beyond the 3-point range (4 for 20=20%), poor defense (giving up 89 points -- the most UD has scored this year.)

Oh, and our bench scored 5 points .. to Dayton's 50. That's 5 to 50. Think about that for a minute.

If you take away Matthew's 14/17 at the FT line, the rest of the team shot 47% from the charity stripe. Forty-Seven Percent. That's drunk Pop-a-Shot-in-a-bar like shooting.

Our bench's 5 was matched by Lazar's 5, who grabbed 8 boards, but fouled out after 24 minutes. If our 5 isn't scoring, and our 4/5 isn't either, we're going to lose. That's not to say Burke and Lazar are the reason we lost. Jerel chucking up 8 three-point bombs and missing 7 isn't going to help. And poor defense is a team effort.

Dayton is no slouch team, of course. But the Big East has at least 10 teams that are as good as Dayton, and they just spanked us.

And someone check my math .. but aren't we 1-3 with those Baby Blue uniforms? They might look cool, but they've got mighty bad ju-ju.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em. This could be a long season. Is it too late to amend my 25-6 prediction?

Official Box Score

Marquette gears up for the Dayton Flyers

After pummeling Northern Iowa yesterday, Marquette (5-0) figures to get a much more demanding test tonight when they square off against the Dayton Flyers in the final game of the Chicago Invitational.

Last night Dayton (5-0) set an NCAA record by going 0-24 from the three-point range, yet still managed to top the Auburn Tigers 60-59 in overtime at the Chicago Invitational. Guard Marcus Johnson led the Flyers with 16 points while sophomore forward Chris Wright scored 10 points and hauled down 16 boards. Dayton manhandled the Tigers on the glass, outrebounding Auburn 50-33.

To learn even more about the Flyers, we're pleased to welcome Tom from The Blackburn Review-- as good a blog as you'll find on any college program. Here's the Q/A Tom sent along this weekend (and here's a link to a Q/A I completed for his blog). Here's a look at the Flyers:


The graduation of guard Brian Roberts created a sizeable gap in the backcourt, who has emerged as the Flyers backcourt leader?

As expected, it has been Marcus Johnson. Marcus was really coming on at the end of last year, and has continued to emerge as a leader on both sides of the ball this season. Primarily known as a slasher on offense, MJ has worked hard to develop a serviceable outside game. He is Dayton's lock-down defender and one of the most athletic guys ever to play at UD. He will probably start guarding Jerel McNeal as soon as he gets out of the shower. Marcus likes to call the mother of whoever he is guarding the night before the game and apologize ahead of time for shutting her son down. He takes his defense that seriously and is a very courteous young man.

Brian Gregory. A report out of Dayton last spring had him pegged to replace Tom Crean at Marquette. How would you rate his performance as the head coach?

You are touching the exposed nerve within the Flyer Faithful. Talk to one Flyer fan and he will say Gregory is a recruiting God, who can take a woman's clothes off with a mere gaze (I've seen it in person). Others will say that Gregory is the second coming of Mussolini, with pure unadulterated coaching incompetence flowing through his veins at all time. I'm in the pro-Gregory camp. You can't argue with the types of recruits he has been able to bring in during his reign. There is no way a Chris Wright comes to Dayton before Gregory. Just based on his recruiting prowess alone, I think Gregory is a step up from Oliver Purnell. Although the results have been mixed, only two postseason appearances in five years, it is obvious that Gregory is beginning to get the kind of players that can effectively implement his up-tempo system.

I will probably get shivved in the shower for saying this, but I think the sky is the limit for what Gregory can do with the program. The expectation is to get in the Dance every year, and I believe Gregory is the guy to guide us blindly into the night.

What are UD's greatest strengths -- and reasons for optimism -- this season?

The strength of this team is its' depth. Eleven guys play at least ten minutes a game. This has allowed UD to play a very frenetic pace on both offense and defense. The freshman, particularly Chris Johnson and Luke Fabrizius, have provided a spark off of the bench—one which was not necessarily anticipated. The amount of depth has allowed Flyer fans to truly see the type of system Gregory has been trying to employ since he got here six years ago. Our biggest concern coming into this season has been steady point guard play. London Warren, the starting PG, was a human turnover machine last season. His exceptional speed serves as both a benefit and a nuisance. At times it allows him to do things no one else on the court can do, but more times than not it has resulted in some poor lady in the fifth row, completely immersed in her nachos, getting a ball to the side of the face. However, Warren has seemed to have tempered his erratic play, as he currently has a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio.

UD brought in a JUCO All-American, Rob Lowery, to provide some semblance of consistency to the backcourt and he has actually played more reckless than Warren to this point. If Dayton can get both point guards, who basically split playing time, to perform at the same level of effectiveness, UD will have a very successful season.

Like MU, UD raced out to a 4-0 record (before last night's win) by beating a bunch of lousy teams. What have you learned about the Flyers so far this season that most surprises you?

I will fight to the death in defense of the Mercer Bears. They beat Auburn, Alabama, and had Georgia Tech down 18 before losing in overtime. I think UD fans were concerned UD would take them lightly, and were pleasantly surprised to see the Flyers come out and dominate that game early and often. Gregory developed a recipe for pain and the team delivered.

I will give you two things that have surprised me thus far, one positive and one negative. The positive has been the contributions of the freshman. Gregory has recruited a freshman class that can do a little bit of everything. Each night it seems a different freshman will step up and make you take notice. This is a positive development. In the past, our freshmen were more likely to punch a cop, or concoct a story about Mexican drug-dealers absconding with them to Texas, rather than contribute on the court.

The negative surprise has been the uninspired play of Charles Little. If you said that Charles Little will either average 15 points and 10 rebounds a game or he will walk around the court texting on his Blackberry the majority of the game, I would have believed the former. Being the lone senior on the team, Little needs to play with the fire and intensity that made him so valuable his freshman and sophomore years. I am hoping the chance to play a team like Marquette will light a fire under Charles and get him going again. UD is a dangerous team when Little is on his game.

Tom, thanks very much. Don't forget to bookmark The Blackburn Review.

Friday, November 28, 2008

MU Eats Another Cupcake, Beats UNI 73-43

Marquette cruised to another victory, smoking Northern Iowa by 30 points.

What's there to say about a pounding like this? Wes Matthews had 17. Lazar hit 15, McNeal 13.

For cripes sake, Frozena played 5 minutes tonight, presumably to rest our starters (and subs) for tomorrow. You'd need to go back to 19-ninety-never to find another game where a walk-on played 5 minutes for Marquette.

Here's the AP story.

Unofficial Box Score

Tomorrow, MU will take on Dayton in Marquette's first test of the year, as the first 5 have been some real Hostess Cupcakes: Marquette's Strength of Schedule for their first 5 games rate 343 out of 347, according to Sagarin.

Sure, after MU plays 18 BE games, their SOS will be top notch, but .. WOW. 343 out of 347? Unreal.

Marquette takes on Northern Iowa in Chicago Invitational

We're still eating.....so, here's the official preview from Marquette:


MU Heads To Chicago Invitational This Weekend At Sears Centre

Senior Jerel McNeal

Nov. 26, 2008

MU-UNI Game Notes (PDF)

The No. 15/15 Marquette University men’s basketball team continues play at the 2008 Chicago Invitational with a pair of matchups at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Golden Eagles will face Northern Iowa at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night before playing Dayton Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Time Warner Cable Sports 32 will produce and broadcast each game, with Steve “The Homer” True (play-by-play) and former MU standout Jim McIlvaine (analyst) calling the action.

Tournament Champion May Depend On Defense
The 2008 Chicago Invitational is an eight-team event that features its first two rounds on campus sites. Competing in the tourney with MU are Mercer, Texas Southern, Bethune Cookman, Chicago State, Auburn, Dayton and Northern Iowa.

Each of the programs will also play two games at the Sears Centre in predetermined matchups. In the event that more than one team finishes with the same overall record, head-to-head competition is the first tiebreaker and lowest combined defensive points (all four games) is the second tiebreaker. MU is already 2-0 heading to the weekend.

McNeal, Acker To Juggle Ticket Requests This Weekend
Senior Jerel McNeal and junior Maurice Acker, former high school teammates and Chicago-area natives, will be busy this week sorting through ticket requests as they play in front of numerous friends and family members.

The duo starred together at Hillcrest High School, helping the program to multiple conference championships and a sectional final appearance in 2005. McNeal came to Marquette directly from Hillcrest, while Acker transferred to MU after one season at Ball State.

MU Continues Regular Season Tournament Success
Already 2-0 in the Chicago Invitational, the Golden Eagles have continued in 2008-09 a recent trend of success in regular season tournaments. Marquette opened play in the Chicago Invitational Nov. 17 again

st Chicago State with a 106-87 victory and defeated Texas Southern on Tuesday night, 85-68. Senior Wesley Matthews and junior Lazar Hayward are leading the way offensively for MU in those two games, scoring 19.5 points per game.

The Golden Eagles are 14-1 overall since 2004-05 in those events, including a trio of championships at the BCA Classic (2004-05), Great Alaska Shootout (2005-06) and CBE Classic (2006-07).

MU advanced to the title matchup of the EA Sports/Maui Invitational last season, but was edged by Duke, 77-73.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Eat some turkey. Celebrate your blessings with loved ones.

Among many other much more important items, be thankful that Marquette's basketball team is giving us something to cheer about.

Happy Thanksgiving from Cracked Sidewalks.

Off-color cartoon added by Kevin Buckley

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Marquette Defeats Texas Southern

In an outcome that is really not a surprise, Marquette beat Texas Southern last night by a score of 85-68. Although the fan base was hoping that MU would top 100 for the third consecutive game, it just wasn't in the cards last night.

Last night, Marquette did worse than expected on both their offensive efficiency (AdjO) and defensive efficiency (AdjD). In the team's previous three games, they were averaging an AdjO of 123.8 and an AdjD of 90.3. On offense, the primary culprit dragging down the offensive efficiency was the (relatively) poor eFG%. Considering the team made a season-high 10 three-pointers and was still below the eFG% average (53%), we can see how poorly the team shot. Also, Marquette was really sloppy with the ball. However, the team achieved a season-best at Offensive Rebounding percentage (OR%), and did a great job getting to the line yet again.

On defense, Marquette lost on one of the Four Factors for the first time all season in eFG%. As noted by Buzz, Texas Southern shot 64% overall in the second half. They managed to be even looser with the ball at turnover percentage, however, and lost by a sizeable margin on OR%. Now, if you listen to the Buzz post-game podcast (link below), he talks about how the offensive rebound numbers are skewed because Texas Southern didn't miss much in the second half. Well, Marquette still crushed on the offensive boards.

Moving onto other coverage, here is Rosiak's blog entry from last night. Lots of good little nuggets, as he talks about Burke's lack of contribution, DJ's overall floor game, and positive contributions last night from Butler and Acker. Also, Rosiak rightly notices that a player wore black shoes last night for the first time in seven years.

Rosiak also filed a full story for this morning's paper, calling last night's game an educational experience for Marquette. Indeed, Marquette looked ugly for long stretches last night against the TSU zone.

Here is the official GoMarquette.com story. On top of the photo gallery and box score, I recommend checking out the postgame notes for lots of quotes, as well as the Buzz Williams podcast. I've come to really enjoy the post-game comments from Buzz, and I appreciate that they're now available online.

Finally, once again Marquette is no longer in the running for Jamil Wilson. The comments from Jamil paint Marquette in a pretty poor light. However, since this has been a fairly weird recruitment in general, we tend to give Marquette the benefit of the doubt here. These are the Days of our Lives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Marquette hosts Texas Southern

The 15th ranked Marquette Golden Eagles host the Texas Southern Tigers tonight at the Bradley Center in the second of four tilts in the 2008 Chicago Invitational. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm.

The Golden Eagles (3-0), who lead the Big East in scoring, figure to run away from the Tigers who enter the game at 0-3. The Tigers fell to Northern Iowa 74-67 last week in Cedar Falls, and lost to Cincinnati by 31 last week.

Once again Marquette will look to surging senior Wesley Matthews to lead the way. Matthews is averaging 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists through the season's first three games. Junior Lazar Hayward is averaging a double-double at 22 and 10. Meanwhile, Jerel McNeal is kicking in just shy of 20 points per game on 47% shooting, an impressive figure considering he's only making 23% of his three-point attempts (4-17).

Marquette defeated Chicago State in the first 'round' of the Chicago invitational, and will travel to the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois this weekend for a final pair of games. MU will face Northern Iowa on Friday and will suit up against the Dayton Flyers on Saturday evening to conclude the tournament.

Media Updates

Monday, November 24, 2008

Numbers for the Start of the Season

Good times are here in Marquette-land. The team is scoring lots of points, averaging just over 100 points per game. As noted by John Pudner, this is a historic start to the season.

However, Marquette is also pressing the pace much more than in previous years. In fact, if you look at the Raw Tempo stats on Pomeroy's site, Marquette is at the fifth fastest pace in the nation so far at 82.5 possessions per game. Considering Marquette averaged 68 possessions per game last year, that's a big difference.

Clearly a team that is averaging more possessions per game will score more points as well as allow more points. While there's been some rejoicing regarding the offensive capabilities, there's also been some consternation about the defense. After all, the team is giving up a decent amount of points.

Hooray Tempo-Free Stats!

This is exactly why we use tempo-free stats. The big question becomes how efficient Marquette has been with their eighty-two possessions per game. There's good news.
  • 2008 - ORtg (121.4) ; DRtg (92.7)
  • 2007 - ORtg (113.2) ; DRtg (90.9)
Just in comparison to the first three games of the season last year, the team is better offensively and a little worse defensively. However, the difference in defensive efficiency from last year to this year is not that significant. Let's say that hypothetically, last year's team also played at 82.5 possessions per game.
  • Offense - 2008 team (100.3 ppg) vs 2007 team (93.4 ppg)
  • Defense - 2008 team (76.5 ppg) vs 2007 team (75.0 ppg)
While it may be concerning that the team is giving up as many points as they are, they're still about as efficient. Again, hooray for tempo-free stats.

However, there is some bad news so far. If you go back to the Pomeroy Scouting Report, his adjusted Offensive and Defensive numbers are much worse than the raw numbers. That's because we've played the number 296, 175, and 218 pomeroy teams in the nation. It's also why we're only ranked #84. Theoretically, against teams ranked that low, our defensive efficiency should be a lot better. For example, last year Marquette held UWM to a DRtg of 82.4 (instead of 94.3), and Coppin State (Pomeroy #310) was held to an efficiency of 67.0. The perceived issues with the defense may be entirely valid.

If I were to point any fingers at the reason, it's the three-point defense. Last year the team was #9 in the nation at 3-point defense. This year the team is a lowly #224 at defending the three-point line. It's impacting our defensive eFG% and putting us middle of the road comparatively.

Of course, this is all a snapshot based on three games. Is this just kinks with the personnel, or a change in defensive strategy? Beats me, but we'll see as the season unfolds.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Marquette stomps UW-M

For the second year in a row, the Marquette Golden Eagles annihilated the UW-M Panthers winning 100 - 80 at the Bradley Center tonight. Marquette is now 36-0 all-time against the Panthers and moves to 3-0 on the season.

Tonight's blowout win was the school's 1400th all time. Marquette became the 50th school to accomplish such a feat and did so in their 92nd season. MU's .617 winning percentage currently ranks 33rd best all-time in DI history.

After trailing by three late in the first half Marquette rolled the rest of the way, keyed by the Three Amigos and Lazar Hayward. Lazar Hayward delivered a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Wesley Matthews continued his fast start to the season with a 25 point night. Jerel McNeal added 22, while Dominic James finished with 16 points and eight assists.

Here is Rosiak's blog entry from right after the game. Check it out for more straight talk from Buzz. There's also Rosiak's official story on the game, calling Marquette the "toast of the town". Finally, take a peek at the official GoMarquette.com release. MU has the box score, two photo galleries, and podcasts aplenty. There are podcasts from Buzz, McNeal, and James

Next up for Marquette is a home tilt against Texas Southern on Tuesday night.

A few items of note:

  • Marquette starters combined for 91 of Marquette's 100 points tonight. To be fair, the 'Fantastic Four' of James, McNeal, Matthews and Hayward combined for 88 points.
  • Dwight Burke attempted just one shot in 14 minutes of action, a nifty hook. Burke finished with three points and four boards.
  • Burke has attempted just two field goals in 40 minutes of combined action in the team's first three games.
  • Patrick Hazel was active in his 18 minutes of action, finishing with four points, six boards and a blocked shot.
  • Jimmy Butler, who averaged nearly 20 minutes of action in the first two games, was relegated to garbage time tonight, playing just six minutes.

*This post was a collaboration between Tim Blair, Kevin Buckley and muwarrior92.

Marquette takes on UW-Milwaukee

Infinity v nil, part deaux. Bud Bowl 2. Controversial contracts. The hype leading into this tilt has been unimaginable (er, absent).

Tonight, Marquette (2-0) hosts UWM (3-1) in a game that is "clearly an important issue to our fans and our students and fans of college basketball in the city of Milwaukee."

Sarcasm off.

Can't decide which of the thirty-five wins (with zero losses) you like best? Maybe you can start by reading the recap of last year's game. In case you forgot, MU put up a cool-hundy on the Panthers and won by thirty-five points.

Want a view of the preliminary numbers? Here is the Pomeroy Scouting Report. UWM is average at just about everything, although they do a good job protecting the ball (#48). It'll be interesting to see how they match up with the Marquette ball-hawking defense, which has not been particularly effective yet this season. Something's gotta give. The Panthers are also fairly bad offensive rebounding (#310) team and struggle to get to the line (#282). On defense, however, UWM does okay at limiting offensive rebounds (#59)

Here's the official release by Marquette, as well as the Game Notes. Rosiak also has a look at the UWM game as well. Should Marquette win, it'll be the program's 1400th victory all time. Bravo.

Tipoff for tonight's game is scheduled for 7:30pm. The game is available on the ESPN Full Court package.

Other misc notes:

*Rob Lowe and Tim Blair combined on this post.

Edit: Contract added:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bono weighs in on "Streets" controversy

Many have conversed with Marquette's Associate Athletics Director, Craig Pintens, to bring back U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" for the Marquette's Player Introductions.

Clearly, with the poll (on your right) running 4 to 1 against Fatboy Slim, the masses have spoken.

Craig suggested if I could deliver Bono, we'd have a deal.

Unfortunately, Bono is in Africa, but I got him to send a video message to Craig:

Benford & Otule Interviews

Here's a couple of video clips from Inside Marquette / Buzz Williams show on Time Warner Sports Channel 32 in Milwaukee.

First, Chris Otule: Get this guy some foo foo!

Next, Assistant Coach Tony Benford:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tom Keegan: My All-Time Marquette Roster

Keeganoids rejoice. The pride of the Class of '81, Tom Keegan, has graciously returned to CrackedSidewalks with a new column. Tom is the sports editor and columnist for the Lawrence Journal World in Lawrence, Kansas. Enjoy!


My All-Time Marquette Roster

by Tom Keegan
Class of '81

The ground rules for my all-time Marquette roster of 13 players: They have to be young enough that I remember them in Marquette uniforms, which usually were among the coolest in the nation.

First, the coaching staff.

Naturally, the late, great Al McGuire is the head coach. McGuire loved portraying the image that he really didn't get involved in the details of basketball when he coached. Nonsense. He saw things most others didn't, felt the game in a way few felt it, which was obvious listening to him call games. Sure he was funny and tough, but above all he was smart.

Assistant coaches: Hank Raymonds, Rick Majerus and John Glaser.

Raymonds was the perfect assistant. He didn't care about the limelight, didn't yearn to get the credit and was the perfect complement to Al. Majerus has the right personality for recruiting and a gift for teaching big men how to play the game, even if he never could figure out how to wake up the guy he called "the biggest sleeper since Rip Van Winkle," Roman Mueller.

Glaser's role? Please, that should be obvious to anyone who reads the message boards. (My hand is up.) Put him in charge of teaching players how to excel from the wide post, the way Caleb Green did in leading Oral Roberts to an upset of Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse a year before Kansas won the national title.

The starting five: Dwyane Wade, Butch Lee, Earl Tatum, Bo Ellis and Jim Chones. Two Chicago players, two from New York, one from Wisconsin, a pretty representative cross-section of Marquette basketball's geographic history. Picture how many scoring opportunities Wade would create for Lee and Tatum driving to the paint and dishing.

The bench, listed in order of minutes played: Maurice Lucas, Dean Meminger, Doc Rivers, Steve Novak, Jim McIlvaine, Tony Smith, Travis Diener and Tony Miller. What a blend of muscle, blurry quickness, defensive prowess in the post and in the post and long-range shooting.

Need a zone-buster? Call on Novak or Diener. The opposing point guard lighting you up? Make it Miller time. T-Mill will make him pick up his dribble. Need to get a more athletic team on the floor? Send Rivers and Smith to the table to check in. The situation call for a skilled banger? Lucas is good for 25 minutes a night on this team. Dean the Dream is good for the same amount of playing time on the perimeter. Need a shot-blocker to plant that panic in the minds of the shooters, bring McIlvaine, the Alter Boy, off the bench and watch him change their shots.

OK, enough fantasy. Back to reality. Which aforementioned Marquette legend is available to offer his services to fix Dominic James' shot? Not Hank. He enjoys his court-side seat and doesn't need the stress. Majerus is busy coaching Hank's alma mater, St. Louis University. Hmmm, that leaves ... you got it, Glaser. The least he could do is send Buzz Williams a note offering to tutor James. Something tells me he has the time. It's worth a shot.

Tom Keegan, a 1981 graduate of Marquette University, is sports editor and columnist for the Lawrence Journal World in Lawrence, KS. Keegan votes in the Associated Press college football and college basketball polls and is a Baseball Hall of Fame and Heisman Trophy elector. He posts on message boards under the handle: dont.do.it.just.dont.doit

Aaron Bowen commits to Marquette

Aaron Bowen, a 6'5" guard from Jacksonville, Florida verbally committed to Marquette yesterday. Bowen becomes the first member from the class of 2010 to commit to MU.

The news was reported last night by Jim Ganzer at the SportsBubbler. Todd Rosiak at the Journal-Sentinel also filed after speaking with Bowen. According to reports Bowen also drew interest from Jacksonville, FSU, Florida, Miami, Virginia Tech, Kansas State and more.

The Bowen commitment comes just days after Marquette lost out on top 2009 recruit Michael Snaer, who signed with FSU. Marquette also pulled out of the sweepstakes for 2009 shooting guard Sherrod Wright and yesterday saw 2009 point guard Chris Colvin commit to Iowa State.

Bowen is an interesting recruit, a talent who has flown under the radar in part because of surgery to repair a torn meniscus last summer (check out Rosiak's article for details). Despite the abbreviated ride on the summer showcase circuit, he is rated as a top five player in the state of Florida according to this site, and HoopScoop calls him the eight-best player in Florida 2010 class.

The guys at MUScoop are all over the verbal as well, with a host of links and comments -- including a bunch of videos.

Where does Bowen fit into the roster? Check out the MUScoop scholarship table for details.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Marquette Sports Wiki Turns Two

Two years ago, the MU Wiki was born. After one year, there were 579 pages of Marquette Sports goodness.

A year later? We've doubled it to an amazing 1,206 pages. That's fantastic. Now sure, some of those pages are stubs, waiting for someone like you to come along and fill it up. But it's still pretty damn respectable.

Credit goes out to a number of volunteers who've spent many hours adding content to the wiki so that you have a MU sports encyclopedia at your finger tips: gwaki, SoCalwarrior, bma725, OldWarrior81, shaquillvaine, rocky_warrior, 77ncaachamps, bleedbluegold03, spartan3186, MU Chi_IL and a host of others who've edited a few pages here and there.

Here's the top pages over the past few months:

Want to know who is walking on the sidelines?
Other pages:

56 Whistles, oh, and MU Beats CS 106-87

For the second game this season, MU hung 100 points on the scoreboard, beating our regional rival (cough) Chicago State 106-87.

Chicago State has some offensive weapons, as illuminated by their 87 points last night. CS's David Holsten racked up 33 points after his last outing of 32 in a 112-83 win over St. Xavier. He can play on my team.

On our side of the ball, Wes Matthews took his second consecutive high-scorer spot, at 26 points, while Lazar hit 21. Both Wes and Lazar grabbed 9 rebounds.

The game was ugly, with the refs blowing the whistle on FIFTY SIX occasions, sending someone to the line 68 times. There were large stretches of minutes where neither team even attempted a shot, as the refs were finding infractions well before any man could hoist one up. Redonkulous.

With attendance listed at 12,966, a new record was set for no-shows, as there were perhaps 4,500 people in the BC. Apparently, .001 of an inch of snow will stop two thirds of ticket holders from venturing out.

Here's a short highlight of Lazar:

And a fantastic slideshow was posted by "Matt" which is well worth your attention. (Picture of Wes above is from the Mystery Matt, who has many great photo sets of MU ball.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

AOL FanHouse Previews Marquette

The folks at AOL FanHouse contacted Cracked Sidewalks about doing a season preview. They selected the ranking, but our own Tim Blair did the writeup.

The format is also interesting. Here is the permalink for the writeup. If I believed in polls or rankings as anything more than a forum for publicity, I'd say that their selection of Marquette is too low. I might even make a snarky comment that Chas Rich is a Pitt fan (from Pitt Blather). This ranking is even from before the recent injuries.

However, it's still another Marquette preview and nice to get some Marquette publicity. Congrats and nice job, Tim.

MU hosts Chicago State

Game two of the Buzz Williams era tips off tonight at 7pm when the Marquette Golden Eagles take on the Chicago State Cougars (1-0) at the Bradley Center.

Tonight's game kicks off the 2008 Chicago Invitational, which includes two home games for Marquette. The Golden Eagles will host Texas Southern on November 25 before playing a pair of games at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on November 28-29.

Marquette (1-0) topped Houston Baptist 95-64 to open the season. Wesley Matthews led Marquette with 27 points. Despite the blowout win, Dwight Burke's ineffective performance was the game's most noteworthy development. The 6'8 senior fouled out after just 13 minutes of action, failing to attempt a shot and grabbing only a pair of rebounds. Sophomore Pat Hazel picked up his veteran teammate, contributing seven points and four boards in 22 minutes of action.

As a preview for tonight's game, Rosiak previews the game here. The focus of the article is how the team is short players and the challenges that it creates. After all, the team doesn't even field enough for a five on five full court game right now. However, it's been nice to see that Buzz isn't using this as an excuse.

In addition, Rosiak blogs additional game notes for tonight's tilt. Some interesting things from that game. Chicago State scored 112 points in their first game, which is a lot of points even if you are playing NAIA school St. Xavier University. Also, if you read further, you'll see that Chicago State returns twelve players and they start four seniors. Plus, Buzz says:

last year 39.6% of their field goal attempts they followed with an offensive rebound, which is a phenomenal statistic

Chicago State must be an offensive juggernaut. Of course, Rob would like to remind everyone that Chicago State was the #273 Pomeroy team in the nation last year too. Marquette was #11. And the Pomeroy statistics say that their Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%) was only 31.5%. Unlike the 39.6% from Buzz, 31.5% on OR% is not so good, so there needs to be some reconciliation here.

More to come........As an aside, late last week Michael Snaer selected FSU over MU and Kansas. Snaer would have been a marquee recruit for sure, but it wasn't a surprise when he didn't pick Marquette.

*This preview is a joint post by Tim Blair and Rob Lowe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Player Video v2008 .. Pray

In case you missed it, this is the video that was released during Marquette Madness, and is played before games:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pics from MU vs. Houston Baptist

Our own Sir Larry was under the weather and gave me his sweet Center Court, Row A seats, down with the swell people of the world. Thanks, buddy!

Took a few pictures of the game tonight:

Mo not quite jumping high enough:

Favorite Ref:


Jimmy Getting Nailed .. yet hits this shot:

What's going on here? Jimmy Butler getting goosed?


And some more Lazar:

All the rest in a Slideshow:

Marquette Defeats Houston Baptist

Marquette beat Houston Baptist tonight by a score of 95-64. After a halftime lead of only 8 points, MU scored the first 14 points of the second half and cruised from there.

Wesley Matthews came out strong and had a career-high 27 points, on top of 8 assists and 5 steals. Jerel McNeal chipped in with 20 points. Lazar Hayward had a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds in twenty-four minutes of action. Newcomer Jimmy Butler contributed 10 points in his first "official" game.

More on the story later.

Analyzing the Season Predictions

Despite the bad injury news that popped up this morning, it's still the start of the season. Expectations are fairly high, but what does the community expect?

The Official 2008-2009 Season Prediction Thread on MUScoop.com has been getting some good input as people try to predict what they think will happen. Is this a representative view? Well, it depends on how you look at it. The sample size is small, but the range is fairly wide. I wouldn't bet money on it or anything, but it's for fun!

The fans' view of the complete regular season (not including BET and/or NCAA)

The fans' view of the full season tells a hopeful story. The range is fairly wide, with 80% of the predictions between twenty and twenty-six wins. However, Marquette fans are confident, with over 60% of the fans predict that Marquette will get to twenty-four wins or more, and over 40% of the fans are predicting that Marquette will get twenty-five wins. As a reminder, Marquette finished with twenty-two regular season wins last year.

In the Cracked Sidewalks Prediction Thread, I referenced that my picks were an experiment. Basically, I used last year's data to create a model for the various matchups. There's a lot that went into it, so I won't bore you.

First, let me orient on the color scheme. The light yellow colors are the games where the model sees a likely Marquette victory. The pink colors are the games where the model predicts a Marquette loss. The areas shaded in orange are games that would be considered "up for grabs". For example, the game at USF is one Marquette should win, but not all the time. None of the results listed above should be all that surprising, except that I think the game at Georgetown is too low and the game at home against Syracuse is too high. This is an experiement and the model will get more accurate over time.

I then ran a Monte Carlo analysis to see what the most likely scenario was according to the model. Unfortunately, there appears to be a disconnect between what the prediction model is telling me and what the fans' expectations are.

Again, to look at the chart above, the model I used is the yellow, normally-distributed set of predictions. The blue lines are the same set of full-season predictions listed above. Based on the data, the range is still wide, but centered lower (between eighteen and twenty-four wins). The disconnect comes when we compare the previous optimism:

  • Over 60% of the predictions thought Marquette would get over twenty-three wins, the model only gives that a 15% chance of happening.
  • Over 40% of fans thought Marquette would get to twenty-five wins or more, the model only gives a 6% chance of happening.
Yikes. One thing I've taken away is that I'm revising my expectations for the season down. Also, it's safe to say that Marquette fans have high expectations (although these predictions were mostly before the rash of injuries).

Despite presenting information that's as welcome as a Brush Fire (don't worry - my home is safe), I'm actually an optimistic person. Right now, there's basically a 40% chance that Marquette will end up about the same as last year. In addition, it's an early season forecast based on an experiment, which is inherently inaccurate.

No matter what the predictions are, everything starts tonight. Go Marquette!

Chris Otule out one month with injury: UPDATED

We have just confirmed that freshman center Chris Otule will miss a month of action after sustaining an injury this week.

According to Mike Broeker, Deputy Director of Athletics at MU, the university will release more information later after speaking with the coaching staff, Otule and team doctors. (updated below)

With sophomore forward Joe Fulce already out until the end of December, the Otule injury leaves Marquette with few options on the baseline. Senior center Dwight Burke and sophomore Patrick Hazel are the only two healthy post players on the roster as the season opens tonight.


Moments ago (11:40am CT), Marquette sent out the following press release, providing more detail on this morning's developments:

November 14, 2008
For Immediate Release

Otule To Miss Significant Time Following Foot Injury

Freshman Center Expected To Contribute To MU’s Front Line

Milwaukee – Freshman center Chris Otule of the Marquette University men’s basketball team has been sidelined for several weeks after suffering an injury to his left foot in practice earlier this week.

Otule was injured when a teammate landed on his foot, causing a fracture in the metatarsal bone. He is expected to miss at least a month of game action due to the injury.

Otule is in his first season with the Golden Eagles and is the only true freshman on the roster. He is expected to provide valuable minutes in the team’s front line rotation in 2008-09.


updated with MU press release

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Buzz Williams Era Begins

Buzz Williams' Marquette Warriors hit the court in their season opener against Houston Baptist Huskies on Friday night at the Bradley Center. Tipoff is set for 7:30pm CT.

Rosiak previews the game well in his latest blog, which can be found here. He also has a non-blog entry saying that Williams is set for a new day. However, there appears to be a "day-counter" discrepancy between Rosiak (220 days) and the MUScoop Counter (221 days). Someone has to get to the bottom of this, but if you read the article, we agree with Corey.

The official Marquette preview can be found here (with a link to the full game notes in .pdf). Sportsline offers this preview.

Key points about the Huskies:

  • Houston Baptist suits up 10 seniors.
  • Houston Baptist has six D-1 transfers including fellas who played for Purdue, UT-Arlington and Auburn.
  • Houston Baptist like to run - they topped East Texas Baptist University in an exhibition matchup, 104-88.
  • Houston Baptist plays an aggressive schedule. Also on the docket for the Huskies -- Villanova, SMU, UWGB, Iowa State, Ohio State, Illinois State and Iowa State.
  • Their coach, Ron Cottrell, starts the season with a 361-168 record and has averaged more than 22 wins per season at HBU.
A few pregame MU notes:
  • David Cubillan and Wesley Matthews are expected to play.
  • When the Three Amigos start against HBU, they will collectively have started a remarkable 299 games in their careers.
  • Dominic James needs to average about 11 points per game this season to become the all-time leading scorer in Marquette history.
In other misc links
Marquette hoops is back. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marquette announces recruiting class

Tonight Buzz Williams introduced his first recruiting class as head coach at Marquette University. The five-member class is regarded as one of the deepest and most balanced classes in years at MU, highlighted by three consensus national Top 100 players.

Here's a bit on each player who will hit the floor for MU next season:

Dwight Buycks, 6-3, 185 pound combo guard, Milwaukee, WI (Indian Hills Junior College, IA)
"Dwight is able to help immediately replace what we are losing on the perimeter," coach Buzz Williams said. "Jeff Kidder is one of, if not the best, junior college coaches in the country and the 200 practices and 70 games Dwight will have already been a part of when he arrives, allows him to add an element of experience that is desperately needed." A NJCAA Division I Preseason First Team All-America selection at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, under head coach Jeff Kidder in 2008-09, the Warriors also topped the national team rankings in the preseason.

Junior Cadougan, 6-1, 195 pound point guard, Toronto, Canada (Christian Life Academy, Humble TX)

"As I have said before, we want to recruit really good players, who have the ability to pass, dribble, and shoot and display a level of toughness that is evident on both ends of the court on every possession," coach Buzz Williams said. A consensus top-75 player by nationally recognized recruiting services, Cadougan is currently ranked 12th by HoopScoopOnline.com, 27th by Hoopmasters.com, 50th by Scout.com (5th-best point guard), 60th by Rivals.com and owns the 65th position in the ESPNU.com 100.

Jeronne Maymon, 6-6, 230 pound forward, Madison, Wisconsin (Memorial)
"Jeronne was the second player to commit in this class, but the first commitment once I was hired as the head coach," coach Buzz Williams said. "We want to recruit from the inside out and having him commit so early in my tenure allowed those words to become reality and we will forever be grateful for that." A consensus top-100 player by nationally recognized recruiting services, Maymon is currently ranked 23rd by HoopsScoopOnline.com, 46th by Rivals.com, 65th by Hoopmasters.com, 75th by Scout.com and 76th in the ESPNU.com 100.

Brett Roseboro, 6-10, 230 pound center, Quakertown, PA (Quakertown)
"Looking at my career path, it is not difficult to figure out that I like people who have had to `play from behind,'" coach Buzz Williams said. From my initial meeting with Brett and his family, I knew right away that he would be another important piece to this class, because of the obstacles he has had to overcome not only as a player, but also as a person. I am completely convinced that Brett will have great success here, and will represent many of Marquette's core values, not only in how he plays, but in what he will bring to our institution as a student."

Erik Williams, 6-7, 200 pound wing forward, Cypress, TX (Cy Springs)
"Erik was the first commitment in this class when I was an assistant and stayed true to his word from start to finish," coach Buzz Williams said. "In our program, trust and loyalty are cornerstone beliefs and we are grateful to have Erik join us. He plays in the largest classification in the state of Texas and has played against great competition throughout his career thus far." A consensus top-100 player by nationally recognized recruiting services, Williams is ranked 14th by HoopsScoopOnline.com, 30th by Hoopmasters.com, 96th by Scout.com, 97th by ESPNU.com and 99th by Rivals.com, despite missing most of his junior year because of injury.

Based on reports, Marquette is actively recruiting more players from the 2009 class including Chris Colvin, Jamil Wilson, Darius Smith and Sherrod Wright.

Stay tuned.

*Photos courtesy of Marquette University Athletic Department

Cracked Sidewalks Predictions for 2008-09

After our roundtable discussion about the upcoming season, we wanted to make sure we shared our predictions for the 2008-2009 campaign. If you recall, we did this last year too (with varying degrees of success).

What are your predictions? Jump into the MUScoop thread and weigh in.





14-NovHouston BaptistHomeWWWWW
17-NovChicago StateHomeWWWWW
25-NovTexas SouthernHomeWWWWW
28-NovNorthern IowaHoffman EstatesWWWWW
29-NovDaytonHoffman EstatesWWWLL
2-DecCentral MichiganHomeWWWWW
7-JanRutgersPiscataway, NJWL
10-JanWest VirginiaHomeWWWWW
26-JanNotre DameNotreDame, INLLLWL
14-FebSt. JohnsHomeWWWWW

BE Record:13-511-79-913-511-7

Total Record25-623-820-1125-622-9

Explanation of Predictions

Kevin Buckley
25-6? Wasn’t I the guy who was the most pessimistic (and spot on) last year at 22-8? Now I’m the most optimistic of the bunch. Here’s why: MU will run the table at the Bradley Center. DJ, Wes, and Jerel will not let Marquette lose at home during their senior year. We will not lose to any lower-half BE teams at home. Nor will we lose to upper-half BE teams, Syracuse, Georgetown, nor Nova at home. That’s 8. UW and UConn are the two Superbowls at the BC. We aren’t losing them. Not this year. That’s 18 wins. Pick up road wins vs. Northern Iowa, Dayton, NCState, Rutgers, UProv, DePaul, USF, all of which are lower-half of the BE, teams we should beat. That’s 25.

This is the year, we’re not losing to teams we shouldn’t lose to. DJ, Wes, and Jerel won’t let that happen. This whole season is their sudden death overtime.

Tim Blair
Despite concerns over a poorly constructed roster and how well Buzz Williams will handle the pressure of his new job, I'm going with 23-8 this season. With a veteran backcourt and a head coach who will let his players sense and respond to the action, I expect this bunch will gain in confidence as the year wears on. My gut says 21 wins is the proper 'over/under line' for this upcoming season -- so I'm counting on senior leadership to put MU over the top.

I think the loss of Barro and Mbakwe is bigger then we'd like to admit. The seniors will play great, but they're fragile. Nagging injuries the last few years have kept them out of games and nothing indicates to me they won't happen again. The Big East may be the toughest league ever this year from 1 to 12. A lot of MU's success will come off how Hayward and Fulce do. The other big factor for me is Buzz Williams. This is a total unknown so it's hard for me to say what he will deliver. The team could win as few as 20 and as many as 26 in my opinion. I'm settling at 20 wins and 9-9 in the BIG EAST due to the strength of the conference, lack of an experienced big and a head coach who is under the microscope like never before.

Steve Susina
I see an upset by either UNI or Dayton in Hoffman Estates--given the history of the programs, I'm going with Dayton to do so. Meanwhile, I think MU will make up for it and be ready to take the game against Tennessee. I'll go on a limb and predict the win at Notre Dame, but based on past history we'll follow it up with a letdown versus Georgetown. I don't see us taking the game at Pitt this year.

Rob Lowe
My picks are an experiment. I created a prediction model based on last year's stats and ran some simulations. The most likely scenario was finishing 11-2 in non-conference and 10-8 in conference play. However, I'm an optimist so I guessed up. Want some pessimism on top of your injury news? My model only gave us a 10% chance of getting more than 12 wins. (PS - Tim is cheating. He used my model to set the over/under line. "gut"... ha!).

News and Notes

Okay, there's just too much content out there right now, so here are a bunch of links to get you caught up.

Didn't catch the Jim McIlvaine Q&A yesterday? Check it out here (or scroll down). Also, Kevin uploaded Homer's interview with the injured Joe Fulce (or scroll down).

Buzz managed to make time for a nice interview on ESPN Milwaukee's The D-List. The direct audio file can be found here. It's worth spending the ~20 min to listen. Have even more free time? Catch the repeat of the "Marquette Basketball Hour with Buzz Williams" on the Marquette Podcast landing page. Careful, the audio is reflective of a noisy background location.

Today is the first day of the national signing period. Marquette is hosting a press conference later this evening to discuss what should be a banner 2009 recruiting class -- Junior Cadougan, Erik Williams, Jeronne Maymon, Brett Roseboro and Dwight Buycks. Will there be more to announce (Colvin, Snaer, Smith, Wright)? And now rumors persist that Jamil Wilson is once again considering Marquette. While he might not commit today, Wilson seems determined to decide during the early signing period. Very interesting...

The Sports Nut at Milwaukee Magazine has a season preview of Marquette. He compares Buzz favorably to Bob Stoops of Oklahoma.

In the "looking for pessimism" category, Pat Forde from espn.com says that the bottom may fall out on Marquette. He also predicts Georgetown and Villanova as potential candidates to hit the skids in what promises to be an historically tough BIG EAST season. Take it for what it's worth... a throwaway line in a column covering lots of D1 names of which Marquette is one of three teams that might not do as well as expected.

Other news that's relevant
Finally, The Big East has a New Commissioner. It's John Marinatto (formerly of Providence). I'm sure that there will be more on this story in the future. Here's another link and some commentary.

This won't be the last of the content from Cracked Sidewalks... Stay tuned shortly for our season predictions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Homer Interviews Joe Fulce

Coach Buzz did his first TV show with Dennis Krause on Time Warner Sports (32)

Below is a clip with Homer interviewing Joe Fulce -- be sure to enjoy this clip because you won't see Joe Fulce on the court until the end of December. That's right, in case you missed it, Rosiak reported earlier today that Fulce's knee injury will take longer than expected to heal and the 6'6" sophomore is out until perhaps the last non-conference game on December 28. Joining Fulce on the injured list is redshirt center Liam McMorrow, who will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a stress fracture in his right foot which will keep him out of action until March. Not good.

Anyway, the Buzz Show is on TWC32, every Tuesday at 5pm and 10:30pm, and repeats a few times through the week.