"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, March 20, 2009

Marquette wins .. whew!

NCAA First Round: Utah State Aggies v Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette nipped Utah State 58-57 to advance to the ........ Tremendous Thirty Two in this year's NCAA tournament.

Marquette had a comfortable 13 point lead after playing 17 minutes of the first half, and looked to be cruising to an easy victory, when our shots stopped falling and USU figured out how to score against our much quicker squad.

MU was outscored 39-32 in the 2nd half, and was down by 6 with 5 minutes to go, yet slowly chipped away, mostly with the help of USU fouling and putting MU on the line. -- Marquette hit 19-23 (83%) from the charity stripe, hitting 11 of 14 in the last 3 minutes to seal the game.

With a 4 point lead, USU was allowed to streak down the court and hit an open 3 to end the game, 58-57.

Lazar Hayward was the player of the game, shooting 9-14 with 26 points and 8 boards. Jerel and Wes shot a dismal 6-26 combined, and collected most of their points from the FT line.

This game is very reminiscent of the MU vs. Holy Cross game in 2003, when 3rd seeded MU barely survived 72-68 versus #14 seed Holy Cross. It took 29 points from Travis Diener, 6 in the last 35 seconds to eek out that win.

Who was Marquette's next opponent in 2003? Missouri, who Marquette will play this Sunday at 4:15pm.


And what of the quick turnaround for the Sunday game against Missouri -- especially since MU had five days to prepare for Utah State? After the game we asked MU great Jim McIlvaine about the tight turnaround during the NCAA tournament and how that might impact players' preparation, their approach, and their own expectations heading into Sunday's tilt with the Tigers:
I don't think the approach changes at all for the players. Coach Williams has done a very good job of keeping things loose, but focused within the team and they have been very consistent throughout the year in terms of their game preparation. I don't know what expectations the team has for themselves or what the general consensus is outside of the team, but I have to think these kids, especially the seniors, wouldn't feel like any weight of expectation has been lifted with this win.

I don't want to sell them short, but I have to think the seniors would be disappointed if they weren't able to make it to the second weekend of the tournament. Of course, I'm hoping for a Final Four run and a national championship, but I'm now in a position to do that, because I'm no longer a player, who can only focus on the next opponent and the task at hand.

Jim, thanks. We'll be listening on Sunday.

Enjoy the victory!!

*edit - McIlvaine comments.


John said...

Whew, what a sigh of relief. Thank goodness for Lazar! I have a lot of respect for Utah State. On to Missouri. Go Marquette!

Championships Matter said...

Just a reminder...

Steve Novak is not coming off the bench to rescue us if we play Missouri (which seems likely). So quit dreaming about 2003 and hope Mizzou has an off-day.

We played well today but we beat a team we should have creamed. Our weak bench was extremely exposed in this game and does not bode well for surpassing Mizzou, Memphis and UConn.

As I said before, if I'm wrong, serve me up some Badger covered with Warrior sauce.

Kevin Buckley (Hilltopper) said...

CM - Really?

Oliver said...

Utah St. was a fair team that we should have exploited more, but a win is a win.

On the bright side, Buzz is starting to recognize where Cubillan can be useful and Lazar played a really nice game. On the down side (other than the shooting from the M&M boys), I would have liked to see more scoring from Butler. I will cut him some slack as a first-timer, however.

Tim Blair said...

CM, glad you enjoyed today's NCAA Tournament victory.

Ring out Ahoya!

Smoove said...

The longer Jerel and Wes play small ball, the more likely the next game will be the one they bust-a-move. Sunday is the day - - - make way, Missour-a!

Gene Frenkle said...

It looked early on that we should have rolled. But you know what? They made adjustments on MU and we couldn't score.

Also, that was a ranked, 30-win team people. They weren't some 16-seed. They were #24 in the country and a decent team.

Win and move on. That's all that matters.

EdB said...

Go, Siena!

Tim Blair said...

yes, a GREAT win for the Saints EdB. Hoping we'll have an MU/Siena tilt later in March. Until then, I'll wear that new Saints t-shirt proudly. Thanks!

Savwa said...

Of course, I'm happy with the w but I was disappointed with Buzz's coaching. MU played U-states slow down game, let a 1 man in the backcourt with 2 at halfcourt press eat up time on the shot clock forcing them to get into their offense later than they should and eating up the game clock. The ball should have been inbounded and rushed up the court to create #'s advantages for MU. MU didn't use their speed at all and should have been going to the hole a lot sooner in the 2nd half when their shot wasn't falling. Buzz didn't seem to notice this was going on as these adjustments could have just been made after taking a timeout.

I hope Jerel & Wes get their shot to fall on Sunday because MU won't win without it. The Big 12 wasn't as tough as the Big East was this year so I like MU's chances.

Michael said...


Mizzou will run you guys out of the gym...seven deep versus eleven deep in a super-high-tempo game...you're finished if you're not up by 10 at halftime...you think I'm lying...look at the scores of Missouri's games at halftime....