Duke … welcome to the Big East.
I was almost still too sick from the Missouri loss to watch the games last night, but thank goodness I did.
After watching the four games last, is there any doubt Marquette would have had a shot to win ANY other conference in the US this year except the Big East?
Reflect on last night's games. Marquette was eliminated from the Big East tournament by Villanova on a last second shot. Last night, that same Villanova team beat the ACC TOURNAMENT CHAMPION DUKE by 23 points. You're telling me Marquette couldn’t have won the ACC tournament?
Marquette was eliminated from the NCAA tournament in the final seconds by Missouri. That same Missouri team beat the Conference USA champion Memphis, ranked No. 1 by Pomeroy, by 11 points to advance to the Elite Eight. In their six tournament games so far (Big 12 and NCAA), Marquette has been by far their closest challenge – Missouri’s margins in those games have been +21 Texas Tech, +19 Cornell, +13 Baylor, +11 Memphis, +8 Oklahoma State, and only +4 Marquette.
True, Marquette didn’t win the close games against great/hot teams – but the measure of how great this squad was is that they played at an incredible level to make them close games. Just reflect on how much BETTER Marquette was in their two narrow tournament losses than two No. 2 seeds – Duke and Memphis – were in losing by 11 and 23 points.
Good and bad criticisms
There have been some fair criticisms of MUs team by Chicosbailbonds, Championshipsmatter and others this year that proved accurate – despite the incredible trio at guard, the team couldn’t go deep without a center and with no depth. Fair enough, those proved to be accurate.
But there are also silly criticisms by others; 1) blaming the Three Amigos instead of a lack of depth/big men for not being able to pull out close games, 2) arguing that if we bloggers stay angry and not content with “mediocre” results it will somehow make the team better as if the team won’t try their hardest unless irate posts are blogged, and finally; 3) no one will remember the Three Amigos because fans only remember deep NCAA runs and Conference and Tournament titles.
Based on that last criteria, how many of Marquette’s seasons are memorable for blog commenter James? Assuming a deep run means at least three NCAA wins, so it takes 3 NCAA wins or a conference title to be "memorable," there have been five memorable seasons for James; 1974, 1977, 1994, 1997 and 2003. So less than one of every 18 seasons is memorable. Let’s say James considers TWO NCAA wins a deep run – at that point you can add 1955, 1969 and 1976, meaning Marquette has had 8 memorable seasons – less than one in every 11 seasons!
And what of the idea that MU would have had to finish in 1st place of 16 teams in the best conference ever this year for it to be a "memorable," season? How about the memories from just competing for the title until James' injury in the first conference to ever put FIVE teams in the Sweet 16, three of which already have advanced to the Elite 8.
The bottom line is, anyone who complains about the past four years is spoiled.
Why the last 4 years will be remembered
To understand just how well we’ve had it the past four years, consider this:
Marquette is one of only EIGHT teams in the country (out of 343) to finish the last three seasons ranked. The others are Kansas, Memphis, UNC, Pitt, UCLA, Louisville and Butler. No other fans in the country get to root for a team that has finished ranked three years in a row.
As you may recall, MU also got enough votes the Three Amigos freshman year to finish 33rd in the country. How many teams have received votes in the final AP poll for four years in a row? Only nine: Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Michigan State, UNC, Pitt, Texas A&M and UCLA.
And I'll say it again - this is the only group that has ever beat 14 ranked teams in a four-year stretch.
Either way, this team will be remembered
Let’s get serious, this team will long be remembered. If the subsequent team drops in the rankings in the brutal Big East, it could be remembered as the ONLY team besides Pittsburgh to win at least 10 games EVERY year from 2006 to 2009. No other Big East team has done that all four years, so no other class can compete with Marquette’s graduating class.
If Marquette does go to new heights, the Three Amigos will be remembered as the guys who got Marquette over the Big East hump and made Marquette a place that new recruits would want to go. Do you really think any of the blue chippers who will be on campus next year would have considered Marquette if the Three Amigos had not shown up and MU had been flattened the first couple of years in the Big East?
Thanks Three Amigos! Thanks Dwight for giving us our only muscle these past few years. I really don’t know what we would have done this year without your defensive minutes and ability to muscle up with the likes of Cunningham.
At full strength, you were the No. 8 team in the country, and even with Dominic out/playing hurt, you were on the verge of the Sweet 16 and left it all on the floor in giving us two memorable efforts against a couple of 7-footers, and a Missouri team that has flattened everyone else including Memphis. Every year 342 of 343 teams end on a down note, but you left it all on the floor the last two years.
For the rest of the year - GO BIG EAST!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Duke … welcome to the Big East.