"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, October 30, 2009

Marquette to appear on ESPN Full Court 14 times this season

The Marquette men's basketball team will appear on ESPN Full Court 14 times this season.

The first game will be South Dakota followed by the UW-M game. Additionally, 12 Big East games are also included in the package.

ESPN Full Court is available from DIRECTV and DISH Network as well as some cable and telco providers.

Many of these same Marquette games will also be on the Big East Network which is picked up by Sports Net New York as the flagship station.

SNY is available nationally on DIRECTV and DISH network as part of their sports tier programming.


MUTV interviews Director of BBall Ops, Bart Lundy:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wes Matthews gets PT

MU put together a great video of Wes' first day in the NBA. It's awesome, baby.

Wes got in for 5 minutes, but missed his only shot.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5-star Vander Blue leaves MU just a couple of recruits from title contender in 2012

In the first eight years of the Rivals.com database, Marquette signed five 4-star recruits (Dameon Mason, Lazar Hayward and the Three Amigos). However, it wasn’t until this week’s decision by Vander Blue to come to MU that we landed our first 5-star recruit.

Only a couple of dozen players a season achieve 5-star status, so I immediately wondered how much of an impact Blue’s arrival might have on MUs success when he arrives for the 2011 season.

I’ve referenced the “Win Credits” system developed in The Ultimate Hoops Guide , which is a system of measuring a player’s contribution to his team’s win-loss record to determine how many wins he was worth to the team in a given year. Dwyane Wade was worth 9.6 wins to Marquette in 2003, the highest total in MU history.

To try to get a handle on Blue’s potential impact, I went back to look at the number of wins a 5-star player typically creates when he arrives in the Big East for his freshman season, and then how that number grows when he is a sophomore and junior.

This basically boiled down to calculating all player seasons for Louisville, Villanova, UConn and Syracuse since the league expanded, since they had almost all of the five-star players the first few years.

What are the chances of Blue being a Big East superstar immediately as a freshman in 2011? It's a tough conference, and only two 5-star freshman have been immediate Big East stars worth five or six wins their first season - Donte Greene (worth 5.5 wins to Syracuse in 2008) and Samardo Samuels (5.3 Louisville 2009).

What are the chances Blue has a strong freshman season, then takes over as a Superstar his sophomore season in 2012? Three other 5-star players had solid freshman seasons then exploded to be worth six or seven wins as sophomores - Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn (4.4 wins as a freshman, 6.9 as a sophomore), UConn’s Rudy Gay (3.9, 7.1) and Louisville’s Earl Clark (1.4, 6.0). The only bad thing about getting that good is that four of those five left after their breakout season, with only Earl Clark sticking around to post a ridiculous 9.1 wins last year as a junior for Louisville.

How often does a 5-star player not even put up big numbers? The good news is that while the majority of 5-star players don't dominate immediately, only one of 16 five-star players I researched, Curtis Kelly, was a dud. In addition to the five superstars mentioned above, big numbers were put up by Derrick Caracter, Corey Fisher, Paul Harris, Terrence Jennings, Kyle Lowry, Juan Palacios, Stanley Robinson, Corey Stokes, Kemba Walker and Darryl Watkins.

I averaged the Win Credits for these 5-star players during their freshman, sophomore and junior seasons (but not the senior year since most 5-stars are in the NBA by then) and then did the same thing for 4-star, 3-star and other recruits entering Big East play to see how many wins we might expect from each member of the team for the next few years:

How many wins to expect based on a player's year and stars

0-2 Stars0.


The first thing you can notice from this graph is that 4- and 5-star players are able to have an immediate impact in the Big East as freshman, typically worth around two additional wins to their teams during their freshman season. However, a freshman with three or fewer stars typical will have almost no impact their freshman year, which makes it quite possible that MU will get a lot more out of the JUCO players than the 3-star freshmen in the coming season.

If we look at the wins generated by each player in 2009, then how many wins we expect from each MU player during the coming three seasons we get the table below. For the players who already played for MU last year, we look at how far above or below these averages they have been so far in their career, and assume they will improve as much as expected from that point for the coming seasons.

Projected Wins from each player from 2009 to 2012 seasons
Maurice Acker, Sr. G, 0 Stars0.00.8GG
Vander Blue, HS G, 5 StarsHSHS2.44.7
Dwight Burke, Grad F-C, 0 Stars0.1GGG
Jimmy Butler, Jr. G-F, 0 Stars1.32.03.6G
Dwight Buycks, Jr. G, 3 StarsJC2.13.2G
Junior Cadougan, Inj. G, 4 StarsHSRS1.73.1
David Cubillan, Sr. G, 0 Stars0.01.3GG
Robert Frozena, Jr. G, 0 Stars0.00.00.0G
Joseph Fulce, Jr. F, 3 Stars0.00.92.0G
Lazar Hayward, Sr. F, 4 Stars6.36.4GG
Patrick Hazel, Trans. F-C, 3 Stars0.0TTT
Dominic James, Grad G, 4 Stars3.4GGG
Darius Johnson-Odom, So. G, 3 StarsJC1.22.13.2
Jamail Jones, HS F, 4 StarsHSHS1.73.1
Wesley Matthews, Grad G, 4 Stars6.6GGG
Jeronne Maymon, Fr. G-F, 4 StarsHS1.73.14.3
Youssaupha Mbao, Fr. C, 3 StarsHS0.31.22.1
Jerel McNeal, Grad G, 4 Stars7.4GGG
Chris Otule, So. C, 2 Stars0.
Erik Williams, Fr. F, 4 StarsHS1.73.14.3
Projected Wins on known roster25.119.024.925.8+

Key = a number indicates how many wins the player is projected to give MU that season, HS is a player in high school that year, G indicates graduated by that year, T indicates transferred out of MU, RS indicates red shirt season, JC indicates in Junior College that season.

2010 Outlook – 19.0 wins on roster. We already know there were 25 wins in 2009, and how top heavy MU was with great seasons from the Three Amigos and Lazar, but a lot of ZEROS on the roster. Buzz has obviously brought a lot more balance to the roster, but the roster only shows 19 wins this season. The Three Amigos were WAY ahead of the average pace for 4-star freshmen, so if 4-star freshmen Jeronne Maymon and/or Erik Williams are anywhere near Dominic James’ ridiculous 5.4 wins his freshman year, instead of the 1.7 we would normally expect from a 4-star freshman, then MU could certainly be better despite the painful season-ending injury to Junior Cadougan, the highest rated of this year’s 4-star freshman. On average though, we would expect juniors Dwight Buycks and Jimmy Butler to be on par or slightly ahead of the 4-star freshmen at about 2 wins each, meaning Hayward does need to post another 6+ win season and Cube and Acker need to get back to their levels from two years ago to add a little from the backcourt.

2011 Outlook – 24.9 wins on roster - equal to 2009. The great news is that with the arrival of Cadougan and Blue in 2011, and the anticipated improvement of everyone else, MU would be expected to return right to where we were in 2009 with about 25 wins. In addition, the production would be much more spreadout, meaning one injury wouldn’t end the season like it did after DJ went down last year. In addition, the production would be coming from all five positions as long as Mbao and/or Otule develop.

2012 Outlook – 25.8 wins PLUS three more players. What is really mindboggling though is the 2012 season. At first glance it appears the 2012 roster only looks about one game better than the 2011 roster. However, the 2011 roster anticipates 24.9 wins from 11 players. The 2012 roster shows 25.8 wins from only eight players. MU will have three new players by then, and if it were, for example, a 3-star JUCO (2.1), a 4-star freshman (1.7) and another 5-star freshman (2.4), we would anticipate 32 wins!

That’s a potential national title contender.

Obviously injuries, transfers and under performances could lower any of these individual player Win Credits. However, the numbers are just as likely to be higher for players that perform above the average like the Three Amigos and Lazar have been doing their whole careers, or for upgrade recruits that transfer in or take the spot of any of these players that cannot play for any reason. The overall pool of talent that Buzz has put together is so much deeper and more balanced than the past teams, that right now we are on course for a regroup/winning season this year even with no bust outs, being back to last year’s level by the 2011 season, and then the sky is absolutely the limit for 2012.

Patience is tough when we’ve been spoiled by being so good every year in the Big East so far, but one step backward this year could easily be followed by giant steps forward.

Earth to Mark Belling

Heard on Mark Belling's WISN radio show yesterday: (hattip: ChunkyChip.)

"Marquette is going to be terrible this year"
"The program is imploding under Williams, they are recruiting thugs and guys are quitting the team"
"Maybe he'll be able to hang onto his job"
"Buzz has been a wrecking crew for that program"
"Marquette appears to be in shambles"
"Vander Blue could save Buzz's job .."

http://www.belling.com/cc-common/podcast.html - Part 2 of Hour 1 on Oct 21.

Uh, Earth to Belling: Yes, MU will have a down year this next season. Yes, we did have a verbal on a recruit that later admitted to criminality and will never wear a Warrior uniform. Yes, a prized Freshman is out for the season, and we have a few other injuries hampering the start of the year.

But please. Buzz might just snare two top 10 recruiting classes in two years, as he's half way there, and Rivals just released their listing, putting MU at 11th for bringing in Vander Blue.

Suggesting he's close to being fired is "galactically stupid."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BIG EAST coaches recognize Hayward

The BIG EAST announced the coaches' pre-season 2009-2010 all-conference selections at media day this morning. Unlike the unprepared BIG EAST basketball beat writers, the coaches smartly placed Lazar Hayward on the first-team all conference squad. Congratulations, Lazar.

The coaches pick MU to finish 12th in the league this year.

2009-10 Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame (Player of the Year), F, Sr., 6-8, 255, Schererville, Ind.
Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati, G, Sr., 6-1, 190, Indianapolis, Ind.
Greg Monroe, Georgetown, C, So., 6-11, 247, New Orleans, La.
Lazar Hayward, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-6, 225, Buffalo, N.Y.
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-2, 195, Herndon, Va.
Da'Sean Butler, West Virginia, F, Sr., 6-7, 225, Newark, N.J.

2009-10 Preseason All-BIG EAST Second Team
Jerome Dyson, Connecticut, G, Sr., 6-3, 190, Potomac, Md.
Kemba Walker, Connecticut, G, So., 6-1, 172, Bronx, N.Y.
Samardo Samuels, Louisville, F, So., 6-9, 260, Trelawny, Jamaica
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-5, 185, Bronx, N.Y.
Dominique Jones, USF, G, Jr., 6-4, 205, Lake Wales, Fla.
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia, F, So., 6-9, 210, Long Island City, N.Y.

* a tie in the balloting created six positions

2009-10 Preseason All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
Stanley Robinson, Connecticut, F, Sr., 6-9, 210, Birmingham, Ala.
Arinze Onuaku, Syracuse, C, Sr., 6-9, 275, Lanham, Md

2009-10 BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

2009-10 BIG EAST Preseason Rookie of the Year
Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati

BIG EAST coaches pre-season poll

1. Villanova (10)
2. West Virginia (5)
3. Connecticut (1)
4. Louisville
5. Georgetown
6. Syracuse
7. Cincinnati
8. Notre Dame
9. Pittsburgh
10. Seton Hall
11. St. John's
12. Marquette
13. Providence
14. USF
15. Rutgers
16. DePaul

BIG EAST Media Day preview

The BIG EAST hosts its annual basketball media day today in Manhattan and a league-wide poll of beat writers shows no love for Marquette. In a poll conducted by the Syracuse Post-Standard, the writers pick MU to finish 12th in the conference this year --- and according to the same bunch Lazar Hayward is not one of the 15 best players in the league.

It is difficult to argue with MU being slotted into the bottom tier of the league, but to ignore Hayward's talent and productivity (he is the league's most efficient returning offensive player and grabs eight boards a night to boot) is a shocking oversight. We were annoyed when Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports left Hayward off his FIRST team, leading to a spirited message board debate arguing that Lazar is at least as good as Greg Monroe. Not only that, but we've wondered if Lazar could have a better senior season than Novak.

Walker, Mike Rosario and Stanley Robinson over Lazar Hayward? While there is a natural attention-deficit penalty paid by elite players on bad teams, the lack of recognition for Hayward s wholly unnatural. Realize that USF's Dominique Jones and Rutgers' overrated gunner Mike Rosario are on squads picked to finish below the Golden Eagles this year. Some players, like Stanley Robinson, are on the list purely because of the team they play for rather than an appreciation for that player's history of inconsistency. How else can one account for Robinson making the pre-season list after scoring in double digits just five times as a junior, even as the Huskies lost one of their leading scorers late in the season. Meanwhile a player like Devin Ebanks makes the first-team purely on his reputation from high school despite seasonal averages that fall well short of anybody else on the writers' first-team squad.

These BIG EAST beat writers need to wake up.

Below are the results of the poll.

1. Villanova 24 (11)
2. West Virginia 31 (6 )
3. Connecticut 58
4. Georgetown 75
5. Louisville 87
6. Syracuse 110
7. Notre Dame 128
8. Cincinnati 137
9. Pittsburgh 140
10. Seton Hall 159
11. St. John’s 191
12. Marquette 195
13. Rutgers 232
14. South Florida 240
15. Providence 242
16. DePaul 268

All-Big East First Team
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame (unanimous)
Greg Monroe, Georgetown
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova
Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia
Devin Ebanks, West Virginia

All-Big East Second Team
Dominique Jones, South Florida
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall
Kemba Walker, Connecticut
Jerome Dyson, Connecticut
Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati

All-Big East Third Team
Corey Fisher, Villanova
Corey Stokes, Villanova
Mike Rosario, Rutgers
Stanley Robinson, Connecticut
Samardo Samuels, Louisville

Player of the Year
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

If you're interested in BIG EAST Media Day details on content that will be made available this week can be found here. Buzz Williams will be joined by seniors Lazar Hayward, David Cubillan and Maurice Acker at today's event.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday updates..

Just a few media updates this morning..

Are you going to Turkey
? Make sure you take in a Mersin BSB game. Dom James plays for Mersin .. DJ just scored 27 points to lead the BSBs in a crushing loss to their hated (?) rivals (?) the Efes Pilsens. (???)

The next leg of your journey could be fabulous Estonia, or Uruguay, or Poland to visit Jerel McNeal, who was recently waived by the Clippers.

Closer to home, Todd Rosiak has a Q&A with newest future Warrior, Vander Blue.

And Marquette just posted a video of their Sunday practice:

Did you see Joe Fulce's Midnight Madness Dunk?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Vander Video Interview..

WKOW - Madion interviewed the newest future Warrior:

Part 1

Click here for Part 2

HT: Falkinator

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Todd Rosiak is reporting that Vander Blue, who de-committed from UW@Madison, has now committed to Marquette:

In a twist that is sure to add even more spice to what has already become a heated rivalry between in-state rivals, Madison Memorial star Vander Blue on Sunday orally committed to play for the Marquette Golden Eagles, roughly five months after announcing he wouldn't follow through on an oral commitment to play for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Blue, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, took an official visit to MU over the weekend, and was in attendance for 'MU Madness' at the Al McGuire Center on Friday night. Decked out from head to toe in MU gear, Blue appeared to be at home and enjoying himself as he took in the fesitivities, which included his best friend, Golden Eagles freshman forward Jeronne Maymon.

For more on the story, check out IWB's Sports Blog for plenty of comments from Blue and his mom.

As a consensus Top 40 recruit (if not higher), Vander joins fellow Top 100 recruit Jamail Jones in the 2010 recruiting class. Coach Buzz Williams and Marquette have locked up five Top 100 recruits in two years. And with two more spots in the 2010 recruiting class available, there may be even more potential yet.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


UPDATED - Fulce's dunks

College Basketball is officially back, and last night's Madness gave fans a bit of optimism after a tough offseason.

First, check out the GoMarquette.com recap. The recap includes the full introduction videos for both teams, which you can also check out here . There is also a photo gallery on the official Marquette site.

Rosiak provides more color commentary, with a specific focus on Joe Fulce. Fulce was the winner of last night's dunk contest. Rosiak was also kind enough to provide a full recap of the winning dunk, which evidently was awesome. (We say evidently because the MUTV camera missed the entire exchange. This was disappointing to the large number of people that were watching online. However, we're not going to pile onto whomever was responsible. After all, it's a student operation, and they're probably getting hazed by other people enough. We're sure this will be a good lesson learned and funny story for the future.) We now have a copy of all of Fulce's dunks via youtube (check here) HT: MUScoop poster RoneyEford13. The reaction from the crowd, the judges, Fulce, and the team is outstanding.

Moving on, considering that Fulce was supposed to have more upside than Butler last year, how great would it be for him to be back to 100%? Not just for the team, but for the young man himself after all of his travails in getting to D1. We'll definitely continue to root for Fulce to stay healthy... everything else will fall in place with him if that happens.

As for the scrimmage, the most noteworthy thing from my perspective was that it was really hard keeping track of all the new players and numbers. Butler looked very smooth and more assertive than last year. Erik Williams was less assertive than Maymon, but that may have been a function of being on a team with Hayward and Butler. Otule looked light years better than last year. And, I barely heard Buycks' name during the scrimmage. However, one of the best summaries of how the players looked came from none other than Murffieus.

There were also several recruits in attendance (30 in total), but here were some of the notable ones according to Rosiak (Vander Blue, Tarik Black, Branden Dawson, Keaton Miles, and 2010 commit Jamail Jones).

We asked BMA for the opinion regarding several of these players, and here was the additional info.

  • Blue - Nothing I can say that hasn't been said. (Rob's note - According to Rosiak, Blue was dressed head to toe in MU gear and was one of the very last to leave.)

    Update: According to this thread, Blue is destined to come to Marquette.

  • Black - Think Trevor Mbakwe part 2 in terms of talent. Small, but very strong and very athletic. Most developed part of his game is defense. Offensively he scores a lot on put backs and dunks. Has some post moves and a nice jump hook. Really though he's a guy that his most impressive thing is effort. Nearly every national scout has talked about it. He's able to out rebound out score and out defend guys that look like they should dominate him because of their bigger size.
  • Miles - Has a chance to be really really good if he's able to put it all together. Elite athlete. Can get to the rim with ease but often times decides to settle for three pointers, and he isn't a good enough shooter to do that. Good defender and rebounder. The situation reminds me a bit of Erik Williams. Top kid that no one is talking about pays his own way to come to Marquette's midnight madness. Back then we were all focused on Shumpert, and got a commit from this kid in Texas we didn't know much about. Now we're all focused on Blue and there's this kid from Texas we don't know much about. Maybe this year will be the same?
  • Branden Dawson - Thought to be a Purdue or IU lean so it's big to get him here. He's another one that doesn't seem to quite get it yet, but even without putting everything together he's an elite prospect. Great at attacking the rim, great around the basket, excellent rebounder. Has a very good mid range game, and not so good from 3. He had a great summer, and seems to get better every time he plays. Plus, for a top kid he's not afraid to do the dirty work. You don't often see 6'5 SF forwards willing to mix it up for a rebound in the post, but he does.
Thanks for your thoughts, BMA. Buzz figures to secure another outstanding recruiting class if players like this are in the mix. One has to feel confident about the chances right now, and certainly at least optimistic about the prospects for the season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!


(or... a flimsy excuse to link to the "Where the Wild Things Are" Trailer)

After a tortuously long off-season, in which the only news that popped up lately seemed to be bad news, College Basketball is back! Now, with the proverbial "young but talented team", the Marquette community can enjoy the adventure that the 2009-2010 season will be. That's right... tonight is Midnight Madness!

Here's your flimsy link between "Where the Wild Things Are" and this year's basketball season. The classic story, with minimal words, is essentially a tale of how children master feelings. Well, I don't know about you, but I have all kinds of feelings about his season, including hope, fear, excitement, and disappointment. This year could go all kinds of different directions. In addition, as the trailer linked above suggests, inside each one of us is the same hope, fear, and adventure. Flimsy link #1 is that each of us represents Max on our adventure through the season. Midnight Madness is the beginning of our Wild Rumpus. (Plus, I kind of like thinking of this year's team as the Wild Things from the classic tale, but don't have enough hubris to believe that nickname is either valid or going to stick.)

However, after initially posting, MUScoop.com reader dsfire was
disappointed that we didn't explain whose nickname was The Wild Rumpus or why he should start... and then suggested it be Frozena. So there you go... flimsy link #2 Rob Frozena is "The Wild Rumpus". Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

Regardless of which Wild Rumpus you want to start tonight, Check out GoMarquette.com for additional details on the Madness. As has been previously stated, the festivities kick off at 6 pm with a Women's Volleyball game, and then continues into Marquette Madness. Doors open as early as 5 pm if you want, and Madness starts no later than 7:30. If you are local, show up and you'll receive a free long sleeved t-shirt and a poster. In this year's twist on the dunk contest, all the judges will be from the Milwaukee Bucks. This includes none other than Assistant coach Jim Boylan, a former Marquette player and member of the 1977 National Championship squad (duh), as well as Charlie Bell, Joe Alexander and Brandon Jennings. Give Alexander a healthy boo. To get yourself ready, check out a sneak preview of the Marquette Madness video.

If you can't make it there, MUTV is streaming the event online. Online fans will need to click on just one link to gain access to the complete event. Here is the link for the web stream. To build some hype for the event, MUTV has introduced a new TV reporter (it's actually a minute-long clip from Joe Fulce and some other guys). In this clip, Fulce calls Frozena "Peter Parker", which is actually pretty funny. Evidently Fulce has not heard that Frozena's real nickname is "The Wild Rumpus".

Andy Katz gives what is one of the better previews on Marquette. It is cautiously optimistic about the season. You've got to read it. Rosiak also mentions it too in his blog post, but his focus is on the Blue Ribbon grades for Marquette (Backcourt: B-minus, Bench/Depth: B-minus, Frontcourt: B, Intangibles: C). If you are an ESPN Insider Subscriber, you can read the full information here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More on Media Day

Good morning out there in Marquette-land. With one day to go until the basketball season "officially" kicks off at Midnight Madness, yesterday was Marquette's Media Day.

Your first stop of the day should be to scroll down (or click here for the Media Day Videos). Good stuff... I particularly like the first video with Buzz as he addresses questions about the team. If you don't have time, or need to take it on the go, just grab the GoMarquette.com podcast from Buzz.

If you're too impatient or prefer to read the transcript, check out Rosiak's blog entry from yesterday for the full text. Rosiak also delivers a feature story this morning. I found it interesting that the point of this article was about who would play point. However, if you check out the video, Buzz skips directly to talking about who would play the 2 and 3 positions (going big or small). There's also some info in there about Fulce coming back strong and the closed-door scrimmage with Virginia. Just like in previous years, MU is going to go without another exhibition game in favor of a scrimmage.

From the JSOnline, Bob Wolfley discusses Buzz as his own worst critic. Frankly, it's really a good article that shares insights about how Buzz would have done things differently in some of the games last year.

Want to check out pictures from yesterday? Here are the links from GoMarquette.com as well as the photos from the Journal-Sentinel.

As for a few more links... The AP has a story about Buzz' quest to run 244 miles over forty days. Evidently, it was his promise to the team after they completed Boot Camp, and the rest of the story talks about the same Boot Camp. Foulpole2foulpole has a story with Joe Fulce, who is guaranteeing a dunk championship. That would be great, if for no other reason than it signaling Fulce's return from injury. WISN.com also has a small article in which they mis-spell Dominic's name. Seriously?

Finally, and looking forward, IWB has a list of players that will be at Midnight Madness. Hey Buzz... Get yourself some coffee (NSFW)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Media Day Videos

Wish John Wooden a Happy 99th Birthday

Yes, John Wooden did not coach at Marquette, but he was an Al McGuire favorite. Today he turns 99 years old. There is a national campaign to send birthday wishes Coach Wooden. We're more than happy to help in that effort. Marquette fans, send some birthday wishes to an American icon and arguable the greatest college basketball coach ever!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Midnight Madness will kick off 2nd best MU decade ever

Most of us are in a funk just four days from the first Midnight Madness of the 2010s decade. The short-term outlook as practices start appears gloomy with Junior Cadougan, Darius Johnson-Odom and Youssoupha Mbao no longer part of the equation for games against Xavier and other November foes.

However, in the long-term a decade has never looked so good since Cobb, Meminger, Brell, Thomas, Chones and Allie McGuire were on campus to start practice for the 1970s. While no program will ever again match the success of that decade, in which MU was clearly the 2nd best program in the country (more on that later), MU is in position to have one of the Top 20 programs in the country this decade.

The key starting point for looking at the long-term potential is seeing how many potential star player-seasons are currently on campus. In other words, if you have a 3-star or higher freshman, you have FOUR potential star seasons left out of him, a great sophomore has THREE potential star seasons left, a junior has TWO and a senior ONE.

Ten years ago at the start of the last decade, there were only 5 potential star seasons on campus – 2 more left for junior Brian Wardle and 3 more left for sophomore Cordell Henry as the team came off a 14-15 season. Those two did a great job, but they didn’t have much support beyond the solid rebounding of Oluoma Nnamaka. However, Dwyane Wade through the Three Amigos combined for enough star seasons that by the end of the decade the Sagarin Rankings placed Marquette as the 32nd greatest program of the 2000s out of well over 300 teams.

Consider how much more potential MU has heading into the new decade. In addition to anticipating one final great year from Lazar Hayward, the long-term prospects include two years of Jimmy Butler and Dwight Buycks, three years of Darius Johnson-Odom, and four years of Junior Cadougan, Youssoupha Mbao, Erik Williams and Jeronne Maymon. That’s the potential for 24 star player-years.

Will we get all 24 great player-years? Of course not. We don’t know which players will truly be stars and stay healthy, and at the other extreme if some will be so good they will leave early for the NBA. However, when we are looking at UP TO 24 seasons from guys who are either three- or four-star players or proven JUCO or MU stars, the sky is the limit not for this year, but for the decade as a whole in front of us.

And when you add in that these potential stars constitute a balanced roster, with three guards, four guys 6-6 or 6-7, and one seven-footer, it gets even more exciting. While it’s terrible to lose Junior for the year, if we get to watch him for four great years it won’t matter down the road that those seasons were 2010-11 to 2013-14.

I am confident when the Sagarin numbers are run again in 10 years, MU will be AT THE VERY LEAST one of the top 20 programs of the decade, so let’s start by getting excited at Midnight Madness, even though we know there will likely be some tough growing pains this season.

Can we dream this decade could be as good as the 1970s?
With such a great foundation, is it possible that MU could even return to the dominance of the 1970s? The simple answer to that is NO – because no future team will EVER be as dominant as MU was in the 1970s. There are too many teams and too much parity for any team – even the current group at UNC – to ever again match what MU did in the 1970s, so don’t even dream about it.

Sagarin’s aforementioned rankings place MU as the 3rd best team of the 1970s. In fact, MU was clearly better than UNC in the 1970s and only behind UCLA in the 1970s. Further, no program will ever again match what either UCLA OR MU did in the 1970s.

To set the record straight in the UNC vs. MU comparison in the 1970s, let’s look at both the regular season and the tournament records of each school:

First, let’s compare the overall body of work – all games played whether regular season or tournament. As I pointed out in the Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University, our record in the 70s was the 3rd best record of any team in any decade:

1. UCLA 1970s 273-27 91.0%
2. Kentucky 1950s 224-33 87.2%
3. Marquette 1970s 251-41 86.0%
4. Kentucky 1940s 239-42 85.1%
5. Duke 2000s 261-53 83.1%

No offense to Kentucky’s current great program, but considering they were avoiding playing teams with black players in the 1950s, I think you can safely say that Marquette in the 1970s had the second greatest decade OF ALL TIME much less the 1970s. The Warriors just happened to do it the same year that UCLA was having the greatest decade of any team ever.

Second, we can look at how MU and UNC performed in the tournament. We start by pointing out the obvious fact that they met only once in the tournament, with Marquette winning the national title.

But as “BMA725” points out on muscoop, MU had better tournament results throughout the decade:

“MU has 1 National Championship, 1 National Runner Up, 1 Elite Eight, 3 Sweet Sixteens, 2 second round appearances, and 1 first round elimination. They also have the 1970 NIT Championship."

UNC has 1 National Runner Up, 1 Final Four, 1 Sweet Sixteen, and 3 first round eliminations. They didn't even make the NCAA Tournament in 4 of those years, and while they won the 1971 NIT, they also had two first round NIT eliminations.

"How any one could view them objectively and think UNC was more successful that decade, I don't know.”

That argument is solid enough in itself, and the only attempt to counter it was a post that UNC finished 2nd in the ACC in 1971, 1973, and 1974 in years when they were in the Top 15 and only one team per conference went to the tournament. First, when you get eliminated from the first round of the NIT two years, it’s hard to argue you should have been in the NCAA tourney. As for UNC being ranked in the Top 15, MU would not have been invited to the tournament either those three years if they were just in the Top 15. The fact is that MU was in the TOP 4 all three of those years that UNC was in the TOP 15, and in fact MU was ranked in the TOP 8 at the end of every season from 1970 to 1978, and even finished No. 10 in 1979.

The independents did not have an advantage in tournament selection. They had a decided disadvantage because they didn’t get the 1st round byes that UNC and other conference champs could get for winning their conference.

If the current seeding were in effect in those years and based on AP rankings, in 1971 MU would have been a No. 1 seed and Ohio State a No. 3 seed, but instead OSU got a bye while MU had to play a game, then edged out MU 60-59. When UNC didn’t make it in 1973, the No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed matchup between Indiana and MU occurred in the Sweet 16 and MU lost. In 1974 when UNC didn’t make the cut, MU went all the way to the title game against NC State. Worst yet was 1976, when MU was the No. 2 team in the country, and the bracket made the Warriors play the No. 1 team in the country in the Elite 8 rather than in the title game as would have happened this year. That Indiana team is the last team to ever go undefeated.

So not only did MU have substantially better tournament results than UNC, but they would have likely had much better results if the brackets were based on seeding like they are today, or if MU were in a conference and thus earning byes and easier match-ups every year.

Case closed. MU was a better regular season and a better tournament team than UNC in the 1970s, and played at a level of dominance that was only topped by UCLA that decade, and will never be matched again.

However, MU will be back among the best in the 2010s.

So the end message is this. If we don't judge the next 10 years against the 1970s, and don't get too impatient if we fall to the lower part of the Big East for one season as the freshman learn to play together, we may all really enjoy the 2010s.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BE Recruits - Non Top 100 / non-JUCO

Before we even get started, I wanted to take a few minutes to say thank you to everyone that helped Donate to Al's Run. By the way, check out the GoMarquette.com release for their coverage. They've got a write-up, a photo gallery, and even a nice little video clip. Back to the donations, we set two fairly modest goals, and after a reasonably slow start, the incredible Marquette fans did a fantastic job of surpassing both goals. On behalf of Cracked Sidewalks, we really appreciate it.

Moving on to the content from Cracked Sidewalks (instead of our version of a pledge drive)... Originally, we just set out to try and determine what would be a reasonable set of expectations for our talented but young recruiting class. After all, we as Marquette fans are trying to adjust to life after the Three Amigos. Therefore, we started with our three Top 100 recruits (Cadougan, Williams, and Maymon) and looked at the performance of Top 100 recruits in their first year. Then, in order to determine what would be reasonable for JUCOs Buycks and DJO, we took a took at JUCO players in their first year, as also offered some additional thoughts on JUCOs.

However, after some questions and then the suggestion from BMA, we decided to take a look at any recruit that was either not a Top 100 recruit or a JUCO player. BMA was also kind enough to grab the entire list of players and send that to me, so none of this would have even been possible without that support. Therefore, this post is the third part in our series that looks at how Big East recruits perform in their first year.

We again looked at the range of players in the new expanded Big East (starting in 2005). This covered 127 different players across all sixteen teams. Unfortunately, the news for this set of players was not very good in their first year.

  • Sixty-five of this set of players get an "Incomplete" in their first year. In other words, they didn't register enough games, minutes, or possessions to even qualify for an offensive rating on Pomeroy's website. That is over half of all players.
  • Of the remaining sixty-two players, their average offensive rating was only 93.9 and their average usage was only 17.1%. That means that, on average, the first year player in this group was a Non-Factor (ORtg < 100; Usage < 20%)
  • Therefore, and not surprisingly, there were very few recruits in this data set (non-Top 100; non-JUCO) that ended up as Studs in their first year. How few? There were three over the past four years (Dominique Jones, Sharraud Curry, and Darryl "Trucks" Bryant). That's two percent total.
  • Twelve percent of these players (fifteen total) ended up as serviceable role players, with an Offensive Rating > 100 and a usage under 20%. Some of these players include Andy Rautins, Preston Knowles, Craig Austrie, Arinze Onuaku, and Jonathon Peoples.
  • Eight percent (ten total) of these players ended up as Ball Hogs. This includes "Greedy" Peterson, Joe Mazzula, Paul Gause, and Weyinmi Efejuku.
  • That means that the remaining 78% of the players in this group were Non-Factors. Yeah... basically four out of five players in this set were non-factors in their first year.
But wait... there's more news for low expectations
  • Almost a third of all players (32%; forty-one total) in this group ended up transferring away from their original team. This was probably the first thing that BMA and I both noticed, and exactly why it was tracked.
  • Twelve percent (fifteen total) ended up having to redshirt in their first year
  • Nine percent (twelve total) ended up with some sort of DNP/eligibility issue... typically from academics
How about the Marquette recruits in this group?
  • Matt Mortensen - Incomplete/Non-Factor, Redshirt, Eligibility Issue
  • Patrick Hazel - Incomplete/Non-Factor, Eventually Transferred
  • Scott Christopherson - Incomplete/Non-Factor, Eventually Transferred
  • Chris Otule - Incomplete/Non-Factor
  • David Cubillan - quality Role Player in his first year (ORtg 119.3, Usage 12.4)
What implications do we see from looking at this group of players?

Clearly, don't expect a lot in the first year from a recruit that doesn't make any Top 100 lists. Honestly, don't be surprised if these types of recruits don't stick around all four years. What I found the most surprising was that it's really only plausible to expect solid contributions from a Top 100 recruit. In their first year, JUCOs and other recruits have almost never been serious contributors on the court.

As we continue to dig into the data, we'll undoubtedly be able to do some more comprehensive analysis on a team level. Stay tuned for that as we get ready for the season.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It's Boot Camp Time

GoMarquette.com released their information on the Boot Camp.Checked out the update on this year's Boot Camp. Last year's camp was notable in that it resulted in the first few injuries, which derailed the first seasons of Otule and Fulce. More than anything, let's hope that no one gets a foot injury now. Make sure that you click through to the link and check the video clip. It's worth checking out.

As a reminder, Midnight Madness kicks off in a week. We are about a week away from the triumphant (or something like that) return of Marquette basketball. It really seems like basketball is kind of sneaking up on the season, even though it's been ages since the last time Marquette played. Doors will open at 5 p.m. in advance of Marquette Madness. The AD is opening things off with the MU women's volleyball team hosting Georgetown in BIG EAST action at 6 p.m. If they want to try and drive extra butts to watch women's volleyball, that's alright with me. However, the main event begins shortly after the conclusion of the volleyball match, but no earlier than 7:30 p.m.

Get in the spirit of Midnight Madness with a Team Preview by Villanova By the Numbers. GreyCat has been doing a really good job with previews for every BE team this year (check them out here), so we'll excuse that he gave us credit for making the S16 last year.

Keeping with the Boot Camp theme, if you can make it, why not show up to Al's Run as well. It starts on 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue... right on the Marquette University campus TOMORROW! And if you're a student, it doesn't begin until 10:30. Check here to register now, or grab some event info.

Thanks to everyone that donated to Al's Run! yesterday, especially our TWO anonymous donors. After a slow start, awesome Marquette fans came together to break through the goal of $1977. There's still time to hit the new goal, so if you haven't donated click here and join the spirit of generosity. Every little bit helps!


We are woefully behind last year's pace, and far short of our $1977 goal for Al's Run this Saturday.

A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has ISSUED A CHALLENGE!

Donations made today will be matched. (up to $300 for the day.)

The season is just around the corner .. the CS team will be there. -- SO PLEASE .. Show a little love for Al, Cracked Sidewalks, and Children's Hospital.

We don't think it's going too far to suggest that if you don't donate, you hate Al McGuire, Cracked Sidewalks, Marquette, and America. And Children... you don't hate children, do you?

Click here to donate: http://www.firstgiving.com/MarquetteFans

Media updates from around the interwebs

With only nine days remaining before Marquette Madness here are a few media updates:

Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman previews the BIG EAST in his latest effort. Goodman slots MU in as the league's 12th best team but disappointingly leaves Lazar Hayward off of his first-team All-BIG EAST pre-season squad in favor of Devin Ebanks and Greg Monroe.

In case you missed our tweet on this yesterday, Wesley Matthews started and scored 16 points for the Utah Jazz in their exhibition game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. Matthews scored 11 points in the third quarter and drew high praise from Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan.

"I think he has a great body for basketball," Sloan said. "Just trying to figure out what he's doing, what we're trying to accomplish and all that stuff will take him a little time. But I like some of the things he's done."

Many thanks to the guys at the NBE Basketball Report for including Rob's stellar JUCO analysis in their league-wide update this morning. Among the notes in their update is the ESPN.com report that MU is now in the final three for Reggie Smith, a guard from Thornton High School, south of Chicago. Smith is also considering USC and UCLA with the Trojans and former MU coach Kevin O'Neill considered the leader.

BTW, here is a video with clips of Reggie Smith -- tip o'the cap to dw3dw3dw3 at MUScoop for finding this.

Don't forget to follow CrackedSidewalks on Twitter -- click here to check it out. We keep a running update of Tweets on the right nav bar too.

Also -- Al's Run needs your support.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A few more thoughts on BE JUCO players

I just wanted to follow up on a few more thoughts about JUCO players in the BE. If you missed it, check that out, or even the original Look at Top 100 Recruits.

We were remiss in posting the information regarding Marquette JUCO players. Basically, Kinsella, Blackledge, and Fulce all received Incompletes / Non-Factors. Jamil Lott technically qualified as a non-factor, but that's a little bit unfair with his ORtg (97.4) and Usage (16.9%). Lott was basically a little bit worse than average, but not egregiously bad.

As previously mentioned, Jimmy Butler was an off the charts role player, with a combination of ORtg (131) and Usage (14%). A question was raised regarding Butler. If he was that good, doesn't it then show that Buzz is better at judging talent (and we can therefore expect more from DJO/Buycks?) I agree entirely with MUScoop.com poster "The Sultan of South Wayne" who says that:

Or it could be that Butler succeeded because of his limited role. He played on a team with three seniors where he could be the "hustle guy." Come off the bench to play a little defense, get some rebounds, score some points, etc.

It will be impossible for him to retain that offensive production with more minutes and his surrounding cast gone. Furthermore, it will be hard for DJO and Buycks to attain that status with one, or both of them starting and counted on to be essentially the only scorers in the guard positions.

Butler was playing with four players that would all qualify as Studs (ORtg > 100; Usage > 20%). As a reminder, there is a clear and direct relationship between the number of possessions a player uses and how efficient they are with those possessions. Elite players can manage to maintain a high offensive rating while still using a large number of possessions. If anything, we should expect Butler to be far less efficient this season than last year. Honestly, his 08-09 offensive efficiency seems like a statistical anomaly.

Not covered in the original analysis was that there was a high percentage of JUCO players that ended up not sticking with programs after year one. (HT: bma) Of the list of 30, there were a full nine players that ended up transferring, or almost a third. This was something that clearly registered, but I wasn't sure how to include initially. When we combine the fact that almost seven out of ten juco players are non-factors on the court in their first year, or that one out of three JUCOS end up even transferring... well you can make your own inferences about the implications on program stability when it comes to JUCO players.

That said, although the issue of recruiting JUCO players boiled to the surface during the Monterele Clark saga, I don't personally have any issues right now. First, although many players get the JUCO tag, it seems particularly relevant that Fulce, Butler, and DJO are all three year players. Honestly, I consider a three year player a lot closer to a four year recruit than a true JUCO. Second, I just accept (for now) that this is an area where Buzz has a lot of recruiting connections. However, this isn't by any means a consensus opinion among other CS contributors, as others feel strongly about the number of JUCOs at Marquette.

A question has also been raised about the notion of guaranteed minutes and what impact that may have. In principle, I definitely agree that there will be plenty of minutes available for the taking. However, when one builds in the possessions already for Lazar, Acker, Cubillan, and Butler, there are not as many possessions as one might think. Using envelope math, it appears that half of DJO, Buycks, Maymon, or EWill ends up with less than 20% of possessions. (ie - a role player or non-factor). I'll try to approach this with more rigor in subsequent posts.

Finally, thanks to BMA (again), we also have the final set of data to look at for incoming players in their first year. This data is for HS / Prep school players that weren't Top 100. Once this is processed, we'll have a full set of information and can then look at broader questions, so stay tuned for more information.

PS - Donate to Al's Run!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The season approaches

....so here are a host of media reports to keep you updated on Marquette hoops:

Marquette's schedule for the upcoming season is now finalized. That BIG EAST slate is brutal -- starting off with a game at West Virginia on December 29. Rosiak has the news here.

Marquette graduate Dominic James will play the game for a living this winter after agreeing to a contract with Mersin in the Turkish basketball league. Former Tennessee All-American Chris Lofton played for Mersin last season. The "super athletic" James could suit up as soon as next week for his new team. Good luck, Dominic!

Jeff Sagarin's all-time ranking of college basketball programs is a mess and shows what can happen when you become a slave to stats. The guys at Deadspin lay into the most egregious errors while Pat Forde picks it apart as well. MU is ranked #24 all-time by Sagarin -- the highest-rated Jesuit university on the list. Looking to other Jesuit programs --- Georgetown inexplicably falls in at #42. SLU (!!!???) lands at #53, St. Joseph's at #56, Xavier at #59, Betting Central at #73, and San Francisco at #75.

Looking to recruiting, the Sports Bubbler updates the status of MU target Vander Blue. Blue is back on the market after de-committing from Wisconsin-Madison during the summer. Meanwhile the top player in New York City, JayVaughn Pinkston, has MU in his top five. Buzz is also looking at Jordair Jett from Notre Dame Prep (where Lazar Hayward laced'em up). The guys at the NBE Report like MU's chances for Blue and SF Justin Coleman from Virginia.

Finally, media day for MU is scheduled for October 14 and Marquette Madness will kick things off on October 16 at The Al.

Oh --- Al's Run....must. donate. Thanks for your support -- click here to join the effort.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Great Buzz Story..

Hat tip to Sir Larry for finding this..

On Gene Mueller's blog on 620 WTMJ he writes the following:


What I thought was going to be a pep rally turned into a fairly incredible experience Friday night on the Marquette Campus. It's Family Weekend and my wife and I went to "Behind The Boards With Buzz": a session with basketball coach Buzz Williams. There were mascots and cheerleaders who failed to generate reciprocal energy from the lethargic gaggle of moms and dads. There was video, and player introductions, and then there was Buzz. I settled in for what I thought would be a chalk talk and perhaps even a subtle season ticket pitch.

We got nothing of the sort.

Williams spoke of his upbringing--being raised by an illiterate grandfather who gave him quarters for each half-hour he spent reading aloud. He talked of the Marquette mission: the school's, not the team's. Williams said his players are no more important to MU than our children are. And then, he gave us his cellphone number and e-mail address. He told us to call anytime we had a question or a problem--not with getting seats to a big game, but instead if we needed a hand with our kids.

Not a word about hoop. No mention of "plenty of good seats still being available".

Will I ever call the coach if my boy is bombing out in his theology class or has girl troubles? No, but something tells me that if I did, Buzz Williams would be on the other end, or at least be able to put me in touch with someone who could help.

Update: Video from the event

MUTV - MU Basketball Weekly

MUTV is doing a great job producing more and more MU basketball videos.

From the looks of it .. this might be a weekly show. Sorry Dennis Krause, these guys are going to eat your lunch.

Friday, October 02, 2009

MUTV: Erik Williams

Here's a video from MUTV:

Thursday, October 01, 2009

JUCO's in the Big East

First things first... have you Donated to Al's Run yet?

UPDATED - Received some additional feedback from BMA about JUCO players
Reflecting back on the post on Top 100 recruits, who would have guessed that Junior Cadougan would end up as one of the recruits to get an incomplete in their first year? Tough break for the player.

Anyways, as discussed, I wanted to take a look at what the typical expectations are for JUCO's in their first year. This time, I pulled data from JucoJunction.com and ran that through the ringer. For the data, we went back to 2004-2005, because that was as far back as Pomeroy's database goes.

Quick hits

  • Over this period (2004-2009), there were thirty-four JUCOs that committed to BE teams and played in the first year.
  • The team with the most JUCO players was Cincinnati (nine). I know that you all find that to be very shocking.
  • Number two was South Florida (seven)
  • Marquette had five JUCO players... (Mike Kinsella, Joseph Fulce, Lawrence Blackledge, Jimmy Butler, Jamil Lott)
Of course, there are two JUCO players joining the team this year in Dwight Buycks and Darius Johnson-Odom. The hyperbole surrounding both of these recruits has been very high. We've seen Buycks referred to as "one of the best JUCO guards in the nation", and expectations are also high for DJO. Not only that, but Jimmy Butler was outstanding last year, raising expectations even higher.

But what does history tell us?

If you recall the post on Top 100 recruits, the distribution was fairly even between the different categories. About 25% of the players that got playing time ended up in the Stud, Role Player, Ball Hog, or Non-Factor categories. (As a reminder, the breakdown is average number of possessions (20%) vs average offensive rating (100)). However, the story is not distributed nearly as evenly over the past five years.

  • Only four JUCO players ended up as Studs (offensive rating > 100 ; possessions > 20%). Four. Their names are Kentrell Gransberry, Rodney Epperson, John Williamson, and Jihad Muhammad.
  • Twenty-three of the thirty-four JUCO players were non-factors, with both sub-par offensive ratings and limited possessions. That's the great big group on the bottom left. 68%, if you will.
  • Only five of the JUCO players were even quality role players in their first year. Top of the list was actually our very own Jimmy Butler, who is the big yellow circle up way up above anyone else. Butler was off the charts good as a role player.
Frankly, what this limited set of information suggests is that it is rare for a first year JUCO player to be more than a complete non-factor, let alone a legitimate stud. Given that Butler was so good last year, my fear is that the expectations may be just a little bit too high for Buycks and DJO.