"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, February 28, 2010

Are the Warriors dancing? Not yet, but oh so close. The one danger looming

Before the last five game stretch started, it was our thought that MU had to win 2 of 3 on the road and probably both home games to make the NCAA tournament a slam dunk. If they won three of five, still looked good, but it all depended on the combination of wins.

So what does Marquette and Buzz Williams do? They go on the road to win three straight overtime games. Amazing. So they're in, right? Perhaps. Certainly if the selection show was today, these Warriors would be in the NCAA tournament. If it were today.

With the victory today, Marquette earned a first round bye which is both a great thing and potentially a dangerous twist.

Here's the doomsday scenario. Marquette loses to a very talented Louisville team on Tuesday at home and then loses at home to a desperate Notre Dame fighting for their NCAA lives. That would put Marquette at 10-8 in the conference and 19-11 overall. If that were to happen, those two home losses would knock MU down the RPI ranks into the mid 60's. It would also mean a lot of pressure to win their first game in the Big East Tournament. As a result of the bye, MU will most likely not play one of the bottom four teams in the Big East Tournament (DePaul, Rutgers, St. John's, Providence) but will play someone like Cincinnati, Seton Hall, UCONN, Notre Dame, USF. Not an easy task, though it would be their second game in two days for whatever opponent we play. If the tournament started today, MU would be the 5th seed and play the winner of the St. John's \ Cincinnati game. But if MU were to lose the next two home games, they could be in the 8th position playing likely the 9th place team...like UCONN. That could mean 3 straight losses to end the season and with other action unpredictable on the soft bubble....yikes.

That's the doomsday scenario. The great news is that MU has been faced with doomsday scenarios all year long and avoided blowing up under Buzz Williams' direction and the play of their steady, senior trio.

Win one of the next two games at home, and the doomsday scenario has no chance of happening. Louisville will be a load due to their length. Notre Dame is playing great, but it's senior day for the Warriors. Cracked Sidewalks sees MU taking care of business this week as they have all year long. Their efforts deserve to be rewarded with a NCAA berth and they shall be rewarded this week win one additional win. Go Warriors.


Bill Waldron said...

The fact that we are even talking about this means the season is a success -- relative to expectations -- in my book.

I do think you're right -- we need one more W to get in.

Victor E. Panther said...

I'm a UWM fan, but all I can say is- GO MARQUETTE!! I hope you guys make the Tournament.

With the unlikely story that has been your "rebuilding?" season, if you win just 1 game- in the last conference games or in the BE Tourney, you definitely deserve to. Hope to see MU dancing come the second week of March.

Unknown said...

Thanks Victor E. Panther, great to get support from friendly foes.

Alex said...

Louisville and ND will be very difficult. It's March and MU is still in the mix. But, it's not done yet.

How's Crean doing these days?

Championships Matter said...

Buzz should be coach of the year in the Big East and maybe National Coach of the Year (joining Al as having won that award in 1971). After the demoralizing losses to Villanova and West Virginia (all three of which MU could have and perhaps should have won), to keep the team focused and avoid having a completely spoiled season is a spectacular achievement.

There's work to be done, no doubt. And I still have doubts Marquette can go deep in the NCAA tournament. But I also think Buzz has obtained far more from this group of guys than even the wildest dreams last Novemeber would have thought. The guys play hard and Buzz has coached smartly with what he has.

What's exciting is imagining what's going to happen in a couple of years when our talent from the past two years gels and our recruits for this year and next show up on campus. The guys this year are amazing and their ability along with Buzz's coaching will go a long way to sell MU to recruits.

Perhaps they will be renaming the NCAAs the "Marquette Invitational Tournament" in just a couple of years.

Beaver said...

Sweet 16. Boom.