"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 28, 2005

Bo Ellis update: Sweet Home Chicago; Blue Demons Nation Preview

Barry Temkin of the Chicago Tribune offers an update on Bo Ellis in this morning's column.


The folks over at Blue Demons Nation preview MU's 2005-2006 campaign here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Big East Media Day Recaps

A quick look at what many of the newspapers in Big East country are saying about yesterday's media day in NYC:

The guys over at the Pitt Sports Blather offer a terrific recap/analysis.

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Malcom Moran of USA Today interviews Mike Tranghese on the state and future of the Big East.

Kim Baxter of the Syracuse Post-Standard talks about Rick Pitino.

Frank Litsky at the New York Times on the Big East's Sweet 16.

Bill Koch of the Cincinnati Enquirer talks about the road ahead for the newcomers.

Joe Gergen of the New York Daily News leads with the injury-prone, preseason favorite Villanova. Jay Wright, "I don't think I'm unfortunate," the coach said. "I feel bad for these kids. Curtis worked so hard all summer to get back to 100 percent. At a time like this, you feel like a parent. I feel good we have experienced guards and that Jason Fraser is healthy. Experience in this league is very important."

Shannon Ryan of the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a preview, including thoughts from a very candid Jim Calhoun, "The bigger aspect is [because of] football....I don't think any sane person could think about a 16-team basketball league and then talk about the... rivalries. A kid can go through his whole season and might never play [a certain team]. I might see someone at the banquet and say, 'Hi, I'm Coach Calhoun. Nice to meet you.' "

Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger struggles to see the wisdom of a 16-team basketball league. Mike Tranghese, "Everybody keeps telling me we're too big,.....Well, everybody in American is too big. We're all too big, we just happen to be a little bigger than the others."

Dave Mackall of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review notes that 'all but one of the 16 teams that are now a part of Big East basketball has played in a Final Four, and 10 of the 16 teams made it that far during the past 25 years'.

And finally, MSNBC ponders the question, 'Who's playing where' with this interactive guide to the conference shuffle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

MU Picked 12th by Big East Coaches

The Big East coaches picked MU to finish 12th in the expanded 16-team Big East conference this season. Here is the breakdown from the pre-season poll:

1. Villanova
2. UConn
3. Louisville
4. Syracuse
5. WVU
6. Georgetown
7. Pitt
8. ND
9. Cinci
10. St. John's
11. DePaul
12. Marquette
13. Providence
14. Rutgers
15. Seton Hall
16. USF

MU Season Preview from NBA Draft Express

A thorough preview of MU appeared yesterday on NBA Draft Express, which is doing a thorough preview of each Big East team. Overall their experts pick MU to finish 12th in the Big East, just behind DePaul and just ahead of Providence. According to Jonathan Watters, "This is one of the tougher teams to figure out in the new Big East. Crean's program has gone through a rough couple of seasons, though it hasn't been for a lack of talent........This year's roster has all sorts of new faces, but the competition level will be a dramatic increase. There is plenty of talent here..."

The preview here is sound and up to date - - - he even notes the recent McFarland visit. Good work.

In their conference-wide preview, MU's Dominic James is the pre-season Newcomer of the Year. Jerel McNeal was selected as a second team all-newcomer.

BTW, since the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel forgot to mention it, please remember that today is Big East media day - - the links from Monday's post can help you view the activities online today, and include a schedule of television and radio appearances by many Big East coaches.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Big East Media Day Approaches

As college football accelerates down the back stretch, college basketball is getting closer to post time. On Wednesday, the calendar is kind for us basketball fans as the Big East hosts its first media day as a 16-team league.

Those of you interested in playing hooky, rejoice - - -the entire event will be broadcast on CSTV Networks. Or for those of you interested in playing hooky while at work, you can watch a Webcast of the event.

Big East media day runs from 11am - 1pm EDT at Madison Square Garden, and should include participation from every head coach in the league. Details on media day can be found here.

Tom Crean and a contingent of senior MU officials will be in New York for media day. Much of the MU brass will stick around for a much-anticipated alumni event in New York City on Thursday night. Area alums - - if interested in attending, get in touch with the Office of Alumni Relations soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Potpourri: MU TV, Big East Coaches, Burlison

MU Television Update
MU released an updated schedule of television games yesterday. You can read the article here. Here are a few highlights:

"MU will make three national television appearances – ESPN (Feb. 16 vs. Georgetown) and twice on ESPNU (Jan. 20 vs. Notre Dame and Feb. 25 at Notre Dame) – and eight times as part of the conference’s regional and local packages.

Three of Marquette’s Saturday contests – vs. Cincinnati on Jan. 7, at Pittsburgh on Jan. 28 and at Villanova on Feb. 4 – were designated by the conference as BIG EAST Game of the Week. Those games will reach over 30 percent of the nation and 33 million households, the largest distribution of any syndicated conference basketball package in the country. "

Additional games will be broadcast locally.

Rosiak is back at it
BTW, its great to read so much about MU hoops in October in the MJS - - lets hope the in-depth coverage continues. Since its inception, the Big East has been a conference driven by personable, charismatic and successful coaches. Here is Rosiak's take.

"Crean will be joining the ranks of some talented young coaches in the Big East — most notably Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon and Villanova’s Jay Wright — but his Final Four appearance in 2003 is a feat that only Boeheim, Calhoun and Pitino have been able to accomplish."

Frank Burlison
The Hall of Famer updated his column based on MU fans' feedback and came up with some well-deserved recognition of the incoming freshman class at MU, James in particular:

"After further consideration (and input from Marquette followers), I should have included Marquette's group of freshmen as one that is close to being one of the 10 most influential classes in the country this season. Watch out for point guard Dominic James. He should challenge for Big East Freshman of the Year."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rivalry Renewed

Marquette and Notre Dame have played 105 times over the years. Thanks to the expanded Big East, this rivalry will be re-energized with a home-and-home series........just as it should be.

MU and ND have played any number of memorable games, highlighted (from an MU perspective) by Doc's miraculous haflcourt shot to seal a 54-52 win in 1981. Don't forget to visit the ND blog, The Blue-Gray Sky, as well (its also in the sidebar).

In addition to reflecting on the MU/ND rivalry, Todd Rosiak looks at other rivalries that could emerge in the new league. Anybody think that Pittsburgh would like to draw even with MU sometime soon?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The New RPI Formula

It wouldn't be college basketball without an annual education on the changes to the RPI formula. The only guy to pay attention to on this matter is Ken Pomeroy - - so here's his take on the new formula and what it means for scheduling.

The Cliffs Notes version: "I expect that this will push the percentage of home games incrementally higher for the power conferences."

Read all about it here at the kenpom.com blog (highly recommended)

The new mascot debuts

Made his/her debut at Marquette Madness on Friday night.

Complete story here at the Marquette Tribune.

Big East History Lesson

Kudos to the Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for his expansive reporting in this week's series of Big East curtain raisers. Today, Rosiak delivers a history lesson on the nation's finest basketball conference.

The league, dominated by charismatic coaches since its inception, adds a few more this year. As Crean indicates in the article, "the identity was formed early and the common thread has been it's continued to be an unbelievably competitive league with night-in, night-out battles with teams that compete for national championships.......Coaches that were part of the personality of the league are now in the Hall of Fame or on their way, and I think that's what's great."

Monday, October 17, 2005

MU Has This Guy for Four Years

Oh my goodness. Marquette, meet Dominic James. Wow.

Courtesy of our pal TrekYFoil66 (I'll even give him a link to his beloved Trek Bicycles for sharing that picture.), over at Scout's MarquetteHoops site.

Also, Todd Rosiak of the Milkwaukee Journal-Sentinel delivers the first in a series of articles that preview MU's first season in the Big East. Today Rosiak looks at challenges with preparation, youth, as well as the recruiting opportunities created with the move to the Big East.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Marquette Madness Is Here

OK folks, basketball is starting again. Tonight MU ushers in the Big East era with Marquette Madness over at The Al. According to Todd Rosiak, Steve Novak and his running mates had better be ready to handle the speed and skill of freshman point guard Dominic James. Rosiak notes that Chas McFarland, Keaton Nankivil, Korie Lucious and several other recruits are scheduled to join MU for the festivities tonight.

Also, Colin Fly of the Associated Press takes a look at the new mix at MU, highlighted by seven newcomers, many of whom will play prominent roles in the upcoming campaign. Integrating the newcomers has not been easy, forcing Crean to exhibit more patience -- "I've got that count to 10 theory back," Crean said. "You know, when you're ready to blow up and get mad at something, you count to 10 and settle down. That's what you do with a young team, and that will be going on. There'll be times when we count to 20, hopefully we can get it down to five by the end of the year."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

McFarland Spurns Friars to Experience Marquette Madness

It's being reported on Marquettehoops.com that Chas McFarland, the 7-foot recruit whose stock is rising like a meteor, has changed his plans a bit. He had been scheduled to visit Providence for their Madness celebration, and was scheduled to visit Marquette in two weeks. Well, stuff happens, apparently.

McFarland has decided to attend Marquette Madness and has scheduled his official Marquette visit this weekend. There has been no indication as to why he has changed his plans, but one can only assume that Marquette must be near the top of Chas' list at this point, as Madness is a premier weekend to showcase a school's program.

McFarland attends Worcester Academy (MA) and is originally from Lovington, Illinois. He is a former AAU teammate of Marquette freshman, Dominic James.

It is unclear as to whether McFarland will be joined on his trip to Milwaukee by his prep school teammate, Ben Eaves. McFarland and Eaves have made simultaneous unofficial visits in the past, and had planned on making officials to Providence this weekend. Marquette is also recruiting the athletic Eaves, who is a 6'8" forward from England.

Marquette Madness is Just a Day Away

Tomorrow night MU will usher in the new basketball season with Marquette Madness -- a program to be held at the Al McGuire Center. Time to get to work, fellas.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mitchell chooses Gators

Marquette suffered a recruiting setback this morning when Jon Mitchell of NYC chose Billy Donovan's offer at the University of Florida over offers at both MU and Virginia. Mitchell was widely thought to be Marquette's top 2006 priority.

In other developments, Chas McFarland, a rapidly rising 7-foot prospect from Worcester Academy in MA, by way of Lovington, IL, has scheduled an official visit to Marquette. McFarland visited USC this past weekend, and will now visit Providence, BC, Marquette and a fifth school the next four weekends.

This is no time to panic, Marquette fans, as Coach Crean has many irons in the 2006 recruiting fire as we speak.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Playing the Waiting Game

Marquette recruiting is certainly hot right now, with many names of interest surfacing for 2006. What seems clear is that Marquette has placed a high priority on the services of Jon Mitchell, a versatile lefty combo forward from Mt. Vernon, NY. In a recent Scout article, Mitchell seemed to indicate that he currently holds MU, Virginia and Florida in relatively equal standing at this point, but hopes to make a decision by the end of next week. Mitchell visits Florida this weekend and has already visited MU and Virginia.

Jon Mitchell would seem to be an excellent compliment to the already-committed sharpshooter, Lazar Hayward, in 2006. Both are widely regarded as Top 100 players in that class, and both players would help open up the East Coast to Marquette in the recruiting game. It is unclear which direction MU will go in if Mitchell heads elsewhere, but some names currently listed with Marquette are Thijin Moses (6'8" forward from Boys to Men Academy in Chicago), Jerome Randle and JaValle McGee (5'8" PG and 6'11" C from Hales Franciscan in Chicago), Chas McFarland (7-foot C from Worcester Prep in MA, via Lovington, IL), Ben Eaves (6'8" forward from Worcester Prep by way of England) and Ryan Pettinella (a 6'9" forward from NY who played at Penn, transferred to Cincy but wants to transfer again after Huggy was fired).

As Marquette's other 2006 commit, Anthony Green, appears to be headed the prep school route, look for the above mentioned names and others to pop up on the radar screen, as MU tries to stock its 2006 roster.

Big East Television Schedule

With the start of the season a little more than one month away, the Big East Conference announced television schedule for the 2005-2006 men's basketball season. The initial schedule calls for 101 televised regular-season games.

How many of those 101 games involve Marquette University? Unfortunately, only one game -- the home tilt against Georgetown on February 16, will air on ESPN. The conference will announced an expanded list of televised games in the near future. Wanna see your team this year, MU fans? Buy your tickets now.

Here's a link to the article on the television schedule. A .pdf file of the schedule is available at the site as well.