"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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Getting ready for Pitt

Rosiak has a Q/A with TC on his blog......check it out here.

The most interesting part of the interview was TC's response to improving post defense:

We just gave up too much room. These games where we've struggled we've given up too much room. The best form of post defense is your ball pressure and we have not had enough pressure on the ball to make it tough to get it in, and people haven't had to create angles. They've just been able to throw it in. So we need to improve there and it's not a one-man job; it's a team job and that's what we're working on.
Sweet. MU is gonna dial up the backcourt pressure on Saturday......that'll set the right tone for the game, IMHO. Glad to see its a focus area this week in practice. Without it, Pitt will pound MU down low.

McNeal, James named to NABC All-District Teams

According to Rosiak's Blog,

The National Association of Basketball Coaches released its Division I all-district teams on Wednesday, and sophomores Dominic James and Jerel McNeal both were mentioned.

James was selected a first-team performer in District 11.. McNeal was a second-team selection.

The teams are voted on and selected by member coaches of the NABC. The 150 players who were selected are now eligible for the NABC's All-American team, which is released at the conclusion of the regular season.

Congrats to Jerel and Dominic!

Jamil Wilson update: another playoff victory

Racine Horlick's Jamil Wilson, the best sophomore in the state of Wisconsin, led his team to a 51-41 victory over West Allis Central last night in the WIAA Division 1 regional semis. The Marquette target led his squad with 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Wilson's Rebels advanced to the regional championship game against Muskego on Saturday in Racine. Congrats, Jamil!

here's a quick recap on Jamil's prowess from the guys at Chicago Hoops, er their new site 'Milwaukee Hoops'.

Catching up with Steve Novak

Todd Rosiak's blog continues to pay huge dividends. All of the content that his editors refuse to allow into the hard copy of the newpaper is popping on the blog - like these two gems about Steve Novak.

Todd's two part interview with the recent Marquette graduate can be found

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Prep for Saturday

........the ESPN Gameday crew will hit town on Saturday morning and the ESPN 'A' team will broadcast the game that evening. Unfortunately, the 'A' team includes Dukie V -- but Dan Schulman does good work in spite of his color commentator.

Seriously though -- who cares about them!?! Erin Andrews will be in town for the season finale. Time to prep for this weekend's game with help from YouTube.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pardon the interruption: PSA

I'm going to abuse my blogging privilege for a moment to digress from MU basketball for this Public Service Announcement.

I got a frantic call from my wife at lunchtime. She was in our basement and one of my gadgets was beeping. That gadget was this Explosive Gas / Carbon Monoxide detector from Kidde.

Time to get out of the house and call 911. Three minutes later, some of Whitefish Bay's finest are in my basement. Turns out the furnace was spewing out high levels of Carbon Monoxide, a deadly, colorless and odorless gas. They killed the furnace and began airing out my now, very cold house.

Had we not had that CO detector, this story could have ended very differently, especially had it occurred while we slept. This sort of thing doesn't just happen to the downtrodden, heating their homes improperly. It even happens to Marquette fans with properly maintained furnaces.

The moral of this story is: Get a CO detector, for crying out loud. They're a cheap $20 of life insurance. -- And if you have one already, give it a test after you read this. We'll all sleep better if you do.

Thanks for your time. I apologize for this non-sequitur, but we at Cracked Sidewalks need to keep all our fans safe!

If we had the Internet in 1977 . . .

Since this season has not been all seashells and balloons for Marquette so far, there has been a fair amount of criticism of Tom Crean and his players' efforts on everything from recruiting, to underachievement to shooting ability. The common theme: this years team and coach is embarrassment to the school and its alumni.

On the MUScoop message board, Chico's pointed out that on February 27th, 1977, MU was sitting with a record of 18-6 on the way to an final season record (pre tournament) of 20-7. Which got me thinking about how some of today's sentiments would translate to the waning days of the 1977 season.

By late February, MU had lost it's final three home games--to unranked DePaul, #15 Detroit, and unranked Wichita State.

Based on a theme I initially posted on the MUScoop Message Board, and continued here by popular demand, I present to you If We Had The Internet in 1977.

Yes, if we had the Internet in 1977, one has to wonder just what the tenor of the message boards would be if we had everyone of significance back from a 28-2 team, but were on the way to a 7 loss season--the most losses in one season in a decade.

Lets have some fun with today's message boards magically transported to February 1977:

"SEVEN losses with this much experience returning is UNACCEPTABLE!"

"We've underachieved every year McGuire has been here, and we're screwing the pooch BIG TIME this year. Thank God he's gone after this season."

"If only AM could recruit a decent big man. We need another aircraft carrier--we haven't had once since Chones left, and Ellis and Whitehead simply aren't getting the job done."

"20 wins isn't what it used to be, now that the tournament has expanded to 32 teams"

"We don't even have 20 wins. We're really only 19-7. I don't count the win against St. Leo. They're not Division 1."

"We're 2-5 against ranked opponents. That hardly deserves an NCAA bid."

"We can't really give AM credit for the Final Four, because he had Tatum and Lucas. What has Al done when he hasn't had players like that?"

"We should have at least FOUR championships already. Our talent since '74 is at least as good as Wooden's."

"Clearly our weak schedule is hurting us down the stretch. We're simply not prepared to play in February and March."

"We had the greatest MU player ever in George Thompson--and all he have to show for his efforts is an NIT runner-up. "

"Rutgers doesn't have a single player who would start for us, and they made the final four last year."

"Vitale over at Detroit is building a dynasty."

"At least we don't have to go through the heartbreak of ANOTHER early exit from the NCAA--we won't even MAKE the field this year."

"The administration doesn't care about the alumni. Our nickname will always be the HILLTOPPERS."

Any more ideas? Add your contributions in the comments.

Still decompressing after Saturday

.......ugh, losing to the Domers really gets ya. .....and a full week off to stew after the loss is not what the doctor ordered. Any chance Mick Cronin can send his Bearcats to Milwaukee so the Golden Eagles can play an extra conference game?

Judging from the comments in the game recap below - this one will hurt for while. At least until MU honors the 1977 Natioinal Championship team in style on March 3! So says this optimist.

And don't forget, the ESPN Gameday crew will be there for the game -- details on Gameday at MU are available here.

In the interim, here's a graphic of the BET matchups based on regular-season records to date. Currently MU is slotted as the 6th seed.

The bracket was created by the guys at MUScoop who update the scenarios on their site daily. We'll link over there daily from now on until the brackets are finalized -- so bookmark this page to follow the changes.

Looking further ahead, the Bracket Project has MU pegged as a consensus 5 seed for now.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Marquette loses to Notre Dame. Buh-Bye, Bye.

Marquette lost to Notre Dame today, 85-73, officially ending MU's bid for a second consecutive bye in the Big East Tournament.

Marquette started very strong, building a 13 point lead in the first half, but due to foul trouble, faded quickly.

It was an angry game, as Coach Crean was livid about a push and non-call, needing to be restrained by Coach Rab, nearly earning a Technical. DJ later received a T, as did Fitz.

Marquette has now lost 4 of its last 5 games, heading into the season finale with Pittsburgh at the Bradley Center next Saturday.

This post will be revised later, as the sting of losing to Notre Dame subsides.

AP Recap
GoMarquette Recap
Official Box Score
Marquette Photo Gallery

Friday, February 23, 2007

Good Omen: Al McGuire in Atlanta for Final 4

Even if MU doesn't make it to the Final 4 this year, there's reason for you to fly to Atlanta.

Al McGuire will be there.

Well, at least, Cotter Smith's version.

If you haven't had a chance to see this performance, do yourself a favor and see it.

From the JS: Next month will mark the 30th anniversary of Al McGuire and Marquette University winning the NCAA basketball championship in Atlanta, and Al will return, sort of, to the Final Four and Atlanta.

The Final Four is in Atlanta again, and the Dick Enberg play "McGuire," featuring Milwaukee actor Cotter Smith, will be mounted for three performances during the NCAA finals weekend March 31 and April 1.

Enberg is the veteran sportscaster who teamed with McGuire on college basketball telecasts after McGuire retired. Enberg wrote a one-man play about his close friend and colleague. The show, with Smith portraying the coach, premiered in 2005.

Tickets for the Atlanta shows are $25 through the Woodruff Arts Center, (404) 733-5000. The show will be staged at the Alliance Theatre.

Road Warriors Look to End Notre Dame's Streak

The Marquette Golden Eagles invade South Bend tomorrow hoping to spoil the Irish's perfect record at home this season. Notre Dame's 17-0 record at home speaks for itself. Nevertheless, Marquette has been one of the nation's best road/neutral teams this season with seven wins away from home. Still, Marquette has not won a road game since its miraculous finish at USF last month and flies into South Bend with three losses in its last four games.

Marquette (22-7, 9-5) and the Irish (21-6, 9-5) are battling for a coveted first-round bye in the upcoming Big East Tournament. The winner of Saturday's game will have the inside track on that slot. FWIW, in addition to their gaudy 17-0 record the Irish will have extra incentive on Saturday as they celebrate Senior Night by honoring Colin Falls and Russell Carter.

The game will be broadcast on ABC beginning at 2:30pm CST.

Throughout the day we'll expand on this post and provide links to other previews. Here's the rundown:

Recruit Report: Jordan Theodore, Nick Williams, Patrick Hazel and Jonathan Baldwin

  • Jordan Theodore, one of the top PGs on the East Coast in the class of 2008 and a key target for Tom Crean, led his Paterson Catholic squad to an 86-52 victory over Pompton Lakes last night. Theodore had 16 points. The box score is here.
  • Meanwhile junior Jonathan Baldwin's Aliquippa Quips square off against Monessen in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs tomorrow at 2:30pm EST. Good luck, Jonathan!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

James Named Naismith Award Finalist

Congrats to Dominic James!

The Naismith Awards have announced their final 30 selections, and our "#1" Dom James was one of 4 Big East players on the list. The final 30 will be further reduced to the final four, during voting next week.

James is the first Naismith Finalist at Marquette, since D. Wade in 2003.

NBADraft.net recants and edits

Anybody else notice the edits to their Dominic James profile? Looks like somebody at NBADraft.net got cold feet when it came to rumor-mongering.

ESPN Gameday Plans Revealed

Earlier today MU released details of the season finale at the Bradley Center on Saturday, March 3 when the Golden Eagles host the Pittsburgh Panthers. Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm CST. Dukie V and Dan Schulman will broadcast the game.

Clear your calendars for the day ....... ESPN is bringing in the big guns for the game -- the ESPN Gameday crew will broadcast live from the Bradley Center beginning at 8am CST. Doors open at 8am -- AND THE GIG IS FREE.

Details on the Game Day festivities are available on MU's website.

The first 1,000 fans attending Gameday will receive this cool, limited edition gold t-shirt. There'll be tons of prizes and contests throughout the broadcast.

For more info, check out the MU Gameday promotional page. MU will provide shuttle bus service from campus beginning at 7am.

Back to the game. As you know, MU will honor the 1977 National Champion Warriors at the game. As part of the celebration, MU wants to turn the Bradley Center into vintage 1977 blue.

MU is gonna help the fanbase do just that -- every fan attending the game will receive this 1977 blue commemorative t-shirt. This thing just rocks......so, be there and get your game on, MU fans.

If you wanna buy one of these shirts, go to the MU store online

One more thing -- the Pitt game is sold out. BUT, anybody can attend the Gameday broadcast on Saturday morning. Again, the event is free and you don't have to present a ticket to join the fun.

Fire up, Marquette!

Jeffrey Jordan: Priority recruit?

hey, who knows....with many thanks to one of our readers who commented in a post below, it looks like TC might be actively recruiting 6'1" guard Jeffrey Jordan, MJ's son. We'll trust ya' on this! Here's the post:

I wasn't sure where to post this, but Tom Crean was at a Loyola Academy highschool basketball game on wednesday the 21st. It is in wilmette IL. He was trying to land senior jeffrey jordan. He has yet to commit to a school and has a strong interest in marquette. just thought I would pass this along.
Loyola defeated DeLaSalle last night, Jordan had 16 points.

If true (the assumed mutual interest between MU and Jordan) this is really interesting.....MU is out of scholarships for next year. In fact, MU is over-subcribed for scholarships in the 2007-2008 season, and has ace Scott Christopherson coming into its already deep backcourt next season.

Let's see where this one goes.

Per a few message boards, it appears that Crean took in a double dip of Chicago-area high school hoops action on Wednesday night. TC was spotted at the much hyped matchup between Simeon and Farragut. Derrick Rose's Simeon squad pasted Farragut 74-59. Farragut is led by 6'9" Michael Dunigan. MU assistant Bennie Seltzer saw the big fella play earlier this season -- looks like Dunigan might be a priority for TC's 2008 recruiting efforts.

Luke Winn is on the ball!!

Winn has updated his 'on the cusp' listing.........MU now makes the cut.

Thanks for the quick response to the email, Luke!

Luke Winn: we demand a recount!

With props to the guys at MUScoop who picked up on this a few hours ago -- CNNSI's Luke Winn is out with his latest Power Rankings.......lets just say there are some oddities on the list.

First off, MU is outta the top 16 - - makes sense to me. Teams that lose three out of four deserve that fate.

What's curious though is not that MU is out of his top 16 --- its that MU is out of his top 30 and Villanova is in! See, after the Power 16, Winn lists off 14 teams as 'on the cusp' of the rankings. That's where you will find the Wildcats --- 'on the cusp'.


Fresh off of their worst loss of the season, Nova is 'on the cusp' and MU is off the radar (keep in mind, MU was in his Power16 for several weeks btw).

Luke, what gives?!?!

Its gotta be a simple oversight. Winn has covered MU closely all season (remember the great pre-season piece?)

Dan Panaggio and family settling in to L.A.

A nice article today on the front page of Sports section of the Daily Breeze here in the South Bay.

The Panaggios are still living in a Residence Inn hoping that their home in Milwaukee sells so they can purchase something here in So. Cal.

Here is the article written by Bob Holtzman. Hotel, Sweet Hotel.

Mike Tranghese podcast: WFAN interview

Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese was on Mike & the Mad Dog's radio program on WFAN in NYC yesterday afternoon where he discussed the state of the Big East.

I can't provide a direct link to the podcast but click here and look to the middle of the page for the "2-21 Michael Tranghese" subhead under the Mike & the Mad Dog header. You can click on the podcast links below that subhead to play or download the complete interview.

This is worth a listen -- Tranghese is incredibly candid when he's on WFAN. In this interview he covers scheduling issues (and the move to 18 games next year), pressures from the television contract (there will be 70 conference games on ESPN and ESPN2 next season), the by-products of the conference's football's success, the BET and much more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cool content for ya

With all the madness about Britney Spears' newly shaved head and the silly Anna Nicole Smith hearings, its easy to forget there's still some cool basketball-related content on the Web......so, here's a quick rip around the Web ---

NBADraft.net to Dominic James: Stay in School

I have not followed the track record of the folks at NBADraft.net well enough to understand if their player evaluations are on target......but still, they do spend plenty of time evaluating talent -- and it seems now they are agreeing with the message board sentiment that Dominic James should return for his junior season.

NBADraft.net does not have James (or Ronald Steele for that matter) going in the 2007 NBA draft. In fact, the first PG on their board is Texas A&M's Acie Law in the middle of round one, followed by Sean Singletary of UVa in round two.

Here's an excerpt of their commentary on DJ -- under a grouping of players with collapsing draft stock (like Gonzaga's psychadelic Josh Heytvelt).

As a scoring point guard, he'll need to show better consistency.....James has elite level athleticism, but scouts worry about both his point guard skills and his outside shooting......his frigid recent play has lowered his stock into the second round and barring a huge turnaround, he'll likely be advised to return for his Junior season.
  • Here is NBADraft.net's player profile of DJ (which includes some rather, um, unsubstantiated assertions (rumors?) that should be verified before reporting. Unsubtantiated character assassination. Given that NBAdraft.net is the only source making a few of the claims here, it makes you question their credibility. Stick to talent evaluation, I say).

Jamil Wilson: priority recruit

So, per the Tulsa World we know that Tom Crean is actively recruiting 2008 PG Rotnei Clarke of Oklahoma. A bit closer to home, TC is blanketing 2009 SF recruit Jamil Wilson of Racine Horlick.

Per MUScoop, TC was in the gym to see the massively-talented Wilson play earlier this week.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

6 teams still fighting for the last bye.

Its time to take a serious look at who's in the drivers seat for the first round byes in the Big East conference tournament.

Pitt and Georgetown appear to be in the drivers seat for two of them. Pitt, at 11-2, can finish no worse than 11-5 (if they lose to @Georgetown, @MU, and WVU). While there are a number of teams that could tie them with that record, only MU and UL would have clear seeding advantage. There may be some small mathematical possiblity that Pitt could miss a first round bye. If they win one more, they would erase that possibility.

Georgetown's schedule is a bit easier--besides a tough game with Pitt, and a trip to Syracuse, they play Cincy and Uconn. They could lose the first round bye if the end the season on a 4 game losing streak--otherwise, they're likely resting the first day.

UL is a third team in great shape with a 9-4 record and an easy remaining schedule. With remaining games against St. Johns, Seton Hall and UConn, they are certainy in the driver's seat for the third bye.

That leaves six teams--MU, DePaul, ND, PC, WVU, and Syracuse--in the hunt for the 4th first-round bye (not to mention 5th through 9th place in the conference).

MU doesn't quite control its own destity--even if they win out, Syracuse could tie them, and they have seeding advantage. However, two MU wins coupled with any Syracuse loss puts MU no worse than 4th seed.

DePaul is sitting 7-6 in conference and has 3 games left. With games @ ND, and USF and Cincy at home. If DePaul wins out, MU must win both remaning games to have advantage. If DePaul loses one, MU must finish 1-1 to have advantage.

Notre Dame is sitting 8-5 -- with a head-to-head game aginst MU. If MU wins, ND cannot top MU regardless of what MU does against Pitt. If ND wins, MU would need the Irish to lose their two other reamaing games (DePaul and Rutgers).

Syracuse (8-5) could conceivably sneak into the 4th spot, but based on their schedule it is unlikely. They have two tough road games--at PC and at VU, plus they face Georgetown at home.

Against WVU, MU has the advantage in a tie. The Mountaineers play @PC, @Villanova, and Georgetown at home. They would need to win out, and have MU lose both remaning games to have seeding advantage.

PC (6-6) has only two options to gain advantage on MU: Finish a game ahead of MU in the standings--possible if they win four straight while MU loses both. Or go 3-1 including a win over Syracuse AND have Syracuse finish ahead of Villanova in the standings.

MU already has advantage over Villanova regardless of what happens.

Could MU realistically finish with the 9th seed?


Assuming that MU and PC finish with 9-7 records, two of PC's wins are against WVU and Syracuse, and the other contenders all finish 10-6.

10-6: WVU wins two more--UC and PC
10-6: DePaul wins out
10-6: ND beats MU, Rutgers, loses to DePaul
10-6 Syrause wins two more

9-7: MU loses to Pitt and ND.
9-7 Providence: wins over USF, SJU and Syracuse, loss to WVU

In this case, MU and Providence are tied head to head and we start with the 1st place team until 1. MU or PC has the advantage:
2. Pitt: No advantage--MU is 1-1 vs. Pitt, PC is 0-1
3. Georgetown: no advantage--PC did not play
4. Louisville: No advantage--MU 1-1, PC 0-1.
5. WVU: No advangate if PC beats WVU, otherwise advantage MU
6. DePaul: No advantage: PC did not play
7. Notre Dame: No advantage, both teams lose
8. Syracuse: Advantge PC--PC won twice, MU lost once.

Two ways for MU to top PC:
a) PC loses to WVU--MU would have advantage in this case.
b) PC loses to Syracuse--PC loses its advanage, and the tie breaker would be the 10th place team--Villanova.

Rotnei Clarke draws more interest from Marquette

Tom Crean is pounding the pavement in pursuit of more high-ceiling talent for his Marquette Golden Eagles. Crean was recently in the gym to watch high-scoring PG Rotnei Clarke do his thing down in Oklahoma.

Of course Stan Heath, Doc Sadler, Scott Sutton,the coaches at Tulsa and many others have been to see the prolific Clarke play lately.

A junior, Clarke was once again the leading scorer in the state of Oklahoma -- he poured in 35ppg this season for Verdigris High. Clarke has already scored more than 2,000 points in his high school career, and has a shot to break the state's all-time scoring record. The kid can score. Per the Tulsa World, in a recent shooting exhibition the youngster made 94 of 100 three-point attempts. Jinkees.

In an email exchange, long-time Oklahoma sports writer Bill Haisten said that Clarke is "maybe the best Oklahoma high school guard I've seen since Mark Price." High praise.

In an article by Haisten from today's Tulsa World, Marquette is noted as one of Clarke's most 'persistent recruiters'
along with Tulsa, Washington State and Arizona State. Based on this other article, it sounds like Arkansas is in good with Clarke.

Interest in the talented Oklahoman continues to expand -- he's now hearing from Duke, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky. It is notable that Clarke plays AAU summer ball for Team Texas, a Nike-sponsored squad. MU is a Nike Elite athletic program.

While Crean clearly maintains a tremendous interest in the 6'0 Clarke, he's also aggressively recruiting 6'0" Jordan Theodore from Paterson (NJ) Catholic as well. Over the weekend, Theodore's Paterson Catholic squad lost a tough game to DePaul, 72-68. Theodore went off for 31points, six assists and five boards before fouling out late.

You'd have to think that TC wants one top point guard for the 2008 incoming freshman class. Few coaches in the country value and develop backcourt talent like Tom Crean (see Henry, Wade, Diener, James, McNeal, Matthews) - - a good sign when MU is in the running for players of this caliber.

Blackledge ruled ineligible

......was just catching up with Rosiak's blog - -

Trend, we hardly knew ya. TC hits the JUCO transfer hard -- "It's a tremendous disappointment with somebody that's capable," said Crean. "I've never been more disappointed in somebody's lack of work academically, and that's too bad. I know there's been a disappointment in not playing as much, but we've been worrying and dealing with too many eligibility issues versus just getting better."

Ouch. In fact, double ouch. Gotta take care of the books......more from TC

"We don't sign players to have them remain eligible. We sign them to graduate. I would say if he's with us next year we're looking at a redshirt because he needs to be in a position to graduate from here."

Anybody else think we've seen the last of Blackledge in an MU uniform? And look - - I gotta be honest here -- why would u redshirt a kid like Blackledge? He's a role player and looks to be a minor contribuor by any stretch given MU's signing of Mbakwe, Hazel and Saunders.

With MU currently one scholarship over the limit for the 2007-2008 season, maybe this means that Dominic James is more likely to return for his junior season.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hello, Lazar Hayward!

The Louisville hangover lasted 13 minutes. At 7:14 during the Marquette/Nova matchup, a loud siren went off in the Bradley Center, warning the Warriors their season was going to end nasty, brutish, and short.

After playing sluggish, MU was down 9 and must have had the entire season flashing before their eyes. It could have gotten very ugly in the Bradley Center.

Then Lazar Hayward decided to take control.

His 3 pointer with 6:21 to go in the first half brought the Bradley Center faithful to their feet, and with inspired play, MU kept everyone standing and screaming. With a enormous defensive intensity and some hot shooting by Lazar, MU went on a 14-5 tear to tie the game at half. The season was on the line, and they answered.

Lazar finished with 18 points in 28 minutes, a good sign of things to come for the freshman. The game was a foul fest, with the whistle blowing a whopping 54 times. If you drive by the Bradley Center right now, you can still hear the echos.

After poor FT shooting led to a loss on Saturday, tonight was a different story. MU attempted 35 and made 31 for an 89% triumph at the line. -- Where that FT shooting form was on Saturday, I know not. -- Matthews himself went 12-12, and is shooting them at a 91% clip over the past 9 games. Most importantly, MU made all 11 of its attempts in the final 90 seconds. WHEW!

I can tell you first hand. This was way better than losing. Way better.

Go Marquette Recap

Official Box Score

Todd Rosiak recaps the MU victory.

VillanovaViewpoint provides an excellent recap.

Andrew Sharos at MarquetteHoops recaps the slump buster.

Philly.com on the Wildcats coughing up a 9 point first half lead.

Another recap from Philly.com -- this on the Wildcats offensive woes. BTW, sounds like Jay Wright was impressed with MU's offense last night.

"We don't have a rhythm," Wright said. "We're not comfortable to know where everybody is, where the next guy is on the next pass. [The Golden Eagles], they drive, extra pass, extra pass, extra pass, shot. We're still drive, extra pass, shot. It's just playing together and having a feeling for each other."
I'm not sure if it was the whole "winning" thing, or if I had the right touch tonight, but I think these photos are the best I've taken all year. Enjoy.


D. Wade singing show tunes in Vegas

I won't recap the game as I'm sure some of you saw it. Pretty boring with some nice dunks, but it was over before it started.

Some things you might have missed on the broadcast (not sure) were some in arena tributes and timeout teasers. The last few nights they have been doing a "guess who said this" or "guess who sang this" with some celebrity guessers. Last night was the singing variety and up on the jumbotron comes none other than Dwyane Wade who begins singing It's Not Unusual.

It was meant to be funny and certainly was as the performance was dreadful but playful. The crowd got a big kick out of it. The previous night Shaq had sung Danke Schoen with the crowd going nuts. If I can track down a copy I will, it was fairly entertaining.

That was about it. Apparently after the game more violence at the Wynn and the MGM Grand with shootings and fights. Not good. Three days in Vegas is plenty, glad to be home.

Did see a lot of NBA legends last evening that was cool. Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor. Some non-legends as well...Mitch Kupchak, Miles Simon, HotSauce.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nova / MU Preview



Tonight Marquette tries to break a 3 game skid against 'Nova.

Our blogging brethren at the Villanova Viewpoint have written up a nice preview of Monday's game.

Remember, wear gold to the game tomorrow. It's clear, we were a mere handful of gold claddened fans short Saturday night, and look what happened. We lost. Don't be the guy who makes us lose by wearing the wrong color.

The first 10,000 attendees the game wearing gold will receive a Steve Novak bobblehead. Non-gold wearing fans will be told to hang their head in shame.

During the game, Marquette Athletics will be holding a fundraiser for the Children's Medical Research Foundation. -- Monetary donations will be accepted upon entrance to Bradley Center. Have a couple bucks ready when you walk into the Bradley Center tonight.

There will be a pre-game Seats For Soldiers ceremony recognizing local military personnel before tip.

Wade has skillzzz

Day two in Vegas at the NBA All-Star weekend was a great day for Marquette's Dwyane Wade. He came into the skills competition as the defending skills champion and no one had ever repeated before.

His competition was stiff. Lebron James, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. The competition was setup in a format where the top two players on time would advance to the finals. The task at hand to make a layup, dribble around 4 pylons, make a chest pass through a cylinder, make a bounce pass through a cylinder, hit a free throw, another chest pass, more dribbling, and then a layup.

James went first and posted a time of about 39 seconds. Chris Paul was next and posted a time of more than 43 seconds. The clear crowd favorite was Kobe Bryant who went next. A large Laker contingent (Vegas has always been a Lakers town plus many Angelinos drove in) chanting Ko-be, Ko-be, Ko-be. He did not disappoint as he put up a 29 second time and the lead. Last to go was Wade. He struggled with the dribbling and one of the passing cylinders, but still posted about 33 seconds to advance to the finals vs Kobe.

In the finals, the place was really buzzing for Kobe but Wade went first and he was perfect. He nailed everything, every pass perfect, fast dribbling....posted a great time. Kobe would need an exception effort to grab the title away from Dwyane. It was not to be. Kobe go to the first passing cylinder and missed 4 straight passes killing any shot he had.

Wade was champion again.

Highlights from Last Night

Dick Baveta vs Charles Barkley race

TNT party at the Palms...plenty of eye candy (WOW) and basketball famous folks. Jerry Tarkanian was there, Ernie Johnson, David Aldridge, Russ Granik, etc. The Goo Goo Dolls were the entertainment which is never a bad gig.

Lowlights from Last Night

MU's loss. I was at the Thomas & Mack Arena at the festivities with my Blackberry. NY Warrior was sending me emails and I had the ESPN tracker updating every few minutes. We were up 7 points late and I was feeling good. Then it kept getting closer with my blackberry saying missed ft, missed ft. It took the blackberry about 10 minutes to download the final score so I knew something crazy happened....sure enough it did.

I think one more win puts us in the Big Dance. But as we said last week, we could lose all of these final 6 games or we could win them all. Right now we're 0-3 and it doesn't get any easier tomorrow night. Need to win this game in the worst way.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Heartbreak deja vu

Each time Marquette plays Louisville, Bradley Center faithful shave one year off their life expectancy. Tonight was no different.

There's not much more to say other than we had built a 7 point lead at the exact time you want it: with a few minutes left in the game. But over the last 4:37, Marquette would only manage 4 measly points, while UL scored 13, including a last second bomb from Milwaukee native Jerry Smith at the buzzer. Heartbreak. Jerry Smith is the new Reese Gaines, killing Marquette at the buzzer.

I received a Marquette mailing today which contained the ticket forms for post-season play. I think MU might have irritated the basketball gods and jinxed itself by not including the customary NIT ticket forms, believing Marquette was headed for the big dance. With a 3 game losing streak going into 3 tough games (Nova, @ND, Pitt), Marquette needs at least one, or perhaps two to seal a bid. This was unthinkable just 8 short days ago. With 8 teams with .500+ records in the BE, someone is going to be Not In Tournament. -- We need some wins.
I have nothing more to say. It was a completely heartbreaking loss.

Viva Las Vegas...Viva DWADE

I'm here in Las Vegas taking in the NBA ALL-Star game festitivies and this place is a zoo. I come to Vegas 3 times a year and have been here probably 50 times or more in my life and I have never seen it this crazy. My first clue should have been the flight from L.A. to Vegas yesterday afternoon as there had to be 15 young ladies that were being delivered to Vegas to render various entertainment "services". The scene here is Vegas on steroids which is hard to describe.

On the Dwyane Wade front, he is everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE in this town. There is a large Sidekick advertisement on the side of Mandalay Bay that I would estimate is 50 feet by 80 feet give or take. He is adorned in imagery on most of the pillars at our hotel as well as many of the others at MGM Grand, the Winn and the Monte Carlo.

Tonight's tickets to the skills competition feature Dwyane on the cover of the ticket (Steve Nash is on the cover of tomorrow's ticket for the actual game). Bumped into a few MU fans playing craps today as well...always a good time.

So far I've managed not to get killed which is a better fate then someone this morning. At 8:30am in front of our hotel there was a body covered right in the middle of Las Vegas Blvd...sad site. No confirmation if it was a drive by, hit and run or what it was.

It's like a hip-hop convention right now out here which has made for some great people watching. The energy is definitely flying high and the people are having a good time. Lots of folks sporting their "colors" with their favorite NBA team jerseys. I'd say Cleveland Cavs are the most I've seen with Kobe's Lakers jersey and then DWADE not far behind.

Last night the fine folks at the NBA had Elton John perform for us...tonight it's the TNT party and the Paris Hilton birthday party. Should be a wild affair.

Put my $$$ on MU to win tonight against Louisville. Mandalay was had Marquette -3. Let's hope we win...if we cover, great. Just need the win more than anything.

That's it from Vegas, I'll fill you in on any more DWADE phenomena if it happens.

Friday, February 16, 2007

2008 Recruiting: Jordan Theodore and Jonathan Baldwin

A couple of updates for you ---

MU already has a 2008 commitment from 6'4" Nick Williams. a talented 2G from Mobile, Alabama.

Tom Crean to replace Pat Riley?



Well, here's one rumor-monger for ya (St. Paul Pioneer Press). -- Somebody must be competing with TC for a recruit.

Update: According to Rosiak's blog, when Coach Crean was asked about this, his response was classic:

"What was that in?" Crean asked. "Didn't see that. Must mean we're recruiting somebody in Minnesota."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Louisville meet Freeway

Louisville will come to the Bradley Center on Saturday as one of the hottest teams in the Big East.

MU is not.

Louisville (18-8, 8-4 Big East) has won two in a row -- and went into the Pete and beat the heck outta the Panthers a few nights ago.

Marquette (21-6, 8-4 Big East) has lost two games in a row.

Folks, its time to rally. The fellas are comin' home on Saturday night to right the ship.

ecompt -- you summed it up beautifully.


.......With thanks to the creative TallTitan over at MUScoop we're gonna do our part to inject mucho good Karma into the situation.

So, Louisville meet Freeway!! This rendering of Freeway's retirement banner should put MU over the top. FIRE UP MARQUETTE

Updates from the blogosphere

In case you missed 'em.......

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Marquette drops 2nd in a row

Marquette went into DePaul tonight with a chance to inch closer to first place Pittsburgh. Instead, the Blue Demons dealt MU it's second straight road loss 72-67 as MU drops to 8-4 in the league with a very hot Louisville team coming to Milwaukee this weekend.

MU looked pedestrian in the first half giving up 40 points and missing plenty of bunny opportunities. MU trailed 40-33 at the break. The second half MU fought back and took the lead 49-48 at the 10:02 mark. Less than 30 seconds later a Sammy Meija layup put DePaul back on top for good.

That is not to say the game didn't remain close because it did. MU had many opportunities to go back ahead or win the game, but missed shots were the name of the game. That and missed free throws. MU shot a horrid 52% from the line tonight.

With under a minute to play MU was within 3 points or less on 5 possessions but could only manage 1 point on a free throw. The critical play came with under :18 to play and MU trailing 70 to 67. With Tom Crean screaming for a timeout (the refs didn't hear or see it), Dominic James forced about a 35 foot game tying attempt that fell short by plenty and missed the iron. MU then fouled Meijia who managed to make one free throw. MU ran the ball up the court and DJ took another 3 pointer that again missed the mark and sealed the game. Overall James played a pretty good game tonight, but the 3 pointers at inopportune times continue to be a struggle for him.

James finished with 17 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Dan Fitzgerald added 16 points on 3 of 6 from deep. Chicago native Jerel McNeal also added 16 points. The biggest disappointment had to be Barro who had played several great games in a row. Barro laid a big goose egg on the scoring front (he did manage 9 rebounds). Cubillian also score zero points.

It was clear in the post game press conference and radio interview that Coach Crean was not pleased with some of the officiating. He was also displeased with the play of his bigs and the continued erratic free throw shooting. Only a few days ago the Golden Eagles shot 93% from the line only to follow-up with a 52% effort tonight.

MU will attempt to snap their 2 game losing streak against Rick Pitino and Louisville this weekend.

AP Recap

Todd Rosiak Recap

Box Score

MU over DePaul is Yellow Chair Sports' "Lock of the Week"


The death march for old media continues

OK........so just a week or so after Todd Rosiak convinced his recalcitrant editors at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that a blog was a vital addition to coverage of Marquette basketball, ESPN has just pushed the envelope even futher.

In case you missed it, ESPN purchased the well-read and previously independent (and non-commerial) True Hoop basketball blog. Henry Abbott, True Hoop's founder and writer will join ESPN.

Wow. The WWLS bought a non-commerical blog. Value out here is calculated differently, eh?

We knew the death of newspapers and magazines was inevitable -- and now it looks like TV won't be enough either. Not even for the Worldwide Leader. As Joe Trippi said, the revolution will not be televised. How right he was.

Congratulations, Henry!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Windy City Romance

Marquette, who swept its foe from the Windy City last season and has won 26 of the last 31 games in this rivalry, will look to break the hearts of the Blue Demons once again -- this time on Valentine's Day. In its home away from home, Tom Crean can expect a rowdy group of MU fans to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Dozens of DPU students are expected to attend as well.

Marquette (21-5, 8-3) enters the game with loads of question marks from where you'd least expect it. Dominic James is fighting through the worst slump of his career. To make matters worse, running mate Wesley Matthews is battling the flu and his status for the game is uncertain. Matthews did not practice on Monday.

Despite winning eight consecutive Big East games before the humbling defeat at Georgetown over the weekend, MU's core strength this season -- its backcourt -- is a major question mark heading into tonight's conference road game. Time for Chicago's own Jerel McNeal to step up!

Tom Crean will also look to the vastly improved Ousmane Barro to tip the scales in MU's favor. The 6'10" junior already has six double-doubles this season -- including MU's last two outings.

DePaul (14-11, 5-6) has has plenty of time to prepare for MU. Paul Gleason's crew last played on February 8 when they stole a victory from Notre Dame at the great airplane hangar in Rosemont.

DePaul is led by Sammy Mejia and Wilson Chandler. Mejia, who celebrated his 24th birthday last week. um. ah. well. hmmm ........sorry, I lost my train of thought. ....his 24th birthday.

Back to the game preview. As a versatile forward, Chandler figures to be MU's toughest matchup.....anybody remember how Alando Tucker, Jeff Green and Demetris Nichols did against the Golden Eagles?

All together now: "They torched Marquette!!"

Well -- enter Mr. Chandler ....... as with the bunch mentioned above, MU does not match up well with him at all, particularly if Matthews is not 100%.

Tough game coming up folks, tough game.

Media Updates Galore!!

New Marquette Basketball Wallpaper

Very cool.....new MU basketball wallpaper created by mu_hilltopper over at MUScoop.

Here's a link to the 2006-2007 trading card wallpaper.


Tom Crean has a fever

......per Todd Rosiak's blog, TC was running a 104.5 degree fever the other day. And Wesley Matthews remains under the weather, limiting his practice time.

As we all know -- when you have a fever, the only prescription is more cowbell.

Feel better, fellas.

The Bracket Project

Per one of our readers' comments......here's a link to the Bracket Project, which aggregates all of the bracketology Web sites into one consolidated view and estimate. Currently MU is a projected #3 seed.

Marquette - DePaul trivia

OK sports fans, trivia time. In the following comparison, who has been more successful:

  • Dominic James from the field in his last 35 attempts


  • DePaul against Marquette in the last 31 games

........if you answered 'DePaul', YOU WIN!

That's right sports fans, DePaul has beaten Marquette five times in the last 31 meetings between the two programs. That's a robust 16%! (.....the 31 games dates back to the second half of the 1991-1992 season).

Meanwhile, Dominic James hit 5 of his last 35 attempts from the field -- a shade over 14%.

Congratulations to DePaul! LOL

.....still, Advantage, Marquette.


**Edtiors note: this information was updated per a review of MU's media guide. Apologies for the erroneous information that previously apppeared.

Monday, February 12, 2007

We know this won't continue

Any guesss on how many points Dominic James is averaging in MU's last three outings?

How about six while shooting less than 15% from the field (14.3% on 5 for 35 shooting). The kicker -- he missed 14 consecutive three pointers.

Want some good news? MU won two of those three games, and during the stretch James handed out 13 assists against just four turnovers........and history shows his shooting/scoring woes won't continue.

During MU's 0-2 start in conference play, James was a loathsome 1-15 from three-point range and averaged just 9 points per game on 26% shooting (6-23 from the field). After bottoming out against Syracuse, James responded big time with 17 points at UConn to lead MU to a clutch victory over the Huskies and followed that up with 21 points in a convincing home win over West Virginia. James was named the Big East's player of the week for his efforts. But he wasn't done ......... DJ followed that up with another Big East player of the week nod the following week.

Me thinks he's ready for Act II.

Bring on DePaul.

MU fans --- time to turn the Allstate Arena into the Bradley Center South once again! As of this morning, you can still get a pair of tickets in Section 209 for Wednesday's game. WEAR GOLD!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hoyas end MU's 8 game winning streak

Georgetown celebrated 100 years of basketball today by beating MU 76 to 58 in a game that was actually closer than the final score would appear. #23 Georgetown won their 7th in a row while MU's winning streak of eight straight came to an end.

Next up for Marquette is a road game against DePaul on Wednesday.

As expected, Georgetown's big men of Hibbert and Green had their way with Marquette for most of the game. The Hoyas jumped out to a 16-6 lead but MU fought their way back to take the lead 26-25 late in the second half before a final Georgetown run put the Hoyas up 28-26 at the break.

In the second half, Georgetown opened up their lead again on the outside shooting of Green and Sapp coupled with the inside play of Hibbert. The Hoyas led by eight points at the 11:35 mark before a Barro layup sparked a MU rally.

At the 7:29 mark, a Jerel McNeal three pointer pulled MU to within one point at 53-52. It was the closest MU would come. Georgetown finished with a 23-6 run in the last 7 minutes to blow the game open.

The big three for Marquette struggled immensely. Jerel McNeal had three fouls in the first half and zero points, but did add 11 points in the second half. Dominic James had 4 first half points and none in the second half on another forgettable shooting performance (2 of 17). James has struggled mightily from the field the last few games. Wes Matthews was a very quiet 1 of 3 for 2 points.

In a bit of irony, the big men carried MU largely today. Barro had another double-double and led the team with 14 points. Lazar Hayward also had 14 points. Dan Fitzgerald added 7 points.

The loss drops MU to 3rd place in the Big East. Next up for MU --- a road game at DePaul on Wednesday night.


AP Recap


Rosiak on the loss.

John Keegan of the MU Tribune basketball blog

Rosiak blogs on the loss here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Jesuit Smackdown

The Big East's two hottest teams square off on Saturday afternoon in our nation's capital when 11th ranked Marquette (21-4, 8-2) slips into town to take on the #22 ranked Georgetown Hoyas (17-5, 7-2). In order to extend its conference-best eight game winning streak Marquette will have to slow down the surging Hoyas, winners of six in a row.

The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Tipoff is scheduled for 11am CST.

As if the Hoyas need extra incentive (they don't), Georgetown will celebrate 100 years of basketball on Saturday. Many past Hoya greats are expected to return to campus for the celebration.

Georgetown has steamrolled its last six opponents by an average of 15 points per game. As hot as the Hoyas are, they've not exactly annihilated murderer's row in the past few weeks (@Rutgers, @Seton Hall, DePaul, Cincy, St Johns, @Louisville) but with Roy Hibbert coming up with two double-doubles in his last three games its clear that JTIII has his troops playing better and better.

The Hoyas are paced by their front line, the best group in the Big East -- Hibbert, Jeff Green, Vernon Macklin and DaJuan Summers. The four big men combine to average 38 points per game for JTIII, led by Hibbert and Green at more than a dozen apiece. With their efficient frontline and the modified Princeton-style offense, Georgetown leads the Big East in field goal percentage -- and is the only team in the league hitting more than 50% of its shots (GU shoots 53% from the field).

In the backcourt, Jonathan Wallace is enjoying a fine season averaging better than 11ppg and connecting on 48% of his three-point attempts.

Marquette will look to its Big East-best backcourt to balance the Hoyas' baseline presence. MU's Triple Threat is averaging a combined 43ppg this season, and consistently deliver the defensive intensity Tom Crean's squad needs to dictate the style of play.....and style of play will be the key on Saturday.

Who will blink first, TC or JTIII?

Last year, MU's speed, intense perimeter defense, and crisp offense negated the Hoyas' height advantage in the Golden Eagles' victory at the Bradley Center. Hibbert played well, but Bowman and Green combined for just nine points. In the rematch at MSG during the Big East Tourney, the Hoya's defense held MU to just 39% shooting. Led by Jeff Green and now-departed point guard Ashanti Cook, who each scored 16 points, GU owned the glass (MU out-rebounded the Hoyas in the first meeting) and hit clutch free throws late to seal the deal.

With a smaller, quicker team, Crean has found ways to turn his Marquette's speed into a distinct advantage against bigger, lumbering teams. In the Golden Eagles' inaugural Big East opener last season, Steve Novak turned in the greatest individual performance in conference history with 41 points and 17 rebounds. That night, quickness and effective ball movement on offense negated the substantial height advantage from UConn (read: Boone, Adrien, Armstrong and Gay) as the Golden Eagles ran away with the victory. The same formula worked earlier this season in Marquette's win at Pittsburgh, where Aaron Gray was marginalized as the game wore on. Jamie Dixon was forced to 'go small' in order to put a more effective defensive team on the floor.

With Green, Summers, Hibbert and Macklin rotating on the baseline, at least one of them will have to guard Fitzgerald or Wesley Matthews in order for JTIII to keep three of them on the floor at the same time. In their last game against Louisville, which moved to a three (if not four) guard lineup, coach Thompson played Summers, Hibbert and Green each in excess of 30 minutes while Macklin only made it off the bench for two minutes of action. Perhaps MU can expect a similar rotation of Hoya big men on Saturday.

Still, if Ousmane Barro can hold his own down low and MU's guards can rebound effectively, the Golden Eagles could dictate the style of play yet again. A lineup of James, McNeal, Matthews, Fitzgerald and Barro would keep the floor spread and force JTIII to make some tougher personel choices -- if the Golden Eagles can create a more frenetic style of play at the expense of the Hoyas' young backcourt.

How Georgetown matches up with the 6'9" Fitzgerald will be key. The junior is shooting 43% from three-point range this season, and has hit a number of clutch shots from that distance in conference play.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Note to readers: update your bookmarks if you please

I think many of you may have bookmarked us at our original URL of http://marquettebasketball.blogspot.com ... well, thanks the handiwork of mu_hilltopper you can now bookmark CrackedSidewalks.com and see a clean page, frameless after the site is loaded in full.

Anyway, enjoy the new, simpler bookmark -- thanks!

Cool: Todd Rosiak has a blog

nice to see........here's a link to Todd's blog, which is devoted exclusively to Marquette basketball. Looks like Todd just started blogging this month.

We've also added Todd's blog to our right nav bar, under the MU basketball-related links section.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Todd.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

MU/RU Thoughts

I have a few quick game comments before hitting the sack.

  • By about the 8th minute of the game, Marquette was cruising. Not crushing the Knights, but running out the clock to an inevitable victory. Our 21st of the season. That has a nice ring to it. 21 .. with 7 games left.

  • Ooze gets the double-double, 11 points, 11 rebs, MU ranked 11.

  • 17,194 attendance? Lots of no-shows for a 9F cold winter night.

  • DJ's shot was not falling tonight. But his over-all effort was great. He went 1-7, but hey, at least he didn't force it and chuck up 15 shots. Meanwhile, he went 4-4 from the line, and had 7 assists and ZERO turnovers. I'll take that any day.

  • I really like having 5 MU players in double figures. Everyone goes home a winner.

  • Clearly, Craig Kuphall and Jamil Lott must play more. They're in there for, what, a 50 seconds, and presto, 2-2, 4 points, and they single handedly screwed all of the Rutgers + 17.5 points bettors.
Kuphall's moment of fame:

Oh, and lastly, the Wade banner has been moved over to join the other 8 banners above the student section:

Here's a link to the other pictures I shot from my seat.


AP Game Story -- Milwaukee JS/Todd Rosiak Recap -- MJS Game Log/Prosser

GoMarquette.com Official Recap / Box Score

MU wins in a blowout, 67 to 47

Marquette defeated Rutgers 67 to 47 to stay in second place in the Big East. MU led only by 6 at the 14 minute mark but blew the Scarlet Knights away down the stretch to move to 8-2 in the league and 21-4 overall. Eight wins in a row in the Big East -- people are taking notice......Lundardi had MU as a projected #2 seed before last night's win.

Back to the game.

MU used a balanced attack to run away and hide tonight -- five Golden Eagles finished in double figures. Ousmane Barro led the way with another double-double, eleven points and eleven rebounds. MU manhandled the Scarlet Knights on the glass, outrebounding RU by eleven and hauling in 14 offensive rebounds. Barro now has five double-doubles on the season.......fantastic! MU's bench continued to impress. David Cubillan keyed MU's decisive run by scoring all ten of his points in the second half.

Next up for Marquette is a tough road contest at Georgetown this weekend. The Hoyas defeatd Louisville last night at Freedom Hall, 73-65.

Marquette Hoops' Andrew Sharos reports on MU's 8th win in a row.

Todd Rosiak on MU's 'shot in the arm'

The Palladium-Item via the AP on MU's win despite an off-night from DJ.

The Star-Ledger on how MU pounded RU.

The final box score.

Hello Dalai!!

One more reason that good Karma is building for MU's game tonight -- the Dalai Lama.

While in New Delhi earlier this week, I snapped this photo. There is the Dalai Lama as he walked through the hotel lobby --- glancing my way as he hurried to his motorcade. Judging by the pleasant smile on his face here, could it be that the spiritual teacher was reinforcing goodwill towards MU?

I say, YES!

Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga

MU looks for 8th win in a row tonight

MU (rah-rah), already 20-4 on the season, aims to continue its fine play of late when it hosts the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-14, 2-8) at the Bradley Center this evening. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm CST and will be 'broadcast' on ESPN360.

RU is struggling mightily this year under first year head coach Fred Hill. Hill, who was an assistant at MU during the Dukiet era, took over the program after serving as the program's top assistant. Despite their miserable record, RU does have talent. Sophomore forward JR Inman is a terrific player, leading the Scarlet Knights in rebounds while scoring more than 12ppg. Senior guard Marquis Webb is also in the mix - - and as a big, physical guard he stands to matchup well with Matthews and McNeal.

Regardless, you've gotta love MU's chances tonight given how well TC has the fellas playing. Its time to get pumped up for the game. Unfresh after a trip outta the country, tonight's game will help me rally.......and u know what -- methinks Karma is gonna be on MU's side once again tonight.

As defined by Wikipedia, "Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions."

The source of today's good Karma? The Deli Guy around the corner......see, the Deli Guy went to Rice High School in NYC, and balled with Dean Meminger and Butch Lee as a kid. The Deli Guy still follows MU, and when I step into the deli I get the oh-so-great-greeting, "Hey Marquette!". I feel so, well, like Norm.

Today I got more than that -- "Hey Marquette....they are doing good this year. Lots of upsets." Advantage MU.

NFW will MU spit the bit on a night when the Deli Guy is on board.

Media Updates
Here's the MUScoop info sheet on tonight's tilt.

In case you missed it (I did, thanks to one of our readers for sending this ine), Jerel McNeal made Andy Katz' 'Weekly Watch'.

Here is the RU preview.

Here's the MU preview.

Rosiak on a wary TC heading into tonight's game

Here's the Marquette Hoops preview.

The Newark Star-Ledger on RU's progress and prep for tonight.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's way too early, but MU a 3 seed.

Ok, I know there's lots of season left. Lots. However, there's but 32 days remaining until Selection Sunday, and I don't think we're going to be waiting for the NIT bids to come out late March 11th.

There are no fewer than 23 different sites that predict the field of 65. Here's a great site that compiles all the current guesses and yields and average for MU's seed: 3.

Anyone else remember what happened the last time MU was a #3 seed?

Monday, February 05, 2007

MU fans: Pack Allstate Arena next week

....from the looks of it, thousands of Golden Eagle fans have already made their plans to invade DePaul's 'home court' on Valentine's Day for the latest battle between the two programs.

A quick visit to Ticketmaster today showed the best pair available are finally in the upper deck at the Allstate Arena -- Section 212, row J to be exact.

CHICAGO-AREA ALUMS.........make your plans now to support MU on the road. Also, join the MU Alumni Association for a pre-game reception at the arena.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wade's Half-Time Speech - ESPNU

Here's a video of Wade's speech recorded off of ESPNU.

NOTE: This YouTube movie was not posted by anyone from the Cracked Sidewalks volunteer contributors. We simply found it on You Tube and are sharing it per the rules that YouTube maintains for its usage.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

MU beats the Friars as #3 is Retired

We'll never know if Marquette would have beaten Providence last month if Jerel McNeal had played in that game. This Saturday, with McNeal healthy, Marquette never trailed the Friars and posted a 69-62 victory. This was Marquette's 20th victory of the season, the quickest MU has ever reached a score of victories.

McNeal poured in 18 on 8-13 shooting and collected 12 rebounds for his double-double. James was a non-factor in this game, shooting a cold 2-11 for 6 points. While Wes Matthews was not stellar from the floor, going 1-6, he drew 5 fouls and went 10-10 at the charity stripe and with that performance, is only a handful behind James in FT attempts this year. Over the last 4 games, Wes has been MU's FT shooting machine making 38-of-41.

The Marquette bench was superb today, led by Dan Fitzgerald who sank a Moneylike 4-6 from behind the arc. Fitz, Cube, Burke and Lott combined for 61 minutes and collected 22 points and 12 rebounds, which you gotta figure are close to a season high for bench production.

Of course, the main attraction for the sold-out Bradley Center crowd was Dwyane Wade, as Marquette retired his #3 Jersey at half time. After a 3 minute highlight video, Wade's jersey was revealed. Marquette has changed the "retirement" banner from a blue/gold rather boring piece of felt to 9 gorgeous full color banners with action photos of each retiree. A very large upgrade.

You can see pictures of the banners and other game photos on my thread at MUScoop.com.

Box Score

GoMarquette.com Recap Game Notes

I took video during the Wade half-time ceremony. I apologize for the poor video quality, as without a tripod, holding steady for 15 minutes is murder.

The first video is the video montage of Wade's highlights at Marquette and Miami. The second is the half-time speech from Wade and Crean.

Here's part two. UPDATE: YouTube is being difficult tonight. If the video doesn't play, check back later.

MU claims 20th victory on Saturday

Tom Crean's Golden Eagles moved to 20-4 overall and 7-2 in the Big East with a 69-62 win over the Providence Friars.

Jerel McNeal paced MU with 18 points and 12 boards. Dan Fitzgerald continued his torrid shooting of late, making four three-pointers as he tallied 14 points and five rebounds. Still, the stat that told the story today was rebounding where MU outrebounded the tough Friars 39-26 - a far cry from the battering MU took at the hands of PC last month.

The win marks MU's second consecutive 20-win season, and the fourth in Tom Crean's tenure. Congratulations!

Here is the AP recap.

Here is the box score.

The Providence Journal discusses Wade's influence on MU and the Big East

Nice article by Kevin McNamara at the Providence Journal.

Don't forget today fans will receive a free Dwyane Wade figurine. If you are not attending the game, the MU bookstore is selling Wade figurines. We are not sure if the ones they sell are the same as those given out today, but take a look at the options at the book store here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

DWade has a Sidekick

....as in, Sidekick the gadget from T-Mobile. Pretty freakin' cool -- DWade helped design the darn thing.

engadget has more details.

Win it for Wade

With Dywane Wade back on campus to have his jersey retired, the Marquette Golden Eagles (19-4, 6-2) return from a six day layoff on Saturday afternoon when they host the Providence Friars at the Bradley Center. MU is the talk of the Big East after ripping off six straight victories following a disappointing 0-2 start in conference play. Tom Crean's crew made great strides during the first half of conference play despite playing five of their first eight Big East games on the road.

The Friars enter Saturday's game at 14-6 overall and 4-3 in the Big East. Providence defeated MU 74-59 last month. Tim Welsh's young Friars have not played since defeating UConn at the Hartford Civic Center last Saturday to earn their first road win in conference play.

Providence is led by the efficient Herbert Hill, who delivers 17 points and 8 boards per game. Hill has been even better in conference games where he leads the league in both scoring and rebounding. The senior post player shoots a blistering 67% from the floor and played one of his best games of the season against MU when he hung 23 and 9 on the Golden Eagles. Sophomore point guard Sharaud Curry returned from suspension several weeks ago, and paid immediate dividends for the Friars. At 16ppg, the talented sophomore keys the Friars' attack. Still, the toughest matchup on the floor for the Golden Eagles will be sophomore Geoff McDermott. The 6'7" power forward is the Big East's most versatile player, pouring in 12ppg to go along with 10 boards and a team-high 5.4 assists per outing. When your power forward leads a team in assists, you can bet that creates huge matchup concerns for the opposition. McDermott dominated Marquette last month, just missing a triple double (11 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds). McDermott had more assists than the entire MU team -- yuck.

While Curry missed the Big East opener, MU was without Jerel McNeal and although Wesley Matthews played, he had not practiced much leading into the contest. During MU's six-game tear, McNeal has been the team's most vital performer, setting the tone both offensively and defensively as the Golden Eagles turned the season around. Much like last season, McNeal's performance in conference games is superior to his performance on the out-of-conference slate. With McNeal healthy, MU has played stifling defense during the six-game run (sans the USF outing) -- something they failed to do at The Dunk to open conference play.

Marquette will retire Dwyane Wade's jersey #3 in a ceremony on Saturday. Here's a nice photo essay on DWade from Marquette Hoops.

The AP filed this one.

Here's a game preview from Eric Silver on scout.com.

Here's the MUScoop information header for Saturday's game.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dominic James named Cousy finalist

Congratulations to Dominic James

Here is the complete list of the Cousy Award finalists:

Bobby Brown Cal State Fullerton
Darren Collison UCLA
Levance Fields Pittsburgh
Taurean Green Florida
Dominic James Marquette
Jared Jordan Marist
Acie Law Texas A&M
Ty Lawson North Carolina
Russell Robinson Kansas
Ramon Sessions Nevada
Sean Singletary Virginia
Mustafa Shakur Arizona
Ronald Steele Alabama

If you are interested, here's a wikipedia entry on the Celtic great.

Prosser blogs on MU, while Rosiak chats

Check out the latest from Emmett Prosser at the Journal-Sentinel.

Then read the Todd Rosiak chat transcript.

Recruit Report: Racine's Jamil Wilson

The town of Racine has produced plenty of basketball talent over the years -- Jim Chones, Jim McIlvaine, Nick Van Exel, Sharif Chambliss and Caron Butler are just the tip of the iceberg in that discussion. There's more talent on the horizon - - 6'6" Jamil Wilson is the latest high-ceiling player to emerge from Racine and he's just a sophomore.

Robb Luehr of the Racine Journal-Times penned a feature on Wilson for today's paper. In addition to MU, Wisconsin and Iowa State are mentioned as programs with strong interest in the talented sophomore. More impressively (and far more important), Wilson is helping his mother through the fight of her life right now.

According Wishoops.com, Wilson is the top sophomore in the state and likely one of the best in the nation in that class. Marquette coaches are aggressively courting Wilson, who is in no hurry to make his collegiate choice.

Also, this article recaps one of Jamil's best games of the 2006-2007 season from just a few weeks ago.

Marquette does not yet have a commitment for the incoming freshman class of 2009. Currently here is what we know MU's roster might look like in 2009 -- and there's plenty of room for a talented small forward like Wilson to make a sizeable impact early at Marquette.

Maurice Acker
Lazar Hayward
David Cubillan

Scott Christopherson
Damian Saunders
Trevor Mbakwe
Patrick Hazel

Nick Williams
2008 recruit TBD
2008 recruit TBD

2009 recruit TBD
2009 recruit TBD
2009 recruit TBD