"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, November 30, 2007

MU hangs 100 on UWM, wins by 35 to go 35-0.

Marquette crushed UWM into a fine powder tonight at the Bradley Center. After 9 years of not playing this series, Marquette showed no mercy in sending the Panthers back across town with nothing short of a mighty beat down. Marquette is 35-0 against UW@Milwaukee.

There's really not much more to say. DJ lead the team with 22, Lazar with 19, Coobie with 12, McNeal with 16. MU shot a blistering 53% from the field.

Marquette had an amazing 26 assists to 7 turnovers.

Christopherson got in his first official Marquette game and scored his first bucket. Oddly, it wasn't a deep 3, but a put-back in the paint.

Dan Fitzgerald was dressed for tonight's game, but did not play. He was sporting a brace or cast on his left wrist. Marquette has not released information as to the extent of his injury, or when we can expect him back.

Attendance was excellent, at 18,300, just a few short of a sell-out. Certainly the first year of this 5 year series was worth the cash-outlay by Marquette. Large turn-out, and big-time thumping.

Did Dan Fitzgerald injure his left wrist?

The MU boards are buzzing about a rumored wrist injury to 6'8" senior Dan Fitzgerald. The rumor was first posted by MU_Freak on MUScoop yesterday. On the Marquette Hoops site, there is a similar thread with consistent information.

Nothing official from MU at this point.

BTW, UW-M moved tonight's game watching party from the Klotsche Center to the Union due to lack of interest. Remember, this is a game the fans want.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Marquette takes on UW-M

MU hosts UW-Milwaukee on Friday night at the Bradley Center. UW-Milwaukee fans are gearing up for the game by hosting a game watching party at the Klotsche Center which is four miles away from the Bradley Center.

Marquette students will be in attendance at the Bradley Center. Thousands of them, clad in blue and gold, cheering on the Marquette Golden Eagles as they square off against an alleged local rival scheduled only to placate the 'masses' -- many of whom will be packing the Klotsche Center. Marvelous.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm CST. Ring out Ahoya!

GoMarquette preview and game notes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What is up with Ousmane Barro?

From Todd Rosiak's chat tonight:

Q: LP of Chicago - Why isn't Ooze really starting? We have had big problems on the boards this year. This will only get worse vs UW and in the BE. If anything, start him in to win the jump ball.

A: Todd Rosiak - Start him to win the jump ball? You're joking, right? Barro isn't starting because of his proclivity for early foul trouble, as well as for the energy he's been bringing off the bench. Use Burke to bang around early, then bring Barro in and get some stuff done a few minutes in. Makes sense to me. That also could change in the coming games, especially if Burke continues to be the non-factor he was in Maui.

I gather from Rosiak's answer above that Crean indicated Barro is coming off the bench to avoid early fouls. Whatever. Barro has not started a single game in the current campaign, so it is not possible for him to have a 'proclivity for early foul trouble' because by definition he's not even in the game early.

Still, if Barro had this 'proclivity' everybody would have noticed it last season when the big fella started all 34 games for Marquette and averaged just 2.6 personal fouls per game (which was far less than the 3.5 fouls per game delivered by McNeal or the 2.9 from Fitzgerald last season, and in line with Matthews' 2.5 per game).

Look, this should be a much bigger issue for TC with the media and fan base, IMHO. A senior, a 34-game starter just one year ago is now an underachieving bench player relegated to watching a marginal Big East post player take his minutes.......all to avoid a few early fouls? That's silly -- it is not like Barro is being benched in favor of bona fide Big East talent.

The early foul trouble notion is merely an excuse. Barro must be coming off the bench for other reasons - - maybe he's hurt, perhaps he's plateaued as a player, he might have tuned the coach out, or maybe he's simply regressed. After demonstrating substantial improvement between his sophomore and junior seasons, Tom Crean surely didn't expect his big man to take three steps back as a senior.

Something is amiss.

Barro's minutes are down dramatically from 27+ a year ago to just about 20 per game now, and he's averaging fewer points per game than he did as a sophomore. And wouldn't you know it, his fouls per game are up this year. Note to self: perhaps Barro is a lousy bench player. Can anybody envision a scenario where a former starter does not adjust well to a reduced role as a marginalized bench player thereby making himself even less effective when he enters the game?

Simply put - - as a starter, Barro scores more and fouls less than he does as a bench player. The logic is flawed. Let's hope TC changes course soon, or that Barro helps Crean see the light and earns his starting role once again. This team needs him.

Media Updates for November 28

A quick rip around the Web .........

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November Wiki Top 10

Happy Birthday, MU Wiki!

A birthday silently passed on November 6th. Just one year ago, the Marquette Sports Wiki was born. Thanks to a handful of volunteers, the wiki is up to 600 pages of sports information from Marquette's history to its future. We're serving up over 2,000 pages of MU info daily, and growing fast.

So, I'd like to acknowledge the volunteers who've helped create and maintain this wiki. We need more people just like them to continue our growth. 77ncaachamps, rocky_warrior, SoCalwarrior, spartan3186, MU Chi_IL, YoungMUFan4, oldwarrior81, talltitan34, ons20, MarqGold17, mwbauer7, notkirkcameron, PuertoRicanNightmare, nywarrior, ziggysfryboy, sir lawrence, MoSarsour, marqptm, spiral97, nd3boy. (And others. Sorry, we weren't keeping track for the first few months!)

November Marquette Wiki top ten:

Other interesting pages:

Want a free MU Schedule Magnet mailed to you? Click here.

Marquette hosts low mid-major this week

and there are plenty of tickets available for the game, one that is an 'important issue to.....fans of college basketball and the city of Milwaukee' according to an athletic administrator in town.

How is this possible?

Some fans are SHOCKED.......SHOCKED I tell ya! that seats remain -- good seats -- for this much anticipated game between Marquette and a low mid-major.

Remember, this is a game that could have been played in Miller Park in order to accommodate 20,000 fans. Heck, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel even redefined the term 'rivalry' when the series was announced.

Note to Bobbi Roquemore and Bud Haidet; 34-0 does not a rivalry make. Nor does low mid-major fan apathy. As of this morning, fans can buy 10 seats together for Friday's game and sit along the sides of the court. No need to fill the corners for Al this time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

2008: Chicago Invitational

According to Katz, Marquette will take part in the Chicago Invitational on November 28-29, 2008 in Chicago, IL.

Other schools in the Chinv: Dayton, Auburn, and Northern Iowa.

Alumni Update: Mike Kinsella

Marquette's former 3-point specialist, Mike Kinsella, has had a tough go of it after graduation.

He hooked up with his hometown team, a newly created group called the Rochester Fire, part of the American Basketball Association.

Unfortunately, after 1 game, the team folded.

Here's the update from the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Saddest of all? Mike wasn't paid for his time with the team, and .. can't afford a haircut. (See pic.)

Happy Birthday, Trend & Lazar!

Sorry, Trend. Missed your birthday this weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Duke tops MU in Maui

The Duke Blue Devils were too much last night, edging the Marquette Golden Eagles to win the EA Sports Maui Invitational 77-73. MU played well in defeat - - Duke was just a bit too much. The Golden Eagles had no answer for Kyle Singler and DeMarcus Nelson, and failed to finish on any number of near gimmes in the lane throughout the game. Tough loss, but the energy and effort were outstanding.

Lazar Hayward led MU with 14 points. Jerel McNeal and Dominic James were selected to the all-tournament team.


Here are a few recaps:

A blogger from "Rumors and Rants" .. they appear to be a general sports blog. One of their writers attended Maui and wrote about all the games. His recap of the MU/Duke game is well worth the read.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Marquette Puts up 30 Spot on OSU

In the 2nd round of the Maui Invitational, Marquette beat up Oklahoma State 91-61, in a game that saw Marquette shooting 11-16 (69%) from 3 point land and 52% over-all. MU stole the ball 12 times, Jerel McNeal hit 20 points, DJ with 18, outrebounded OSU by 15, Ooze with 10 rebounds himself, 5 guys in double figures.

In short: Wow. This was one 40 minute highlight reel. When Trend, Hazel, and Brice get in the game for more than a couple minutes, you know you've had a good game.

DJ's play deserves additional mention. He went 4-6 from 3 point land and did so with utter confidence, pulling up with authority and knocking them down.

Marquette will take on the winner of the Duke/Illinois game at 9pm CST on ESPN Wednesday night.

Marquette/Oklahoma State Preview

We'll keep this simple ......... Marquette graduate and Cracked Sidewalks contributor Chris Altruda previews today's tilt in Maui for the Associated Press right here.

Chris, well done!

Tipoff is scheduled for 6pm CST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. Don't forget to chat during the game over at MUScoop.

Other Media Updates:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Marquette defeats Chaminade to advance to second round of Maui Classic

It wasn't pretty to be sure, but the Marquette Golden Eagles defeated host Chaminade in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Classic by a score of 74-63 on ESPN2.

The win marked the 5th consecutive pre-season tournament opening round victory in the last 6 years. In each of those previous years, MU had mediocre results against their first round opponent but managed to capture the tournament championship.

2007 MAUI Classic Round 1....MU Beats Chaminade 74-63 (11 points)

2006 CBE Classic Round 1...MU beats Idaho State 59-56 in overtime (3 points)

2005 Great Alaska Shootout Round 1....MU beats Eastern Washington 83-73 (10 points)

2004 Black Coaches Classic Round 1....MU beats Western Carolina 74-65 (9 points)

2002 Great Alaska Shootout Round 1....MU beats Tennessee 85-74 (11 points)

MU was led today by Jerel McNeal's 22 points with Lazar Hayward chipping in 15.

The game was largely in control by MU, but in several instances they let the Silver Swords hang around to cause some angst among the fans. In the first half MU jumped out to a sizeable 14 point lead only to have Chaminade close to within 9 at the break.

The Silver Swords opened the second half with a 6-0 run and trailed #10 ranked Marquette by only 3 points. Slowly MU regained it's footing and held control of the game until roughly the mid seven minute mark when Chaminade again cut the lead down to just three points. Jerel McNeal took over at that point on a missed free throw by Hayward. McNeal came out of nowhere to tip it in with his left hand and put MU up by five points. Chaminade never got closer the remainder of the game.

Concerns from this game remain the same from earlier this year and most of last year. Poor shooting and poor interior defense. MU shot only 2 for 15 behind the arc and were killed by Chaminade's big men. MU was outrebounded for the game, something Tom Crean certainly will address with his club before tomorrow's contest.

Marquette will play the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the semi-finals.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Marquette vs. Chaminade Silverswords

On Monday, #10 Marquette will take on the Chaminade Silver Swords. Tip time is 1:30pm, MST (Marquette Standard Time) in the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center (capacity 2,400).

The game is broadcast on ESPN2, but if you're stuck at work, it's possible the game will be online here. (IE Only).

Marquette has done well in these pre-season tourneys, winning the Great Alaska Shootout two seasons ago, and CBE Classic last year.

Chaminade is a Catholic (Marianist) D2 school in the Pacific West Conference. They return six seniors. If you want to get jealous and see how the students at Chaminade live, try this video.

Chaminade's last Maui win was over another school in the Big East, a 52-49 first-round victory over Villanova in 2003. Hopefully, Chaminade's, um, dominance, over the Big East will end with Marquette.

Marquette is guaranteed 3 games in Maui. If they dispatch the Silverswords Monday, they play at 6pm on Tuesday versus the winner of the LSU/Oklahoma State game (4pm on ESPN). For those who'd like to see a LSU/Marquette game because of former MU player, Dameon Mason, don't bother. DMas has a "viral infection in the muscles surrounding his heart" and won't play.

Maui Invitational Website

Chaminade Media Guide

MU Game Notes

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why LOI's suck

Or something like that from CNNSI's Seth Davis.

Read Seth's argument here.

Talk about it here at MUScoop.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

National Signing Period Begins Today

Today is the first day of the National Signing Period when recruits can sign binding letters of intent with the university of their choice. Recruits can sign LOIs between November 14th and November 21st.

Marquette is expected to sign four student-athletes this week -- a class that stands to be one of the more well-balanced groups Tom Crean has signed in several years. With this class, Crean recruited to every position on the floor (in terms of skill) and neatly replaced his outgoing seniors (Barro, Fitzgerald, Blackledge), and signed a talented PG to potentially replace Dominic James or to account for other roster attrition.

Collectively, this group is ranked in the national top 20 by HoopScoop and unranked by other services - -which is not surprising given the late-bloomers in the class. Here's a brief look at MU's expected incoming class of 2008:

Nick Williams, 6'4" SG from Mobile (LeFlore) Alabama: Williams was the first class of 2008 player to commit to Marquette. Williams plays for one of the most successful high school programs in the State of Alabama, and leads his Rattlers in defense of their 2007 State Championship. Williams is a big, strong guard in the Wesley Matthews/Tony Smith mold who should see immediate playing time next winter. Big Nick scored 32 points in LeFlore's season opener earlier this month.

Joseph Fulce, 6'7" combo forward from Plano, TX via Tyler (TX) Junior College: Fulce originally signed with Texas A&M thanks to then assistant coach Buzz Williams. However, grades forced Fulce to a prep school where he reopened his recruiting after the coaching change in College Station. Soon after, Fulce signed an LOI to play for the University of New Orleans -- and then head coach Buzz Williams. Now Buzz is at MU, and Fulce is coming to MU. Third time lucky for Marquette? That's what Tom Crean is hoping for. Fulce will have three years of eligibility at Marquette.

Tyshawn Taylor, 6'3" PG from Jersey City St. Anthony's. Taylor, who committed to MU over Georgia Tech, KU and UNC, looks to be the point guard of the future for the Golden Eagles. Because of the load of backcourt talent on his high school team, its doubtful Taylor will begin his career as a classically trained point guard but his strength and size mark a sea-change for the rather undersized stable of point guards currently on the MU roster. With Williams, Christopherson and now Taylor, Marquette should have have one of the bigger, more physical young backcourts in the Big East. Given Taylor's upside and heritage -- St. Anthony's, Bob Hurley -- he could be one of the most vital recruits for MU since Dominic James.

Chris Otule, 6'10" 245 pound PF/C from Fort Bend (TX) Bush. The man in the middle. Finally. Otule was the final piece to the puzzle for the 2008 freshman class, and maybe its most vital component. While Tom Crean aggressively pursued Frank Ben-Eze (who ultimately committed to Harvard), he didn't fall for other bigs who expressed high interest in MU such as Maurice Sutton, Garrett Stutz or Josh Crittle. Crean waited until he found what seems to be a player with better tools, more potential and higher upside. Although Otule only averaged 5 ppg as a high school junior, that does not seem to be an indication of what to expect down the line. Check out this Q/A with Jim Hicks for details.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Marquette Tops Utah Valley State

After trailing at the half 34-32, Marquette turned up the defensive pressure and pulled away from Utah Valley State for a 66-55 win tonight at the Bradley Center.

With the win, the Golden Eagles improved to 2-0 on the season. Utah Valley State fell to 0-2.

Marquette's win was keyed by a surprising performance from junior big man Dwight Burke who exploded for 12 points and eight rebounds -- easily the best game of his collegiate career. Dominic James led MU with 13 points followed by David Cubillan with a dozen and Lazar Hayward with 11. Hampered by foul trouble, Jerel McNeal was held to just 7 points, though he hauled in eight boards.

Next up for Marquette......a trip to Maui and a game against the Chaminade Silver Swords.

Here's the box score from tonight's game.
AP Photos
Photos from .. my seat
Marquette Recap

Milestones and Walkons

A couple hits for this morning:

  • Tonight, Dominic James stands at 991 points, and should hit his 1,000th point. When he hits that milestone, let's stand up and show him some love. He still has a ways to go to hit MU's top 25 scorers, but will be there right around when the Big East season begins. If DJ hits 15 ppg, he'll end the year inside the Top 15.

  • Todd Rosiak reports that with Mbakwe and Christopherson out, Crean is looking to add a walk-on or two to add bodies to the practice sessions.

    So, if you see a 6'8+" guy walking around campus, could you direct him to the Al Center? Thanks.
  • Sunday, November 11, 2007

    MU hosts Utah Valley State

    With the warmth and charm of Maui looming on the horizon, the Marquette Golden Eagles (1-0) will take on the Utah Valley State Wolverines (0-1) at the Bradley Center on Monday night. Tip-off is at 7pm Marquette Standard Time.

    The Wolverines stumble into Milwaukee looking to bounce back from an overtime loss at Boise State, 73-72. Junior guard Ryan Toolson led the Wolverines with 29 points, while 6'6" senior forward Jordan Brady added a double-double of 17 and 15. Forward Richard Troyer chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds. The Wolverines made 39% of their threes in the loss.

    Utah Valley State is coached by former Ball State head man Dick Hunsaker. The Wolverines had a breakthrough season a year ago, going 22-7 with notable wins over Albany and North Dakota State. The 6'4" Toolson led the team in scoring despite not starting a single game. Toolson poured in 15.5 ppg, connected on an eye-popping 44% from 3-pt territory, and led the nation in free throw shooting (97%). Jimmy Chitwood lives! As a team, the Wolverines made 39% of their three-point attempts last season.

    The Golden Eagles will rely on its backcourt as Tom Crean looks to take a perfect record into Maui next week. Jerel McNeal, who rallied Marquette from a sluggish stretch in the second half against IUPUI, will likely draw the defensive assignment on Toolson.

    While Marquette's deep and talented backcourt seems to come at opponents in waves, the inside game remains a mystery, as always. Junior Dwight Burke started over Ousmane Barro on Saturday, and delivered a two points and two rebounds in 16 minutes of action. Barro was not much better, if at all, with three points and seven boards in 22 uninspiring minutes.

    Media Reports

    Novak to D-League

    From the Houston Chronicle:

    Second-year forward Steve Novak will be sent to the Rio Grand Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League on Monday, marking the first time the Rockets have used the option to send first- or second-year players to the D-League.

    Novak, 23, a second-round pick out of Marquette, played in 35 games last season, averaging 1.5 points on 35 percent shooting. He has not been on the active roster this season.

    "He hasn't played for quite a while, more than a year," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "We feel he is someone that needs to go out there and play and compete in games. We wanted to send Steve early. He is a guy that needs to have plays called for him, so we wanted him with the coach down there (Bob Hoffman) from the beginning."
    Brian Hill from Orlando was fired for not playing Travis. We all know Jeff Van Gundy was fired for not having played Novak last year.

    Clearly, this Houston GM is asking to be canned.

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Marquette oulasts IUPUI in season opener

    The Marquette Golden Eagles topped the IUPUI Jaguars 76-68 tonight at the Bradley Center in the season opener for both clubs. Jerel McNeal led MU with 20 points and six rebounds.

    MU led 39-31 at the half, but IUPUI stormed to a lead early in the second half on the strength of a shocking 17-2 run. Marquette regained its footing thanks to McNeal's aggressive play and a smothering backcourt rotation to gut out a close victory. Late in the game MU had several chances to put distance between themselves and the Jaguars, but a series of silly fouls and turnovers kept this one close to the bitter end.

    George Hill led IUPUI with 19 points.

    Here's the SportingNews box score.

    Marquette to Get Volume Discount for Arthroscopic Surgeries

    Mr. Basketball Wisconsin, freshman Scott Christoperson, will miss an undetermined amount of time following knee surgery Saturday morning.

    Scott underwent arthroscopic surgery to his right knee Saturday to repair a pre-existing injury to his meniscus. He will begin the rehabilitation process immediately and is expected to return in 2007-08.

    "We felt surgery at this time was the best option for Scott, not only for this season, but his long-term future as well" Crean said in a release.

    Ouch! First Mbakwe, now Christoperson. One more, and MU gets a free set of steak knives at the Surgery Center.

    The release suggests Scott will be back this season, although the debate will rage on whether he should red-shirt, since he hasn't played in any regular season games yet.

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Marquette opens season against IUPUI

    The nationally-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles open the 2007-2008 campaign on Saturday night at home against the IUPUI Jaguars. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm CST. IUPUI won its only exhibition tilt, an 84-45 thrashing of Brescia University.

    The Jaguars, the pre-season favorite to win the Summit League, are led by the conference pre-season player of the year, junior guard George Hill. That Hill is the pre-season POY is remarkable -- he was redshirted last year after breaking his foot early in the season. The Jags finished the 2006-2007 campaign at 15-15 without Hill.

    As a sophomore, Hill averaged 18.9 points per game on 51% shooting. Hill's primary running mate looks to be 6'5" SF Austin Montgomery, a senior who averaged 14ppg last season and shot 40% from beyond the arc. The Jags are coached by Ron Hunter, a former UWM assistant and two-time Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year.

    Marquette counters with the nation's deepest backcourt and an exceptionally deep roster. It is year three of the Three Amigos -- and expectations are understandably high in Milwaukee following a 24-10 season a year ago.

    Time to ball.

    Want to watch the game on the Internet? Click here to find out how thanks to a fan on MUScoop.

    Media Notes

    CS Team Predictions 2007-08

    Here are the Cracked Sidewalks predictions for this upcoming season:

    Utah Valley State WWWW
    MU vs. ChaminadeWWWW
    MU vs. LSU/OklahomaWWLW
    MU vs. Duke?WWWW
    UW-Milwaukee WWWW
    @UW-Madison Badgers LLLL
    Sacramento State WWWW
    Coppin State Eagles WWWW
    Savannah State WWWW
    @West Virginia LLLW
    Seton Hall WWWW
    Notre Dame WWWW
    @Louisville LLLL
    @UConn LLWW
    DePaul WWWW
    South Florida WWWW
    @Cincinnati WWWW
    Louisville LWWL
    @Notre Dame LLLL
    @Seton Hall WWWW
    Pitt WWWW
    @St. Johns WWWW
    Rutgers WWWW
    @Villanova LWLW
    Georgetown WLWW
    FL Gulf Coast OOCWWWW
    @Syracuse LLLL
    BE Record:11-712-613-514-4
    Total Record22-823-723-725-5

    Hilltopper Comments: I realize my predictions were the most "pessimistic." Don't get me wrong, Marquette is a great team, and will do very well this year. They are roughly the same team from last year, with 3 great Sophomores who are now Juniors, plus Mo, plus Lazar getting better every minute.

    But. The Big East will be better this year too. Road wins will be tougher to get, even with 9 chances. I knocked off one win for the troubling first half performance vs. NSU on Sunday. -- People say "it's early." Not as early as you'd think. -- This team has played 7 games now, 4 in Vancouver, 2 vs. KSU, plus NSU. Sure, MU turned it "on" in the 2nd half of NSU, but the slow start, missed layups, missed jumpers, missed FTs.. in the first half caught my attention. The team still has weak spots, and we're going to be frustrated from time to time. 22-8 is still a great BE record.

    BigEastCast takes a look at Marquette

    SNY's Brendon Desrochers and co-host Dante Carnevale are back on the podcast beat -- these guys are prolific so bookmark this site to keep up.

    In the current podcast they look at Connecticut, Georgetown, Louisville and Marquette.

    Nice work, fellas.

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    An in-depth look at Chris Otule and Erik Williams

    Jim Hicks is the foremost high school basketball expert in the greater Houston area. Jim is the editor of RCSSports.com, the online hub for Houston high school basketball.

    So, when Marquette secured commitments from a pair of Houston-area products there was only one place to turn to learn more about Chris Otule and Erik Williams.

    Below is a Q/A that Jim graciously provided -- it is full of fantastic information about these two future Marquette Golden Eagles. Jim, take it away........

    Why did Chris Otule fly under the radar for such a long period of time?
    With so many elite summer teams from the Houston area, it's very common for certain teams to get more exposure than others. As a result, the laws of averages finally benefited Chris with the Houston Lynx program as they participated in the George McClellan Invitational (July 14-15th) in Houston. Over five dozen D1 coaches were present to witness Chris go 'bonkers' on the boards during the Lynx's impressive win over the heavily favored Adidas sponsored T Mac All Stars.

    To many college coaches, July 15th was the official coming out party for Chris Otule.
    Over the course of the next week, the hype began to circulate around the country about his performance, in advance of everyone preparing to migrate to Vegas for the annual summer events. All Chris had to do was "hold serve" (which he did) and the rest is history...

    Otule sounds like a raw talent. Can you describe his game?
    Raw in the sense of miles on his tires, or in hoop terms - minutes played against high caliber competition. I truly believe that year to year, some kids get better and others don't. He has developed into a very dependable rebounding force. On the low post he's no longer waiting for the double team. Chris is getting the rock and making his move. It takes a certain type of attitude to get into that mode.

    You currently list Otule as the 15th best player in the Greater Houston area for the 2008 class. The buzz around Otule's upside has MU fans excited -- but is he a reach for a Big East program?
    The key word is 'upside', because it is currently Chris' most intriguing asset.

    One very important thing to digest is the fact that Greater Houston set a national record in 2006 with the most seniors from a single city (43) to pledge / sign with D1 schools. Not New York, not LA, or any other city have exceeded that number. Last season we had (38) to ink with D1 colleges totalling (81) during a two year span. Therefore, if those players were lined up along a wall, #43 would still be a Division One player. In an effort to allow those stats a chance to soak in, think of how many D1 signees were from your state within the past season.

    In a city where the talent is so tremendous, somebody has to be #40, somebody has to be #25, and somebody has to be #15. However, applying the 'Bell Curve', the #15 player in Greater Houston could very well be #3 in the entire state of Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, or even Wisconsin.

    Who is the better player, Otule or Dwight Miller (whom MU also recruited)?
    Two different positions. Miller is a face up forward who can guard the perimeter. Chris is more productive closer to the basket. Right now, Miller is more athletic and is a bit more developed. However, Chris is a flower that is just beginning to open up. In today's recruiting world it's almost like being on Wall Street - 'buy the rumor, sell the fact'. Right now he's a poor man's Emeka Okafor. Heck, before his 12th grade season in 2000-01, even Emeka was a poor man's version of Emeka Okafor.

    Do you expect Otule to contribute as a college freshman?
    Hard call. It depends on what type of season he has under a former D1 coach at Bush HS. I think many are speed balling past the facts that Chris is currently creating a resume for himself. Prior to this past July, he was known as a supplemental big body who only averaged 5ppg on varsity last season. Sure he's 1,000 times better today, but the bottom line is the bottom line, and there aren't many bodies like his around.

    Otule plays for a legendary coach in what has historically been one of the state's best districts. How does Otule's team look this season?
    Coach Ronnie Courtney is a living legend in the high school coaching ranks. His Willowridge HS team (featuring TJ Ford, Daniel Ewing, and Kenny Taylor) basically ignited the new revolution of recruitment for Greater Houston players. I have Bush HS picked to finish 3rd in this very tough district behind Hightower HS (featuring Garland Green - brother of NBA dunker Gerald Green) and defending champ Elkins HS (featuring Washington recruit Elston Turner - son of Houston Rocket asst coach).

    Erik Williams' verbal came as a big surprise to many. What are your impressions of his game?
    He's long, and long and lanky wings are in style like diamond chains in a rap video. Eric has improved so much over the past two seasons. He can stick the baseline jumper and even extend out to the curve. He rebounds well, and runs the floor even better. His high school coach John Harmatuk truly believes in the kid's ability to excel. When a HS coach loves a kid that much, that's a very good sign toward the confidence of the player.

    Is Williams a true SF, or can he play multiple positions?
    We're talking about an 11th grader. He still has this season and the next before establishing a true position. But as of now, he's a wing forward who'll have to play mostly on the inside with his HS team. During the summer, he'll get to freelance more on the perimeter and stuff like that.

    Was MU in on these kids before Buzz Williams joined the Marquette staff?
    I doubt very seriously that Marquette was anything more than Dwyane Wade's old school before Buzz arrived. Actually, after the results of Karon Bradley (from the same HS as Erik Williams), it was a very long shot for you guys to land another kid from that very same high school, especially an underclassman. That just simply proves the impact of pre-existing relationships in recruiting.

    Do you expect Marquette to continue to actively recruit the greater Houston area? Is MU looking at other local kids there? As long as Buzz's real name is Brent, he'll be stalking the hoop scene in not only Houston, but Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin as well. Some coaches may not want the names of their target recruits released prematurely, so I'll stray away from listing their names.

    Jim, thanks very much
    Jim Hicks is the editor of RCS Sports www.rcssports.com . Also, Jim can be seen (not just heard, but seen) on the nation's only LIVE high school basketball Internet video talk show. "The Basketball Show" airs every Monday 9pm -10:30pm CT on www.houstonsports.com .

    Updates from around the Web

    OK......the season is essentially underway -- btw, how about Gardner-Webb! -- and here are two blog entries to check out:

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Big East announces 16-team tournament

    The Big East announced today that beginning in 2009, the Big East Tournament will be expanded to include all 16 teams. Currently the league's top 12 teams punch a ticket to MSG.

    Here's the news release.

    2007-2008 pre-season Big East picks

    The Big East Basketball Report is once again polling all Big East bloggers for their annual Big East pre-season predictions. Look for the Big East Basketball Report to post the aggregated prognostications later this week.

    With that in mind, here is the Cracked Sidewalks pre-season ballot for the 2007-2008 Big East season:

    Team Rankings:
    1. Georgetown (still the league's best)
    2. Louisville (No Palacios, no problem. T-Will to the rescue)
    3. Marquette (nation's deepest backcourt hopes Hayward emerges as frontcourt star)
    4. Providence (veteran roster will push PC into the first division)
    5. Notre Dame (McAlarney & Jackson form a dynamic backcourt duo)
    6. Villanova (Wright has more high-ceiling guards than ever)
    7. West Virginia (Huggins gets this experienced team into the NCAAs)
    8. Syracuse (the loss of Watkins, Nichols & Roberts outweighs huge talent influx)
    9. UConn (no idea what to make of this bunch)
    10. Pittsburgh (huge graduation losses and new style of play makes them a wildcard)
    11. Seton Hall (upside potential with Laing and Harvey)
    12. Cincinnati (Vaughn is the best guard nobody talks about)
    13. DePaul (fantastic talent influx, but will it be enough to replace big losses?)
    14. South Florida (Heath will get it done here, but not yet)
    15. Rutgers (two years away, solid foundation emerging)
    16. St. John's (Norm Roberts' final season in Queens?)

    Preseason Player of the Year:
    Roy Hibbert, Georgetown

    First Team All-Big East:
    Terrence Williams, Louisville - F
    Dominic James, Marquette - G
    Scottie Reynolds,Villanova - G
    Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown - G
    Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida - C

    Second Team All-Big East:
    DaJuan Summers, Georgetown - F
    Luke Harangody, Notre Dame - F
    Wesley Matthews, Marquette - G/F
    Jerel McNeal, Marquette - G
    Geoff McDermott, Providence- F

    Third Team All-Big East:
    Eric Devendorf, Syracuse - G
    Edgar Sosa, Louisville - G
    Jeff Adrien, UConn - F
    Deonta Vaughn, Cincy - G
    Brian Laing, Seton Hall - F

    Preseason Freshman of the Year:
    Mac Koshwal, DePaul- C

    Freshman First Team All-Conference:
    Donte Greene, Syracuse- F
    Corey Stokes, Villanova- G
    Corey Fisher, Villanova- G
    Dar Tucker, DePaul- F
    Johnny Flynn, Syracuse- G

    Freshman Second Team All-Conference:
    DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh- C
    Austin Freeman, Georgetown- G
    Alvin Mitchell, Cincy - G
    Tyrone Nash, Notre Dame - G/F
    Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall- G

    A few parting thoughts.....
    There is essentially no difference between teams #4 - #10 in the poll above -- the league is remarkably balanced and it would not surprise me to see any one of those seven teams deliver an upside surprise this season. Syracuse in particular should be fun to watch -- loads of young, athletic talent that could vault the 'Cuse into the top tier of the league. Some might think that having both PC and ND in the top five is a reach -- maybe so, but I gave the nod to these squads based on experience. I can't believe a Jamie Dixon coached team could finish 10th. Of course, if not Pitt, who --- UConn, West Virginia? The league remains loaded.

    Finally, choosing All-Big East teams is nearly an exercise in futility........the league is just so deep, inevitably very talented players are left off of any list. For example Darris Nichols, Jerome Dyson, Doug Wiggins, Hasheem Thabeet, Sharaud Curry, Randall Hanke, David Padgett, Anthony Mason Jr, Eugene Harvey, Levance Fields, Mike Cook, Rob Kurz, Da'Sean Butler, and J.R. Inman are just some of the additional players deserving of league-wide notoriety.

    What. A. League.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Marquette offers Marquis Mason

    Mark Miller from the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook and Wishoops.net is reporting that Marquette has offered 6'5" sophomore G/F Marquis Mason of Madison East High School. MU is the first program to offer Mason.

    According to Miller:

    In addition to his stellar athleticism, Mason’s length and toughness on both ends of the floor are traits that impress collegiate recruiters. Mason is an outstanding shot blocker and rebounder, though he'll likely need to develop a perimeter shot while also continuing to improve his ball handling and moves to his right.
    Miller notes that Marquis Mason is the third player from the Wisconsin high school class of 2010 to receive an offer from MU, joining 6'11" Evan Anderson (Eau Claire North HS) and 6'6" SF Flavian Davis (Wisconsin Lutheran HS, Milwaukee).

    Information on how to purchase the latest Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook can be found here.

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    ”Tom Crean Show” Begins Nov. 8 On Time Warner Sports

    For Immediate Release

    ”Tom Crean Show” Begins Nov. 8 On Time Warner Sports
    Weekly Program To Air At 5 p.m. Thursday Nights

    Milwaukee – “The Tom Crean Show” finds a new television home this season as the 30-minute program moves to Time Warner Sports Channel 32 in 2007-08, with the first broadcast scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 8) night.

    Dennis Krause will host the show, which will feature interviews, highlights, player features and behind-the-scenes access to the nationally ranked team.

    The show will air during its regularly scheduled time slot of 5 p.m. CT on Thursday nights and re-air several times over the course of the week. The debut edition will be replayed Nov. 8 at 10:30 p.m., Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.

    The Golden Eagles welcome IUPUI to the Bradley Center Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. for the Pepsi Season Opener. The Pepsi Tip-Off Luncheon is set for Nov. 9 in the Monaghan Ballroom of the Alumni Memorial Union. The reception begins at 11:15 a.m., with lunch and a program slated to start at Noon. Cost is $35 per person. For more information, please call Sarah Claus at (414) 288-4785 or sarah.claus@marquette.edu.

    The “Tom Crean Show” radio program also debuts this week with its first installment Monday night from 6-7 p.m. CT at Mo’s Irish Pub on Wisconsin Avenue.

    Nov. 5 will mark the first radio broadcast and the show will continue through March. Tentative show dates, subject to change, are Nov. 5, Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and March 3.

    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Marquette wins exhibition tilt

    Marquette raced out to an 83-55 win over Division II Northern State tonight at the Bradley Center.

    The Golden Eagles shook off a rotten start to blow out NSU with a dominant second half performance. The Golden Eagles were led by Lazar Hayward's impressive 17 point effort. Wesley Matthews thew in 16 points, while Dominic James added a dozen.

    Our man on the scene tonight said, "Watch out for Lazar!".....looks like the pride of Buffalo, NY is much-improved from last season. That's good to hear.

    Next up for Marquette is the season opener against IUPUI on November 10 at the Bradley Center.

    Positives from tonight's game:

    • McNeal with four turnovers. Lovely.
    • Barro only played 16 minutes. Odd.
    • Marquette was out rebounded by 38-35.
    • MU shot 19% from three-point range. Against a Division II team. At home. Disappointing.
    • Fitzgerald only attempted two three-point shots. Ugh.
    • Cubillan, 1-6 from the floor.
    Media updates
    Here's the box score in .pdf

    MUScoop discussion including post-game notes

    GoMarquette recap

    Brief Sportsline recap

    MUScoop in-game photos for your viewing pleasure

    Marquette Family Updates

    Not to dilute the great news of the Otule signing, but there are a couple other developments today that are of interest to Marquette fans.

    First and foremost, Marquette great, Doc Rivers' father passed away in Chicago today. Grady Alexander Rivers Sr. was 76. Please keep Doc and his family in your thoughts.

    Second, Lute Olson of the Arizona Wildcats (#17) is taking an indefinite leave of absence. Former MU coach Kevin O'Neill has assumed the head coaching duties.

    Newest Warrior: Chris Otule

    According to Todd Rosiak, Chris Otule, a 6-foot-10 center from Fort Bend Bush High School in Richmond, Tex., has orally committed to MU.

    "Chris is probably one of the fastest-developing big men I've been around," said coach Ronnie Courtney, who is in his first year as coach at Fort Bend Bush after a six-year stint as head coach at Division I Texas Southern University. "Last year he had a season where he didn't play a whole lot, but got in here and had a great summer and came back to school and is improving as we speak. A very mannerable and intelligent young man, I can tell you that."

    ...Otule's commitment puts MU over the scholarship limit heading into the 2008-'09 season, as its three available tenders have already been committed to Fulce, Nick Williams and Tyshawn Taylor.

    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    MU hosts Northern State University in exhibition play

    On Sunday the Marquette Golden Eagles will sort of kick off the 2007-2008 campaign with an exhibition game against Northern State University. Tip-off will be at 6pm CST at the Bradley Center.

    After analyzing Sunday night's matchup, I'm confident that Marquette will win, even without Trevor Mbakwe. Why? This is a classic trap game for Northern State. NSU played at Iowa on Saturday night then squeezes in the Marquette tilt on Sunday - - just days before their big battle with Black Hills State.

    Smart scheduling by MU.

    FYI, Northern State University is located in Aberdeen, SD, and has an enrollment of 2,200. Wolves' basketball has been around 106 years, and they currently play in D2's Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

    Here is the GoMarquette release on the game.

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Trevor Mbakwe to miss entire season

    In a radio interview this morning on 1510 WAUK in Milwaukee, Tom Crean confirmed that freshman PF Trevor Mbakwe suffered a knee injury that will require surgery. Mbakwe will miss the entire 2007-2008 season.

    Mbakwe was expected to be a major contributor in the MU frontcourt this season. Absent Mbakwe's athleticism, Tom Crean will be forced to rely more on junior PF Dwight Burke, who has been ineffective in his first two seasons. Also, this means that Crean will likely have to play Lazar Hayward at the true PF slot more than expected, and freshman PF Pat Hazel. should see more time.

    Check out the info on MUScoop.

    Here's the audio of the interview from 1510AM

    Rosiak blogs.

    The official MU release.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    McDonald's All American Games come to Milwaukee

    In a coup for the City of Milwaukee, the good folks at McDonald's of Southeast Wisconsin banded together and won the bid to host the 31st annual McDonald's All-American Basketball Games.

    The games will be played on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at the Bradley Center.

    As always, the proceeds from these games go to a terrific cause -- in this case, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Eastern Wisconsin. Local event, local benefits.

    If you'd like tickets -- act fast.

    The process is simple. Click on this link for the presale discount ticket opportunity. The passcode you need is: HOOPS

    This presale will allow you to purchase discounted tickets at Ticketmaster through Sunday, November 4. Tickets range in price from $17 - $52.

    Remaining tickets will be released to the general public on November 5, so get the good ones this weekend.

    To learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities, click this link.

    Marquette: where student athletes graduate

    Earlier this week the NCAA released its annually updated list of graduation rates for athletes and Marquette University was among the nation's best. In the most recent NCAA report, the average Division I graduation success rate (GSR) is 77%. Marquette blew that away with a 95% GSR! Only the domers scored higher in the Big East.

    In terms of basketball, the national Division I average GSR was just 61% (DePaul 'helped' there with 36%. LOL). Marquette basketball clocked in at 89% for the assessed time period.

    That's an exceptional performance by Marquette University. Congratulations.

    The Chicago Tribune has a full report here.

    To view Marquette's complete GSR, here is the full .pdf file.

    Marquette News and Notes

    November 1.

    Halloween is over, baseball has crowned its champion (your 2007 Boston Red Sox!) and now basketball ramps up. Here are a few signs of the season: