"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

Saturday, February 09, 2008

MU Loses @ Notre Dame

Marquette loses another on the road.

Marquette trailed Notre Dame for most of the game, down 10 with 2:34 to play, heading for a double-digit loss. Playing inspired offense and defense down those last 2 minutes, MU nearly tied the game on a last second shot, but fell short. Final score, 86-83 bad guys.

Dominic James led the Warriors with 23 points, scoring 10 in the final 2 minutes of play, with ND playing soft. Lazar Hayward had 21 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. One sore spot was Jerel McNeal's play, who went 3-15 and missed a layup/dunk attempt while completely unguarded. The Ooze also had a tough day, going 1-9, although he did snag 12 rebounds.

While Marquette still might have lost, the officiating was lopsided, to say the least. The refs awarded Notre Dame 31 free throws to MU's 8, and blew some obvious calls, most notably, a kicked ball that a ref called an over-and-back violation, giving ND the ball.

No one should be surprised Marquette couldn't pull off a victory at Notre Dame today. ND has a 33 game home winning streak (which began after a MU victory 2 years ago). MU was a 5 point dog. MU was 1-3 on the road in the Big East. Notre Dame, while picked to finish 9th in the Big East, is easily one of the top 4 teams in the Big East, and are #21 in the country. It was a game we were supposed to lose, and if there's a bright side, played hard in the 2nd half and weren't blown out like our other road losses.

With the loss, Marquette is solidly in the middle of the Big East, at 6-5 and is on the road to Seton Hall on Tuesday.

For the record, I am now 11 for 11 in picking BE games for CS's pre-season predictions. Let's hope that's right down the stretch, winning 6 of the last 8 games. Hope, hope, hope.


BlackandGreen said...

Great game today. We nearly gave this one away, but you would have deserved a win with the great shooting and overall play. It's nice to see the rivalry this evenly-matched.

Anonymous said...

This was one of those games that warrants a few questions to Mr.Crean. On a positive note James looked healthy and had explosive legs and quickness during periods of the game. Lazar was Lazar and Cuby hit a few 3's. This was there best offesive performance in a while so maybe that bodes well for the future. Now to a series of questions Tommy Crean:

1) What exactly was your defensive strategy and what specifically do you teach, our bigs about positioning etc?

2)You've now gotten pounded on the glass 9 of the last 10 games. Do you teach players how to box out/attack the glass offensively?

3) If our "big men" can't guard anybody, alter shots, or rebound what purpose do they serve?

4) This team is built on speed and quickness. Do you only press with 2 mins to go in the game and down 10?

5) Can Jarel McNeal make a layup in practice?

6) Do our guards practice the mid-range jumper?

7) Have you taught our guards about hard doubles in the post and recovering?

8) Can you fkin coach and have you ever made a game adjustment that led to win? Okay I'll answer that one umm no.

9) What exatly is your zone offense?

10) Do you want to go to the NIT this year after being preseason top 15 in every poll?

bonus question: Will you leave if there is a buyout? Please. You got two years my friend that's it.

Anonymous said...

If MU makes its lay-ups and the bigs hit from inside the free throw line @50%, this game is a blow-out win for MU. Not sure how you coach poise, but they need to figure that out.

Let's hope the ability to come back from 10 down gives MU some confidence. At least they are not peaking too early.

Anonymous said...

Another question for Crean...where was your tie and was that one of Rab's suits? It looked like you were swimming in it.

Anonymous said...

What is the role of MU's assistant coaches during games and at practices? Is it based on their expertise?

Anonymous said...

ND 31 free throws MU 8? It would be nice if people could make layups. This team has completely underachieved. Lazar is the only player that has improved from last year.

Anonymous said...

Great effort today to close the game. Tough place to play, and the refs favor the big men.

But Matthews play continues to be a source of tremendous concern and confusion. He's a 3 year starter, and looks dazed and confused on offense. Unless he picks up a foul, he rarely scores. Serious regression from last year, and a complete funk of a year from a guy we really need.

Jack 82

Anonymous said...

I've been on Crean's case all season but that was a great effort. I don't know what the deal is with Barro but someone should take him behind the woodshed. I don't see how it's possible for him to miss that many layups. You're 6'8"!! How hard can it be?!?! He cost us the game with his woeful, woeful shooting.

Anonymous said...

Granted Barro had his problems BUT how about McNeal and Matthews? Zouch! Not just shooting but defense and passing.

Anonymous said...

Two Words: MIKE DEANE Where's Mike Deane when you need him? MU needs a game coach because this is beginning to get fkin ridiculous. Who can these guys beat? Maybe St Johns. They may not win another game this year.

Anonymous said...

Marquette will be in the NCAA. They are the fastest team in the Big East - maybe the fastest in the country. They may fall out of the rankings this week, but they will be back in. I predict a 5th place finish in the Big East.

Louisville just beat Georgetown. ND is the legitimate #2 in the conference [well, we'll see in Storrs]. Marquette will win most of its remaining games. They are a phenomenal team.

Anonymous said...

Watching this team regress, I think they'd be better off in the NIT where they could win a game or two. If they go to the NCAA tourney it will be another one-and-done.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more about Matthews. Three shots? Also, McNeal is killing us. Can the guy make a fkin layup or possibly draw a foul? Where has "the best defender in the Big East" gone? The worst thing about this game is that we made 3's but still lost. I thought our perimiter defense was abysmal and we only pressured late in the game. Thanks TC nice fkin stategy. We know we can't defend the post but how about using our speed on defense. We can't be afraid of getting into foul trouble. Look at the video of the Duke game coaching staff.

Anonymous said...

OK, nobody likes losing to Notre Dame. Period. We should have won yesterday depsite the refs, despite the ND home winning streak and despite the other factors that affected our game.

The fact that Marquette didn't win and was on the verge of being blown out suggests this team has not improved from last year. Not a bit. After the ugly Michigan State loss in Winston-Salem, Crean should have hid in his office for a month and re-worked everything, until it never happened again.

Unfortunately, it is happening way too much this season.

I like Coach Crean and I have said on this site before that he is the best thing to hit Marquette since Al went to broadcasting. But it is extremely disappointing to see us lose the way we lose -- getting banged inside and missing shots we should be making. Period.

We're a good team but we're a long way from the next level and we're further than we should be from what Marquette fans expect.

Here's hoping we see some changes in the days to come.

Anonymous said...

Other than Lazar, where are the improvements since last year? The corollary, have we regressed or not improved? If the latter is true, ie. good, to above average players regressing or not improving this is a ooaching issue regarding player development.

Another issue is game coaching, has it improved? As best I can tell the assistant coaches play little to no part in this and therefore TC gets the "credit." Many posters on other sites have asked the question about pressing, but no "apologist", that I am aware of, has answered that question.

I fear two years from now we will be hearing how long it takes big men to develop.

Anyone check out how Purdue's new coach is doing?

Anonymous said...

Forget Purdue, Mike Brey does a better job recruiting than Crean. Zeller has been a disappointment, but he was higher rated as a recruit than anybody MU has and he's coming off the bench. Harongody is a stud.

Gene Frenkle said...

It's not such a matter of game-time coaching, but a matter of not getting good enough big guys on the squad. Crean did the same thing a couple years ago when he was short on guards after Wade left.

So, yes, you can definitely blame him for not getting a good enough big guy to handle the rigors of the big east. Not even a stud, just a banger than can guard and get rebounds and not get moved around. Losing Mbakwe hurts, but still...these are Tom's guys and he has to coach them up to win being short bigs.

If this team piddles out and is one-and-done in the NCAA, the heat/criticism on Crean will get fairly high, thus putting a lot more pressure on him next year. I still stand by him as a good coach, and one that is overpaid based on reasons I've mentioned in comments before.

Regarding this game, however, it was a hard fought road loss to a team that's undefeated at home and ranked...and arguably our biggest rival. I'd say that Jerel adn Ooze's combined 4-24 shooting had more to do w/the loss than TC.

But...they started out poorly again. Now reaching a point in the season where one-game apparitions are becoming 'trends'.

Anonymous said...

Gene, total TC recruits that have been serviceable at the 4 or 5 position? One Scott Merritt. Is there any team in the top 50 RPI that has worse bigs? Your right we have to play them but it's fkin pathetic how horrible our bigs have been during his 9 years. Next year Mbakwe may be an answer, but we have no idea how good he will be. Top 100 in some recuting list top 150 in others. Otule is a project at best so we'll have 8 guards basically next year if DJ comes back w/ Mbakwe and the oh so powerful Dwight Burke. And, as stated by an earlier post, who has improved sinse last season besides Lazar? That would be no one. Who has regressed? McNeal, Matthews, Fitz, Barro, James etc. I'd give him 2 years after this one. We'll see if Tayshawn, Nick, Trevor, and Lazar can lead us to a sweet 16. If they don't go two rounds once in the next three years he should be canned.

cardinal said...

I have been a Louisville Cardinal fan since 1953 and have enjoyed the series with MU. The Warriors have had some very good players. I recall players like Terry Rand and Walt Mangum from the mid to late 50. Ed Hickey was your coach in those days.

UofL fans think of TC the way MU fans think of Rick Pitino. MU has nailed more last second shots in Freedom Hall than anybody else. I was there when Wardlow nailed the 30 footer as the buzzer sounded. Mike Deane jumped a foot off the flour and told the Card fans to shove it.

Great series with you guys; very exciting. Enjoy reading Cracked Sidewalks. I liked Al McGuire because he liked to keep things simple. Congratulations on your 1977 NCAA title.

Anonymous said...

Walt, Mike Moran and Mike McCoy now those were Warriors! Thanks for the thoughts, Cardinal.

There have been a fair number of comments about the free throw discrepancy yesterday. Does anyone else think that Crean is way too complacent about missed calls and that may be part of the reason for the discrepancy? The art of working the refs is another attribute that seems to be lacking. (I am not wanting a replay of Deane or KO.)

cardinal said...

Mike Krzyzewski of Duke can heckle the refs better than coach I have ever seen. Mike goes at it a full 40 minutes nonstop. Little wonder that Duke gets such favorable officiating, especially in NCAA tournament. If TC is not good at riding the refs, maybe this is why MU got homered at Notre Dame.

MU had outstanding team in 1954-55 season with Rand, Rube Schultz, John Walzak and O'Keefe. Jack Nagel was MU coach. Iowa bet MU 86to 81 for trip to Final Four. Very good Warrior basketball team.

Louisville coach Peck Hickman once said, "Don Kojis scrapes his elbows on the rim". Kojis was only 6'5" if that but was stout rebounder. MU could use Kojis; very good all around player that fellow. One tough son of a gun.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing on this site that Tom Crean is overpaid and that one of the big criticisms of Crean is his paycheck compared to his performance.

Get real everyone. Let it go!

Here's why. First, Marquette is a private university. It can pay anyone anything it wants. Your tax dollars aren't supporting it and if you don't like it, stop contributing.

Second, many of those who complain about Coach Crean's salary are those who would have screamed from the roof of Tower Hall if Marquette hadn't paid Coach Crean and he's left for greener pastures -- say Illinois folks.

Thirdly, last I checked, Marquette tickets are hard to come by, unless you want to sit against the back row. If success is measured by cash flow, Coach Crean is close to a national champion. Remember, Al's major goal was to fill the last row of the Arena.

Finally, you people who complain about Coach Crean's salary are SOOOO Milwaukee. Get with it folks. There's a real world beyond Brookfield and Racine out there. You do kinda live in it, you know.

I am not the happiest person in the world with losing to Notre Dame. And I complain from time to time. But, gosh, when I remember the Raymonds, Dukiet and Deane years, things are pretty good now. Lets keep our perspective here.

Anonymous said...

Chamionships matter that was one of the weakests posts I've ever read, ever. Are you serious? A "real world" beyond Racine and Brookfield? What are you talking about? We're on this site because we're passionate about MU hoops and as paying costumers have every right to demand that the results on the court should match the salary of the coach. Deane's last 4 years weren't so lean if you count them against Crean's last 4 years at MU, in fact they're better since Deane actually got a tourney win. Put your head in the sand and keep drinking the Kool - Aid.

Anonymous said...

Mike-freakin'-Deane??? Are you kidding me??

Mike Deane was in two NCAA tournaments and won one game. Both times he lost to lower seeded teams.

Tom Crean has more NCAA tournament wins than the previous four MU coaches...COMBINED!!! Let's get some perspective people. Are there areas that need improvement? Absolutely. But I think Crean is the guy to do it.

Anonymous said...

Go Marquette! Go Marquette! Go Marquette! We have a fun team. Yea, we lose some. Welcome to reality. I could rattle off things wrong with the team but you guys already did it for me. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Championships matter --
Marquette has been selling tickets since the 1960s. If you think Crean has anything to do with it, you're a mental case. This is just the kind of the thing that uneducated Marquette fans constantly use when defending Crean because they don't know any better. Check the attendance figures!!

Anonymous said...

Marquette has the greatest fans in the world. They want a winner. They pick out the deficencies in the team. Crean should listen to them. They are only here to help and support.

Anonymous said...

Uh, dude, may I remind you that virtually all of the 10 largest crowds in Marquette basketball history have occurred since Coach Crean arrived.

When O'Neill, Dean and Dukiet were here, Marquette averaged about 11,000 to 13,000 fans, depending on the year and opponent. National television was a delicacy rather than an expected part of our winters.

Now, with Coach Crean, we have a 17,000 seat arena wihout a lot of empty seats. And what you don't say is if we had done another Dukiet or Dean mistake, whether we'd be another DePaul or Loyola of Chicago in terms of team presence and attendance.

I remember a time not long ago when some pundits were questioning whether Marquette was a "mid-major" that can compete for talent with the largest schools in the country. Since Coach Crean arrived, we're members of the best basketball conference in America and our talent has improved materially.

Coach Crean is an economic success for MU. I dislike losing as much as anyone here, but I go to games now in large part because of the excitement, talent and ability Coach Crean and his team bring to the Bradley Center and to MU road games.

We'll get there.

Anonymous said...

I graduated in 1988 and sat on press row my senior year doing stats for WISN Radio -- sitting right between Bob Bach and George Thompson. It was a great, memorable experience, but the team was awful: 10-18. One of the worst MU records ever. Marquette in those years was off the radar, it was like Loyola of Chicago in terms of national exposure.
Now MU is in perhaps the toughest conference in the nation and usually is ranked. Good times. I want a national championship as well, but only one team will win it all and there are, what, 330 Division 1 teams? And Marquette of late has been in the top 25.
Ripping on Crean -- are you kidding me? Learn your history -- it's not easy to win it all, and it's not easy to win all your games.
Do you want to go back to 1988 -- geesh! In those days half the time the Marquette game result from the previous day wasn't even listed in the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times. No one cared!
And the hoops highlight of my four years at Marquette: ALMOST beating No. 1-ranked North Carolina in the MECCA in Jan. 1986. Yes, that's right, the highlight was a loss.
Nowadays, MU drops a few games and some goofs are out for Crean's head?! Absurd.

Anonymous said...

Talent? I'd rather watch the likes of Crawford, Pieper, and Hutchins any day. Part of the raised profile for MU goes along with the "new media" that's available 24/7 for fans like us. Crean was responsible for Dwyane Wade and I give him all the credit in the world for that as HE is what has raised the status of the program but since then what have we done? Nothing. And I'm not talking about national championships, I've talking about getting to even the 2nd round of the tourney. What good are rankings when we're clearly not even one of the top 32 teams out there?

Anonymous said...

There is no arguement we could always do better. A hardcore Marquette fan might make that arguement. "Why be satisfied with where we are?" Another hard core Marquette fan will say, "We have come a long ways, we are getting in the tournament consistently. Have patience". Both are hardcore fans, neither is wrong or right. Myself I stand behind Crean. There will always be temporary setbacks. But IMO we are moving forward. We haven't stalled. A temporary setback was when Diener got hurt. The rest of the season collapsed, and then the following year we got DJ, Wes and Jerel and we were on the map again. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Marquette has the 10 largest crowds under Crean because under Crean they have taken to exaggerating attendance by an obscene number.

I guess those big MU vs. Cincinnati sellouts under O'Neill and Deane were only half full. But since Crean came along, people cannot wait to see poor shooting and frontline players that should be in the Horizon League.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, do we have a Crean hater here?