"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Post-Game - Video Closure

Sorry, we at Cracked Sidewalks have been too bummed to write much about yesterday's loss to Stanford. You all watched the game anyhow. What are we going to tell you? That McNeal is a stud? That the Lopez twins are great players but need to keep their mouths shut? Like you didn't know that.

I'm sure if our heartbreak mends today, we'll write something later. Maybe a few dozen Cadbury bunnies will clear up our angst.

In the meantime..

Tom Crean didn't make it on Homer's radio broadcast, and ESPNNews didn't carry the MU press conference after the game. After Tivo-ing every news broadcast I could find, to hear something from the team, I've got this.

Here's some closure for you:


Anonymous said...

Yes, It needs to be said, again and again, McNeal is a stud. The best of the 3 since day 1, and the only one to improve.

TC is TC: not a great game coach, but well prepared and his teams almost always play hard and tough.

Jack 82

Anonymous said...

They play hard, but not smart-ultimately that should reflect on the man in charge.

You really think he has these kids ready to play We start slow and finish even worse...

Firing Crean is probably not the solution, but if we are going to achieve to our talent level, then obviously some adjustments need to be made.

I hope he motivates to become a better game coach because we look like a YMCA team when the game is on the line (on both offense and defense).

Unfortunately, I think our team is going to look identical to last years team and we can look forward to another early tournament exit if there still isn't a decent big man in the line up (which there won't be).

BamaMUFan said...

Disagree completely on blaming Crean. Defense on the last sequence was perfect - pressure on ball, bodied a guy perfectly without fouling so he had to hit an off-balance shot while falling to the floor. Jerel is a stud, but so were Wes and Dominic all game long. Last sequence on offense worked too, ran clock down, Jerel got good look from 15-feet. Bottom line, players were in position for the key sequences at the beginning and end of game, Crean can coach our shot in from the front of the rim, or their shot into rolling OUT of the rim instead of in. Gut-wrenching, but can't figure out why either of you are calling for Crean's head after such an incredible game. I'm sure if you would have wanted Kentucky's coach fired after Laettner hit his turnaround at the horn for Duke years back. A bitter loss in a basic road game, as all the UCLA fans there were all over us after Bobby Knight basically said the Pac10 was overrated the night before.


BamaMUFan said...

I cried when Al McGuire died, and rewatched the championship and semifinal several times, went to the play - but saying there should be ANY thought of firing Crean because he doesn't measure up to McGuire is crazy. It's like saying we need to bench McNeal because he doesn't measure up to D. Wade. Crean has coached a team not made up of five-star players to incredible success in the Big East. Consider this, in Al McGuire's first 9 seasons MU went 14-13 against ranked opponents, counting tournament games. So McGuire had to get MU up for 3 ranked opponents a year. In Crean's first 9 seasons MU is 27-30 against ranked opponents - so he is playing more than 8 ranked opponents a year. I'm sure he'd be having 30-4 seasons if we were still an Independent and only had to get up for 3 ranked opponents each season, but the fact is we are in a war almost every game out and the results are outstanding. I'm sure no one is as sick about that last shot rolling in with Lopez lying on the floor as Crean, but give the guy credit. Outside of not being able to lure a legit bigman since Jackson, I don't see what you can fault him on.

BamaMUFan said...

sorry, over 6 ranked opponents played a year, my math is bad - but you get the deal.

Unknown said...

Good points about the coaching comparisons bamaMUfan. I haven't checked it out, but I'm sure the records of some of the best coaches over the years point out how tough it is to post 20 to 25+ wins year after year. If you throw out the freakish Wooden years (of a much different era), there aren't many coaches who can claim consistent final four runs, or for that matter sweet 16 or better runs. Izzo, Pitino, and Coach K have had great success over the past 10 or 15 years, but there aren't many that can consistently get to that level year after year. And even those coaches have their down years. Granted, their rebuilding years are first or second round losses, but I think what we've seen happen to Duke and Kansas the past couple of years point out how tough it is to get back to that level year after year.

The NY Times ran an article last week talking about how NC fans typically "don't get excited" until the final four. I somehow doubt that's true, or at least I hope for their sake it isn't. Where is the fun in that? It makes me realize that MU basketball is in the sweet spot right now: winning consistently, yet not reaching the point where we no longer get excited about first and second round tournament games. We're playing in arguably the toughest conference in the country, having success playing in that conference, and recruiting the right type of players--guys you're happy to see wearing MU blue and gold.

That's not to say it wasn't a bitter loss on Saturday--but I think the reason for that is that most of us realize that if they pulled that one out, then anything was possible next weekend. That's not a bad place to be. It's going to be tough to keep the competitiveness at this level and to take the next step or two in March, but I definitely think it's going to happen. And there's no doubt in my mind that the administration, athletic department, and coaching staff are going about it the right way.

P.S. to the Cracked Sidewalks people--thanks for all the effort to keep us informed. You've clearly become the source for all things MU basketball. We appreciate the effort. Keep up the great work.