"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, March 12, 2008

Round 3: Marquette takes on Seton Hall in MSG

The sixth-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles will take on the 11th seeded Seton Hall Pirates in the opening round of the 2008 Big East Championship on Wednesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm CST on ESPN.

Marquette beat the Hall twice during the regular season. At the Bradley Center in January, MU outlasted the Pirates in an ugly, low-scoring affair, 61-56. Home cooking was no better for the Pirates as MU raced out to a 30-10 lead and never looked back, coming away with an 89-64 win.

Seton Hall arrives at MSG in a world of hurt. The Pirates have lost three in a row and eight of ten, including a gut-wrenching loss to rival Rutgers to close the regular season. The RU loss threw SHU head coach Bobby Gonzalez for a loop, leading to a series of embarrassing remarks during and after that game.

Perhaps Marquette can take advantage of the death spiral that is building around the Pirates' season. The Golden Eagles (22-8, 11-7) finished the conference season with back-to-back losses, and will look to recapture the momentum that carried the team to a five-game win streak through much of February.

The most interesting matchup pits Dominic James against SHU's resident thug, senior guard Jamar Nutter. It was Nutter who delivered a harsh intentional foul on James back in January, a collision that injured the Marquette point guard's wrist hindering his play for weeks. Nutter continued the rough play with a forearm shiver to James' chops during the Hall's embarrassing home loss to MU, earning an ejection from the game. Will Nutter go for the three-peat?

For a quick reminder on how MU won the first two meetings, look inside the numbers:

Key Numbers to Watch
  • Seton Hall protects the ball exceptionally well, turning it over just 16.7% of the time -- good for 9th in the country. Meanwhile, MU forces opponents to cough the ball up nearly 25% of the time. If MU wins the turnover battle, the path to victory will be clearer.
  • The Pirates are a middle of the road offensive team, only generating an eFG% of 48% - - 228 teams are more efficient than the Hall.
  • Defense continues to be a problem for the Pirates who allow opponents a horrendous 51.6% eFG percentage (248th in the nation). Moreover the Hall cedes the glass with little fight - the Pirates are 314th in the nation in preventing offensive rebounds.
The net: If MU turns the Hall over and attacks the offensive glass, expect good things for the Golden Eagles. If not, we could be in for a nail biter against a lesser opponent.

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Anonymous said...

How long into the match, do you suppose, before Nutter throws another cheap one at DJ?

Anonymous said...

If Crean would have said something other than the idiotic comment, "that's BE basketball" "we'll just move on" a 3peat would have been less likely.

Anonymous said...

Why do you bothering telling us if you think Tom Crean is an idiot. Why don't you tell him?

Anonymous said...

I like Villanova's blowout of Syracuse today - will be too late for RPI record, but selection committee will know Nova really is a Top 50 team who we beat. We know we struggle with a good 2-3 zone - and Syracuse has one of the best - and dominant inside play at times. But the glass is half full in that we don't seem to let teams bury us in 3s like Nova did today - so it's all matchups and with the right matchups we can make a run.

Anonymous said...

I would think that the Nova - Syr would be a net neutral to us except that it does really highlight the unevenness of our play as you pionted out.

As you recall the comittee was kind enough to match us up with MSU last year for their own amusement at our expense (I think Crean tells Izzo more about our team than he remembers himself), so I would not think that the comittee will see fit to help us out in any way (media market is too small).

I'm also curious to see if we see the expanded lineup tonight w Blackledge and Christopherson getting time.