"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, March 19, 2010

Unlucky? Big East and MU just victimized by 3-pointers yesterday

There’s been a lot of “Big Least” talk from Big 10 fans and others over one lousy day for the Big East. I believe its pretty important that we defend the conference that is getting Marquette on one in five TV sets in the country for three months a year.

The fact is, whether or not 3-pointers fall can create upsets on any given day, and the Big East just had one day of terrible luck from behind the arc. In the opening day of the NCAA tournament, 683 three-pointers were put up and 36.7% (251) fell.

Unfortunately, the only two teams to shoot over 60% were on the same court, at the same time. Washington, which is still not in the TOP 200 in the country at treys, hit 9 of 14 for 64.2%. At their normal percentage, Marquette wins by a dozen.

In fact, if every team had shot their season average on 3-pointers Notre Dame would have beaten ODU 62-54, and even Georgetown would have beaten Ohio 86-82. The shots didn’t fall for Georgetown and Notre Dame, and Washington and Ohio shot out of their minds from behind the arc or the Big East would be 5-0 after West Virginia’s win today.

Give me a break – we aren’t going to have four of the Elite 8 every year, but the Big East is awesome and for those of us who don’t live in Chicago or Wisconsin, is making Marquette a household word among people who couldn’t pronounce “Marquette.” MU gets revenue with every Big East win in the tourney, and exposure all season.

Cheer on Pitt at the Bradley Center and let’s try to get over our depression by cheering on the Big East, then enjoy Vander Blue and Company following up on Lazar’s success in the best conference in the land.

Here are the 3-point numbers for the 32 teams that played yesterday. How unlucky can you be to have the best two in the country in the same game? Next year …
Three-point shooting March 18, 2010

Top 5
1. Washington 9-14 (64.2%)
2. Marquette 12-19 (63.2%)
3. Ohio 13-23 (56.5%)
4. Richmond 10-21 (47.6%)
5. Northern Iowa 9-19 (47.3%)
Bottom 5
28. ND 6-26 (23.1%)
29. ODU 3-13 (23.1%)
30. UTEP 4-18 (22.2%)
31. Sam Houston State 6-31 (19.4%)
32. San Diego State 3-18 (16.6%)
Overall for the day 251-683 (36.7%)


Unknown said...

Cry me a river....jeez...last time I checked if you hit a shot behind the arc it is 3 points. Those teams that beat the big east did play defense right?? Jeez...if only they would have scored their season average or hit their season avg in free throws...it's the tourney...one and done...

Smoove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smoove said...

Inasmuch as I can only now bear to read about what I saw, I find myself with a broom and shovel, bringing up the rear. I'll leave it for others to explain why, but we just didn't play enough defense, period. And PAC-10 zeebs notwithstanding, there was more we could have done. Acker aside, who with 4 fouls we needed to protect, the other 4 starters all had one or more fouls to give before being told to grab pine. DEE-FENSE! Look, if we were going to have our ticket punched outta there, let's do it playing defense, and if the refs resort to ticky-tack, then it's on them. Better that than just letting the Huskies run wild.

MUJourn said...

To be clear then, when a team shoots well from 3-point range against MU, the explanation is simply that MU was "unlucky" . . . . so then I assume that you agree that when MU hits shots from 3-point range against a team, the explanation is simply that MU was "lucky." Certainly seems as if simple logic dictates that analytical consistency.
Is that really the extent of the analysis of our season, we were either "lucky" or "unlucky?"
Come on guys, it's a game of skill, preparation and execution.
Let's stop the "Boy, we were just unlucky" analysis and save that for your 12 year old after his rec league game, and likewise, let's put to bed once and for all the "But look where we were picked pre-season to finish in the Big East Conference," as it's demeaning to the team and the fans.
And finally, the Big East Conference, root for the conference if you are so inclined . . . but except for a select few teams, a legend in their own minds, I'm afraid.

Andy said...

MUJourn: MU has shot well from 3-point range all season. That's not luck, it's what they're expected to do. Washington had not shot well from 3 point range all season. Whether you ascribe that to luck or not, I think there's an obvious difference there.

MUJourn said...

Andy -- Thanks; I do not think we are that far off from each other's views -- MU did shoot the three well for the most part this season and no, when they did, it was not luck, it was "skill, preparation and execution," as I said.
My point was more to illuminate the illogical nature of writing off the game to simply being "unlucky" because Washington did shoot the three well on Thursday.
MU was not "unlucky;" they played poorly and were out-coached in an opening round NCAA tournament game, a familiar theme that should not have really been a surprise to anyone and which most certainly cannot be attributed to simply being "unlucky."
Enough said.

Andy said...

they played poorly and were out-coached in an opening round NCAA tournament game, a familiar theme that should not have really been a surprise to anyone and which most certainly cannot be attributed to simply being "unlucky."


We won last year's first round game, so if you're saying Buzz can't win a game in the NCAA, you're wrong. Crean's losses are on him.

We lost this game for the same reason that all of our games this season were so close (win or lose): we lacked team depth. You can disagree with me on that, but that's the way I see it. Buzz did an admirable job all season with limited personnel, and while I don't think yesterday's game was his shining moment as a coach, I'm also not going to hang him for it. The fact is, anyone from seed 5-12 can win a game in the NCAA, and we lost a tough one. Life goes on.

Andy said...

Also, to the BIG EAST HATERS out there: real fans of college basketball are just fans of college basketball. My allegiance may be with the Big East because Marquette is in the Big East, but that doesn't mean I take joy in another team or conference doing poorly. Anyone leaving "Big Least" comments, here or elsewhere-- that really says far more about you as an individual than anything that's happening on a basketball court.

MUJourn said...

Andy -- Sorry, have to dispel the last "catch-all" excuse of the season -- "lack of team depth."
I agree that we did not have a deep bench, size, or whatever other descriptive roster terminology that you may want to use.
But here's the point -- that same roster got us a 15 point second half lead on Thursday; and that same roster kept us in regular season games games against Villanova (twice), West Virginia, FSU, NC State, etc. for 38 - 39 minutes in each of those games -- so then why does that same roster become an excuse when we blew the 15 point lead on Thursday or when we choked in the last 1 - 2 minutes of the regular season games? Same team; same roster; same coaching staff. If it was good enough to get us the 15 point lead or the to the last minute of a game with a lead or a chance to win, it cannot suddenly become the excuse when we fall short.
If the roster was really the problem, then we never would have been in the regular season games mentioned nor would we have had a 15 point lead on Thursday -- again same team, same roster, same coaching staff.
It's that nagging Jesuit tradition of engaging in logical, deductive reasoning that keeps me coming back here to comment, much to everyone's chagrin, I am certain.
We played poorly and were out-coached. The excuses being offered simply do not uphold that Jesuit tradition. It does not mean the players are bad people or that Buzz is a bad guy, or that the fans should abandon the team altogether, it just means that they played poorly and were out-coached. No excuses.

Andy said...

"If it was good enough to get us the 15 point lead or the to the last minute of a game with a lead or a chance to win, it cannot suddenly become the excuse when we fall short."

Yes, actually it can! It's at the end of a game that a lack of team depth is most likely to reveal itself. That's such a big an obvious "duh" that I can't believe I even have to argue the point.

MUJourn said...

Andy -- So, our lack of depth was a "mystery" to the coaching staff all season, something they were not aware of? It snuck up on us and then suddenly revealed itself?
And are not the games 40 minutes long in regulation -- do we only have to play well for 38 minutes with the same roster, same team, came coaching staff and are excused for the last 2 minutes because of our lack of depth?
There was no "Duh" in my remarks Andy and no disrespect intended to your views -- I just want everyone to stop making excuses. That's all.
See you next year.

Andy said...

MUJourn: Have you ever played in a basketball game? Any athletic activity? Look, when you have to play 5 players 35 minutes a game, that makes things much more difficult towards the end of a game. Again, duh. Shooters legs get tired. People get into foul trouble. We're talking about physical and mental limitations here that have nothing to do with the coaching staff. What exactly do you want Buzz to do? We can't clone Lazar Hayward or change the rules so he can pick up 12 fouls. Sure, he could have used his time outs better, but does that stop DJO from having a brain fart and not catching a pass on our last possession. Probably not.

You can say I'm making excuses, and that's fine. What you call an excuse I'd argue is a logical analysis of our team's short coming all season long.

Smoove said...

Alright, Meatheads, I'll try to keep this brief. 1)The pass to DJO was deflected by WU (Thomas), and went off DJO out-of-bounds. 2) The short bench / tired legs explanation applies only to the 3rd game in 3 days, v. GU. 3)We lost to WU because we didn't play defense, see my comment above. We were fear-struck about the PAC-10 refs calling fouls, and therefore played soft defense, yet, in the end, had fouls to give and still keep our starters on the court. CAPEESH ?

MUJourn said...

Andy - Okay, so then I guess MU must have been the only team in the country that played a short rotation, or had players forced to play 40 minutes (or more) and had tired legs, otherwise under your logic, those teams would also have had an inability to hold leads or shoot late in games.
And I suspect that the coaching staffs of those teams must have never seen it coming either and were unable to adjust, given your reasoning.
Coaches strategize, plan for and play with the team they have, not the team they wish they had or could have had or imagine they may have one day.
And when those teams come up short, they come up short. No excuses.
You questioned as to whether or not I had ever done anything athletic; I have, although not as much today as I did when I was younger (I was a student at MU in '77, so I go back a little). In athletics, as a player and then later as a coach, I was taught and taught my players never to make excuses. Perhaps I'm old school, but once you start making excuses for your shortcomings, it gets easier with each one.
Don't fall into that trap. That's my point.

Andy said...

"Okay, so then I guess MU must have been the only team in the country that played a short rotation, or had players forced to play 40 minutes (or more) and had tired legs, otherwise under your logic, those teams would also have had an inability to hold leads or shoot late in games."

If you would like to name some teams that had a smaller and shorter rotation, that also had a better record than Marquette over the course of this season, I'm all ears. Otherwise my point stands.

JohnPudner said...

Jamie and MUJourn, thanks for your comments but did you just watch Washington DESTROY New Mexico 82-64. Yes, it's bad luck to draw the Pac10 champ in Pac10 country and have them shoot over 60% from the arc when they'd weren't in the top 200 in treys all year is unlucky. Doesn't take anything from Washington, just a tough draw and they had an incredible night shooting.

A lot of people trashed me for saying we were UNLUCKY early on to be 2-5 after all the close losses, but I was right, the season evened out. Basketball isn't like football where you can usually run over your opponent if you are better. Good defense is allowing the guys who don't usually hit shots to take them to cut off the guys who usually do. We let guys who didn't usually hit threes take them, and they went in the hoop. As I said throughout, the Washington game was 50-50 and if we got through that New Mexico would be a push over. Hope you don't think after watching the New Mexico-Washington game that we would have had any problem with the Lobos. What's wrong with pointing out it's unlucky to draw a hot conference champion in their region and have their shots fall?

Hope Lazar defies the critics like Wesley and makes a bunch of money, and can't wait to see Vander Blue play. Good luck to the Huskies, they are a very good, hot team and deserve to be in the Sweet 16.

MUJourn said...

Washinton 82 New Mexico 64

Huskies 8 for 17 from behind the arc . . . .

Just lucky, I guess . . . . . or perhaps the Lobos were unlucky . .
had to be one or the other, right?

JohnPudner said...

uh, is that 47% or did you take more advanced math than me? Yeah, if they hit 47% against us we win the game, thanks for re-emphasizing the point. To get the percentage, you divide three pointers made by three pointers attempted.

MUJourn said...

Boy, you got me there, didn't you, wow . . . and how did all your mathematical idiosyncrasies this season turn out for MU in the only measure that matters? Just curious . . . . last I checked we are watching the tournament on TV and Washington and is heading on to the next weekend.
If only they decided the games based on "statistics" rather than what occurs on the court, MU would be National Champions and Buzz and his cheat sheet would be the new Tom Izzo!
We lost; we should not have lost; we played poorly; and we were outcoached -- massage the stats however you wish, but the facts will not change.