"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 25, 2011

The Curse of Jim Nantz...Marquette bounced from NCAA tournament

It's rare that Jim Nantz calls a Marquette University basketball game. He's the upper crest of sports broadcasters and typically only calls the biggest matchups in sport...the Masters, the Final Four, the NFL and other major sporting events. As far as Marquette fans are concerned, we just assume he contract laryngitis the next time he is asked to do play by play for a Marquette game. For those that may not recall, the last time Jim Nantz was behind the microphone for Marquette was April 5, 2003 in New Orleans. Marquette was in the Final Four and taking on #1 seed Kansas. At the end of the first half in New Orleans, MU trailed by 29 points, 59 to 30. The coach of the Jayhawks? Roy Williams.

Fast forward nearly eight years later and the curse of Jim Nantz struck again. Or maybe it's the curse of Roy Williams and Jim Nantz together in the same venue. Against Roy Williams Tarheels, Marquette took on the #2 seed in this year's House of Horrors for MU, the Prudential Center. This was the scene of the crime where the Golden Eagles were clobbered by Seton Hall several weeks back to close out the Big East regular season.

Much like in 2003, the opening minutes Marquette was competitive. In fact, MU took a 10-8 lead with 12:43 remaining in the first half (in 2003, MU trailed Kansas 14-12 with 13:35 left.) The remainder of the first half could only be described as surreal, much like 2003. North Carolina went on a 32-5 run in the last 11:20 of the half to take a 40-15 lead into the locker room. A stunning display that rivaled the 45-18 run KU went on in 2003 to close out the half.

Curse you Jim Nantz and Roy Williams!!

The second half started out much the same as UNC scored the first six points to put MU down by 31 points as an exasperated Buzz Williams called another timeout to get the boys on track. To MU's credit, the team fought hard to get back into the game and even cut the lead to 14 points with 4:21 left to play. It was as close as MU would get. Senior walk-on, Rob Frozena, hit the final bucket for MU with a 3 pointer in the final ten seconds. A nice touch on a night when nearly everything went wrong for Marquette.

MU finishes the season at 22-15. The 15 losses are the most by a MU squad since Mike Deane's last season in 1998-99 when MU finished at 14-15. Conversely, it was also only the third Sweet 16 NCAA appearance for Marquette since winning the national championship in 1977. An interesting season, with many ups and downs, a solid Big East tournament, a sensational first two games in the NCAAs and a stinker to finish the campaign. There's always next year.

Game recap


No comments: