"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

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Louisville Rivalry Continues in the Garden

Just as we tweeted last night, we are dying to play Louisville again. Without putting too fine a point on it, the last time we played Louisville was an abomination. Call it what you want... choke job, epic loss, or my personal favorite (The Meltdown), there's really no excuse for blowing that lead. But we're not here to talk about that past.

With a different perspective, it's just another game in a series that is a phenomenal rivalry. Just add the Meltdown to the list. Is it really all that much worse than losing on Senior Night in Double OT? Or Jerry #$%^ Smith? Or Reece @#$% Gaines? Of course it isn't. And yet, that complete list also includes DWade rallying the team in the FF season. It includes Hutch the Clutch's three to win, Wardle in 2OT, and Wardle. It includes Dameon Mason's game winner and Novak hitting approximately 18 threes (maybe a rounding error) on the road. Oh yeah... and don't forget Buzz walking it out.

For every stomach punch we get, Louisville has gotten their own bloody nose. So bring it on. These games are so unpredictable and back and forth (our record vs UL is 12-14 in the modern era), no one really knows how things will go tonight.

Is the offense going to be good enough?

Remember this number: 1. If Marquette scores over one point per possession, we've got a good shot to win. Louisville brings a great defense to this matchup (#2 in the BE) and has only allowed an opponent to score over 1.00 ppp ten times. Six of their eight losses came from this group. Meanwhile, Marquette has averaged 1.10 ppp in conference, and has only been below one point per possession seven times (six losses). Our first matchup with UL? 0.91 ppp vs 0.92 ppp. Will Marquette protect the ball and take good shots tonight?

Which defense will show up?

Will it be the defense that allowed WVU to score 1.24 ppp in a half, or will it be the defense that held WVU to 0.79 ppp in a half? UL's offense isn't the greatest, but their strength is our weakness. Magic 8-Ball says "Reply hazy, try again".

Fatigue vs Rest

This question boils down to the following scenario. Marquette is playing their third game in three days, but they are more comfortable in the Garden. Louisville is rested but doesn't have two days of warmup games. What's going to have the bigger impact? Consider this... first, Marquette is really well conditioned. Second, teams with a double-bye last year went 1-3. Third, Marquette played the first game against UL with only eight minutes combined from Blue, Gardner, and EWill. Will Marquette have enough juice for this game?

We believe the answers to these questions (besides the defense) are favorable for Marquette. Louisville may be the better team, but only a little. We like Marquette's chances to continue playing basketball tomorrow night. After all, to quote last night's hero, Junior Cadougan, "to tell you the truth, I just didn't want to go home".

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