Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'Marquette' category


February 14, 2009 4:19 pm by Dan'l B

Does experience matter in the NCAA tournament? This is the third year that Ken Pomeroy has published weighted average experience. It’s still too early to count on any trends, but here’s a quick look at the top seeds from the last two tournaments (NCAA rank, school, tournament seed, experience, tournament finish):


  • ( 50) Kansas [1], 2.10 years: CHAMPION
  • (134) Georgetown [2], 1.78: 2nd round 70-74 Davidson [10]
  • (155) Tennessee [2], 1.74: Sweet Sixteen 60-79 Louisville [3]
  • (197) Memphis [1], 1.61: Championship 68-75 Kansas [1] (OT)
  • (205) UNC [1], 1.58: Final Four 66-84 Kansas [1]
  • (229) UCLA [1], 1.51: Final Four 63-78 Memphis [1]
  • (295) Duke [2], 1.22: 2nd round 67-73 WVU [7]
  • (300) Texas [2], 1.19: regional final 67-85 Memphis [1]


  • ( 94) Wisconsin [2], 2.00: 2nd round 68-74 UNLV [7]
  • (103) Florida [1], 1.97: CHAMPION
  • (272) Georgetown [2], 1.35: Final Four 60-67 Ohio St. [1]
  • (276) Ohio St. [1], 1.33: Championship 75-84 Florida [1]
  • (287) Memphis [2], 1.27: regional final 76-92 Ohio St. [1]
  • (294) UCLA [2], 1.21: Final Four 66-76 Florida [1]
  • (309) Kansas [1], 1.11: regional final 55-68 UCLA [2]
  • (329) UNC [1], 0.87: regional final 84-96 Georgetown [2] (OT)

Not enough data yet, and there aren’t certain patterns. My observations:

  • The last two champions were experienced #1 seeds, the most experienced in fact. I think there’s something to that.
  • Two of the three upsets were experienced #2 seeds, not that such teams are prone to early exits; it refutes the idea that experience makes you upset-resistant.
  • There were 10 games played between #1 and #2 seeds in these two tournaments. The more experienced teams were 9-1 in such games. Take that with a grain of salt.

It’s worth looking at the top contenders this year and their experience levels. Here’s Joe Lunardi’s current #1, #2, and #3 seeds, which should capture nearly all of the #1 and #2 seeds in a month:

  • ( 8 ) Marquette [3], 2.47
  • ( 31) UConn [1], 2.20
  • ( 78) UNC [1], 1.97
  • (108) Pittsburgh [1], 1.88
  • (115) Memphis [3], 1.85
  • (146) Oklahoma [1], 1.75
  • (148) Duke [2], 1.74
  • (159) Louisville [2], 1.70
  • (181) Clemson [3], 1.63
  • (189) Michigan St. [2], 1.61
  • (274) Wake Forest [2], 1.31
  • (336) Kansas [3], 0.84

Compared to the last couple years when dominant freshman carried several teams to top seeds, most contenders are very experienced. I love seeing several Big East schools at the top.

Don’t hate me for my lists.

And the Race Is On………

November 8, 2008 10:17 am by Coach O

Offseasons are way too long. The season starts this Friday night and we are ready for it. UConn #2…. Louisville #3…. Pitt #5….. ND #9…. Marquette #16…. Hoyas #22…. Nova #23. Seven in the top 25 ! What a league. Jay Bilas calls it by far the best league in the country. Welcome to the Big East 2008-9.

It’s hard to see a Big East team finishing in the top 5 at seasons end. These teams will beat the stuffings out of each other in January and February and then meet in NYC for a final rumble before meeting the best from other leagues in the NCAA’s. Will any of our teams have anything left come March? It’s hard to tell, but the league season might just be the best ever. And the tourney at the Garden will be a whole week (almost) of the best hoops in the USA. With the talent level in the league this year it is hard to imagine anywhere else in the country where you could see better basketball being played. Sorry ACC…. you can’t compete this time. You may have UNC and Duke. We have 7.

Let’s take a look at the team capsules for 2008-9.


Frontcourt – Thabeet and Adrien. A formidable frontline. Defensively probably the best in the country. Not offensively, but that doesn’t mattter here and the word is that Thabeet has improved offensively. Gavin Edwards can spell either. Ater Majok (6-10) should join the club in January. Jonathan Mandeldove should also supply some minutes down low. Grade – A

Backcourt – Start with A. J. Price and Jerome Dyson, throw in some Craig Austrie, and add a touch of Freshman Kemba Walker and you have a winning combination. Stanley Robinson is said to be rejoining the team in January too. Donnell Beverly can give some relief also. The question is Price’s knee. Will it hold up? So far so good in early practice. The only negative is long range shooting. Scottie Harralson is said to be the sharpshooter the Huskies need. Until proven, the long range weakness denies UConn an A here. Grade – B+

Coaching – Calhoun is in the Hall of Fame. Nothing more needs to be said. How the team reacts to his rants is the only question. Sometimes last year players faces showed they didn’t like being embarrassed on national TV. Grade – A-

OVERALL GRADE – A- – The Huskies have it all. This is a team that can make a go at the Big East title and go deep into the NCAA’s. Thabeet is the key.  Outside shooting will tell if UConn will finish ahead of Louisville.


Frontcourt – Padgett and Palacios are gone. That’s a big gap to fill. But the Cards played a lot last season without either or one of them and still looked formidable. Earl Clark will be back. He averaged 8.1 R/G and will probably be joined by 6-8 Freshman Samardo Samuels. Terrence Jennings, a 6-10 Fr. will push Samuels for playing time. George Goode is another Frosh who will see minutes. UofL always plays tough defense. In this league, however, Freshmen need time to become dominant. Grade – B

Backcourt – Terrence Williams, Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa is a formidable backcourt. It’s hard to think that anyone can match that group. Sosa must become more consistent. If he falters, Andre McGee will step in as he did so successfully last year. And add Reginald Delk, a transfer from Miss St. for good measure. Grade – A

Coaching – Rick Pitino A

OVERALL GRADE - A- The Cards have the depth and talent to survive this league and become champions. Will Padgett’s loss be too much to overcome? My choice for regular season champs.


Frontcourt – DeJuan Blair was a sensation last year. he was co-rookie of the year and a lot of fun to watch. He will team with Tyrell Biggs in the frontcourt this year. Pitt will at times move Sam Young down low to make up for Biggs lack of scoring. If Pitt has a weakness this year it will be depth down low. Grade – B

Backcourt – Levance Fields missed considerable time last year with a foot injury and returned strong. There was, however a problem again this year. That puts a big question mark on this club. The uncertain status of Fields and loss of Ronald Ramon leaves Young as the only strong point in the backcourt. But Young is very strong. He took over the BET last year ala Gerry McNamara. Gilbert Brown has experience to join the backcourt mix. Keep an eye an Fr. Ashton Gibbs who can really shoot it. Grade B+

Coaching – Jamie Dixon has proved he is one of the nation’s elite coaches. He bring Pitt to the Big East Championship game every year. That’s no small task. The NCAA’s have not been so kind to Dixon. Maybe the Panthers use it all up at MSG. Grade A-

OVERALL GRADE – B+ Dixon gets the most out of his players. But will Fields be ready for full time action once January comes around? 3rd place is probable. Not strong enough to take UConn or Louisville.

Notre Dame

Froncourt – Luke Harangody won the league MVP last year. Nothing more needs to be said. Harangody is not the most talented player in the Big East. But is without a doubt the hardest worker. He will have a harder time this year with Rob Kurz gone. Luke Zeller just won’t draw the attention from opponents that Kurz did. Zach Hillesland probably will take Zeller’s position as the season progresses. Hillesland is a hard nosed 6-9 Sr. Shooting is not his forte though. This is an area of concern without much depth. Grade – B+

Backcourt – Kyle McAlarney is the best pure shooter in the Big East. Moving the 3 point line won’t have any effect on him. Tory Jackson is an explosive point guard who sometimes plays out of control. His outside shooting is also suspect. And he must improve his free throw shooting if he is to have the ball in crunch time. Ryan Ayers had a good Jr season. Another outstanding shooter, Ayers also plays top notch defense. He is not consistent though and that may pose a problem for the long-range shooting Irish. Again, depth is a problem in the backcourt. Grade B+

Coaching – Mike Brey has won Coach of the Year two years in a row. He is that good. But a magician he is not. Grade – A-

OVERALL GRADE – B+ Irish will fight with Pitt, Marquette, Syracuse and Villanova for 4th place. If they can find an answer at power forward they will be 4th.


Frontcourt – Lazar Hayward had a good season last year. But that is all the Golden Eagles have down there. Dwight Burke is not going to strike fear in opponents. And the problem is that Hayward is a 6-6 power forward. This is an area that Marquette has been weak for a few years and it doesn’t seem better this year. Grade C

Backcourt – McNeal, Matthews, James. Seems like we have been saying that for decades. They are seniors now and as good a backcourt as there is in the Big East. Backed up by David Cubillian and Maurice Acker this is a talented, deep backcourt. But unless they are hitting from long range they won’t carry MU to the top. Grade – A

Coaching – Buzz Williams takes over for Tom Crean this year. Williams has been around and even was Head coach at New Orleans in 2006-7 (14-17 record). He will learn quickly that the Big East is a tough league to cut your teeth on. He was Crean’s assistant last year so he is familiar with the program a bit. Grade C

OVERALL GRADE – B- Too weak down low to finish in the top 3 but will challenge ND for 4th place. If Crean were still here I would be more confident but I’ll say either Nova or Cuse will finish ahead of the Eagles. 6th place.

NEXT……. Syracuse, Villanova, Georgetown and West Virginia.

Weekend bullets

March 2, 2008 3:49 am by donald
  • The Marquette-Georgetown game this weekend was one of the best Big East games all season long (we’ve had a ton this year). Much sympathy to Big Willie who was forced over to the Florida game. Big play after big play from both teams. If you have a few minutes in your day, watch the clips below — it’s a condensed version of the end of regulation.

    Georgetown down 57-59 with 1:27 left. This happens:

    On the next play…

    Burke misses the free-throw, so its Marquette 61, Georgetown 59, when Hibbert makes a great pass to a cutting Ewing…

    Ewing makes 1 of 2 free throws, and Georgetown fouls Wes Matthews of Marquette, who makes both free throws. At this point, the score is Marquette 63, Georgetown 60. Then this:

    My take: he did get fouled, Jonathan Wallace sold the foul really well…but that was like the fourth straight call that Georgetown got in a row.

    More links from the blogosphere: Cracked Sidewalks, Hoya Saxa, and AOL FanHouse, where Charles Rich breaks out the truth:

    You know, some people will say that Georgetown has something magical happening very quietly. Others will say that they are just getting some incredible luck/breaks/calls by the refs that have to go the other way at some point.

    I can understand both views, but I’m leaning towards luck issue. Not that it can’t carry them pretty far. Not that they the Hoyas didn’t put themselves in the position to win those games. Not that Georgetown is a bad team or isn’t capable of winning a lot of games in March without getting things to fall their way. It’s just that the Big East play has been exceptional in the bounces going Georgetown’s way.

    Whether it was the block/goaltend call at West Virginia; a last second “foul” that 9 times out of 10 would be a no-call; and now getting a 3-point foul called in the final seconds Georgetown has had the late calls go in their favor.

    Not to give myself credit here, but my Duke-Georgetown theory is really holding up.

  • This weekend, Syracuse was the anti-Georgetown, and Georgetown the anti-Syracuse. Georgetown somehow won a game they totally didn’t deserve to win (see Jonathan Wallace getting “fouled” at the end of regulation above, as well as . Syracuse, on the other hand, found a way to lose a game to Pittsburgh in which they were up by 11 with less than 4 minutes to go.
  • One thing that has always amazed me about Georgetown is their ability to use the last 10 seconds of the shot clock as effectively as the first 10 seconds (or any other 10 seconds, on the other hand). Coach Thompson must run some sort of drill to ensure that they don’t freak out with the shot clock expiring. More often than not, they get a backdoor pass or an open three in the last few seconds, something that is utterly devastating to the defense.
  • West Virginia still has no quality win. They could have gotten one this weekend against UConn, but fell behind early. Monday’s WVU-Pitt game will be an absolute must for both teams. The winner of that game makes the NCAAs. The Big East may be the biggest, baddest conference out there, but they aren’t sending 7 teams to the big dance. Monday’s matchup will be something to watch. Mark my words: Joe Alexander will disappear. Why? I’ll be watching the game. He is one of those players that suck so hard when I’m watching, but put up big games when I’m not (such as his 32 point outburst against UConn this weekend).

Marquette Win Puts Pressure On Leaders

February 26, 2008 11:32 am by Coach O

Marquette’s victory over Nova last night put pressure on the four teams ahead of them working for a bye in New York in two weeks. The Eagles can now finish 13-5 with wins in their last two games against Georgetown and at Syracuse. With the Hoyas looking more and more vulnerable, this is entirely possible with Marquette on a 5 game roll, winning handily in each. Let’s take a look at the leaders and their prospects for a bye.

Georgetown – The Hoyas are 12-3 and finish with St. John’s, at Marquette and Louisville. If the Hoyas were to lose to Marquette and Louisville they would end up 13-5 and lose a tiebreaker to both teams. Two wins would assure the Hoyas of a bye. Even though GTown is in a good position, they have to be careful of a letdown and must defeat either Marquette or Louisville to enter the BET with some momentum.

Louisville – The Cards are 12-3 and finish with home games against Notre Dame and Villanova along with a final game at Georgetown. Although the Cards should win both home games, ND is capable of an upset. If the Cards lose to ND and GTown they will end up with a record of 13-5 and lose tiebreakers to the Irish and UConn. Louisville has two wins over Marquette and a win over Georgetown. If the Cardinals win two of the last three they will secure a bye.

Notre Dame – The Irish are 11-3 and have three of the final four games on the road. Although they have been unbeatable at home, they have shown some vulnerability away. With splits against UConn and Marquette, the Irish lose tiebreaker vs. Georgetown and still have to travel to Louisville this Thursday. The game at DePaul is not a gimme, seeing that it is a rivalry game. ND should beat St. John’s at home and USF away. If the Irish split their remaining four games they will end up 13-5. A Marquette victory over Georgetown might force the Irish to play a Wednesday game.

UConn – The Huskies are 10-4 and suffered a crucial loss at Nova on Saturday. Remaining games are at Rutgers tonight, West Virginia Saturday and at Providence and home to Cincinnati next week. The Huskies must win 3 of the last 4 to put themselves in a good position at 13-5. UConn has trouble with Providence and West Virginia is still a mystery team. Two losses will probably push UConn to a Wednesday game. The Huskies lose a tiebreaker to Georgetown and win tiebreakers vs. Louisville and Marquette. The UConn-ND tiebreaker will be determined by the Irish game vs. Louisville this Thursday.

****UPDATE***** In checking all possibilities, if Marquette were to lose one of their final two league games, UConn and ND would have to win 2 of their remaining four games to receive a bye.

Complicated???? Not really…… Typical???? You bet….. WELCOME TO THE BIG EAST!

Marquette: First Impressions

December 8, 2007 9:47 pm by donald

I caught the Marquette-Wisconsin game on ESPN today. It was everything that makes college basketball wonderful — a highly competitive and entertaining matchup. I was definitely impressed by Marquette and have to give Big Willie stye credit on his preview post — Marquette definitely has what it takes to be the top team in the Big East. Today they beat a strong Wisconsin team at Wisconsin (Marquette 81, Wisconsin 76)– becoming the first of the previous 28 teams to visit Wisconsin and get a win.

Last year I said they were a poor man’s Villanova. They’re not a poor man’s anybody this year.

  • Still wild: They’re still frenetic on defense and on the offensive boards. It makes for fun basketball to watch, especially because they’re amazingly athletic. Most teams will be absolutely exasperated by their play. Those few teams that retain composure and make quick, timely cuts to the basket will be able to expose Marquette’s trapping, gambling defense.
  • Dominic James. Wow.: He is still as athletic as they come. In previous years, James would go solo and take on two or three defenders (and amazingly, scoring a significant amount of the time). This year, he seems to have matured a bit, but I feel this is one of the key areas for James and Marquette. Case in point:

    This is a 3 on 1 that James takes all the way; he scores a bucket and gets fouled in the act. What could be better? He had a great passing angle to Barro who could have wound up with a dunk. This is just one play, but I think it’s indicative of James’s play — and something to watch out for.

  • Marquette’s guards get into the lane with ease, and this is their offense. Wisconsin played mostly man-to-man today and couldn’t stop anybody from getting into the lane. The result was a lot of easy dunks and layups for Burke and Barro, and open threes for the rest of the guards. I don’t believe many teams in the nation can match up man to man against Marquette’s guards, so most teams ought to try playing zone on them.
  • Tom Crean looks a lot like Tom Arnold. I’m not the first to make this observation.