clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Behind Enemy Lines: The Marquette Warriors

I really wish Marquette were still the Warriors.

Alright, time to move on from the worst week I can remember since beginning to follow 'Nova. I'm sure there has been worse, but that is the beauty of long-term memory loss. Now let's do some short-term memory loss, forget the week that was and move on to our next opponent - the Marquette Golden Eagles.

We decided to chat up Rubie Q from Anonymous Eagle to get some thoughts and insights into Marquette's season to date. They run a phenomenal blog, so make sure to head over there and check them out - my answers to their questions are now available. On to the Q&A...

What are your thoughts on Marquette's season to date? Did you expect more or less?

If you're looking at the overall record, and who we've lost to -- especially in the conference season -- it's hard not to say: "Yeah, this is about where I thought Marquette would be."  14-8 overall, 5-4 in conference the year after losing an incredible, do-everything senior who was one of the best leaders that this program's ever had?  Seems about right.

Of course, looking at the record devoid of context is a stupid way to judge a season and a team, and when you consider how Marquette lost in most of those games -- a last-second win for Vandy on a blown defensive assignment; the Run of Doom at Louisville; a 12-point lead in the second half at Notre Dame that evaporated in a nanosecond; and a late lead vs. UConn that gave way to a gut-punch, 13-0 run by the Huskies -- it's hard not to be a little disappointed.  I don't know about you, but it seems to me that outside of Ohio State and Pitt and maybe Duke and maybe Texas, there aren't a lot of *great* teams out there, and this is a year where a team like Marquette could make a little bit of noise.  Hasn't happened yet, and that's frustrating.

More shenanigans after The Jump.

Jae Crowder is a very intriguing player to me - describe his game and what he's brought to the program.

Remember Lazar Hayward? (TNB side note: How could I not? He was frustrating!)

In terms of game, Jae and 'Zar are pretty similar: both playing in the paint out of necessity, crafty in the low post, willing and able to fire from deep. Hayward was a better defensive player, and Jae's probably a little shorter, but he's just as thick, just as tough, and he's got a better handle.

In terms of what Jae's brought to the program: he's been a godsend.  Replacing Hayward was obviously the glaring, "MUST ADDRESS" issue for Marquette this year, and Jae has stepped into the role seamlessly; Coach Buzz says he's made the best transition from junior college to high major basketball that he's ever seen.  Jae's a dynamic scorer, capable of 25+ on any given night (although he's had a couple of clunkers in the conference season), he's our best rebounder, and he's fearless on the court.  During the Run of Doom in Louisville, Crowder was the only guy who didn't go tail-between-the-legs when the Cards made their run: he kept attacking, doing what he could to save the game.

How would you compare Darius Johnson-Odom to his predecessors Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal?

Completely different player.  Wes made his living relentlessly attacking the hoop and getting to the line, and Jerel, until his last year, was a slasher who would occasionally pull up for a mid-range J.  McNeal added a three-point shot in his senior year, but he was nowhere near DJO in three-point marksmanship.  Simply put, Darius is probably the best offensive weapon Marquette's had since Dwyane Wade, and, truth be told, he might even be a little better as a college player, since Wade wasn't a threat from three-point range.  When he's on -- and that's been a problem this year, as he'll go scoreless for long stretches and sap the life out of the team -- he's devastating: legit NBA-three point range; excellent mid-range game; and able to go to the rim and elevate, if the opponent gives it to him.  Consistency, again, is the issue; take the Syracuse game, when DJO came out of the gates on fire, scoring 12 quick points ... and then failed to score for the rest of the game until he hit the huge 3 with a minute left.

How long until Buzz Williams actually snaps on the sidelines and does something we'll be talking about for years?

He's gotten better this year.  I don't think he's picked up a T thus far, and he's talked about how patient he has to be with this crew because they're so young -- we've got four first-year players (it was five before Reggie Smith transferred), four second-year players, and no four-year seniors.  As a result, Buzz has been tamer on the sideline and during huddles.  M'self, I'd like to see him walk it out again, but I doubt that's going to happen.

It's been a fair amount of time since you joined The BEAST - what program can you not stand?

I can only speak for myself and the fans I've talked to, but we genuinely like a lot of the other teams, especially our Brothers in the Faith at 'Nova and Georgetown.  We had a couple tight games with Pitt when we first joined the league, and, before Smarmy Tom Crean bolted for Indiana, things were threatening to get downright chippy with the Panthers.  But they've rolled us the last three years, so the bloom is off that rose.  Marquette has played Notre Dame for years and years, even before we joined the Big East, and we're accustomed to the fact that their fans only pay attention to their hideously mediocre football team and barely muster an interest in basketball.

So, I'll go in a different direction with this question: I'm really mad at DePaul.  I think we could have a good rivalry with DePaul, and I remain shocked that a school in Chicago in a conference like the Big East can be this inept.  Get better, DePaul.  I want to hate you again.

If I'm hunting co-eds on the Marquette campus on Friday and Saturday night, where am I heading?

Are you talking now -- like, 24-inches of snow on the ground, winds pushing 60, and nobody leaving their apartment unless they completely and totally out of food?  Because, if that's the case, your odds aren't good.  If we're talking springtime, when the sweaters go bye-bye and the Gore-Tex goes into hibernation, you could hit the outdoor parties at Renee Row.  But, hell, dude: if you're in Milwaukee, go to Water Street.  There are only 81 bars there.

A word of caution: the ladies of the Brew City are professional drinkers.  If your plan is to work your charms while ordering drink after drink after drink for the lass you've got your sights on, you'll be in for a loooong evening.

Give me a prediction for how Wednesday night plays out.

In the last few years, with the exception of the game two years ago where the 'Cats ran us out the gym, Marquette's games with 'Nova have been pretty close.  This year, 'Nova's got an excellent offense -- I think you're 17th in KenPom's rankings -- and so does Marquette (we're 8th in KenPom).  The big difference: 'Nova can get a stop when it needs to.  Marquette, up to this point, hasn't been able to do the same.

I think this is one of those games where the lead rarely, if ever, reaches double digits for 'Nova, but it feels like 'Nova's in complete control throughout.  I'll say Villanova 78, Marquette 69.


Thanks again to Rubie Q. from Anonymous Eagle for the time - good luck Wednesday night. And extra good luck with DePaul getting their crap together.