Thursday, December 02, 2004

Wrong Game, Wrong Time, Wrong Arena

Last night I attended the Marquette-Delaware State game. The choices were many for basketball last evening–I could have gone to the UWM-South Dakota State game. I could have stayed home and watched Illinois take back the little Big Ten pride remaining by absolutely killing Wake Forest (not to mention a North Carolina-Indiana matchup). But I chose Marquette-Delaware State. It won out over television, since live basketball is almost always better than televised basketball, and it was going to be cheaper than the UWM game, since I had been offered free tickets to the Marquette game. Looking back, I probably should have chosen differently, as last night’s game was one of the few times in my life that college basketball has failed to entertain me. It seemed logical enough a choice at the time, though. Marquette is really frustrating this year. Their win last night was by the slimmest of margins, but I never really felt the game was in doubt. They can’t put anyone away, though, and I’m really scared for them once they start facing some quality opponents, because they just don’t look like a very good team. I’ll give you some observations on the evening, though I’ll probably skew into other, topics, and my commentary on the Marquette game itself will contain very little about the game itself, since it was such a dog:

1) As I mentioned, I had free tickets to the game. Because most people I knew were either busy with something else, or had already been contacted to go to the UWM game by a friend whose plans I didn’t wish to infringe on, I had some trouble finding someone to attend the game with. So I ended up going with my friend Dez, who contacted me looking to find someone to go with him because he also had a spare ticket. We decided to scalp his tickets and use mine. The market was a bit depressed last night, though. On Dez’s $27 face value tickets, he received $5 apiece for his tickets. That would seem upsetting, but I can tell you that it was far better than the offer of $0 that he received on the previous street corner.

2) I’m on the fence about Travis Diener’s disgusting facial hair. On one hand, he’d look a lot less stupid if he just shaved it off. On the other hand, isn’t college one’s last time to look stupid with no consequences? It’s the reason that I didn’t get a haircut for a year during my junior year of college, or that I grew a chin-strap beard the summer before my sophomore year. For that matter, it’s the reason that I let my sideburns grow into chops my first year in law school. I knew that none of these things looked great, but that in a few years, I wouldn’t even have the option. So, while Diener may look like an idiot, at least he has the option to do so and is exercising it appropriately.

3) Perhaps the only encouraging thing about last night’s game for Marquette is that it didn’t look like Tom Crean was treating this game as a regular season game. His lineups were strange at times (Marcus Jackson and Ousmane Barro on the floor at the same time) and playing time was divided up oddly (Ousmane Barro getting lots of minutes, walk-on Rob Hanley seeing the floor in the first half). I can only hope that this accounts somewhat for Marquette’s early season mediocrity, because I’d like to think that they’re better than they looked last night.

4) I gave mention in that last paragraph to Rob Hanley, the walk-on from Catholic Memorial. I recognize that he’s not on scholarship, and he was the third best player on his high school team (a phenomenal team, by the way), but is it too much to ask to get his name on the back of his jersey? I could understand it during the exhibition season, but we’re several games into the year. Let’s show the kid some respect.

5) Steve Novak had a nice power move last night. That is the first, and perhaps the last time in the history of mankind that those words have been used to form a sentence.

6) I caught a few minutes of the Illinois-Wake Forest game when I was changing clothes before heading back downtown. I can’t wait to see the whole thing, because Illinois looked like they were doing lay-up drills on the Demon Deacons. Has a #1 team ever been so badly beaten? I can’t wait to get my first glimpse of the Illini. I just hope Bruce Weber’s not wearing that orange sports coat of his when I finally see a game.

7) When I returned home at the end of the evening, Virginia-Northwestern was in the final 3 minutes. I found myself in the unlikely position of rooting for Northwestern. The ‘Cats didn’t pull out the win, but at least must have looked respectable after some early season struggles if they hung with the #25 team in the country until the final 30 seconds. I’m still high on them to make some noise in the Big Ten this year, particularly when they get Michael Thompson into their lineup. Again, how one goes from Duke to Northwestern, I’ll never understand.

8) I completely missed the UWM game, but can’t wait to read about it today. I always like to hear about it when the local team kicks someone’s ass.


At 3:03 PM, Blogger Timothy said...

Travis Diener is an extraordinary college point guard. This MU team is tough to get a read on at this point in the season.....its clear that TD is an All-American, and it seems that Mason is emerging as a super sophomore. But Novak does not get enough shots, and their inside game is scary bad.

I don't know if there's enough inside to get this team into the NCAAs.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Completely agree with you, Timothy. Marcus Jackson has looked better down low this year, so while the big men are pretty bad, he at least provides a glimmer of hope.

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