Thursday, March 03, 2005

Marquette-Houston: Finally, A Good Effort

Well, last night was my last trip to see a Marquette game this year, baring the Golden Eagles getting to host a round or two of NIT games, which I would say is a decent possibility. Since I’m probably going to revert back to prattling on non-stop about high school ball for the next few days, I’ll get right to my game comments, and wait until the end to get in my random thoughts:

1) Marquette opened the game about as well as they could have, jumping out to a 13-0 start. Houston called a timeout before the first media timeout (and before the score had gotten all the way to 13-0), and the game stats were shown on the scoreboard. Houston was shooting 0% (0-7) from the field, while Marquette was shooting 100% (4-4) from the field. Marquette had assists on 3 of the 4 buckets that they had made, as well. Not too shabby for a team missing its star point guard.

2) Speaking of point guards, freshman walk-on Rob Hanley was the first to check into the game as a sub for Marquette. Some of you may remember Hanley from the division 2 WIAA state champion Catholic Memorial team of last year, where he wasn’t even the most renowned player on the team. I was somewhat perplexed that he would be the first man off the bench, but then again, Marquette doesn’t really have any other guards. Nonetheless, if I’m Ousmane Barro, I’m getting kind of confused that a walk-on is getting in the game before me, even if he plays an entirely different position.

3) Piggybacking on that last point, when I met up with a few of my friends at a bar beforehand, one of my more die-hard Marquette fan friends (well, more die-hard than me, at least) mentioned that the inconsistency in frontcourt minutes for the Golden Eagles (first year men Ryan Amoroso and Ousmane Barro could get 3 minutes, or 33 minutes on any given evening, and one never knows if Mike Kinsella will even enter the game) could lead to some transfers in the offseason. Although transfers under Tom Crean are a somewhat regular occurrence lately, I don’t see any of the big men transferring, and it surprised me to hear this speculation from a bigger fan than I. Amoroso has to know that he’ll be the primary big man on the team next year, and Kinsella’s already at his third school. I don’t really have any explanation for Barro, but I just don’t think he’ll go. I think we really may see a Marquette offseason without transfers, and that would be nice for a change.

4) While I don’t think that anyone will transfer, I should note that I don’t think the minute distribution is a non-issue. I do question Tom Crean not being a bit more consistent in his doling out of minutes, and not giving some more time to the three aforementioned big men. It’s not as if the Golden Eagles have a likely shot at the tournament this year, so I don’t see why you wouldn’t give your future core of players some seasoning.

5) Again last night, my entrance to the game came courtesy of my friend Dez, who seems to have a brilliant comment or two every game that we go to. Last night during a timeout, as we were watching the Crest Smile-Cam on the Jumbotron, Dez mentioned that he thought it would be awesome to have a cable channel devoted entirely to people who are not aware that they’re on a Jumbotron. This channel, he noted, would lie right next to the Awkward Kiss Cam Channel, and the pay-per-view channel where someone just follows our friend The Franchise around as he goes about his daily business, and does things like use his patented technique for making Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in just over 20 minutes. I would watch each of these channels for at least a couple minutes each day, although, if The Franchise Channel was pay per view, I might go broke tuning in, because it’s really tough to ignore a guy who is hoping to one day run a $500 bar tab.

6) Another great Jumbotron moment was one that I missed last night when I went to the restroom. Upon my return, Dez informed me that some kid had just asked a girl to the prom on the Jumbotron. I think that’s awesome. While I think people that propose marriage on Jumbotrons are generally idiots, prom isn’t really serious enough an event to mandate that one stop being an idiot in making the request to go. And even if things don’t work out, at least the kid has a good story.

7) During one of the timeouts, a student was chosen to shoot a half-court shot to win an RV, as happens every game. This time, though, the shot just rimmed out, prompting me to wonder what a 19-year-old college student would do with an RV. I imagine myself at that age calling home to try to tell my mom about it. I’d have to think I’d open with some line making reference to Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation. Then my dad would get on the line and we’d develop a sales strategy. Talk about an impractical prize.

8) Oh, and the best part of the contest is that after you miss the half-court shot for the RV, you get a chance to shoot a three-pointer for 2 tickets to a Marquette game. Given the drop-off in prize value from $50,000 to roughly $50, I think after that there should be a stipulation that if you hit a lay-up, someone gives you a nickel.

9) With about 2 minutes to go in the game, Houston coach Tom Penders got two technical fouls, and became the only man this season that I’ve seen ejected from a game. Even so, I gained more respect for Penders, as he took his time walking off the court, and grinned as he was coming down the tunnel towards the seats that Dez and I were in. He never made it to the locker room, instead choosing to stand in the tunnel and watch the last two minutes. I doubt you’re supposed to be able to do that, but the fact that Penders did makes me think that he’s even cooler. Luckily, I think he endeared himself to the crowd enough on his walk up the tunnel that no one was really hurling any insults at him.

And now, a few random thoughts:

1) My Hoosiers DVD had better come tonight—I’m getting antsy.

2) The Tosa East-Milwaukee King game I’m scheduled to see on Saturday has been moved. Instead of a 1:30pm affair at Wauwatosa East, as was originally planned, it is not a 5pm game at Whitefish Bay High School. There are positives and negatives to this move, though I think the positives outweigh the negatives. On the positive side, Whitefish Bay has a much greater capacity, which will allow more people to see the game. The late start time will also allow me to attend an early-afternoon game if I can find someone to join me. On the negative side, Wauwatosa East did earn the right to host the game, by virtue of their higher seed, and the familiarity of the home-court is now lost. I would imagine that the Tosa East coaches are pretty angry about this, and I see their point, but I still like the fact that this game will be exposed to more people, even if the higher seed takes a slight hit.

3) Lawrence travels to Gustavus Adolphus tonight to determine who gets the right to play UW-Stevens Point in the next round of the D-3 tournament. Hopefully Lawrence advances and sets up a showdown between the state’s two premier D-3 teams.

That’s it for today. Enjoy tonight’s games, whatever they may be.


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