Thursday, January 25, 2007

Marquette vs. Seton Hall: A Poorly Loaded See-Saw

Whew, lots of basketball last night. Due to time constraints, I’m only going over the Marquette-Seton Hall game, though I did DVR the Wisconsin-Michigan game and watch that once I got home (as I told some friends this weekend, live events always trump televised games). It was no help to me, though, that both games were some of the longest games that I’ve seen all year. But it was a lot of fun for one night. Perhaps too much. Notes on the Marquette game below.

1) The Whitnall Middle School choir sang the national anthem last night, and though I’m no music expert, I was pretty impressed. This may have something to do with my own low expectations, though. Back when I was in middle school, I seem to recall choir being the class that nerds and guys who smoked cigarettes took because they didn’t want to learn an instrument. Those kids from Whitnall were clearly of a higher class than the choir folks when I was a kid, though.

2) At first, I was offended at the price of $4.50 when I made my (amazingly) my first concession food purchase of the year, buying a jumbo hot dog at the Bradley Center. Then I saw the hot dog. It truly was jumbo, and with the going rate for a large beer at $8.00, that much second-grade meat for $4.50 was truly a bargain. It was no Miller Park hot dog, but it still went down nicely.

3) One of my friends noted, and I tend to agree, that the loss of the huge inflatable arm-waving guys during Marquette player introductions is a change for the worse this year. While I always found myself making fun of the cartoonish inflatable figures, the fact remains, there’s just not that much going on down on the court now when the players run out. And after a few years of those over-the-top figures, I sort of miss them. Yeah, I’m confused by that, too.

4) I was less than impressed with Seton Hall last night, and that was reflected in the way that I perceived the game. While the Pirates kept the game close for most of the first half, I felt like Marquette was perpetually up by 8.

5) Just to keep watch on my prediction that Dominic James’ 3-point shooting would drop off, and Ousmane Barro would continue his solid play, let’s look at the stats. James was 1-3 from three-point range, with his two misses being a shot that barely drew iron, and a shot that missed the entire apparatus by about a foot an a half. Barro had 13 points and 6 boards, and while most of his numbers came in the second half, those are still some solid stats. A few more games will need to pass before I say that my prediction is looking good, but this game’s a nice start for me.

6) It’s been needed to be said for awhile, but the "Very Important Fan" section that some sponsor promotes each game is perhaps the biggest misnomer ever. The VIF section is comprised of something like 12 people who sit in spacious seats with gigantic yellow placards in front of them. The problem? They’re located in a back corner of one of the lower sections, which doesn’t exactly give the view that you’d want to give to a real "Very Important Fan."

7) I can’t recall the last time the crowd was treated to a halftime student musical chairs competition. Part of me wonders (implausibly, of course) if the Marquette administration heard about my friends’ brilliant idea to turn the musical chairs competition into a way to gamble for beer, and decided to curb that type of activity right away. If that’s the case, I’ve got news for those administrators–we’re four men in our late-20s and early-30s. As I’ve noted earlier, when you get such a group of men together, we can turn just about anything into a game revolving around gambling and/or beer. So you’d better put Dan Fitzgerald on the pine, because the next time he commits a foul, I have a feeling one of us might be buying a beer for someone.

8) The second half point swings in this game were one of the strangest things that I’ve ever seen. Marquette jumped out to a great 2nd half start, and with 17 minutes to go was up by 19. My friends and I spent the next five minutes so convinced that the rest of the game was going to be a cake walk, that we resorted to talking about old obscure characters, including Riff-Raff, leader of those cats who lived in a junkyard on the Heathcliffe show and Heckyl and Jeckyl. By the time that the conversation shifted to me explaining that of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Hyde was the evil one, because unlike Dr. Jeckyll, he had not completed his doctorate, Seton Hall was back within six. Yet, by the four minute time-out, the game was again so out of hand that fans were heading for the exits. Marquette finally won by 13, but it was a wild ride getting there.
9) Say what you will about Marquette not being able to put Seton Hall away when the Pirates were down 20 near the start of the first half, but after the scoring drought that the Golden Eagles went though, you can’t help but respect the fact that they ultimately scored 89 points.

10) No Lawrence Blackledge in last night’s game, which was disappointing. It appears that he’s now the guy who’s fallen to the back of the big man line, which, though possibly the correct move, is a complete downer, since before being relegated to the bench, Blackledge was averaging roughly 1.6 ridiculous, jaw-droppingly athletic plays per game.

And a few quick other notes before I go:

–I’m not a big fan of Milwaukee’s channel 41's broadcasts of Wisconsin, Marquette and UWM games to begin with, as the picture quality that is usually displayed on said channel is roughly that of a high-quality webcam (my friend Dez’s wife describes it as "super low-definition"). However last night, following the Badger game, I was taken aback by a new low in a promotional commercial for this weekend’s Iowa game on 41's sister station, channel 58 (the CBS affiliate). The commercial encouraged viewers to watch the Sunday afternoon broadcast, which would be "live from Ames, Iowa." I had to rewind a couple of times to make sure I heard that right. Either the people at 41 don’t know their geography at all, or I’m going to have to completely change my plans for an Iowa road trip this weekend. I had no idea that the Hawkeyes would be hosting the Badgers on the Iowa State campus.

–It’s been all over the news over the last few days–Baraboo High School banned students from chanting "USA!" because it’s a covert way of saying "you suck ass" to the opposing team. Old news here, though, as we were on this issue nearly two years ago (see point 5). As I said then, youth culture has clearly passed me by.

I should catch some UWM action via my DVR, but no promises of an immediate update, since I've got some non-basketball plans tonight, and some preparation to do for my long weekend of experiencing basketball in the great state of Iowa. But since Detroit is always a good game, and I've shown zero love to UWM this year, I will be commenting on it at some point. Happy game watching!


At 7:58 PM, Blogger Amanda Lee! said...

I too miss the dancing guys. They were goofy, but strangely mesmerizing.

I think your predictions on Ous continuing his solid play will remain correct. He calls his first two seasons at Marquette "Bad bad business." He's still growing as a player - the first time he touched a basketball was only five years ago.

I would, however, like to hope that James' perimeter game just improves and improves, but that could just be wishful thinking!


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