Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Underreacting to Marquette vs. Chaminade

Because I am gainfully employed, I was not fortunate enough to see the Marquette-Chaminade game as it happened. And my evening schedule didn’t allow me to watch my recording of it (or either of the other great ESPN games last night), so all I have to go off of is what I’ve heard and read. And while by and large what I’ve heard is not good (bad 3-point shooting, Ousmane Barro is apparently terrible now), I’m still not that worried about Marquette. I think a lot of people are overreacting about what this game signifies, so I'm going to go against the grain and underreact. And here's the two big reasons why a game in which Chaminade was withing a couple points of Marquette with less than 5 minutes left doesn't scare me:

1) Playing conditions yesterday were tough. The team may be in Hawaii, but it’s not as if they’re out on the beach drinking mai tais all day (if I may borrow that thought from Mike Krzyzewski’s radio show this week). It’s almost comical watching big-time schools playing in Chaminade’s glorified high school gym. It can’t be an easy task to play the host team in a place like that. The task is made even tougher by the travel involved, and the fact that Marquette had the early game. I’m no expert on time changes, but if a game starts at 1:30pm in the midwest, I’m pretty sure that converts to a Hawaiian start time of 4:53am. You try getting up at the crack of dawn to play basketball after spending all of the prior day on a plane studying for sociology class.

2) This is what Marquette does to start the year. Things never start out well for the Golden Eagles. Two years ago I remember cringing after watching Marquette get out-rebounded by most of their non-conference opponents, including one of their exhibition foes. I was legitimately scared about what was going to happen in the Big East. Then they went out and beat UConn in their first ever Big East game, and actually had a respectable season. If you’re a Marquette fan, you have to accept that there will be some early season scares (and maybe even an occasional loss) here and there. But it’s nothing worth getting worked up about–by late December they’ll still be playing to their level of competition, but by that point the competition will be quite a bit better.

So yeah, Marquette had a rough first day in Maui. Call me an optimist, but I expect them to have a nice night of sleep, regroup, and look much better against Oklahoma State tonight. And if things fall just right and they make it to the finals, maybe I’ll have the bizarre opportunity to watch both Marquette and Wisconsin beat Duke in a one-week span.

There’s still a lot of basketball to be played tonight. Finally, I should be able to glue myself to the TV (even though it’s killing me that I can’t make it to the UW-Whitewater vs. Carroll College game tonight). Back tomorrow (to make up for missing yesterday), after I’ve actually watched some basketball.


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