Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marquette vs. UW-Green Bay: Struggling To Find a Feed...

I was excited to finally get my first look at Marquette last evening (and against an in-state foe, no less). I’ve not had a moment to get down to the Bradley Center so far this year and while I did see portions of the Golden Eagles’ game against hapless Prairie View A&M last Friday, I was out with friends at the time, which always makes it impossible to have a laser-like focus on the game. So last night I couldn’t wait to settle into my chair and closely watch Marquette and Green Bay for two hours. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

As the night broke down, I caught the first five minutes of the game at the gym before heading home to watch the rest of the game, which I had set to record from the Directv feed of MASN. When I got home, I was dismayed to find that my DVR had stopped recording after about 30 minutes. I sighed, anticipated a 20-minute gap in the game, and pressed record again as I started to watch what had actually recorded. I thought nothing of it until I came to the end of the initial 30 minutes of the recording. At that point I learned that the reason that my recording had stopped was that the broadcast had been blacked out mid-game. I’m was a bit rattled by the blackout, not because it was inappropriate (truthfully, it makes sense to me that a locally played game to which Time Warner Sports has rights would be blacked out), but because MASN and other east coast sports channels had been a reliable way to catch Marquette games last season. I guess that’s no longer the case, which complicates my analysis of television providers even further. In any event, crestfallen, I continued on with the radio broadcast of the game while I cued up a random college hoops game in the background. It was not my happiest moment.

(On a side note, I was wrong a couple days ago about me not having access to ESPN3. After testing things out, it turns out the disclaimer on the ESPN3 website about being unable to receive ESPN3 without a cable package containing ESPN was apparently incorrect. Despite me being an internet-only Time Warner subscriber, the tail end of Tuesday night’s Wisconsin game came through crystal clear for me. I suppose it’s even possible that last night’s Marquette game was on ESPN3, but I didn’t get the chance to check. Now I just need to get a computer that can output to my television. And perhaps also has a functioning “b” key.)

On to my abbreviated thoughts on Marquette’s 89-69 dismantling of the Phoenix:

1) In the pre-game, it was noted that former Marquette star and newly hired Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle is 31 years old. That’s one year younger than me, which is just another reminder that I’ve accomplished very little in my life.

2) I was not aware until the broadcast that last night’s game was part of the CBE Classic. At first, I simply thought that this was some bogus set of bad early-season non-conference games grouped together solely to give O’Reilly Auto Parts an opportunity to sponsor something. Upon further investigation, though, I found that this (and MU’s game against Bucknell) was part of the tournament that will pit the Golden Eagles against Duke next Monday. As it turns out, Duke, Marquette, Kansas State and Gonzaga all played games whose outcomes didn’t matter (a point driven home by Gonzaga losing to San Diego State on Tuesday night) before the pre-determined “Championship Round.” It seems like having two meaningless opening rounds is a pretty illegitimate way to run a “tournament,” but maybe that’s just me.

3) I can’t say with a high degree of certainty, but during the first portion of my game-watching at the gym, I’m pretty think that a particular former Marquette player was just a few machines down from me. I’m uncertain if it was truly the guy I was thinking of for three reasons. First, he’s a guy that I somewhat thought would still playing pro ball overseas. Second, he’s a guy that I would have expected to return to his home state after graduation. And third, if he was indeed a former player, I’d expect him to want to carve out some time to watch the game on his own time (then again, I really wanted to see the game and I was there too, so perhaps this third point is not such a great one). I’ll leave this vague, partly in order to leave the guy alone, and partly because I don’t want to look dumb if I’m wrong.

4) This is actually a point that I discussed with some friends while watching the Prairie View A&M game, but good heavens is Jae Crowder well-built. I don’t know how much time that guy spends in the weight room, but he resembles a long-haired Karl Malone. During the Prairie View A&M game, my friends and I had briefly forgotten that Crowder attended a junior college before Marquette. I'm glad that I've since remembered that, because it seemed simply implausible that someone could look like that as a freshman. As it turns out, it is implausible.

5) The announcing team noted that Green Bay freshman center Alec Brown is Green Bay’s first 7-foot tall player. As for the positive things about his game at this point, I’d say that he’s about 7-feet tall. Good thing he has three more years to learn.

6) Watching some of the perimeter exchanges on offense, it’s pretty clear that Green Bay coach Brian Wardle spent some time playing for Tom Crean.

7) So here’s the one thing that really disappointed me about last night’s game–because of when the black-out kicked in, I didn’t get to see Davonte Gardner. He’s a guy that I was fairly high on before the season began, he was one of the heros of the Bucknell comeback, and he didn’t play in the first 10 minutes of the game. I know I’ll eventually get to see him, as he’s currently averaging 13 points per game in only 12 minutes of playing time per game, but it would have been nice to finally get a look at him last night.

8) The broadcast teams for Marquette have been shaken up of late as radio color commentator Jim McIlvaine has been shifting over to the TV side for a few games, with fellow former-MU star Tony Smith subbing in on the radio broadcast. Having had the chance to take in portions of both the TV and radio broadcasts last night, I can say that while the shift appears temporary, I liked it. McIlvaine, being new at TV, obviously needs some practice. However, he’s a bit more subdued on TV, and you can rest easily knowing that he’s not going to make one of his cornball moves like exclaiming “No mercy in this dojo!” when something exciting happens. As for Smith, his work with various local media outlets has made him a competent, if unspectacular color commentator. I suspect that given a few more games, his rapport with play-by-play man Steve “The Homer” True would be fantastic.

I wish I had a few more salient game points, but my points above will have to do, given that the final 30 minutes of the game were not visible to me. Fortunately, next Monday it should be pretty much impossible to miss Marquette taking on Duke. After all, with the amount of influence that Duke has on ESPN, I’m half expecting the game to pre-empt Monday night football.

I’ve got my eye on a late game tonight, so back tomorrow if I can jot some thoughts down before passing out.


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