Welcome back to Friends With Bennies, where we sit down with opposing bloggers to talk about their team. Today it's Rubie Q from SBN's Marquette blog Anonymous Eagle.
TheUConnBlog: How can a team like Marquette look so good against Wisconsin but then struggle to get by NC Central?
Anonymous Eagle: "Look so good against Wisconsin" is a very generous, and mostly undeserved, statement, I'm afraid. I don't know if you actually watched that game -- and for the sake of your eyeballs, I hope you didn't -- but it was brutal: I think MU and UW combined to go like 3-15 on free throws in the first half, and Wisconsin had 20 points at halftime and couldn't hit for anything from deep, even though Marquette was giving up open looks throughout the game, and both teams turned the ball over a ton. It was a win, and trust me, I'm not about to complain about any victory over the Red Menace, but that thing won't be winning any awards for Artistic Achievement in Basketball.
Being tied with NC Central with 5 minutes to play and eeking out a win by 9 might look surprising on the surface, but we're the same outfit that scored 47 and lost at UW-Freaking-Green Bay, nearly blew a 22-point first half lead against LSU, and got positively seal-clubbed by Florida in Gainesville. This has all been a long way of saying: we're just not very good, at least thus far.
TUB: Who should UConn fans be worried about on Marquette's roster? Davante Gardner would seem to have the size to give the Huskies a lot of trouble in time, but his rebounding numbers make it seem like he doesn't exactly control the paint. What gives?
AE: Gardner is probably Marquette's most consistent scorer, but his, uh, girth limits his minutes. He'll be good for 14 and 6, though, and he showed last year he's capable of 20-10 games when the spirit moves him, as it did against St. John's. Junior guard Vander Blue has been MU's best player for most of the year; after two up-and-down years, he's showing the talent that made him a top-30 recruit out of high school, playing under control (for the most part; he's still good for a couple of bullrushes into the paint every game) and even hitting some jumpers.
Outside of that, we don't know what to expect game in and game out. Jamil Wilson has the talent to be twice the player he's been thus far, Junior Cadougan's been peppering the box score with big turnover numbers, Chris Otule has been pedestrian as he comes back from ACL surgery, Trent Lockett has been a major disappointment after transferring from Arizona State, and Todd Mayo will be suiting up for his third game this year after getting a timeout because of academics. Add it up, and MU has a whole bunch of question marks as the Big East season starts.
TUB: What are your thoughts on the Catholic Seven breakaway? Do you have any regrets?
AE: I'm firmly in the "well, at least we're doing SOMETHING" camp when it comes to the new Conference of God. I don't know if it's going to work out in the long run, I'm not smart enough to figure out if we'll make more (or the same amount) of money this way, but getting away from the instability caused by college football is reason enough to make the move, I think. I mean, let's be real about it: you guys are taking the next train bound for whatever BCS conference will take you (as you should), Cincy's doing the same, and then the league's going to be left with UCF and Tulane and East Carolina and all those other schools with 3500-seat gyms that we spent 15 years trying to move away from. I'd rather try something bold and different and maybe a little wacky.
My only regret is that I didn't come up with the "Big Priest" nickname for the new conference. I could've sold like 8 t-shirts by now.
TUB: What are your predictions for Marquette's Big East season?
AE: I honestly have no idea what's going to happen this year. You could tell me we'd go 11-7, 9-9, or 6-12 and I'd say: yeah, I can see that. We're so Jekyll and Hyde even within the course of one game that I can't confidently make any predictions about how things will shake out in the end. Well, save for one: I'm sure Buzz will do something during or after a game that (a) pisses a bunch of people off and (b) leads other people to say: "that Buzz Williams, what a character; he's great" and (c) results in an awkward post-game apology. He's traditionally been good for one of those a year.
TUB: Can you give us a prediction for the game?
AE: I'm awful at these, but what the hell: I think UConn and Marquette are pretty evenly matched, personnel wise, but Shabazz and Boatright are probably a notch above Cadougan, Blue, and Mayo. With no confidence whatsoever, I'll take UConn by 3.
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