Sunday, March 22, 2009

Heartbreaking End to Marquette's Season

Oh..... crap. After Marquette found themselves down 16 points in the first half to Missouri, it looked like the Golden Eagles season was coming to an abrupt halt. But when Jerel McNeal hit that three point shot before the half, you could sense that maybe Marquette had a little bit of a comeback in them. And that they did.

MU came storming back and eventually took the lead with a huge bucket from Lazar Hayward late in the second half. But the jubilation would be short lived. Some may say the reffing was a little hairy down the stretch, but that's college basketball. Their were two big mistakes in this game made by Marquette: Hayward stepping over the line on the inbounds pass, and the fact that Dominic James saw playing time.

Earlier I wrote that this team was not going to do anything without James, but it turned out they couldn't do anything with him. I understand what it meant to have James return to action, especially for his senior leadership and the fact that he's really, really good. But clearly, James was in no way ready to return to action, as he couldn't even shoot the ball in fear of how much it would have hurt to jump. James' facial expressions were exactly like mine when I was in a high school soccer all-star game: "What the hell am I doing out here?" . It's probably unlikely he also thought "What exactly did my dad do to get me in this game?"

Perhaps I'm overstating how poor of a decision it was to play James, as he didn't see too much action. Even though if MU would have won, his presence in the game today would have gone a long way to him recovering for the Sweet Sixteen matchup, the team did suffer when he saw that court. That, and Missouri is really, really, good. 

Marquette had a great team this year, and had the dice shaken differently a couple of times they could have easily made a trip to the Final Four. But even though every thing didn't go in Buzz Williams' favor during his first year as coach, it was still a pretty impressive campaign. The team is definitely going to miss their three guards next season, especially James, but you have to feel positive about the beginning of the Buzz Williams era. 


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