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Sleeping With The Enemy: Meet The Marquette Golden Eagles

Once again, we here at Casual Hoya are bringing you what you need to know about our next opponent.  Special thanks to John Pudner of, the greatest Marquette hoops blog in the universe, for answering our penetrating questions.  Mr. John Pudner, this bud's for you.  Away we go...

Wayne Campbell: So, do you come to Milwaukee often?
Alice Cooper: Well, I'm a regular visitor here, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century.
Pete: Hey, isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name?
Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact , it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin for "the good land."
Wayne Campbell: I was not aware of that.

CH:  Tell us something about Milwaukee that we don't know.

Chris Farley really did go to MU with me there in the 1980s and was able to recreate the Marquette's campus pretty well in the opening of the "Tommy Boy." On average, Milwaukee is actually more windy than Chicago, and French explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette (statue on North Third Street near the Bradley Center) was the first European to survive a winter in the area. Two other must-sees near the Bradley Center are the Art Center (huge metal wings that open to reveal Lake Michigan from the cozy indoors!) and the largest musical festival in the world in Summerfest.  Finally, I will put Milwaukee's restaurants up against any city besides New York. The food is unbelievably good, with every ethnicity represented by unbelievable food.


Fat guy in an ugly shirt.

Marquette has lost to West Virginia and Villanova, the two preseason conference favorites, by a total of three points. Obviously, the Golden Eagles are not as bad as their 0-2 conference record thus far suggests. What can Georgetown expect from Marquette on Wednesday?

MU was picked to finish 13th in the Big East then lost their top recruit in point guard Junior Cadougan (torn Achilles) and their first 6-foot-10 starter since the Final Four run in Chris Otule (broken foot). However, a shockingly good start makes this game very close to a mirror image of the last time Georgetown came to Marquette last January 31. Like Georgetown last year, MU came in expecting a huge rebuilding year with McNeal, Matthews and James graduating. Like Georgetown last year, MUs expectations suddenly soared with two early upsets (albeit wins over Xavier and #15 Michigan were not as impressive as Georgetown's wins against Memphis and UConn last year). However, like Georgetown last year, the inexperienced MU enters this game having crashed to earth by then losing 5 of 8 (the Hoyas had lost 7 of 9 coming into last year's game). still ranks MU as the 24th best team in the land, about where they Hoyas were for last year's game, and they are going inot a matchup with the No. 13 and 11-1 Hoyas, just as Gtown faced a 17-2 and #8 ranked MU last year. If you remember how desperate the Hoyas were to come in and win last year, I think you get a feel for how desperate MU will be for a win Wednesday night.

Marquette is famous for having uniforms so wacky that the NCAA has actually banned them.  Any chance they revive those or the casual untucked jerseys from the championship run?

Don't expect any surprise uniforms, though they are kept as great secrets when unveiled.  What we have found is that the rainbow rims around the arm openings often confuse opponents into thinking they are guarding three players instead of one, an advantage we need since we rarely have a player more than 6-foot-6 on the court!  My real hope is that we do not come out in the UNC baby blue uniforms, as they look great but never seem to result in a win.  Hopefully we are in the bright gold!

More fun with Marquette after 'The Jump':

In a city renowned for such culinary dishes as beer brats, is the 'freshman 15' actually the 'freshman 40'?

Funny you should ask, because it actually was a freshman 40 for me. However, like most MU freshman, I was shocked at the reaction of family and friends over my first Christmas back and started making daily use of MUs fantastic rec center and lost it all back by the end of the freshman year. The funny thing is that through the days of Doc Rivers, MU practiced in a terrible, beat up "old gym," while non-athletes like me had 5 state of the art basketball courts, a pool, 8 tennis courts and other workout areas in the rec center that was donated by a former non-athlete on the condition that the varsity teams could not use it. (Casual Note: We at Casual Hoya do not endorse any spawn of MU alum Doc Rivers).

Who are Marquette's best scorers? Rebounders?

Lazar Hayward is the best scorer and rebounder - but the pleasant surprise this year has been that he is helped by three other studs - a vastly improved Jimmy Butler and two incredible JC transfers in Darius Johnson-Odom and Dwight Buycks. These four give them plenty of scoring and rebounding to win - but they wear down as part of only a 7-man rotation in big games.

As great as the 'Three Amigos' were at getting to the hoop, once Steve Novak left their three MU teams ranked 198th, 141st and 85th in the nation in effective field goal shooting (shooting percentage plus an extra half shot credited for 3-pointers made). This year MU ranks 32nd in the country due to hitting 41.2 percent of 3-pointers (16th in the country) and over half of their 2-pointers (50.5%).

When Hayward is on the court, he shoots 40% of our trips down the court, and while fresh he is as deadly from three feet outside the arc as slamming on the heads' of opponents on follow-ups. Butler is the 5th best all-round offensive player in the country according to Ken Pomeroy's statistical rankings ( due to his tenacious offensive rebounding and drives to the hoop, Johnson-Odom is 28 of 48 on three-pointers to easily lead the Big East at 58.3%, and Dwight Buycks seemed fully recovered from an ankle injury when he put in 15 points against Nova for his fourth double digit outing.

Depth is the issue, as there are concerns that guards Maurice Acker and David Cubillan are too small to take on Big East guards (though both are over 41% from behind the arc), and the only three players over 6-foot-6 hardly play (6-foot-7 Joe Fulce started but played only 9 minutes against Nova while 7-foot-2 Youssoupha Mbao and 4-star 6-7 freshman forward Erik Williams rarely play.)

Following coach McGuire and Butch Lee's championship in 1977, it took Marquette 26 years to get back to the final 4 - chances that Buzz Williams gets you back there in the next 10?

Before Jeronne Maymon transferred out after exams, I believed MU could make a Final Four run as early as the 2011-12. I have studied the average progression of 5-star, 4-star and 3-star players through their Big East careers, and that model pegged MU as winning only 19 total games this year, but 25 next year and 30 in 2011-12 with 5-star recruit Vander Blue (2010 signee) and Top 50 recruit Junior Cadougan (red shirting his freshman year due to torn Achilles) leading a backcourt. Of course, if we could have traded you for Greg Monroe, I believe we would have made the Final Four last year and this year! We really are vertically challenged, This year our average height on the court at a given time is 6-foot-3.3 inches, making us the 320th tallest Division 1 team, while the Hoya's average 6-foot-5.5 inches, the 47th tallest team. If you look at the past decade, we had exactly one year with a legit big man, when Robert Jackson transferred from Mississippi State for his senior season - and we went to the Final Four. We continue to get incredible guards and 6-6 studs (2010 recruit Jamail Jones), so if Otule and Mbao develop into decent centers by their junior seasons, MU has a shot to make a Final Four run that early.

It was in the 20's in DC this past weekend and I refused to leave the house except to pick up alcohol and go to Burger King. How do you survive the Milwaukee winters? What do students do for fun on cold winter nights?

I'm dating myself with this one. I went there to take advantage of one of the last states to keep an 18 year old drinking age, and at the time it was great adventure to bar hop. We had the most bars per capita in the US then, so it was great fun to pack like sardines into a bar, then sprint half a block to the next bar, and repeat this through eight or 10 bars each night. Obviously since no students drink any more until they turn 21, MU has done an excellent job of taking over most of the old bars and building out fantastic indoor establishments centered around the Union Sports Annex at 804 N. 16th Street, which has a deep basement setting with monster screen for MU games and other events. I would live in Milwaukee in a heartbeat, but I met a good Milwaukee girl who had had enough of Milwaukee winters and insisted I move her to the south, I simply fly back for a half dozen games a year and Summerfest.

Tom Crean: friend or foe?

Overall, Crean is booed by 90% of the fans when he appears cutting down the nets on the pregame film. However, I was probably one of his biggest defenders all the way to the end, and even after he was gone couldn't help but note that he rebuilt a program that was virtually bankrupt back into a national team, and brought us both Dwyane Wade and Buzz Williams, as his assistant. He was probably a little too slick looking for a blue collar town like Milwaukee that didn't like hearing the annual reports of his salary and potential suitors, but he did a lot for this program.

The TV show ‘Step by Step' took place in Port Washington, WI. Does the amusement park depicted in the intro actually exist? Wasn't it amazing how Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy built such a tight-knit family amongst so many different personalities?

When we had six children people compared us to the Brady Bunch and Step-by-Step, but my wife was quick to note she had all six children herself, and then we had three more and the comparisons ended. As for the amusement park, in Trivia Pursuit I never get the Entertainment questions right, but a family member tells me the amusement park does exist. My main complaint about the series is that Patrick Duffy loved the Milwaukee Bucks and Green Bay Packers, but there was never a mention of Marquette. If he was making the half hour drive from Port Washington down to Bucks games, couldn't they have had him travel down during the 1994 TV season to see Jim McIlvaine leading MU to the Sweet 16?

Golden Eagles. Really?

To answer that question, you have got to watch the below interview with Dwyane Wade in which he learns that Marquette is about to change the team's name to "The Gold."  My theory is this - knowing what has happened on other campuses with Indian team names, the asking price to keep Warriors was probably too high, and to stop the push to return to "the Warriors" the Board decided to go with "The Gold" so that MU fans would decide "Golden Eagles" was good by comparison. Fr. Robert Wild has done an incredible job of establishing MU basketball again, but he has been very clear that he will not allow the name to go back to the Warriors, so Golden Eagles it is. Still, you will see many Marquette Warriors shirts in the stands.

Choose one and defend: Old Milwaukee or PBR?

I will choose to defend Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Understand that when I went to school, every beer from Michelob on down sold for $2 a six pack, much less than soda, and Marquette was still throwing a block party every semester during which they served free beer to everyone on campus, most of Notre Dame's students, and students from every corner of the US who arrived for the weekend.  We started with screwdrivers at student apartments at 7 a.m., and the challenge was to drink and maintain a buzz until all parties and bars closed at 4 a.m. the next morning, without getting sick.  In short, none of us had to drink either PBR or Old Milwaukee because any beer we wanted was free to very inexpensive.  However, my father in law worked for Pabst Blue Ribbon and it was an economic alternative for people in other areas, so I will defend them. The fact that Old Milwaukee used the name of the greatest beer city in the US to label a bad beer is inexcusable, so I cannot defend them.

Final score prediction:

MU is DESPERATE for a win, and I believe they pull off a 66-65 win, hitting a couple of key free throws at the end to seal it. 

I believe our three players 6-foot-7 or better (Fulce, Mbao and Williams) need to give Buzz more than the combined 11 minutes they have averaged in the first two Big East games. If that's all they have, then that means our six players between 5-foot-8 and 6-foot-6 have to average over 33 minutes each of bodying up against bigger opponents. As a result, we have led WVU 62-57 with 42 seconds left, 71-69 with 57 seconds left and 56-55 with 32 seconds left against Florida State, but missed last free throws against all three to lose each time. 

Many of our fans have given up hope since we have lost 9 of 10 close games (within four points or overtime) in the last 12 months. While most of our fans think we are a poor free throw shooting team, the fact is MU is an excellent free throw shooting team, and rarely misses one until the legs are very dead at the end of games. The fact is while we missed two key one-and-ones against WVU, we hit exactly what you'd expect, 8 of 12 free throws in that game (the national average is 68.5%). Against Nova, people went crazy because Lazar only hit one of two on one trip near the end, but the fact is MU went 21 of 26 for the game, three more than average, so we can't blame the loss on that. In fact, right now MU is hitting free throws at a 73.1% clip, 51st best of 347 Division 1 teams, so I believe we've just had some bad bounces and this will even out if we are close at the end Wednesday and pull out a narrow win. If Buzz came get just a few more minutes out of the three big guys (Fulce, Mbao and Williams), I believe we will finally have the legs to start winning evenly matched games.