As I sit here on my bed, still a little groggy from the night before, I'm doing a lot of thinking about life and Marquette basketball. My main non-Marquette related thought is about food. Why don't we have Ci Ci pizza places here. There commercials make them look so great. They are like the Sonic of pizza places.
Everything else swirling around in my brain that is not clouded my malted hops has to do with what might be the best team I've ever had the privilege to cheer for and follow. This Marquette team is scary good. I just always feel like the Amigos will not let us lose. It's fricken awesome.
We have 4 players that are in the 1,000 point club. 4! The only other team with that is UNC. We have a team with heart. A team with swagger. A team with the biggest set of cojones ever. I don't want to put the cart before the horse here, but I would stack this current team up against any other in MU history. This is probably stupid, but let's compare them to the 2003 team...
PG - What a tough match up. Diener vs. James. I'm not even sure which is better. James plays defense that is light years ahead of Diener. Diener has a shot that if James had, he would already be the leading scorer in MU history. Both are unshakable though and lead their team with that thing that you can't coach. They just have it. This one is a push.
SG - Holy crap. Wade vs. McNeal. I remember that when McNeal was getting better over the course of his freshman and sophomore years people made comparisons to Wade. I thought it was just ridiculous. Maybe not so much. McNeal is a freak this year. He still hasn't perfected that Wade bank shot, but he's trying. He shoots more, No.... Yes shots than Wade did, but Wade was too special. I give the edge to Wade here, but not by a lot.
3G/SF - Matthews vs. Townsend. This is a pretty good match-up. I give the nod to Matthews though because he is having a ridiculous senior campaign. This is the type of player he could have been if Crean knew how to use him and not make him the 4th option. I love me some Steven Todd Townsend, but Wes has him here.
SF/PF - Hayward vs. Merritt. Junior year Merritt against junior year Hayward. When Merritt could actually play the position he was meant to play, like he did in 2003, he was one hell of a good player. With Jackson on the inside, Merritt could play his game. He was awesome this year, but he is no match Lazar. Lazar is just that good. It is starting to get to the point that whenever he shoots, I'm pretty sure it's going in. He also has a nose for the ball of the glass.
PF/C - Burke vs. Jackson. I have an undying love for all things Dwight Burke. But here, he has no shot. We don't get to New Orleans without Robert Jackson. 'Nough said.
Bench - The bench on the '03 team was pretty ridiculous. Novak, Chapman, Sanders, Bradley, and Grimm. Novak was obviously the main man off that bench, but we can't forget the big shots that Chapman and Bradley hit along the way. Sanders was doing his Terry Sanders best (another Va Jay Jay personal favorite role player) and Grimm saw the floor a couple times. This year our bench leaves something to be desired. But you can't count these guys out. Jimmy "Legs" Butler is looking better every game. He is a very good player at maintaining control on drives. Mo Acker is a pesky little guy that will infuriate a point guard while he is playing defense. Pat Hazel, well he is 5 fouls but he has shown some glimpses of a solid role player (do I see a new favorite for Va Jay Jay's favorite role player emerging?). Besides that, there is a drop off on the bench. Cooby is not the same Cooby of old. Surgery on both shoulders and a weak knee will do that. Fulce and Otule have been limited by injuries, so we have no idea what we've got there. Then there is Frozena... hey, we needed a white guy. The edge here would go to the '03 squad.
Overall, an interesting comparison that we think about for now. Did I need to do this? No. Am I even correct on my assessments? Probably not. Oh well. Pick it apart in the comments. I just love Marquette basketball. Enjoy the ride everyone.