I of course don't like to lose. Nobody does. But there are "acceptable" losses where I can step back and say, "we weren't the better team" or "wow, our opponent played really well". Last night's game against South Florida was not one of these however. We played a South Florida team that in one word is bad. Going in, the only way Marquette was going to lose that game was if they had an absolute stinker of a performance offensively because USF only avg's around 65pts/game while MU scores at a clip if 82ppg. I mean this seemed like a no brainer. This entire season, MU has only scored less than 68 points 1 time and that was a 61 point performance early in the year against a Wisconsin team that slows the game down. Well, on this frightful night, our beloved Marquette Golden Eagles decided to put on one of those memorable performances.......and not one of the good memorable performances. In fact, there were moments where it was sooo frightful that I had to hide under my blanket ie. when they stepped to the free throw line. So without further ado, here are some of the "memorable" statistics from last night:
1. Score - 56-57, our lowest point total of the year and 26 lower than our season average.
2. FG% - 38.9%, i've seen worse but this is skewed because of our 2pt vs 3pt %
3. 3 pt FG% - 16.7% (4-24)!!!!! Are you shittin' me? Just when you think these guys have turned the corner and cut down on their 3pt chucking, they do this. However, it's not the amount or the type of shot that they took.....it's the fact that when you obviously aren't shooting well, don't continue to shoot the long jumper and attempt to penetrate more which is your strength anyway. This is ALMOST the most frustrating part of the game.
4. FT % - 43.5% (10-23)!!!!!!!!!! Again......Are you shittin' me? This is ala Memphis of last year. There's really nothing to say here other than, it's fucking free throws! Anything less than 70% from a guard oriented team is just unacceptable and IS the main reason why we lost the game.
5. Dominic James - I love the guy! Have defended him for 3.5 years regardless of his shot selection. He knocks down is 1st 3 of the night.....and it was pure, nothin' but net (I proceeded to text Reid and say "uh oh, look out, James hit his first jumper" meaning it looked like James was going to have a big night. I couldn't have been more wrong. After his first make, he missed his final 8 3 point attempts going 1-9 on the night.
6.Other notable "performances" - Lazar 2 for 9 and 0 for 4 from 3; Acker 0 for 3 on wide open 3 pointers.
Negatives: MU proved all of the doubters to be correct last night. Our hopes of winning a Big East conference championship took a major hit last night, and in doing so, also lessened our chances of securing a high NCAA seed.
Positives: 1. One great thing about playing in this conference is the opportunity for redemption. The team turns around and plays a good Villanova team on the road. They can "right the ship" by going into Philadelphia and leaving with a victory. While losing to USF is disappointing, a win at Nova makes a 2-1 road trip. Still very successful in this league.
2. Wes Matthews appears to be ok. Our season was on the verge of taking a 180 when we were losing at South Florida and Wes layed on the floor clutching his knee after an incredible block on a fast break. Again, the loss blows but we walked out of their with a full roster. And with the incredible success that we've had as a team thus far, our health is more important at this point.
So to anyone standing on the top of a building ready to jump: Last night's game was the anomale of all anomale's. I'm just going to completely forget about it because that is the farthest from who we really are. We are 9-1 in the Big East and tied for first place! Not even I thought we would be 9-1 at this point in the season. We still control our own destiny! We are going to play a good Villanova team on Tuesday, a good Villanova team that we match up well with. Even if we lose that game, we follow that game with home games against StJohns and Seton Hall which should equate to victories and will put us at 11-2 going into our final 5. I'll take it.