With the lack of discussion concerning Marquette's first round matchup with Utah St, and the fact that the most action this site is getting is regarding the opening of Step by Step, I thought I would take it upon myself to try and ignite what could be our final pre-game discussion of the 2008-2009 season. Rubie, I am impressed and amused (and actually somewhat concerned....did you lose your job?) with your sitcom knowledge, but we are just over 12 hours away from our Holy War with the mormons......wait.....I mean we are just over 12 hours away from a rare grudge match with WAC conference champ Utah St. Let's Get It On!
Utah St - I think mormon, I think old whities, I think plurality. Yes! My initial thoughts were confirmed when I opened the first Utah St article and learned that their go to guy was a 26 year old red headed (was he a ginger? don't remember) by the name of Mike...no, Gary Wilkinson. Anyhow, I don't know anything about this team other than they like to run set plays, work the clock to find the best shot possible, and try and find this Wilkinson character. Apparently, they rank very high nationally in both FG and 3pt FG percentage because they are so patient in their offense.
So what do I think about the matchup? While I understand that they have a very talented 6'9" post player, I don't necessarily fear this defensive assignment for Burke considering he has already played the likes of Dejuan Blair, Hasheem Thabeet, Luke Harangody, Greg Monroe, and Dante Cunningham (to name a few).......all of which are far more talented than Wilkinson IMO. I'm sure Wilkinson will get his, but I fear what his support cast will do more. Since Dom went down, MU's overall defense has been mediocre at best. Game after game, MU surrendered unordinarily high field goal percentages to their opponents. If they want to have a shot tomorrow, they CANNOT surrender an opponent FG% of 50%. This is my #1 key to the game - We'll put up plenty of points, but we can't surrender a ton....so DEFEND!
Second, I think that Marquette needs to come out of the gates with intensity and toughness. They have been notoriously slow starters this year, and I don't recommend playing from behind against a team that is patient on offense and doesn't turn the ball over. Comparitively, Marquette is much more experienced than Utah St. They play in a much tougher conference, and this is their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. Act like it! Play smart and attack. MU is much more athletic, so Jerel and Wes should be able to penetrate and get to the rack or the free throw line at will. They really need to take advantage of this. If MU can avoid falling in love with the 3 (paging Jerel McNeal) and attacks the basket, they should win this game. Their talent, athleticism, and experience should trump everything that Utah St brings to the table (even if Gary Wilkinson has more wives than all of MU's players combined). So let's go get 'em! I'm hesitant/nervous as I always am, but we are the better team. Let's get this one and get a repeat of the '03 second round matchup of Mizzou. Good luck gentleman! D3, if we win tomorrow, I urge you to have a Woodford Reserve in my honor as I will be sitting in meetings and teleconferences for most of the day.......life is good.
Ring Out Ahoya! (Fixed it.)