I wasn't able to watch last night's Marquette game in person, but I did get to watch it in the stunning clarity of Time Warner Sports, channel 32. It's the second full game I've had a chance to watch, so I feel that qualifies me to make some broad sweeping generalizations on what I think of things so far.
-Ok I know it's been 4 cream puffs to start the year, but I have been pretty impressed with how well Marquette has shot the ball so far. They've posted shooting percentages of 50% or higher in each of the first 4 games. The 3-point percentages have increased each game as well, culminating with a downright silly 60% from behind the arc last night. This is some fine work, even against cupcakes. You would've expected to see at least one night where we go out and shoot 38% and still win due to the inferior competition. I have been especially pleased with how well guys are shooting in the mid-range. Buycks and DJO seem to really have the pull-up, mid-range jumper as a part of their arsenal. Combining them with what Butler and Lazar can do in that area adds an interesting element to the offense. It creates a little different look than what we're used to seeing. James, Matthews and McNeal were all such great finishers that they usually eschewed the mid-range pull-ups for a chance at something around the rim.
-Which segues nicely into my next point. SBTG sent me a text last night about how much he likes the way MU is attacking the zone so far this year. I completely agree. Obviously, any time you shoot 60% from 3-land you're going to obliterate any attempts at playing zone. However, I think the aforementioned pull-up game can also be a very useful weapon against teams that intend to stop you with the zone. I'm not Jim Boeheim, but even I know that zones are vulnerable when you can get past the first level, and score without having to get all the way to the rack and challenge the second level. If Lazar, Butler, Buycks, Johnson-Odom are doing this consistently, and Cubillan and Acker can continue to show the 3-point competency they've demonstrated thus far, then Marquette will be a much tougher team to zone up against this year.
-To quote Rubie Q at Haunted Hoops, "DJO might be GOOD!" I really hope the flashes he showed last night are just the beginning of what we might see from Darius Johnson-Odom.
-Yes, I know that these games have come against the dregs of the the college hoops world, and it will invariably be tougher once we start playing teams with better athletes, etc. But given the fact that the expectations are pretty damn low, and we had no clue what we were going to get out of this crop of newcomers, I'd say the things I've seen thus far have been pretty positive. ("Positive" to be read with Mike McCarthy accent.) I'm pretty excited to see what happens agains Xavier tomorrow. Because if there's one thing that I know about Xavier it's....um..... that they're usuall pretty decent, and they play in the A-10. I thought I knew more, but I guess that's it. Damn.