Total Pageviews

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marquette vs Xavier

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Xavier is a formidable foe; Marquette has been facing elite teams all year, and this game will be no different. Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom have got to be on top of their games to beat Tu Holloway and the Musketeers. Holloway has been the driving force of Xavier, averaging over 20 points and 5 assists per game, while being the veteran influence on the court. The big difference between these two teams is that Marquette has beaten quality opponents on several occasions this year, while Xavier lacks a big time win.

Five Keys:

1. Jimmy Butler over 2.5 steals
This is my biggest key, although it seems kind of inconsequential. Butler has to create turnovers by utilizing his long arms and quickness. Marquette can not win this game by running around Xavier, they must instead outsmart them. Butler has to play well on the offensive side as well, but Marquette's defense will be key and Butler is the main thief on defense.

2. Quality Defense
This seems like a given, but this is twice as important against a team like Xavier. The Musketeers have shot 46.3% this season, and if they shoot anywhere near that then this game will be over quickly. Marquette has to overwhelm them with their quickness, and never allow an open shot. Having a hand in the shooters face will be key.

3. Offensive Rebounds
Kenny Frease, Xavier's center, is a 7-foot, 269 pound behemoth, and he will be crashing the boards all night. Team rebounding will be essential to combating with Frease's size, since Chris Otule only plays about 20 minutes a game and is not nearly as muscular. Keep in mind, though, that defensive positioning and boxing out will beat size and strength to every rebound, so if Marquette is playing disciplined basketball then they should be fine.

4. Buzz Williams' Coaching
I like Buzz as much as the next guy, but his coaching style has hardly worked in big games. It is easy to pick apart, especially by a veteran team. Marquette may be one of the best conditioned teams in the tournament, and this would be the perfect time to use that as an advantage. Go ten-deep in the rotation, and keep a full-court press going for most of the game. This will allow Marquette's point guards to flourish, and may even bring Marquette to infinity, and beyond.

5. Run, Run, Run
Anybody who watches Marquette knows that the half-court offense is not their specialty, so Marquette has to push the tempo as much as possible. Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan can run the Musketeers into the ground, so why not let them.

I am going to be honest here, Marquette doesn't stand much of a chance. Xavier has made it to the sweet sixteen each of the last three years, including one trip to the elite eight. Xavier has the been there done that swagger, and that is necessary for this tournament; the shell shocked teams never make it far. This could be Marquette's last stand, but I hope it's not. If it is though, I hope they go down swinging.

Predicted score: Xavier 75 Marquette 69.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Roberto Ruiz-Maki

I have had just about enough of this. The NFL and the NFLPA have been discussing a new collective bargaining agreement for a week now, and I am pissed. Football is the heart of America; it is our sport, and we show that by pouring billions of dollars into the industry every year. Billions. Now the players union and the team owners can't agree on a way to divide the money up? They had a CBA in place already, where the team owners got one billion off of the top of the total profits, and then the rest was split up 60-40 in favor of the players. The owners backed out of the agreement after the players started to make more money than the owners did every year.
This has the feel of two children squabbling over who gets to go first in the lunch line. Does it really matter who gets paid a little extra when it comes to billions of dollars? I am all for the players getting paid more than the owners anyway, since we watch football because of the players. I don't sit down every Sunday night to watch the NASDAQ stock rise and fall, nor do I enjoy watching a bunch of billionaires complain about who is getting paid more than them. I will, however, sit down and watch 106 highly trained athletes competing against one another.
The biggest argument I am hearing for the owners is that there is no other company where the workers get paid more than their bosses do. I agree, it would be ludicrous for a waiter to make more than the restaurant owner, just as it would be insane for a book editor to make more than the writer. This is not your run of the mill job, though, and we should not treat it like one. No other business is based on the popularity of the workers as much as the NFL is, and you can't just replace these guys with anybody. I would not watch football if the players were fatter, slower, and sloppier. The owners need to realize that they do not make a living off football, they are all owners of other companies that make them more money, but the majority of players make their money solely from football.
This is not a player strike, this is a lockout. If there is not football next year then billions of dollars will be thrown into the garbage by the owners. The players are not at fault here, and it is unfair to blame them for this. The agreement was drawn up several years ago, and the owners were the ones pushing for that specific format.
As kids, didn't we all hate that kid who complained when the class got cookies because his did not have as many chocolate chips as every other cookie? Shut up, kid, stop being a brat, go to the corner and think about what you are doing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marquette Basketball Player Profile: Jamail Jones

Article Written By: Ryan Ellerbusch (Twitter: @MUWarriorBBall)

Perhaps overlooked in Marquette’s 2010 recruiting class, freshman Jamail Jones is confident that his time will eventually come to contribute to the Golden Eagles on a regular basis.

The 6’6” forward from Montverde Academy in Florida was ranked by ESPN as the 53rd top high school basketball prospect in the class of 2010. However, Jones hasn’t seen much meaningful playing time throughout the course of this season and has averaged just two minutes of action in five games during the Big East Conference portion of Marquette’s schedule.

“I always come into every game thinking I am going to play. Not playing is rough, but I just got to wait my turn. We’re in the best conference in America so you can never take a night off. You always have to bring your best game because you never know. Anyone can beat you on any given night.”

Despite averaging just 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds this season, Jones has remained “Mellow,” a nickname that his teammates call him by because he is very relaxed and likes to chill in his off time and sleep a lot. Rightfully so, the Marquette basketball program under third-year head coach Buzz Williams is one that is very intense and requires a hard-working, tough, and a never give up mentality, which Jones admires.

“(Buzz) is a good coach. Intense, very intense, and just hard-nosed. He doesn’t really take any crap so you always got to be at your best all the time.”

As just a freshman with high expectations and a lot of hype being a four-star recruit, thus far, Jones has been doing his best to stand out by showing coach Williams his talents and not getting caught up in the fact that critics may expect more out of him.

“I played against a lot of highly ranked people coming out of high school so they (the rankings) don’t really mean much. It’s just another game on a different day.”

Jones can often be seen on the court during pregame warm-ups dazzling fans with his slam-dunks that have even received national attention back in high school when Jones played in the ESPN 2010 Rise National Championship Invitational and had two dunks in back-to-back days that made SportsCenter’s countdown of the Top 10 plays.

Marquette fans first caught a glimpse of what Jones might be able to bring to the squad in future years on December 18th vs. Centenary when he recorded a career-high 11 points for the Golden Eagles on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the victory.

“I felt good out there playing with my teammates just being able to do what I do best and not doing too much outside of my box.”

Jones, who dons the number 22 on his jersey in honor of his father who earned three letters playing college basketball (1984-86) at Alaska-Anchorage, has also been an energetic boost on the sidelines where he cheers on his teammates and hopes one day that he can bring energy, defense, scoring, and some wins to Marquette as the Golden Eagles hope to make a national championship run.

Jones strengths are shooting the basketball, particularly from his hotspots near the left and right wings where he can be deadly from 3-point range. In addition, Jones is also learning to put the ball on the floor more and is improving his defense, which will only get better as Jones gains more experience playing collegiate basketball.

Jones knows his role on the team as a young student-athlete and is aware that he must always be ready when given the opportunity to shine by coach Williams either in a game or in practice when Williams shuffles the lineups at a rapid pace as he been accustomed to doing recently.

“It’s kind of a mix because sometimes he (Buzz) splits the team up or he will go starters and then he will pick another five to go against the starters. Just depending on how he is feeling that day.”

In the upcoming years as Jones’ basketball career here at Marquette progresses, Golden Eagles basketball fans should have no problem recognizing and interacting with this “mellow” athlete because Jamail Jones wants Marquette Nation to know one thing about him.

“I am a real down to earth guy. I’m a people person so whenever you see me, you can talk to me. Don’t be afraid to talk to me. I will talk back. It’s that simple.”