Thursday, March 11, 2010

#4 seed - #10 AP Villanova vs. #5 Marquette - Preview - Big East Tournament Cyberinterview with Outstanding Marquette Blog, Cracked Sidewalks

To the Wildcat faithful-

I'd like to thank Kevin Buckley of the outstanding Marquette blog, Cracked Sidewalks,  for cranking out this set of questions-and-answers, not only on short notice, but because the Golden Eagles (unlike the Wildcats) had to play in the second round yesterday, in which they ousted St. John's...  Cracked Sidewalks is the definitive authority on Marquette basketball...

Here is our cyber-interview:

1) Villanova beat Marquette twice already, in both cases, by just two points. And this is the increasingly rare time when two Big East teams are facing each other for the third time.  How does that impact the Marquette approach to the game?

1.  Tough to give you anything but the typical platitude answer here:  Coach Buzz, as a young coach, has learned from our last 3 games with Villanova.  Truly, they've all been tight games that, had a shot fallen here or there, the games could have tipped the other direction.  I would envision a similar game today. 

2) Not to bring up an unpleasant subject, but there was, of course, that quarterfinal from last year, when you had that heartbreaking loss, on Dwayne Anderson's shot at the buzzer.  (The one upside for you, though, was that later than evening, Syracuse ended up outlasting UConn in six overtimes, so our game got wiped right off the headlines and the lead story on SportsCenter...)  So it's been three consecutive narrow losses to Villanova (and after you had beaten us three consecutive times...)

What sort of impact do you think that has on the Marquette staff and players?

2.  Marquette is a team built on heartbreaking losses.  Villanova has handed us 3 in the last 12 months, but if you were to ask any Warrior fan, the last year has been replete with heartbreakers.   Losing to Missouri in the NCAAs in a tight game, losing to FSU by 1 after having a 17 point lead.  Losing @WVU by 1, @DePaul (double ouch) by 1, ND in OT on Senior Night.   Add in 3 tight Villanova losses, and MU faithful have been kicked in the nuts 8 times in 12 months.

So you ask what impact the 3 losses you hung on us will have?  Not much.  Even with our 3 OT victories this year, tight games make MU fans think "here we go again."

3) What's the biggest change in Marquette's team, since we played twice, back in January?  As you remember, we were the first and third games on your Big East schedule, and the more recent of the two was all the way back on January 9.  I'm sure a lot has happened, since then?  What sort of changes should Villanova fans expect from Marquette?

Our rotation has probably gotten tighter since January.  Even with the addition of Junior Cadougan, who didn't play the first half of the season, we typically play 7 guys exclusively, with small minutes from Cadougan and Erik Williams, both of whom were expected to play more at the beginning of the year, but the guys in front of them are simply better and they only get in for short breathers or when foul trouble occurs.

Changed since January .. MU was picked to finish 12th in the Big East.  (I pegged them for 5 Big East wins.)  Now it's Big East Tournament time, they finished 5th in the Big East, won 6 straight on the road, and are a lock for the NCAAs.  They've been through 4 OT games (winning 3) and 10 of their last 12.   They have far more confidence, and mental toughness since January, and have the wins to prove it.

We don't have the 5th most talented team in the Big East, but MU has done more with less throughout the season.   Should be a good game!

Thanks once more to Kevin Buckley, and Cracked Sidewalks - go take a look at their site- it's well worth it...

Go Wildcats!

E-mail: villanova.viewpoint-(at)-yahoo-dot-com

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