Monday, January 22, 2007

Warriors on a Roll

After a disastrous start to the Big East portion of their schedule, your Marquette Warriors (They will always be referred to as Warriors on this blog) are right in the thick of the conference title race. Marquette now has a string of 4 very solid wins in succession following the 0-2 (At Providence, Syracuse) conference start. Of those 4 wins, 3 (Louisville, Pitt, and UConn) were on the road, even better. Knocking off Pitt at Pitt on Sunday was a huge win as the Warriors are now only a game behind the conference leading Panthers.

Reasons why Marquette can win the Big East:

The Conference Sucks: Simply put, the Big East is nowhere near as strong as last year. Uconn, Villanova, West Virginia, Syracuse and Georgetown are not even close to last years versions. Don’t give me Notre Dame either, straight junk. Meanwhile, Marquette is only slightly worse (lost Novak), if at all.

Free Throw Shooting:
The Warriors finally found their stroke at Pitt hitting every clutch free throw they had to make down the stretch. For a squad that was 296th nationally in this stat….it’s a nice start.

The Cubillan Factor: Don’t laugh. Who thought a 6’-0” Frosh from Venezuela would make such a difference. He is drilling 47% of his 3-pt attempts in conference play. This pulls defenses out of a zone/pack the lane defense. This was KILLING them earlier (see North Dakota State/Providence games) by not allowing the 3 guards to drive it down the boulevard. Cubillan is a John Bryant/Clayton Hanson clone, if you will.

Schedule: Marquette has a pretty favorable remaining 10 games with 6 at the Bradley and the only real ball busters are at disappointing Georgetown and a rematch vs Pitt. Meanwhile, Pitt has to play at Villanova, at West Virginia, WV at home, at Marquette and a tricky non conference game vs Washington (better than their record indicates).

Should be an exciting race to the finish with numerous teams still in the hunt.

For what its worth, these are the best players I’ve seen so far. No particular order:

F Alando Tucker, Wisconsin
F Kevin Durant, Texas
G Aaron Brooks, Oregon
F Mario Boggan, Oklahoma State
G Tanner Bronson, Wisconsin
G Chris Lofton, Tennessee
G Acie Law, Texas A&M

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