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I'm alive, and blogging again (Grading the regular season)

Dear reader,

I extend my most heartfelt apology for my recent lack of blogging. I thought about telling you a small fib; maybe that I had too much school work (Lies, I’m a communications major), or that I was sick (my immune system > Joe Fulce’s), or maybe my absence was an allegorical allusion to Vander Blue’s missing jumpshot (amber alert). Yet, I only have an apology and I hope that will be enough for your forgiveness and continued following. <3

Now onto basketball:

Few things have changed in the last couple months for the Jumping Jesuits. They’re still a NCAA bubble team, can beat any team on any day (@UConn ), while still playing down to competition (@Seton Hall). Luckily, most “bracketologist” currently have the Warriors at a 10-seed, squeaking into the Big Dance behind DJO’s mega overtime in Connecticut. Tonight, Marquette begins its quest to cement/improve their NCAA tournament standing as they battle with Providence in the first round of the Big East tournament. Later tonight, I will analyze the specific keys to victory against Marshon Brooks and Co. However, in the spirit of generic sports journalism, the end of the regular season necessitates a team report card.

Unlike my philosophy teacher (who is currently glaring a hole in my forehead), I will strive to be an objective grader. Let’s begin:

Offense: Jimmy Butler and DJO have been consistent scoring options that have performed on a nightly basis. However, the 3rd option has varied nightly, and in some games has been largely absent. Dwight Buycks has struggled from long distance in the second half of the year. Jae Crowder cannot offensively contribute since being benched for Erik Williams (Ill get to that later, don’t worry). Otule has been a factor in games, but needs to stay out of foul trouble along with Jae. Vander, Junior, Erik Williams, and Fulce have largely been offensive liabilities, with the latter being the only one capable of hitting an open shot. Nevertheless, the Warriors are first in the Big East in ppg, so I have no room to complain. The slump of late is due to the absence of Jae Crowder, who’s been shooting rather Blue (double meaning what what). An interesting statistic is that although MU ranks #1 in total offense, it’s not even in the Big East 5 of assists. Points are coming off individual isolation, not team basketball.

Grade: B

Defense: The Vander Blue conundrum is that our worst offensive performer is also our best on-ball defender, leaving Buzz in a slight pickle. Furthermore, the rotation from help defense has been poor. Seaton Hall’s shooting bonanza was largely due to open three-pointers from penetration. Otule has been a defensive stalwart, however, his thirst for blocks sometimes gets him into foul trouble, as with Jae Crowder. When Buzz has switched to zone, as he did at UConn, the Warriors have experienced moderate success, however more energy and commitment is necessary. The team sometimes seems largely disengaged.

Grade: C+

Buzz Williams:

Buzz Williams is the reason Marquette is even on the bubble. I will give him credit for starting Junior Cadougan over Dwight, which seems to have controlled the offensive tempo better. However, not starting Jae Crowder is literally unexplainable. He has taken away his third best offensive option in favor of Erik Williams? Erik “I always look fearful when touching the ball” Willams? Erik “Im a worse version of Joe Fulce” Williams? Im perplexed. Buzz subs out Williams after 5 minutes every game, what is that doing for either player? Nothing. The lack of defensive adjustments in the second half, playing down to competition, and inability to execute in the key moments, all point back to Buzz.

Coaching: D+

Sidenote- Bradely Center Fans:

-Stop booing your team, it’s disrespectful and annoying.

-Stop doing the fire up cheer whenever the other team scores

-Stop chanting “Rob Frozena” when we’re only up 5 against a top-25 team.

-Show up

Grade: C-

Yours truly,

A. Wesley Herndon

Facebook: Wesley Herndon

Twitter: @wild_wesley

Email: astead.herndon@Mu.edu

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