Big East Tourney Daily Diary: SemifinalsPosted by rtmsf on March 13th, 2010
Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is spending the week as the RTC correspondent at the Big East Tournament. In addition to live-blogging select games throughout the tournament, he will post a nightly diary with his thoughts on each day’s action. Here is his submission for the semifinal games.
Georgetown 80, Marquette 57
- Georgetown whooped Duke. They smacked Villanova. Just yesterday they knocked off Syracuse. That said, would you believe me if I told you that this may be the Hoyas’ most impressive win of the season? Marquette doesn’t get blown out. Prior to this, their ten losses were by an average of 3.5 ppg; just 3.0 in seven Big East losses. They hadn’t lost by more than nine on the season (at Wisconsin) and seven in Big East play (Pitt). 14 of their 21 Big East games were decided by five points or less. With 13 minutes left in this game, Marquette was down one. From that point on, the Hoyas blitzed Marquette, something that simply does not happen.
- Greg Monroe had a two minute stretch where he showed why people are saying he is a lottery pick. From deep in the left corner, he drove baseline and finished with a dunk. The next possession, he knocked down a three. The following possession, he took a rebound and went coast-to-coast, finishing it with a gorgeous bounce pass to Austin Freeman for an and-1 layup. And for good measure, he blocked a Jimmy Butler shot 20 seconds later.
- Marquette is going to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. At least one. This is a team that is scrappy, tough, and runs a difficult offense to defend.
- Jimmy Butler is one of the key players for Marquette. Along with Lazar Hayward, his ability to defend inside and play on the perimeter is a huge reason Marquette is able to play – and is successful doing so – the style they play. Hell, two weeks ago he hit a buzzer-beater in overtime to beat St. John’s. He’s a pretty important part of this Marquette team. You wonder, then, why the Marquette fan sitting next to me asked, after Butler’s tip dunk in the first half, “Jimmy Butler? Who’s Jimmy Butler?” Fan fail.
- Over the course of the night, as with any big time event, the MSG people like to run promotions that give away money. All week, they have been using this game with an oversized die where three of the same roll in a row wins you $10,000. They’ve done it in each of the 12 previous games, and not once did anyone win, only a few times did they even get to the third roll. Well, in both games tonight, the contestant won the $10,000.
- There’s more. At halftime of the first game, three people came to center court to try and win $10,000 in a Dickie V impersonation contest. The first two were heartily booed by the NYC crowd. The third contestant, however, had shaved his head bald, was wearing a half of a gray wig, had on a fake unibrow, screamed “Are you serious?!?!?” a good five times, and received a standing ovation and $10,000. I had to pay $8 just to take part in the MSG dinner buffet. I think I need to find a new profession.
West Virginia 53, Notre Dame 51
- How good is Da’Sean Butler? I swear, every time I watch I come away more and more impressed. That said, Butler doesn’t get much love from the NBA guys. Why? Subpar athleticism and the lack of a real position at the next level. They’re probably right, because that’s what they do for a living. But I find it hard to believe a kid that plays hard, defends, rebounds the ball, and can hit an open jumper can’t find a home somewhere in the league. I’m not only impressed with Butler’s game, he has a great attitude as well. You can see it in his post game pressers. He is all smiles, always upbeat, always team first. Seems like a great kid all around.
- Bob Huggins is officially my favorite person of all time. First example: after Cam Thoroughman missed this layup, Huggins’ reaction was priceless. He stood there, arms folded, staring at Thoroughman for about five seconds before he exploded at him, getting a good minute straight of screaming in. Then, in the press conference, he dropped some priceless one-liners. When asked how he is able to attract some many recruits from the NYC area, Huggins responded “my effervescent personality.” He described his hometown as “500 people, two stoplights, nine bars.” He also told a story about his outlook on life based on a conversation he had with “this guy” in his “truck.”
- Don’t let this game affect how you see Notre Dame come tournament time. This was simply a bad matchup for the Irish. West Virginia is as physical and tough as any team that Notre Dame will face, and they are capable of thriving in this type of game.
- It was great to see Joe Mazzulla playing well. The lefty point guard was one of West Virginia’s most important players during their Sweet 16 run in 2008, but a shoulder injury cost him the majority of last season and the beginning of this season. He even spent the beginning of the year shooting right handed (he’s a lefty) because his shoulder was so bad. Coming into tonight, he had taken four shots in his last five games. But tonight, Mazzulla had a season high eight points, with three of those baskets coming in a key first half push that helped open up the Mountaineers lead.
- The shot Tory Jackson missed at the buzzer was a good shot. I’ve seen some people questioning it, but he came down the floor, his man back pedaled, and he took an open rhythm three that would have won the game. He just happened to miss. With 12 seconds left and no timeouts, I’ll take that shot every time.