Posted on: March 12, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 11:09 am

Big East Day 3 Recap


A tremendous day of basketball capped by the first major buzzer-beater of Championship Week. Three of the four double-bye top seeds go down, including No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Pitt, and 11th-seeded Cincinnati nearly causes bubble teams across the country to lose control of their bowels. 

If you picked this final four then you can have my envy...and a roll of smarties...send me your address. 


8) Georgetown 91, 1) Syracuse 84
5) Marquette 80, 4) Villanova 76
7) Notre Dame 50, 2) Pittsburgh 45
3) West Virginia 54, 11) Cincinnati 51


Since this is going to be posted on the website of CBS Sports, home of the Jim Nantz, I'm contractually obligated to start this blurb with "The Butler did it." I'd rather not do it, but I seriously have no choice. This is just a precursor to the blurb, not the actual blurb itself. The blurb starts now. 

The Butler did it.

Da'Sean Butler banked home a deep and heavily contested three-pointer at the buzzer to lift third-seeded West Virginia into the Big East Tournament semifinals and end the improbable run of No. 11 Cincinnati. 

"When I got the ball, (UC freshman Lance Stephenson) kind of pressed up on me. So I kind of lost my balance, and by the time I squared up, I only had time to take one dribble instead of two or three. And when I took the one dribble, I put it up," said Butler.

Da'Sean Butler nails a shot beyond the arc, giving West Virginia a quarterfinal win over Bearcats.

Cincinnati, which trailed for the vast majority of the night, had a shot to win it with 6.4 seconds to play and the length of the court to go, but Dion Dixon, who had just been brought into the game by UC head coach Mick Cronin, mishandled the ball and lost it out-of-bounds. That set the stage for Butler, who finished the night with 15 points. 

The Mountaineers, the only one of the Big East's top four seeds still alive in the tournament, will face No. 7 Notre Dame in tonight's second semifinal. 



Since the team of the day is Georgetown, I'm contractually obligated by CBS to start this blurb with a mention of the old saying about beating the same team three times in one season. I actually don't believe in the validity of the adage at all, but what can you do? I also prefer other car rental services to Enterprise. Blurb starts now.

You know what they say about beating a team three times in one season. 

Georgetown avenged a pair of regular season losses to arch-rival Syracuse by stunning the top-seeded Orange, 91-84 in Thursday's first Big East Tournament quarterfinal. 

Adding injury to insult for 'Cuse was senior center Arizne Onuaku hitting the floor and clutching his knee late in the game. His status for the NCAA Tournament is still unknown. 

Chris Wright led the Hoyas with 27 points, while sophomore center Greg Monroe added 15 more to go with ten rebounds and seven assists. 

"It's definitely a confidence boost," Wright said. "I don't think this team lacks confidence. I just think we're ready to play."

The loss was the second straight for regular season champion Syracuse, which entered the postseason coming off a loss at Louisville. The Orange still appear to be in good shape to capture a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, if only because they didn't have much competition for the spot heading into this week. 


Pitt could only muster a season-low 45 points against the 1986 Chicago Bears Notre Dame in a 50-45 loss. The Panthers, who could have made a move to rename this thing the P.I.T. (Pittsburgh Invitational Tournament) after advancing to the title game in four straight seasons, lost in their tourney opener for the second straight year. 

"Right now we don't feel good," said Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon. "I think this will be a good learning lesson for us."

Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson each scored 12 point for Notre Dame, which has come out-of-nowhere to win six straight. 


--Chris Wright (Goergetown) - 27 points

--Da'Sean Butler (West Virginia) - 15 points, game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer

--Greg Monroe (Georgetown) - 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists

--Wesley Johnson (Syracuse) - 24 points, seven rebounds

--Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) - 24 points, five assists

--Corey Stokes (Villanova) - 22 points

--Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati) - 19 points, seven rebounds


"I think that’s what is great about tournaments. You don’t have to worry when they say you have to prepare one day after, it’s not a big deal. We’ve all played each other.We know each other. I think that’s what makes these games great. It’s been great games throughout the tournament. Our familiarity with each other is, it makes it tough beating any team." --Jay Wright


Semifinal time...

#5 Marquette vs. #8 Georgetown (7 p.m.)
#3 West Virginia vs. #7 Notre Dame (9:15 p.m.)

Posted on: March 11, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:24 pm

The Afternoon Scoreboard


All it takes is two weeks of following every conference tournament to realize that there there are so many conferences and D1 teams in this country that it could drive a person crazy trying to touch them all.  This afternoon's rounds saw games from the Mountain West, the Big East, the Big 12, the SEC, the ACC, the MAC, the Pac-10 and several others. That's a full plate, America, so let's dive right in, shall we?

Marquette 80, Villanova 76: Yesterday, we reported that "cartoon thug" Buzz Williams said that close games are "all they know." Guess that knowledge came in handy as traditionally marginal producer Darius Johnson-Odom stepped seemingly from nowhere as the rocketsauce the Golden Eagles needed to bust down the #10 (and no slouch) Villanova. I kept waiting for this one to go into overtime, and Marquette just kept denying that there would be any overtime for them today. So far, you really have to like this Marquette team. They're manufacturing wins any way they can, and they probably have a good shot against #5 Georgetown tomorrow. The Golden Eagles look to have the steam to off some giants if the invisible laser beams shooting out of Buzz Williams' giant, magical head can continue to empower these guys. 

Utah State 84, Boise State 60: The first game of the WAC Tourney was a bit of a snoozer (you'd think Boise State would want this thing more, because if they lose they have to go back to Boise) at a 24-point deficit, but you can't take anything away from the Aggies' Tai Wesley's 18 points and 10 rebounds. In case you're wondering, Boise's bench player Zack Moritz only saw two minutes, because he was busy distracting Mr. Belding from the secret party the team was arranging in the school library. 

New Mexico 75, Air Force 69: The Mountain West Tourney was in full swing today in Sin City as my new favorite-named player Darington Hobson (that's Lord Darington Hobson to you) walks away with 28 points and a stellar 15 rebounds. 

Michigan 59, Iowa 52: It's no secret that the Wolverines need to win the Big Ten Tourney to get onto the mainstage, but beating a similarly limping Iowa isn't the way to do it. Michigan's Manny Harris turned in 22 points and 9 rebounds to lead his crew to a victory, even though Iowa's Cully Payne was doing his thang with 25 points. They'll step forward to play the 1-seeded Buckeyes tomorrow.

Miami 83, Wake Forest 62: The Canes exorcise the Demon Deacons in the ACC Tournament, which is bittersweet for the Canes -- on one hand, they advance and get to play Virginia Tech tomorrow. On the other hand, they're probably going to miss a really good boat party on Friday night. Nevertheless, Miami was propelled into the second round by freshman Reggie Johnson with 22 points. A second half where the Deacons couldn't even get within sixteen points of the Canes means that it was a very, very smart move not to nationally televise this game. 

More's on the way as scores are ticking in constantly. Stay tuned.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 9:42 am
Edited on: March 11, 2010 1:38 pm

Big East Day 2 Recap



5) Marquette 57, 13) St. John's 55
11) Cincinnati 69, 6) Louisville 66
7) Notre Dame 68, 10) Seton Hall 56
8) Georgetown 69, 9) South Florida 49


We probably should just go ahead and hand this award to whichever game Marquette is playing in for the rest of the tournament. 

An amazing 12 of the Golden Eagles' 19 games against Big East opponents have been decided by three points or less. Twelve one-possession games out of 19. That's unreal. 

After suffering close defeat after close defeat in the early part of the season, Marquette has now won six of the last seven games decided by a possession, including yesterday's second round Big East Tournament triumph over de facto host St. John's. 

"We were 2-5, and since that time we've been in one- and two-possession games," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "... Everything has changed. The whole deal is this, our margin of error has never changed. The games that we lost, the lessons we learned, are just as important as the games we won by one or two possessions as well."

Spurred on by the New York crowd, the Red Storm, ahem, stormed back from a 14-point first half deficit to take a 53-52 lead with a little over two minutes to play. But David "Call Me Daveed" Cubillan's three-pointer with 1:11 to play gave Marquette a 55-53 lead they wouldn't relinquish. 

The Golden Eagles move on to face No. 4 Villanova, a squad that twice beat them by two points in early January. St. John's, conversely, moves into an offseason that will - at least early on - be dominated by talk of head coach Norm Roberts' future. 


In one performance Notre Dame silenced both those who feel they don't belong in the NCAA Tournament and those who feel they're better off without Luke Harangody. 

Behind 'Gody's 20 points and 10 rebounds, the Irish dominated a desperate Seton Hall team from start-to-finish. Though Notre Dame's teams in the Mike Brey era have been mostly defined by their offense, this squad has played its way into the field of 65 with its defense. The latest evidence of the shift in philosophy came last night as the Pirates, who had dropped 109 in their tournament opener, managed just 56 points.

"We prided ourselves on being one of the leading scoring teams - a real fun team to watch when we're running and firing," Brey said of his old Notre Dame teams. "Those days are over. We had to do something different. We couldn't run it up and down the floor anymore."

The Fighting Irish will play second-seeded Pitt at 7 p.m. on Thursday night. 


Louisville continued its quest to refuse any and all possible momentum by following its emotional victory over No. 1 Syracuse up with a lackluster loss to 11-seed Cincinnati.

From left, Jaquon Parker, Lance Stephenson and Ibrahima Thomas lead the Cincinnati Bearcats past the Louisville Cardinals.

The Cardinals led by nine at the half but were outhustled, out-scrapped and out-rebounded in the second 20 minutes and fell in their tournament opener for the third time in five years. U of L was outrebounded 28-9 on the offensive glass and 54-33 overall. 


--Luke Harangody (Notre Dame) - 20 points, 10 rebounds

--Edgar Sosa (Louisville) - 28 points

--Lazar Hawyward (Marquette) - 20 points, 9 rebounds

--Dominique Jones (South Florida) - 21 points


"We didn't rebound the ball, so we go home early and waste a lot of boosters' money." --Rick Pitino 


Ladies and gentlemen, your top seeds: 

#1 Syracuse vs. #8 Georgetown (Noon)
#4 Villanova vs. #5 Marquette (2pm)
#2 Pittsburgh vs. #7 Notre Dame (7pm)
#3 West Virginia vs. #11 Cincinnati (9pm)

Posted on: March 10, 2010 4:44 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2010 5:51 pm

Big East Tourney Claims Another Victor, Victim


If you are seeming to have trouble holding onto your hat today, it's probably because Marquette and St. John's just finished out a barnburner in Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament, where sweater vests are mandatory.

In literally a back-and-forth game that, up until the last 30 seconds, could have gone either way, Marquette pulls out the 57-55 victory despite some sloppy defense and a few bonehead shots here and there. This means, of course, that Marquette progresses another round to face Villanova in the Big East tournament, which I believe as of today (March 10) houses upwards of 512 basketball teams. Also, Buzz Williams doesn't yet have to go back to his off-season job of being a fire hydrant.

And if there's any question as to whether Marquette senior forward Lazar Hayward could make it in the NBA, he added to his own "pro" column by hoisting the Golden Eagles on his shoulders in the second half (and gold is heavy) with twenty points and nine rebounds against a St. John's team that came back alive more times than Jason Voorhees.

A hoarse and bald Buzz Williams broke it down post-game "It gets close, everybody goes crazy -- that's all we know. We've played so many close games than anything I've ever seen...that's just what we know." That's great, but there's a strong chance that your game against Villanova ain't gonna be that close. Hope you can also "know" how to come back, because the Wildcats are good. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

ESPN talking head Fran Fraschilla, who called the game and who I love because he gets excited and says weird things, at one point called Marquette basketball an "execution culture," which is a little creepy. It's a good thing tonight Marquette won't have to burn a wicker man in sacrifice this evening. You're okay for today, guys. No one has to die.
Posted on: February 19, 2010 4:39 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 7:51 pm

"Jump Around Guy" Jumps Around, Fuels Fans

By C.M. Tomlin

3:30 PM

Every fan base has its unique sources of inspiration. It’s odd, sometimes, where that can be found. 

For the Marquette Golden Eagles, that inspiration can be found in the aptly if not creatively named “Jump Around Guy.” And if Jump Around Guy is a bit of a superhero here at Marquette’s Bradley Center, his unassuming alter ego is Rick Smith, a Milwaukee civil engineer and Marquette alum (class of ’73) who – like Spiderman himself – realized his powers quite by accident.

“My wife and I have been coming to games for about thirty years,” says Smith, “and about four years ago they started playing this song at games – maybe you’ve heard it before – called ‘Jump Around.’”

Smith, of course, is referring to the perennial House of Pain party song, which tends to get a crowd on its feet in most circles. Until four years ago, however, it had been only the student body traditionally erupting for the tune, with which Smith had some issues.

 “I looked around and asked ‘why is it only the students jumping? Why can’t the adults and alumni jump?’ And that’s when someone asked me ‘What’s stopping you?’”

What happened next was the birth of a Marquette fan base legend. Smith rose to his feet and, in tune with the rowdy student section, began dancing along. An ESPN camera caught it all on film, and the engineer’s dance made that night’s SportsCenter.

During the next game, however, Smith didn’t have the choice. As the song played, the students all pointed to Smith, urging him up. So he did what any of us might have done. He jumped around again. And the crowd erupted.

Such was the origin story of Marquette’s Jump Around Guy. And four years later, it’s become Rick Smith’s duty. At each home game, the song plays. The camera goes to Jump Around Guy. And he does his thing. Now a staple, there’s even a Facebook page devoted to him – with over 1800 followers.

“I think it’s a lot of foolishness,” Rick says sheepishly, “but as long as it makes people happy, I’ll keep doing it.”

Indeed, with great power comes great responsibility.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 19, 2010 11:58 am

Leaving Marquette...Northern Iowa Here We Come!

It is a little bit of a late start for us as we finally push off and head out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin towards the beautiful flat, deserted plains of Northern Iowa.  We had a great time at Marquette and after the game, went to experience the night life of this fine Jesuit institution.  After completing our trip, we came away with some thoughts on the Marquette Experience:

1.  Marquette Fans and Students are Very Regimented:

We talked last night about the fact that there were "Fatheads" at the game, in which pictures of famous people are held up by the crowd and waved in the air for the television cameras.  Great idea huh?  Well its not quite as impressive when you realize that they are simply made by the University and handed out to students in exchange for their Student IDs after the game.  As we waited for the postgame press conference, the scene of desperate Marquette coeds attempting to pawn off their Shaun White Fathead so they can get to the bars, makes English soccer stadiums look tame.  I like enthusiasm and creativity, but I prefer mine a bit less choreographed.

2.  Everyone at Marquette looks Like You Think They Would:

This is a delicate subject, because we all have our weaknesses in life and from what we have seen, Marquette students and fans are all nice people.  But let me ask you this.  When you think of Wisconsin, what type of person do you think of?  Chances are it is a relatively pale, doughy, white person who looks like they had a wheel of cheese this morning and are looking for a full calorie beer at night.  After coming to Marquette, I have realized that your stereotype could not be more true.  We went to the two big bars on campus and every male and female looked like a pudgier, "yes I just got married and now I can stop exercising" version of themselves.  But they are happy with that, and since there are very few people (with the exception of our "Hottest Marquette Fan" below) in shape to compare themselves to, the pudgy life seems to be a happy life.

Marquette Fan of the Day

3.  Dwyane Wade is God Here:

Everyone has that one person that they take ownership of because they knew or saw them before they were big.  When I was in college, every single person claimed to have seen the Dave Matthews Band on some college campus right way before they got big and "sold out."  That is how every person at Marquette feels about Dwyane Wade.  Every place you go, a picture of Wade is hanging with some enscription like "This is the first spot where Wade bought his 2-week hookup Traci a piece of pizza his Sophomore Year."  If you walk by someone and they arent talking about how much they hate Brett Favre, chances are Wade is the topic and someone will be explaining how they met Wade once and he was "a really cool guy."  Even Kim Jong Il would walk on this campus and say "hey guys, give it a rest...nobody's that perfect."

So now we are off on the road headed to Northern Iowa for tonight's classic Old Dominion-Northern Iowa game.  I will admit that I know nothing about either team and nearly screwed up by taking us to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when it turns out Northern Iowa is in a place called Cedar Falls.  That would have been a nice, early mistake.  We will be around all day to talk about the plains of Iowa on our drive and maybe tell the story about Drew almost not being let into our first game of the trip last night.  Stay tuned.

Posted on: February 18, 2010 11:44 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2010 9:24 am

Postgame Pittsburgh vs Marquette Thoughts


11:30 PM

Some lessons from tonight's Pitt-Marquette game:

1.  Ignore Pittsburgh at Your Own Peril --- I always have the same reaction to Pitt every season.  I know very little about their team and when it comes time for them to play a big game, I assume they will lose.  However more often than not, I ended up being incorrect.  Same thing this year.  Marquette was playing at home in front of a raucous crowd with a potential NCAA berth on the line, yet Pittsburgh dominated the boards in the second half and controlled the pace of place.  Just repeat that sentence and it describes most big regular season games Pitt has played for the last five years.

2.  Lazar Hayward and Maurice Aker Have Been in School Forever --- Seriously, there is no way these guys have only bee in school for four years.  They have to be on the "Jess Settles, Dante Calabria, play in college until they are dragged off to the old-folks home" plan.  I believe they were recruited with Dwyane Wade.

3.  Buzz Williams with Hair is Baffling --- I admit that I dont watch a great deal of Marquette basketball, but I clearly missed the important moment where Buzz Williams decided to grow his hair out.  It really took me off the game when I scanned the bench and didnt see his bald dome standing on the sidelines.  I mean if you turn on Seinfeld and all of a sudden George Costanza has a head full of hair, you are going to be shaken.  I hear that Williams is going back to the shaved look now that the Golden Eagles (aka Warriors) have lost.  I approve.

4.  Marquette Fans Like Their Adult Beverages --- No matter what part of the crowd I looked in, someone was drinking a beer.  It was like Panama City at Spring Break, except instead of hot, tan, fit coeds, the crowd was filled with old, doughy, bedazzled sweater-wearing Milwaukeeans. 

5.  The Fathead Craze is Great ---  I am not sure who started it, but I have now seen the Fathead craze at both Indiana and Marquette games and I highly approve.  When you are in the middle of a big basketball game and you can see a 5 foot picture of Dwight Schrute, Sarah Palin or "The Situation", you cant complain.  I would suggest more obscure figures in the future however...maybe Leo Tolstoy or Sean Sutton's Mugshot.

All in all a great experience, and Pittsburgh gets the win 58-51.  We are leaving soon to figure out what the night life at Marquette will bring and if there is anyway we can meet a Deiner brother. 

Cross your fingers.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com