Eat my words about Marquette

by Jim Hague, ogsmar@aol.com
follow him on twitter @ogsmar


Two weeks ago, I was very critical about the Marquette Golden Eagles and their performance down the stretch, including a hideous loss against Seton Hall. I was critical of the team and critical of the coach, Buzz Williams, drawing the ire of several blog readers.

Well, this fat guy is ready to eat his words about his alma mater, because Williams had his team totally prepared to play its first-round NCAA game last night against Xavier.

As I learned in my many Latin classes over the year, ”Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” It’s Julius Caesar’s way of apologizing for those non-Latin students.

The Golden Eagles dominated Xavier in every aspect of the game, but especially on the defensive end, where they totally stifled the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Tu Holloway, who was held to just five points after averaging close to 20 per game all season.

Marquette was all over the floor on defense, defending every possession like their lives depended upon it. It was clearly their best defensive effort of the season. They were also pinpoint precise on offense, with everyone getting involved. Jae Crowder is past his late-season slump. Darius Johnson-Odom was electrifying.

Marquette lost its first round NCAA game last year to Washington with a team that had higher expectations than this one. The Warrior Golden Eagles were dominant yesterday and we have to hope for the same Sunday against Syracuse in a Big East showdown for the Sweet 16. Marquette defeated Syracuse by five earlier in the year. This will be a much tougher task.

Still, Marquette earned an NCAA tourney win, just a few weeks after the thought of even being in the tourney was thought to be a longshot at best. I was wrong. I’ll admit it now.

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My other NCAA tourney allegiance squad, St. Peter’s, fell hard to Purdue, in a game that really was not a good match for the undersized Peacocks. JaJuan Johnson andE’Twuan Moore are players that aren’t found in the MAAC. They’re better found in the NBA and frankly, the Peacocks were no match.

Still, it was a great season for a great guy like SPC head coach John Dunne, who helped to make the SPC program relevant again. And for a great kid like Wesley Jenkins, it was redemption for first making the tough choice to go to SPC and secondly, for sticking it out and staying put.

Although I didn’t go to SPC, I did spend five wonderful years working there and there’s still a huge part of my heart that is tucked away inside Yanitelli Center. It was good to see SPC in the headlines again for the first time since the school did the unthinkable and fired a great coach in Ted Fiore back in 1995, the last time the Peacocks went to the Grand Dance since last night.
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I’m not alone in this thinking, but after watching the incredible inside-outside balance of Ohio State last night, there’s no stopping the Buckeyes from winning the national championship.

Although there are a lot of the Duke faithful who were happy to see New Jersey’s ownKyrie Irving back on the floor yesterday.

Speaking of the Duke-Hampton game, it was great to see Jersey City’s own and University Academy grad Charles Funches doing so well for Hampton. Funches went from University Academy to Monroe Junior College to Hampton to pursue his college dream and it ends with a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
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I love Bob Klapisch’s work in the Bergen Record, but he has to be kidding me second-guessing the Mets’ decision to release that cancer known as Luis Castillo the other day.

Klapisch obviously didn’t see the play Wednesday, when the Mets were going to get out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam against the Cardinals. The Cardinal batter hit a sharp grounder to Ike Davis, who fielded it and went home to Josh Thole for the first out. Thole then went to throw to first to complete the double play, but Castillo didn’t cover first. He was picking his nose in between in limbo.

Case closed on Castillo. Adios. Bye-bye. Farewell.

He was a bad signing three years ago and we don’t have to watch him anymore. I don’t care who plays second. I’ll take the ghost of Ken Boswell for all that matters, as long as Castillo is a goner.

And after the team’s other resident cancer Ollie “The Follie” Perez gave up back-to-back homers in relief today, we can only hope he’s going on the same bus back to nowhere as Castillo. Good riddance.

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Here’s a case of learning something new every day in this business and someone who you expected to know everything also learning.

When St. Anthony used the ”amoeba” defense to totally shut down St. Patrick last week in the Battle of the Titans at Rutgers, it totally floored me, considering I’ve seen the fabulous Friars play about 400 times in my personal and professional life and never saw it before used by Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley.

I asked Hurley if he had used it before springing the surprise on St. Pat’s and he said that he did use it on a few occasions this season. It came after Hurley went to a clinic over the summer, taught by former Fresno State coach Boyd Grant, who is the father of the ”amoeba” and not Jerry Tarkanian, as what was believed.

So Hurley, a guy with more than 1,000 wins and a Hall of Fame resume, actually went to a clinic last summer to learn something new. That perhaps is the reason why Hurley is truly an amazing coach and a deserved Hall of Famer.

Hurley’s Friars will face Plainfield for the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title Monday night at the IZOD Center. They beat Newark Central last nignt, 55-39, at Monmouth to advance to the T of C title and the right to claim their 11th T of C crown, as well as nailing down their fourth-ever mythical national title.
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I report with sadness the passing of my good friend George Maguire, who was a fixture on the Hoboken High School sidelines for three decades. Maguire died at home last Wednesday. He will be waked Sunday in Bloomfield and will be honored in a funeral mass Monday morning.

Maguire made national headlines in the early 1970s when at the age of 44, he decided he wanted to continue the football career he started at the University of Oklahoma in the 1950s. Maguire received permission from Sooner coach Barry Switzer and Maguire gave it a try to play major college football again.

A member of both the Hoboken and Hudson County Halls of Fame, Maguire was a wonderful man who loved the Red Wings and loved the Sooners. I don’t know if roaming the sidelines at a Red Wing football game will ever be the same without him.
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Union Hill High School in Union City might be history, but the Hillers’ football legacy lives on. There will be a football reunion on Sunday, April 10, at the Grayfliff in Moonachie between 12 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $48 each and can be purchased through organizer and former Hiller gridder Julian Romero at (973) 296-0016 or visit www.unionhillfootball.comfor more details.
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You can read more of my work at http://www.hudsonreporter.com, http://www.theobserver.com and http://www.dailyrecord.com

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Posted on March 22, 2011, in Marquette. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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