Brew City Sports
Saturday, November 28, 2009
A Picture Says A Thousand Words . . .
Marquette is off to a 6-0 start after Thanksgiving feasts of Xavier and Michigan. While I am surprised, I am not "shocked," as most headlines appear to be describing the upsets. Those headlines are then followed by articles which use phrases like "speed kills" and "that was the fastest basketball team I've ever seen."
I can go into detail on individual efforts, but it suffices to say that the main five players, Maurice Acker, Darius Johnson Odom, Dwight Buycks, Jimmy Butler and Lazar Hayward, were extraordinary in both games. In fact, those players have been amazingly consistent the first six games of the year. While DJO and Buycks have "shocked" people with their play, some of us were expecting them to be really good. After all, these guys were two of, if not the two, most highly regarded junior college guards in the country. Even then, I'd be lying if I said I expected them to be this good, this fast.
Anyway, let's go into grading the elements of the Michigan game (again, sorry I didn't get to this for the Xavier game):
Swarming: Grade A+. When the other coach says you're the fastest team he's ever seen, you have swarmed, and you have swarmed mighty well. Commentators would not stop commenting on MU's athleticism. Swarming once again is the key to this year's team's success.
Swagger: Grade A. An awful lot of chest bumping and screaming. Kept the crowd well into the game and never for a second gave Michigan the respect that it did or did not deserve. They always knew they would win. Extra credit for Jimmy Butler slapping the backboard with both hands on his dunk which ended Michigan's 10-0 run in the second half and basically broke their collective spirits.
Muscle: Grade B-. Muscle is not the strength of this team obviously. But they held their own and actually won the strength battle against Michigan, although Michigan is a rather small team.
Jumping: Grade A-. Buycks, Hayward, Butler and DJO got as high as anyone for rebounds and contested shots in the paint by jumping through the roof. Again, I must reference the backboard-slap dunk by Jimmy Butler. They outrebounded Michigan thanks in part to muscle and swarming, but mostly due to jumping.
With grades like that, MU could beat just about any team in the country. Throw in shooting from the outside, which they have been incredible at in every game of the season, and this is a very dangerous team. Again, I say dangerous, not elite. These guys can play with anybody, but they're so small that they could lose to any team when they (a) shoot poorly from the outside (like how ND somehow lost to Northwestern yesterday) or (b) the opposing team effectively gets the ball inside and capitalizes on a defense which must over-commit players to help down low. As has become the custom with MU teams, the outcomes of games seem to be determined by which style of basketball wins out. If it becomes an up and down game, MU's swarming is going to prevail. If the pace is slowed down, MU will have nightmares. Michigan's preferred tempo and style was suicide yesterday. Florida State is a completely different challenge tomorrow. They are a very big team, and they will give MU fits on the defensive side of the ball unless they try to run up and down the court.
It's great to see that, barring an injury, this likely won't be a complete rebuilding year. It's also great to see that MU may have a very legitimate shot at making the NCAA tournament. Beating two potentially bubble teams on a neutral court goes a long way towards that end. Beating 2 more of the 3 potential bubble teams they play this pre-conference schedule would be huge. A win tomorrow would be amazing. It is vital to be competitive every season. That is essential in recruiting, and recruiting remains the most important aspect of college athletics.
In closing, I cannot say enough about Buzz Williams and his assistant coaches. This team is incredibly well coached and is playing well beyond it's experience level. My hope remains that they can develop Erik Williams and Jeronne Maymon enough by January that this team will have a bit more depth and size. That's probably asking too much, but I think it's the ultimate key to how far thise team can go and perhaps whether it can make the NCAA tournament.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
“I just wanted to remind those guys what it was like back when I was in school.”
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Packers vs. Lions on Thanksgiving Preview
It's pretty likely that this "Man" won't be playing on Thursday, word is Cal Johnson is banged up as well. Looks like the Packers should have some fun come Thursday.
I have to give these Lions players credit, in response to Mangini's incessant bitching about how he felt the Lions were faking injuries to slow the Brown's no huddle offense on Sunday, Larry Foote joked, "Our defense had too many real injuries to waste time faking more of them..."
Talk about the game, the Josh Bell signing and how much more you hate the Iraqis now...
Monday, November 23, 2009
Packers cruise past 49ers; Bears offense pantsed, exposed on national television
[Warning: Work unfriendly content to follow]
Though the Packers only won by six, the game wasn't really that close. Ryan Grant had a good day and the offensive line may have played its most complete game of the season. Of significant concern, however, are the season-ending injuries to Pro Bowlers Aaron Kampman and Al Harris. I despise making excuses for performance, but I think we may have to revisit our collective expectations in light of these injuries.
Kampman should be largely replaceable. I'm assuming most around the state of Wisconsin would be fine with trading Kampman due to his tremendous value in a 4-3 scheme and the Packers depth in the front 7. Any time you lose a starter, though, the difference is noticeable. There's always a reason one guy's a starter and one isn't.
Harris will be very sorely missed. As I mentioned in my rambling post last week, the lack of depth in the secondary was a glaring weakness in the offing. Well, the offing has arrived earlier than any of us would have liked. Jarrett Bush is going to see extensive playing time. To many of us, Harris hasn't played the same since getting abused by Plaxico Burress in the NFC Championship game, but the drop from Harris to Williams (and Williams to Bush) is dramatic. The pass defense has only been ok this year (above average, but 12th in the league in yards per attempt). The scheme itself produces a lot of turnovers (thanks, Chuck!), but the Packers have already allowed 20 passing touchdowns this season. Many came with the injuries to Collins and Bigsby earlier in the year, which should provide a glimpse into a future without Al Harris in the secondary.
I think, or hope, that many around here realized a while ago that the Packers were simply not on the same plane as the Saints and Vikings and had a virtually nonexistant chance of making even the NFC Championship game this year. Losing Harris should effectively cement that. Each of them have potent passing attacks sure to rip the Packers' now depleted secondary apart. All of us would still like to see the Packers A. make the playoffs and B. win a playoff game.
Looking forward, the schedule is friendly enough for a playoff run. Detroit and Seattle are essentially locks. To get to ten wins, the Packers would have to win two of four against @Pittsburgh, Baltimore, @Chicago, @Arizona. Are there two victories there? If the Packers do make the playoffs, can they beat Arizona, New York, Dallas, or Philadelphia on the road?
Thursday, November 19, 2009
MU Lands Another 2010 Recruit
It's 6'1" combo guard Reggie Smith from the south side of Chicago (Harvey, IL) to be exact:
Smith is ranked #105 overall on Rivals and apparently has rising stock playing the point at the top high school team in Illinois. I would hope to see him crack the top-100 by the end of next summer. Regardless, he is a good addition to the 2010 class, which suddenly is guard rich yet again. There will be an awful lot of skilled players playing for MU in 2010-11. Smith joins Vander Blue and Jamail Jones in the 2010 class. All are very good recruits. They will play with Jimmy Butler, Jeronne Maymon, Erik Williams, Junior Cadougan, Dwight Buycks, Darius Johnson-Odom. That is a lot of swarming. Unfortunately, there is still a complete lack of size. Joe Fulce, Chris Otule and Yous Mbao are likely not the answer. Fulce is too small and injured, and Otule and Mbao are just too big of projects.
The need is obviously there for any kind of power forward or center, but Buzz Williams has another scholarship to offer and 9 months to find a big man. With as good as the other players will likely be over time, you get the feeling that with one good big man this team has a legitimate shot of competing for the Big East title.
Marquette adds G Reggie Smith
Marquette added surprise recruit 6' G Reggie Smith on the last day of the early signing period. Although I haven't seen his swarming abilities personally, written accounts indicate that he has the 2 key attributes essential to effective swarming: athleticism and strength. Nowhere in any article I've seen about him is there reference to basketball IQ, winning, playing on winning teams, playing for great coaches, or intellect, which speaks directly to his talent and swarming ability. Considering some of the other programs that were pursing Smith (USC, Miami, Indiana) he seems like a pretty good last second pick-up and a great addition to the MU Swarm.
Smith joined standout SG Vander Blue and swingman Jamail Jones in MU's 2010 recruiting class.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Holy Fucking Shit! Brewers Land George Kottaras!
Labels: Bag of Dicks
Monday, November 16, 2009
Packers defeat Cowboys 17-7, Manboner remains uncontained
I agree with Condescendy on Woodson. . . I texted himas much yesterday. Ted Thompson has to feel pretty good about the game yesterday. A lot of the guys that he brought in had great days - Rodgers, Raji, Woodson, Matthews, and even Hawk.
I hope Thompson sticks around. I think he understands how to build a sustainable team, has a plan, and sticks to his plan. It is finally starting to pay dividends, although I think there are three near term and mid- to long-term flaws that need correcting.
-One is the easiest fix in the NFL - runningback. Ryan Grant is below average and the team needs a better long term plan as its back. They should be able to acquire this in the 2nd or 3rd round of next years draft.
-The second is obviously the offensive line. Thompson's succession plan for injuries has resembled the strength and consistency of loose stool. You can't have that many moving parts and expect to succeed. Interior linemen are fungible for the most part, but there is little depth and an obvious lack of general talent. I mean, how can you give up on a guy with obvious character issues like Jamon Meredith? This should be priority number one for Thompson in this year's draft and free agency period.
-The third is less obvious, yet a legitimate long term concern. While Thompson has done a remarkable job rebuildling the front seven on defense, the depth at secondary remains a liability. Depth in a league with such limited rosters will perpetually be at a premium, but when a team can potentially put six such players on the field at once, it becomes more prudent. Beyond the starting four plus maybe Tramon Williams, there is nothing of value in the secondary. We saw as much while Collins and Bigsby were out earlier in the year. This could easily be plugged through a couple good drafts and shrewd free agency moves, but, to make matters worse, the starting corners are getting old. Al Harris is almost 35. Woodson just turned 33. We're one failed prostate exam away from a lot more Jarrett Bush. Again, the Packers can easily address this through proper scouting, but it will likely require that Thompson depart from his long held stance of drafting based on talent as opposed to need.
I have serious issues with McCarthy as a head coach. I think he is great as an offensive play caller and would be a good fit for most NFL teams in such a capacity. However, the poor line play, the penalties, the inferior non-Kapanos special teams, etc are all indicative of a lack of discipline. Undisciplined football teams are inconsistent and do things like lose to winless teams starting rookie quarterbacks for the first time. He did a great job of reigning in Favre while he was here and has done a good job developing Rodgers, but I see this becoming an issue on the horizon. I will admit that he does an admirable job of adjusting at halftime, so one can only hope that he continue to make adjustments to his coaching style as time wears on.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Jennings scores 55, Bucks win!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Weekend Gambler - November 14-15 2009
Saturday, November 14
Louisiana Tech +22.5 @ LSU
Florida @ South Carolina +17.5
Virginia Tech @ Maryland +20
Sunday, November 15
Dallas -3 @ Green Bay
Cincinnati +7 @ Pittsburgh
New England +3 @ Indy
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Let's Give 'em a Big Ole Shitburger
We're less than 24 hours away from the beginning of the 2009-10 MU Basketball season. There isn't a media outlet in sight that will give MU a shot at better than an 8th place finish in the Big East, and no one is giving MU any chance at making the NCAA Tournament. I say, let's give 'em a big ole shitburger.
Apparently, those in the media have forgotten about this man, shown below punching some jerk in the face with his chest:
Of course I'm referring to the one and only Jimmy Butler. Butler is one of only two returning players, along with Lazar Hayward, who provided any significant contribution to the 2008-09 team. Hayward is a legitimate stud, who has apparently added some inches to his vertical leap this offseason. We all know leaping ability is the third most important factor in a basketball player (behind Swarming and Swagger).
It is clearly a rebuilding year for MU, but how much of a step back does the team need to take? How much can we expect Hayward and Butler to carry the load, and what can we expect from the newcomers?
The best comparable is the 2005-2006 Marquette team, which essentially had nothing returning other than Steve Novak who at the time was a one-dimensional shooter. Of course, that team had three freshman guards who contributed an extraordinary amount. In addition, Novak came into his own and was one of the best players in the Big East. That team shocked the Big East and won probably 5 more conference games than predicted. Can we really expect that?
To a certain extent, I think MU can mirror that season. I'd say with more conviction but for the season-ending injury to perhaps their most prized incoming freshman, Junior Cadougan. With Cadougan out, Mo Acker and David Cubillan will be forced to run the point, something at which neither will be particularly gifted. The good thing is that they are both seniors and, if nothing else, they have experience.
The shooting guard position is perhaps the most interesting on the team. With two incoming junior college players, Darius Johnson-Odom and Dwight Buycks, MU will not be giving any of the SG minutes to players with experience. These guys could go either way. Both were very highly regarded junior college players, and both are quite athletic. But junior college players are generally unpredictable. We have no idea how well they will adapt to major college competition. What's good is that there are two players and MU really only needs one of them to stand out. My prediction is that both will be decent and will not kill the team with their presence.
The forward position is better than it has been for years. Not only are Hayward and Butler returning, but MU has added depth with two top freshman, Jeronne Maymon and Erik Williams. I think Maymon will immediately see significant playing time and be the most productive newcomer. Williams may take a bit more time to develop but has a very promising future. His role will be to provide as many good minutes off the bench as he can. It's a low pressure gig.
The power forward/center position is, as always, a shitshow. Chris Otule and Joe Fulce will battle for minutes in the early going, with, I believe, Maymon ultimately defeating them both and getting the majority of the minutes despite his lack of traditional size for the position. At least Otule and Fulce have a tracable amount of potential. That is something that very few bigs at MU have had in recent memory. However, neither Fulce nor Otule were able to do anything last year, and expecting a huge leap in one year is asking too much. Freshman Yous Mbao should probably redshirt but likely will not. He's way too inexperienced and weak to be productive.
The consensus seems to be that MU will finish 11th or so in the Big East and win about 17 games in total. The schedule is quite difficult. I think MU can realistically challenge for the upper half of the Big East. Hayward is a really good player, and they can build around him, a la Novak in 2005-06. There is enough potential in the newcomers that MU can surprise some teams. They will certainly be fun to watch, and I do think they will upset some very good teams. But I think they will also take complete shits in some games, which most young teams do.
Even with all the freshman and junior college transfers, I think it's the returning players that may be the key unknown factors. Will Acker or Cubillan be able to shoot well enough from the outside that the offense can score in multiple ways? Without their scoring, it's hard to imagine MU's offense being nearly good enough. And, will any of the big men be useful? If Otule or Fulce can hold their own down low in the Big East, this team can compete with anyone. Unfortunately, I'm not overly optimistic about either.
My prediction, 10th place finish in the Big East, 19 wins, win a couple games in the NIT. But who knows, maybe I'll eat a shitburger, too. I at least acknowledge that potential is here for a surprising good season.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Weekend Gambler - Everything Sucks All of the Time Edition - November 8, 2008
Sunday, November 8
Green Bay -10 @ Tampa
Arizona +3 @ Chicago
Pittsburgh -3 @ Denver
Baltimore @ Cincinnati +3
Tennessee +5.5 @ San Francisco
Houston @ Indianapolis -8.5
Friday, November 06, 2009
Brewers trade Hardy to Twins for P. Carlos Gomez
Last chance to post it and probably the last time we get to see a picture of one of VaJayJay's sexy "lady-friends." I will spare everyone from the real VaJayJay pic.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Bucks at Timberwolves, Fri. November 6, 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Cubs Make History!
No, they did nothing remotely positive on the field.
From the Huffington Post:
"The Chicago Cubs have reached a baseball milestone and it has nothing to do with their century-plus World Series drought.
With the team's purchase by the Ricketts Family, the Cubs are the first Major League Baseball team to have an openly gay owner.
Among the new owners is Laura Ricketts, an out lesbian who is also on the board of the gay rights organization Lambda Legal, the Windy City Times reports."
That's kewl. On a related note, Ozzie Guillen promptly made out with his son and had this to say:
"Fuck Jay Mariotti. What a piece of shit he is, fucking fag." "He's a garbage. He's always been a garbage. And he will die a garbage. I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country."
Thanks for clarifying, Ozzie.
Monday, November 02, 2009
GB vs MIN