Tag:Big East
Posted on: April 2, 2008 12:06 am

Tom Crean to IU?

Just a few thoughts on this development, and what it means for both IU and Marquette. I think Crean will be a good fit, I've seen his Marquette squads dismantle my Panthers on a regular basis, and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach, despite the fact that he looks like  Dwight from The Office. After the Kelvim Sampson debacle, I think this is a solid move by IU to put a new face and a new spin on their program. Plus, if Crean can handle the Bid East, moving to the Big Ten should be no problem. Not to slight the Big Ten, there are some quality programs there, but there are also a couple of real cupcakes to feast on. I don't think recruiting will be a problem at all for Crean, and Indiana looks like they've found their man, kudos to them.

As for Marquette . . . ouch. The Big East is ultra-competitive, and when you look at the list of superb coaches in the Big East (Calhoun, Beohiem (i can NEVER spell that right), Thompson, Huggins, Pitino, Dixon) and quality programs, I see Marquette slipping a bit. Also, with as well as Wisconsin has been playing in recent years (Bo Ryan is seriously underrated, he's excellent) I see Marquette facing an uphill battle in both recruiting and on the court competition. Not that they can't get it done by any stretch of the imagination, and it may be a bit of staing the obvious here, but I think Indiana is a real winner in this move and Marquette suffers pretty heavily. Of course, all that can change with the right coaching hire, so it will be interesting to see how MU responds in the next few days and weeks. As a Big East fan, I wish them the best, and I wish Tom Crean the best,

Especially because it was nice to get the last word in on him in the Big East Tournament!!!!
Posted on: March 23, 2008 10:55 am

Reflections on Pitt's Season

Last night, one of the more improbable seasons in Panthers basketball history came to an end. You all know the storyline; lose Gray, Kendall, Graves to graduation and Cook and Fields to injuries, and by the time conference play rolls around this team has no starters from last year and is looking NIT-bound. Fellow Big East coaches were calling Jamie Dixon and  telling him to pack it in and get some young guys playing time for next year. Then they get Fields back and the incredible run through the Big East Tournament inspires national media attention and more bandwagon-jumping than a lot of die-hard fans can stand. It certainly looked like it would be a magical season.

Then, like the Persians at Thermopylae, the Panthers ran into a wall of Spartans blocking their path to the Sweet 16, and we all also know how this storyline ends . . . you'll have to forgive me, the wounds are too fresh for me to bear repeating the details. So what are we to make of this season, now that it is over?

Ironically, its about exactly what a lot of us expected. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that Pitt would lose in the second round, I would have gone "Damn, thats a shame, but after the talent we loss, its to be expected." But when we look at the end result, we lose sight of some very important details, detail that I hope will provide some comfort after the loss.

Now if you had told me the following--The Panthers won the Big East Championship. Sam Young developed into one of the Big East's best players. Gilbert Brown matured a tremendous amount and began showing us the skills NBA scouts will be drooling over in a year or two. DeJuan Blair, despite hitting the wall late in the season proved to be one of the best freshmen in the country. Jamie Dixon continued to show everyone that he gets more out of his players than all but a handful of the game's elite coaches. Heck, even Tyrell Biggs began to look decent for the first time in his career-- I would have gone "Holy S*** thats a heck of a season, I can't wait!"

And that list doesn't even begin to describe the guts, heart, and determination it took for this team not to give up when Fields and Cook went down. I think it would be fair to say that this season did not end the way any of us wanted it to, but at the same time, this year was an incredible journey to be a part of, and we bagged another Big East Championship and established ourselves as one of the best programs in the toughest conference in America. So good work Panthers. We all are too often motivated to describe a season by the way it ends, and to do so in this case would be tragic. This was an amazing season, and an amazing story, and I, and I'm sure many of my fellow Panther fans, are really glad we got to be a part of it.
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