For old time's sake, let's have some C-USA fun and take on Charlotte for this edition of the occasional "Case Against..." series.
Conference USA made for some strange bedfellows that didn't add much sizzle to MU's schedule. I don't know why, I always thought Marquette was a natural rival with Southern Miss and East Carolina. One odd couple opponent that actually elicited emotion with the MU fan base was the Charlotte 49ers. While they didn't bring the cache or cavalcade of horse punchers, comb-overs and slimy guido-ness of Cincinnati, Louisville and Memphis, Charlotte brought some damn good teams to the Bradley Center. During their ten years in C-USA, Charlotte made the tournament an impressive seven times. Not too bad for a school that was playing NAIA ball during the early Al McGuire years.
Speaking of Al McGuire, let's start off with some happy thoughts. Marquette's first meeting with UNCC was in the 1977 Final Four. What transpired has been lost in history because CBS & ESPN refuse to show tournament highlights pre Magic and Bird. It was Christian Laettner before Christian Laettner, with a healthy ladle of controversy. Take it away Curt Gowdy's sportcoat:
More, after the jump.
Now, back to the ESPN era. Charlotte beat MU with regularity, drawing the ire of this MU follower. So, without further adieu, I give you the case against...Charlotte!
Halton Arena - Let's get this out of the way early. MU could not win in Halton Arena. The grisly 1-7 record says it all. The one win came in 2003 by 3 points. MU had Wade and Charlotte had a losing record, but they still nearly beat MU. Another example of the North Carolina curse for MU (another topic for another day).
Bobby Lutz - The creepy factor was in full effect for Bobby. I'm surprised his work release program allowed him to leave NC. Way to put yourself in the same category as The Jesus and the Antichrist. Bobby was also quite testy about the proper pronunciation of his name.
Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz got a technical foul in the second half of his team's victory over Marquette Saturday in large part because lead official Hal Lusk didn't properly pronounce the coach's name. For those who still don't know, it's "Lootz" as in boots, not "Luhtz" as in nuts.
Lusk, despite officiating in the league for all of Lutz's four seasons, called him "coach Luhtz." And Lutz exploded.
"You don't know my name! You don't know my name!" Lutz roared, and Lusk hit him with the "T." Lutz tried to charge toward Lusk. First he was restrained by a player, then by one of his assistants. He broke away and at midcourt shouted, "You don't know my name" at Lusk again.
Afterward, Lutz said, "I've been in the league four years. He ought to know how to pronounce my name."
Sounds like fodder for another Hitler parody.
Nickname - Marquette fans can't be ones to nitpick on nicknames, but what's up with 49ers in North Carolina? Surprisingly, their nickname doesn't originate from some misguided Bill Walsh bandwagon love. The school was almost shuttered in 1949, so they are nicknamed the 49ers. Yeah, makes sense.
Basketball Players of Interest
Charlotte also had a slew aggrevating/interesting characters. Let's examine some of the more memorable ones:
- Martin Iti - the man, the overhyped myth, the legend. After failing to hack it at Charlotte, he decided to transfer. Where or where can a nomadic player find a home? How about New Mexico St? Really, where else? Ok, I'll give you comedy points if you guessed Seton Hall, but only Bobby Gonzalez Seton Hall. Iti was just as worthless at NMSU, where his most notable stat was averaging 15 minutes/game.
- Brendan Plavich - the supposedly unstoppable shooter shot his team out of a lot of games. It didn't matter if he was 1-12 or 7-7, this dude was going to shoot. Think freshman-sophomore Scottie Reynolds or Chris Thomas for his entire career.
- Butter Johnson - Apparently, Butter was "good" enough to play in NBDL, but Butter sticks out in my memory as the "Steve ‘The Homer' True Overemphasized Opponent Name of the Game." He was Charlotte's version of Moussa Badiane or Travis Holcomb-Faye.
- Demon Brown - Brown made Brendan Plavich blush by launching a Bradley Center record 17 3's against MU in 2003. Also notable for being named Demon.
- Diego Guevara - annoying, antagonist point who really didn't bring much to the table for Charlotte. I'll let Rubie regale you with some stories
- Jobey Thomas - Diego Guevara + three inches and a good jumpshot
Other Names of Potentially Moderate Interest
- Eddie Basden
- Leemire Goldwire
- Curtis Withers
- Rodney White
- Demarco Johnson
- Cornbread Maxwell