After another second half collapse by my Marquette boys, it seems appropriate to write a little review/recap/rant about the game against UConn today. It's a little rambling so just bear with it. Theres a point at the end I swear. Or at least I hope.
I pour all of my passion into this basketball team. So much so that I think that it could be detrimental to my physical and mental health. Tonight was supposed to be the night. UConn was a team that could be stopped. I was going to finally regain faith that this team was going places. It was going to solidify my support for Buzz Williams. It was going to make Darius Johnson-Odom a hero on campus and a first round draft pick at the end of the season. It would be Vander Blue's coming out party, at home, in front of a crowd that wanted more than anything for this team to win. But more than that. We wanted to be rewarded for our continued support. We wanted to show that even though we have been disappointed too many times this season, there's a reason we still trek down to the Bradley Center 4 hours early in the 5 degree weather to watch our Golden Eagles play. We know this team can win. We know that we are right on the cusp of greatness. And again, we left the deflated hollows of the Bradley Center, heads hanging, doing our best to remain optimistic. But in the face of crushing losses like this, that becomes a steadily more arduous task.
I've already ranted on Buzz Williams, so I will save my 3 readers the torture of revisiting that topic. It seems I have become somewhat jaded as a Marquette fan. Is this what I am to expect for the year and half of college I have remaining, and the rest of my life as an alumni? Will Marquette ever get over the hump, will we ever reach out and take greatness from the teams that we have the capability to beat? The talent on this team is inarguable. Any given night, we could have big games from one of four players. It's clear that we can beat any team in the country. With leads in games against Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Notre Dame and UConn, we can clearly run with the best. But that's not good enough for me. I think that I would rather not be in these games at all then keep losing heartbreakers. It has become too taxing to cheer on a team I can feel in my bones will collapse at some point. I don't know what it is that causes these collapses: coaching, lack of leadership, lack of experience, lack of toughness. I don't care at this point.
You might be saying that I expect too much from Marquette Basketball. Right now, we are not an elite level program. Will we always be just good enough for the Big East? I believe in this program. I believe that we have what it takes, as a school and as a basketball team. We must just take that next step. People say we are the toughest team in the nation. Prove it. Tough teams don't give up. Tough teams get on the floor for every loose ball. They never lose sight of their man on defense and always let their opponents know that they will play harder every possession, for forty minutes. I believe we can do this. Now, I'm asking that the team believe it too, and that they take their victories. Because nobody is going to give them away. My support will not wane. It is getting difficult, but I will still be in the stands, and I will still be hoarse after ten minutes of game time. I ask that the team reward me, not because I deserve it, because I don't. If they fight for wins. If they stay tough, and prove to the world that they really are the toughest team in the nation, they will reward themselves. And there is no greater bunch of guys to wish that upon. I love my Marquette Golden Eagles. Now, become Warriors.