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A View From Press Row: Todd Rosiak Talks Turkey ... er, Eagles

A couple weeks back, Todd Rosiak, the Marquette beat reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, answered five hard-hitting questions from the godfather of Marquette blogs, Cracked Sidewalks.  As you'd expect, the questions were topical and well-articulated, and the answers were as well.

For reasons known only to him, Todd agreed to take some questions from Anonymous Eagle this past week.  Marquette's very fortunate to have a beat reporter like Todd, and we're even more fortunate that he took the time to answer five questions from us.  Thanks again, Todd -- the first round of Wild Turkey at Goolsby's is on us tomorrow.

(Before we get to the meat of the post, though: Todd was, of course, in Kansas City this past week to cover Marquette in the CBE Classic.  Also in attendance (as you may have heard) was Dick Vitale.  Todd tells me he managed to procure a 16x20 glossy of Mr. V, and he knows what a big fan I am, so he's willing to send it over.  We may have a contest in the near future to give this thing away.)

Let's go!

AE: Is Junior Cadougan poised to seize the point guard job? He looked like a completely different player in the CBE Classic, two weeks after he didn't see action against St. John's (Minnesota) until the end of the first half.

TR: As far as pure point-guard play goes, I don't think there's any question Cadougan is the guy for MU. He moves the ball, doesn't dribble excessively and is great at setting up others when they're in position to score. There's two things preventing him from starting, from what I can tell. First, I don't think Buzz trusts him enough yet as far as starting and playing long stretches of time because he's prone to mental lapses. Until he tightens that aspect of his game up, he'll probably be coming off the bench. Second, if you start him, whom do you sit: Buycks or DJO? I think there's a danger of losing either player right now -- especially DJO, with his early struggles -- if they get the sense they're being passed over for a younger guy. Cadougan is a team guy, accepts his role, and sticking with the status quo for the time being is probably the path of least resistance for Buzz. If Cadougan keeps playing well leading into Big East play, perhaps it will be time to make the move then.

After the jump, we're taking Marquette - UWM, life on the beat, and an early take on Marquette's matchup with Bucky.  Join us.

AE: On Saturday, Marquette hikes across the street to take on UW-Milwaukee in the Bud Haidet Classic. This is the last game that the teams have contracted to play. [EDIT: this wasn't the question, but Todd gave us a "NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND" right away ...]

TR: Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's one more year to go after Saturday's game. Here's an excerpt from the story I originally wrote back in 2006, when the teams agreed to the deal:

The five-year deal starts off with three "guarantee" games, where MU pays UWM a flat fee of $58,000 in 2007, $60,000 in 2008 and $62,000 in 2009, for a total of $180,000. The final two contests are considered "home-and home." Each home team keeps all revenue generated by the games.

MU will play host to UWM in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011. UWM's lone home game would take place in 2010 at the U.S. Cellular Arena. A preliminary date of either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1, depending on the availability of the evening time slot at the Bradley Center, was given for the 2007 contest.

So, you'll have to suffer through one more meeting.

AE: When the contract was originally signed, we heard a lot of hubbub from UWM: the city was clamoring for this matchup, UWM fans would pack the Bradley Center for the game, the contest would serve Marquette better than a buy game against Our Perpetual Sister of Bedlam. Of course, none of that has proved true; for instance, there are still plenty of fine seats available at the cozy U.S. Cellular Arena for the game. Now, the question: is there ANY conceivable way this series gets renewed?

TR: Actually, maybe more after that, too. From what I've been able to gather, since Crean and Haidet left, the relationship between the two schools has become much better. Buzz and [UWM coach Rob] Jeter get along and respect each other, and Mike Broeker has been speaking with Jeter informally about resuming the deal. Who is hired as UWM's new AD will also play a role in this, as will UWM's next deal with UW.

AE: We know what opposing coaches think of MU, based on the fact that Marquette was -- again -- picked to finish eighth by the Big East coaches in the preseason poll. But what do beat writers for other schools think of Marquette?

TR: Big East beat writers, from what I've been able to gather over the years, have always respected MU. Last year especially, with the undersized and undermanned team Buzz had, almost every city I was in, visiting writers would marvel at how tough the team was and how hard it played as a unit. So, by and large, the team has earned a reputation for some talented players, toughness and, in general, success at the Big East level. I wouldn't expect that to change this year. I've noted in the past few seasons in the media polls I've done, the writers generally rate MU higher than the coaches do in the pre-season. It's interesting.

AE: What's the biggest difference covering the team under Coach Buzz vs. covering the team under Coach Crean?

TR: There really isn't much of a difference between covering Crean and Buzz. By that, I mean Crean was always very accessible to me, treated me well and gave me pretty much free reign around the program. Buzz is the same way, although he can be tougher to track down on the phone than Crean used to be. Buzz is good about returning texts/emails, though, which is an avenue I never used with Crean. Buzz also doesn't get caught up in what's written/said about the program. I know he has people telling him/giving him all that info, but I think Buzz's view is he's got bigger fish to fry. That's the right way to do it as a coach, in my opinion -- never take coverage personal. He knows I have a job to do, just like he does. The way the media has changed since Crean was here has led to more opportunities for MU to provide its own coverage, though. Twitter, the Revealed series, blogs and things like that are a big benefit to the program. So, quite frankly, the school doesn't need me as much now as it did back then for publicity. That said, I report things that MU won't/can't.

AE: We're still a couple of weeks out from the annual matchup with Wisconsin-Madison, but do you have any early thoughts on the game?

TR: As far as UW, I haven't seen any of its games to this point, so I wouldn't feel comfortable making a guess at the outcome or anything until then. That being said, MU is going to have to tighten up considerably between now and then, as anyone who's watched the past few games knows. Hanging tough with Duke and Gonzaga is great, but the bottom line is there was too much left out on the floor each night -- especially the second game. Name-wise, MU won't have another big test until UW, so it's going to need to take full advantage of all the game situations it has in the meantime to try and get back on track.