Last year, when Marquette knocked off Syracuse to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since Dwyane and the Wade-keteers went to the Final Four in 2003, it set off quite the celebration. Coach Buzz was very emotional. He shared a tearful embrace with his wife and children. Fans and players alike, were ecstatic about the win and celebrated accordingly.
At first I thought the outpouring of emotion over winning a NCAA 2nd Round game was a bit over the top. But after a little further reflection, I realized that they had every right to react that way. That win wasn't just about advancing to the next round. It was about a team, that barely got in the Dance, making it where no one thought they'd go. That win got an 800 pound gorilla off the back of the program. That wasn't just for the guys on that team, but for guys like Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, Wes Matthews, and Lazar Hayward - players that had fantastic careers for MU, but couldn't escape the criticism of idiots who believed that the fact they never reached the second weekend of the Tournament somehow invalidated their considerable achievements. That win announced the official "arrival" of Buzz Williams as a coach. It meant a guy that had taken the road less traveled to becoming a head coach for a major college basketball program, was going places that he never imagined he'd go. It took me a minute to realize all of that, but once I did, I was totally cool with everything. How could I disagree?
But today, there is no gorilla. All of the demons of the Brook Lopezes and Quincy Pondexters past have been exorcised. This year there is no upset to be had. This year Marquette is the favorite and has its eyes on prizes far loftier than a berth in the Sweet Sixteen. So today, when we handle our business and dispatch Murray St., I want to see us look like we just did exactly what we expected to do. There's only one reason for tears today... and I'm not even going to talk about that.