I don’t know if you know this, but there’s an AnonymousEagle Twitter account. As such, sometimes people reply to the tweets that are posted on it. Most of the time, the responses are 1) funny jokes, 2) acerbic comments that are wryly funny, or 3) interesting questions. These are all good ways to use Twitter!
A bad way to use Twitter is to shout like a crazy person at the AE twitter. One of the things I have noticed lately when the shouting crazy people have been running into the mentions is the use of phrases like “Marquette is collapsing under Wojo again just like always.” There’s variations on that. “Typical Wojo collapse!” “Yet another slump down the stretch by a Wojo team!”
And so on.
The overall point is clear: There are a lot of people who are very upset about Marquette’s current run of four losses in the last five games since beating Butler on National Marquette Day. This is fair. It has not been good or fun, and if you like things that are good and/or fun, then you have not liked the last three weeks of hoops.
What’s not fair is declaring this late season collapse by the team to be the same thing that always happens under the direction of head coach Steve Wojciechowski. Yes, the team lost their last four regular season games a year ago, and then got forcibly ejected from the NCAA tournament by Ja Morant. This is true. What’s not true is the idea that Wojciechowski’s teams always suffer like this as the season begins to draw to a close.
Just to cut this off at the pass: This is not a defense of Wojciechowski, nor is it a defense of what is currently happening to the team, nor is it a defense of anything bad that has happened this season, nor is it a defense of last season’s collapse down the stretch. If you’re thinking about sending me a strongly worded email because I’m defending [insert thing here], then please put your internet access device down and go take a walk around the block. This is a discussion of how Marquette teams under Wojciechowski’s direction have finished the season, and that’s it.
For the purposes of our discussion, we’re only looking at the regular season. 90% of the teams in the Big East exit the Big East tournament with a loss (it’ll be 91% next year) as do 98.5% of teams in the NCAA tournament and 96.9% of teams in the NIT. I’m not going to tack on high likelihood losses to determine whether or not there was a late season collapse. That seems wildly unproductive.
Anyway, here we go.
- 2014-15 aka Year 1: While I’m not going to try and convince you that this season went well on any level, I will point out that Marquette had a 1-12 stretch in Big East play but did beat DePaul on Senior Day to end the regular season on a high note. A bad season that ended in a win, and thus no collapse.
- 2015-16 aka Year 2: Marquette started Big East play 2-5 before finishing the year 6-5 in league games plus adding a win over Stetson to win seven of their final 12 contests. That includes winning three of the final five games of the year, so you can hardly call that a collapse.
- 2016-17 aka Year 3: Okay, so we have to address the issue that is the 1-4 skid after beating #1 Villanova. That sent Marquette from 5-3 in the Big East to 6-7 and was, generally speaking, not good. However, the Golden Eagles then won four of their final five regular season games. 4-1 in the final five is definitely not a collapse.
- 2017-18 aka Year 4: The Golden Eagles had a 4-7 record in their first 11 Big East games, and then won five of their next seven games to close out the regular season. Unfortunately, one of the losses was to DePaul, so that is very not good and was probably the difference between making and missing the NCAA tournament. However, we’re only looking at the overall record and also not at the postseason. Wins in five of the final seven games is definitely not a collapse.
Yes, last year happened. Yes, last year was a collapse. Yes, Steve Wojciechowski has to bear the brunt of responsibility for what happened in that collapse. That’s why he’s paid the big bucks.
Before that? Never a collapse. Not a single one. In fact, not even the hint of a collapse.
If you want to be upset about it happening two years in a row, more power to you. That’s probably the right mindset to have.
Saying that this is typical behavior and/or results for Wojciechowski and his teams? Couldn’t be further from the truth.