Tonight, as many of you probably already know is the big showdown between Marquette (8) and UCONN (1). The Bradley Center will come alive with the best of the Big East....and of the nation.
I have never been a fan of Marquette Basketball. Mainly because I never liked Tom Crean. In my mind I had always thought he was an egotistical prick. Whether it be his staunch stance against playing cross-town rival UW-Milwaukee (where I graduated in '06) because of it they were a nobody; Or the time I bumped in to him at a Barnes & Noble at the Bay Shore Mall in Glendale, WI a suburb of Milwaukee. I was there with my family (minus Evan, he wasn't born yet) and I ventured up to the "History" section. There he was, reading some book. Slowly I approached the man and gave him a nice, "Hey Coach!". He looked at me.....looked back down at his book....and then walked away. It was him...I know that. Crean has weathered skin on his face, which isn't too noticeable even on HD.
Out goes Crean, who ditches the City of Milwaukee and a prestigious university for the troubled Indiana. A school that just went through it's most difficult time in its storied history (Calvin Sampson).
Buzz Williams took over and the rest is history. I like this man quite a bit. He's a fire cracker on the sidelines and a fierce recruiter. He was Crean's right hand man in landing a number of top-rated recruits. When he was hand picked to succeed Crean, I was asking myself "who was this man?". Well, here is a great little piece on him by the NYTIMES.
While attending UW-Milwaukee I had a number of my classes in the same building that Bruce Pearl used to office out of. I would run in to him almost 3 times a week, each time he would say "hi". Sometimes he would iniate a short conversation, or I would. Talk about the big game coming out or yadda-yadda-yadda. He was approachable and could light up a room. Despite his whistle blowing (on Illinois) 19 years ago, he is a good coach and knows how to stir up a fan base. Prior to him coming on board, there was no fan-base in Milwaukee.