My gut instinct answer to this is no. No one expected to have to throw the expected season long game plan out the window because Chris Otule wrecked his knee. But when you look at preseason expectations of the teams in the Big East, I think 16-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big East at this point is actually right about where Marquette fans expected to be.
The month long "Will he? Won't he?" dance was a little absurd. Since Otule didn't have surgery immediately, I have to presume he'll be back and ready to go at 100% by the start of next season, so maybe that's a wash. From a basketball standpoint, I think Marquette's just now getting comfortable with what they have to do to win games without Otule. While Gardner has become more and more dangerous, The Providence game showed a flaw: If you can get Ox in foul trouble - and it's not terribly hard sometimes - you can limit his threat. On the flip side, Gardner came into that game late and Ox In A Box turned that game from a tight battle to Marquette coasting to victory.
The first thing that popped into my head when reading this was sitting in my car refusing to get out so I could listen to the end of the 2007 contest in Florida. I'm sure anyone wandering past my parking spot in the apartment complex I lived in was wondering why the car suddenly started violently shaking when Jerel McNeal stole the ball and went the length of the floor for the winning layup at the buzzer. So upside: Fun memories like that! Downside: It's never a dull moment when Marquette and USF hook it up which is terrible for my stress levels.
I adopted Boise State as my college football team after they went undefeated several years back and were nowhere near the national title game, so I'm excited to be able to support a Big East team in football that doesn't conflict with any of Marquette's sports. Houston has a little bit of a proud history to them in basketball, so that's a great move. I'm not particularly thrilled about the ideas of road trips to the tiny arenas of SMU or UCF, but I understand the financial aspect of a local partner for your team and for Houston.
5. When in town, where do you get a bite to eat or a few beverages around campus?
Some members of the Marquette faithful will advocate for AJ Bombers, and given that it's just 5 blocks from the Bradley Center, it's definitely a great game day option. But for a burger and a beer both near campus and on campus, the place to go is Sobelman's. Their original location is classic, and they've recently leased space from the university for an on campus location directly across the street from where Marquette organizes shuttle buses to the BC on game day.
6. Finally, how do you see this one playing out. Does #BizarroBigEast live on and USF pulls off the upset?
Our teams can't seem to avoid playing close games, so I'm sure it will be closer than I would prefer. But I officially predict that Marquette will come out on top and move into a tie for second place in the Big East. Let's say MU by 8.
Thanks again to Andy for helping us out today, and make sure to head on over to Anonymous Eagle for my answers to his questions.