Friday November 30, 2012From the other side: Yeah, Marquette was impressed by Gators
Updated: 10:02am, November 30
Updated: 10:02am, November 30
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Sometimes, it’s interesting to view things from the other perspective.
In this case, the opposing team’s.
More specifically, the writer that covers the opposing team.
Below is the game story filed by Michael Hunt, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, following Thursday night’s trouncing of Marquette at the O’Dome, which came under the headline, "Golden Eagles Turned into Gator Bait."
Worth noting: Golden Eagles guard Vander Blue led all scorers with 20 points in the Big East/SEC Challenge game and rematch of last year’s NCAA West Region and Sweet 16 showdown. The Gators went after Blue, a Madison, Wis., hard on the recruiting trail three years ago when combing the country for guards. Seems they did OK winding up with Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather.
Gainesville, Fla. - Whether Marquette is good enough to compete in the Big East, we'll see.
But for now, the Golden Eagles aren't even in the same league with Southeastern Conference beast Florida.
Other than the 82-49 beat down Thursday night at the raucous O'Connell Center that became even more eardrum-bleeding loud with each of the three-pointers the No. 7 Gators made or the shots they blocked into the student section, let's count the ways.
It was the worst loss for Marquette (5-2) in Buzz Williams' four-plus seasons. It was the fewest points the team has scored in almost three years. And it was the biggest overall wood-shedding the Golden Eagles have taken since Louisville ran them out of Freedom Hall by 47 in 2005.
"We were just bad, very bad in every way," Williams said.
But there was more numerical evidence of the gap that has grown substantially larger since the Gators (6-0) grinded Marquette down to a nub in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 last season.
"That was the least amount of free throws since I've been employed at Marquette," Williams said.
That would have been nine. But the Gators were so voracious on defense - Davante Gardner got off all of four shots in 19 minutes - that Marquette had no chance to get the ball inside in order to get fouled in the first place.
"I'm not exactly sure of what their winning percentage is here since coach (Billy) Donovan has been here," Williams said.
He was told it was 126-9 at home out of the SEC.
"That's better than Bo Ryan at the Kohl Center in non-conference, I think," Williams said.
Had Vander Blue (20 points, four rebounds) not returned from a one-game absence with a sprained knee, it could have been nine more shades of grim.
Maybe the Golden Eagles can take some consolation in the fact that they might have a go-to guy against the likes of a Florida.
"I thought he was the only one who showed up and gave us any production," Williams said. "He had energy. I thought he had a great spirit. His numbers were really good.
"You can look at all the other numbers and they were subpar at best from a scoring standpoint. He's the only one who got what he has been getting."
Gardner and Chris Otule got off exactly five shots between them. Jamil Wilson was 1 of 8.
"They played harder than we did and deserved to win," said Blue, who added his knee was sore but OK. "That is Florida basketball. It's what happens in big-time basketball when you don't come to play. All praise to Florida. They were better."
How much better is the question for Marquette going forward. If the Golden Eagles needed some kind of early season measuring stick, they got one upside the head.
It was humbling in every conceivable manner as Marquette seemed intimidated at times by Florida's superior athleticism.
Marquette committed a shot-clock violation on its first possession and took almost five minutes to score to begin the second half. Florida lit it up with 9 three-point shots and crushed the Golden Eagles on the offensive boards.
"I think they are this good," Williams said. "I was saying that before we left Milwaukee. I think they're good enough to win the whole thing."
Said Donovan, "I'm not so sure we're 30 points better than Marquette. I really like Marquette's team. This is their first road game and they have some guys in new roles, new positions. Marquette's a good team. It's still November and there's time to grow and develop."
Maybe this was an aberration as the coach of the two-time NCAA champs mentioned. Maybe this is the wake-up call Marquette needed in an isolated circumstance. Maybe it is not all that good. Maybe it is somewhere in the middle.
We'll find out soon enough.