There’s a certain type of Marquette fan who loathes the Wisconsin Badgers with all of his being– and then there’s the apparent handful of Marquette alumni who were actually born and raised in the Milwaukee area. We of the latter group tend to take a much more pragmatic view of our public-school counterparts.
This is especially true if, like this author, you’ve had the experience of sitting next to the likes of Trevon Hughes on a plane and realizing over the course of a friendly conversation that the Badger program turns out some pretty classy individuals. It’s even easier when you can contrast said Badger individuals with the sort of trouble we used to read about Buzz Williams’ players getting into on a regular basis from 2009-2014. For a guy who won a lot of games, the Buzzard rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. MU is a Jesuit Catholic school, and as much as we all like winning, it’s more true to who we are to lose clean than to win dirty.
I could never shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right with the Buzzard. No surprise, then, that as a proud Marquette alum and Wisconsin native I can happily list ten reasons why I’ll be cheering for the state university to clobber Virginia Tech in the opening round of the 2017 NCAAs.
1) JUCO GUYS. Unlike any coach at MU before or since, from day one Buzz relied heavily on JuCo transfers who were clearly not an academic fit at Marquette. That’s like propping up the School of Education with a bunch of transfers from Trump University who had really good GPAs in their Microsoft Excel certification courses.
2) THE BIG LEAST, BUZZ? LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT HOW THAT WORKED OUT. After fleeing Marquette, Buzz had the audacity to blame it on the new Big East, its perceived weakness, and its lack of a television mega-deal. The new conference would never be able to compete in The World According To Buzz. To which Villanova responded, “F— you, Buzz” for all of us.
3) BREAKIN’ THE LAW, PART I. The players Buzz recruited had more run-ins with the law– both campus police and actual police– than any of his predecessors’ teams. Now it’s easy to say stuff was underreported under Kevin O’Neill, Mike Deane et al, but a big rumor on campus back in the 90s involved a hoops coach and some Clinton-style indiscretions, so it’s safe to assume similar transgressions from the players would at least have been talked about.
4) BREAKIN’ THE LAW, PART II Two of the documented run-ins involved sexual assault. Makes you wonder how many undocumented occurrences there were over in Humphrey Hall. The only campus orgs recruiting those guys at Marquette when I was in school had names like Delta Chi, Sig Eps and TKE.
5) JUST TRY THAT ON BARRY, DUDE. Buzz reportedly ran off one AD (Larry Williams) and then bolted after losing a power struggle with the interim AD who replaced him. That was Bill Cords– the same guy who killed Marquette Wrestling, so there are no winners here– but seriously, basketball coaches have no place trying to run university athletic departments even if they are the cash cows. Can you see Buzz trying to push Barry Alvarez around? I didn’t think so.
6) ENOUGH ABOUT SWEAT EQUITY. Buzz’ slick suits gave the lie to his fake humility and oft-repeated rags-to-riches story. I got sick of hearing he was a hard worker just because he’s a sweathog. Guess what? Lots of coaches sweat through their shirts. Big deal. You think Belichick’s not sweating under that hoodie? Buzz’ supposedly homespun style never sat right… maybe because he wasn’t actually genuine? Hmm.
7) BUDDY GARRITY DOESN’T PLAY IN THE UPPER MIDWEST. Buzz didn’t earn his job in the first place. Tom Crean hired him for one year because he recruited Texas well (think Buddy Garrity for a reference point), and he was handed the job a year later (when Crean bolted for Indiana) again because he could recruit. Texas. Nice match with the Jesuit Catholic ethos there, guys.
8) LOW CHARACTER COACH = LOW CHARACTER RECRUITS. Every member of Buzz’ final recruiting class either reneged on his commitment or transferred. That says a lot about a coach. Clearly his much-ballyhooed recruiting is based on personal commitments and has little or nothing to do with the school. Every recruiting story told us how Buzz connected with their mamas by promising he’d work their kids really hard. Just not, you know, in the classroom.
9) IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT IN CLASS AT LEAST YOU CAN MAKE IT IN THE EUROLEAGUE. Word was Buzz’ best returning player was about to flunk out when Wojo took over, and promptly ‘turned pro’ instead. Guys like that cheapen a degree it took some of us twenty years to pay off. No thanks. Wonder what Buzz told that guy’s mama.
10) GUESS ‘AL MCGUIRE COURT’ REALLY GOT TO HIS HEAD. Last but far from least… the BuzzCave. Note the size of the ego it takes to install a gym floor customized with your name and a monogram of your own initials.
Go Bucky. Kick Buzz’ fat sweaty ass.