A Bitter Pill For The Eagles

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: March 24, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — If it was up to Marquette coach Buzz Williams, his entire team would be in Syracuse practicing for the regional semifinal game against Big East opponent West Virginia.

Instead, he was at the Al McGuire Center Tuesday addressing the media on goals for next season for the returning players and incoming freshmen.

It was obvious that he isn’t over the opening round loss to Washington in San Jose, CA, last Thursday.

Since Williams break down each game by possessions, it was the last one that would send them packing.

“We got in (the NCAA Tournament) because of one possession wins and we went out the same way,” Williams said. The Golden Eagles allowed the Huskies to get a couple of offensive rebounds as time wound down with a tie score.

Washington didn’t call a time out and Quincy Pondexter hit the winning shot. Pondexter beat Marquette’s Jimmy Butler with no help. And that’s how their season ended.

“It’s another one possession game,” Williams said. “You’re up 15 with however many minutes to play. And then it was just an avalanche. (Washington) was averaging 13 offensive rebounds. They had one or two at half.

And then they had seven for the game.”

“I think three of those seven came on two of the last possessions.”

“Pondexter shoots the ball, misses, and then the trail official calls the foul after the ball has already hit the rim and we have possession. Just turnover after turnover.

Too many turnovers.”

“About the average number of turnovers, but not for our team in the second half. I just thought we were dominated physically on the perimeter. And with all that being said, it was still a one possession game.”

And now, just now, Marquette would love to trade places with Washington because had they beaten the Huskies, they would’ve defeated New Mexico to reach the Sweet 16.

“I don’t handle it very well,” Williams said of dealing with losses. “I know I should, and I hope that as I get older I will.”

In two seasons as the Marquette coach, Williams led his teams to the NCAA Tournament, losing in the second round in 2009 against Missouri and in the first round last week.

And he’s mentioned as an up and coming candidate for future coaching positions for more money.

Followers of the basketball program think that Williams’ mention as a hot commodity is enough leverage for the athletic department to cave in and offer a long-term extension and a substantial raise.

It could also include a buyout clause if he leaves. Since Williams is from Texas, there’s speculation that he would take an open job in a major conference in that state.

Williams doesn’t have an agent because he refuses to pay the agent fee of 4 percent. He also said that he’ll stay at Marquette as long as they are willing to have him around.

At least he’s saying the right things now. “I don’t want an agent, but I talk to all of them,” he said. “I’d rather give that four percent to (son) Bubba. I can’t give it to (them).”

Preparation for 2010-11 began a few days ago with individual offseason workouts.