When was the last time you had your expectations shattered? Perhaps you went and saw Deadpool recently, thinking it was going to be your typical superhero movie only to have your children scarred for the remainder of their lives.
I took a child to see Deadpool not knowing what it was. That was bad parenting 101.— I'm McYours (@michaelkmcneil) February 12, 2016
Perhaps you went to a friend's wedding, an event filled with complete strangers only to end up finding your future divorce lawyer drinking a Rolling Rock in the corner. Maybe you tried paying attention to politics, optimistic that you'd fill yourself with knowledge to become a better voter, only to learn that the political process is a cesspool of pandering and fleeting moments of lucidity.
Regardless, we all have expectations of everything to a certain degree. It makes us human and it keeps us on our toes. Yet, when it comes to expectations in sports it seems as though we always set the bar too high. Growing up in the state of Nebraska, it became commonplace for the UNL concussion factory to be renowned and constantly in the top 10 of preseason and end of the year polls. As life wore on, and the program became lesser than, the fanbase's expectations remained the same, disregarding the fact that the handegg program wasn't what it used to be.
Going into this year, there was very little mention of both Creighton and Marquette, ranking them in the bottom half of the conference. I cannot speak to the Golden Eagle fan's expectations coming into the year, but I believe they had high hopes with locking down Ellenson and having a new flock of incoming freshman that were set to change the program on day one.
Tonight, Henry Ellenson did not accumulate a double-double. He scored 16 points and grabbed only 8 rebounds. My expectation of Ellenson against the Bluejays was that of utter and complete domination. My expectations were shattered. I believed Traci Carter, Duane Wilson, and Haanif Cheatham were going to torch the Jays, and they did to a certain degree - 28 points combined. I figured that Marquette was most assuredly going to win the rebounding battle - and they did. Ha!
Creighton came into the year with pretty low expectations from their fanbase. Sure, there are some rosy-eyed folks who were hoping to cut down the nets in Houston, but the general consensus was that 9 wins would be close to the ceiling and a repeat of last year would be disastrous. Instead, the Creighton hoop squad is firmly in 3rd place in the BIG EAST and have overcome many obstacles with the new faces of Huff, Watson, and Thomas.
The first half of this game was pretty uneventful. Both teams got on separate runs and chased down one another's deficits. At half, it was knotted up at 25, a low scoring affair with a lot of whistles and a tentative pace that seemed to wane and wax depending on who had the ball. When Creighton would run in transition, Marquette would speed up. If Creighton possessed the ball for 20 or so second, Marquette was able to settle down both offensively and defensively.
Then, we had the second half. A series of short spurts on both ends, the lead changing 7 times. Isaiah Zierden, noted sharpshooter for the Jays, was unable to sink a three for the entirety of the game. TOBY! Hegner, a man who has been nearly invisible on the offensive side recently for the Jays, proceeded to score 9 points on 3-7 shooting. Hegner was also tasked with guarding Ellenson for bits and pieces - the Jays utilized a plethora of switches on the freshman superstar - and was a difference maker in this affair.
Every time Marquette seemed to get something going, Creighton would have an answer. On an easy blow-by layup for Wilson to gain a 2 point lead early in the second half, Milliken answered back almost immediately to tie the game back up. From that point on, Marquette failed to get more than a 3 point lead for the remainder of the game.
With two minutes remaining, the Golden Eagles had a 2 point lead after Duane Wilson hit a jumper. A few moments later, after Zierden missed a three and Marquette regained possession, the home team had an opportunity to grow the lead to 4 or more, and had a good opportunity as Ellenson released a three from the top of the key, only to watch it clang out and be secured by Hegner. The Bradley Center's energy soon switched to anxiety as the observed Watson take the ball up the court. Watson positioned himself on the left wing and dished to Milliken, who took one step to his right, realized that no one was there to cover him, and dropped a 3 pointer to gain a 1-point advantage. Traci Carter attempted to regain the lead, but the unforgiving rim denied him access to such pleasures, and on the ensuing possession Watson waited... and waited... and waited... until finally he sprang from his resting state and drove the lane, attempted a shot only for it to clang off the rim into the waiting hands of Isaiah Zierden who was promptly fouled. Zierden sank both, pushing the lead to 65-62. Duane Wilson got a pretty 'meh' look at a three point opportunity as time slowly ticked away, forced up the 'meh' look, only for it to clang off the rim. Game, Bluejays.
Expectations can be healthy if you set the bar so low that anything will surprise you. Lesson: don't expect much and be jubilant when it pays off.