"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fischer Top 5 in NCAA in Shooting, Blocks, Defensive Rebounds and Team Defense

How good was Luke Fischer's first game for Marquette? Simple, based on tempo free stats he is clearly the Player of the Year in the Country.

Defense - Fischer is the top defensive player in the country based on tempo free stats:

Blocked Shots (3rd nationally) - Fischer blocked 17.7% of Arizona State's shots in his debut. That is the third best season total in the country.

Defensive Rebounding (5th) - Fischer grabbed 31.4% of all the shots Arizona State missed. That is the fifth best figure in the country - interestingly Cinmeon Bowers of Auburn is second in the country at 34.9%

Team Defensive Rating (5th) - Marquette's adjusted team defense against Arizona State was 87.5 points per 100 trips (94.7 point per 100 trips by a team that averages 107.1 normally in a season in which the average is 99.9). Even with the shut down defense in Fischer's one game, Marquette now has the 125th best defense in the country, so they were more well over 100 spots better on defense with him in the line-up. If we just count the game in which Fischer played, the top 10 defenses this season are; 1, Louisville; 2, Kentucky; 3, Virginia; 4, Texas; 5, MARQUETTE with FISCHER; 6, Oklahoma; 7, San Diego State; 8, Wisconsin; 9, Arizona; 10, St. John's. Obviously you share credit for team defense, but if they are 5th with you and worse than 125th without you, pretty safe to say you are the man.

This easily makes him the best defensive player in the country.


Shooting - On the most important stat, Fischer has hit 81.8% of his shots, making his effective Field Goal Range (eFG% adding extra half shot made for each three-pointer made) second in the country to Lafayette's Joey Ptasinski.

Offensive Rating (21st) - Sum up all the offensive stats at www.kenpom.com, and he calculates that Fischer would produce 136.2 points per 100 times he had the ball, which ties him with Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos for 21st best offensive player in the country when he has the ball.

OK, seriously even though these are all figures from www.kenpom.com, he does not actually have the minutes played to qualify to be a leader in any category, but based just one his one game he would clearly be the National Player of the Year as the best defensive player in the country and 21st best offensive player. Obviously he will not keep up all of these numbers throughout the season, but if Marquette gets over half of what he produced against Arizona State this could be a tournament team after all. A long way to go through, and teams will certainly be watching a lot of film to make sure they position to stop his left hook ... and right hook ... and roll into a dunk ... and mid-range shot as the shot clock runs out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Can Fischer stop MU opponents from scoring 73.2% of trips?

We covered the challenge Luke Fischer faces against Arizona State's front court in his first appearance. Not only does ASU have a duo at forward that can each put up 20/10 numbers, but MU without Fischer has been in the bottom 25 of all 351 teams in three categories - blocked shots (5.1%), 2-point attempts (55.8% allowed) and defensive rebounds (allowed 40.1% offensive rebounds). That means that in a possession in which MU does not force a turnover, and the opponent attempts only two-pointers, the opponent scores 73.2% of the time:

55.8% Score 1st shot

9.9% 1 offensive rebound, then score

4.4% 2nd offensive rebound, then score

1.9% 3rd offensive rebound, then score

0.9% 4th offensive rebound, then score

0.4% 5th offensive rebound, then score

73.2% Total % chance of scoring if no steal, foul, 3-point attempt

Pretty scary, but that is what Fischer is here to stop. Basically MU needs to get help from Fischer protecting the rim and clearing the boards, or if he is on the bench they made need to really gamble for the steal.This is a pretty big spotlight for his first trip back on the court since leaving Indiana a year ago.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two ASU forwards coming off 20/10 appearances may force Fischer to play

I assume Wojo wants to ease Luke Fischer into action, but he may have to get him on the court to let Marquette play big against two Arizona State forwards who put in 20 points and 10 rebounds their last time on the court.

The following notes each player’s jersey number and Value Add rating (3.0 or higher at www.valueaddbasketball.com is a strong starter) in potential match-ups going from the “5” spot down to the “1” spot.

5 (center) – EDGE ASU – Luke Fischer (0.72 projected Value Add) may need to take the court against a very good 6-foot-11 center (ASU #21) Eric Jacobsen (4.40 actual Value Add). Certainly a tall task for Fischer, who may not be ready for a lot of minutes, but his presence may be needed due to the domino effect of needing Anderson and Taylor to match up with forwards who could destroy MU inside.

4 (power forward) – TOSS-UP - Steve Taylor (3.06) has done an excellent job at center and may be even better if he can slide over to power forward. So far he been much better than (ASU #40) Shaquielle McKissic (0.68 actual). However, McKissic was projected to be ASU’s best player, and unfortunately went back inside and dominated against Pepperdine last game for a 22 point, 11 rebound game that looked a lot more like his projected Value Add for 5.69 this year.

3 (small forward/swing) – TOSS-UP. Likewise, Juan Anderson (5.36) has been awesome, and (ASU #11) Savon Goodman has not even played. However, Goodman was projected to be a lot better than Anderson before the year (4.46 to 1.30), but like Fischer had to sit out first semester after transferring from UNLV. He is the one ASU player who should end up in the NBA, and the last record we have from the court was during the 40 minute ASU scrimmage that he dominated with 28 points and 10 rebounds. This will be a true chance for Anderson to prove how far he has come this year – but it will not be easy.

2 (shooting guard) – SLIGHT EDGE MU. We thought last year that MU was a tournament team if Duane Wilson (3.34) had not gone down, and he is taking it to another level with a 30-point outing. Senior (ASU #33) Bo Barnes (3.10) has been only slightly behind Wilson’s mark, but with Wilson ascending MU seems to have a slight edge.

1 (point guard) – HUGE EDGE MU. The good news is that if MU can just hold their own on the front line, Matt Carlino (5.98) has the chance to dominate at point guard (ASU #3) Chance Murray (1.78). Carlino is inconsistent, but even on one of his bad nights he should have the edge on Murray, and if he is either scoring or setting up others with assists, MU has a huge edge at the point.

Of course, Derrick Wilson and Sandy Cohen could start for defense, and JaJuan Johnson (2.69) rates almost as strong as a good major conference starter off the bench so can provide the offensive spark either as a starter or off the bench. However, overall MU with only an 8-man rotation will give up depth to ASU and most opponents. ASU has bench players that contribute nice Value Add points with ASU #4 Gerry Blakes 1.52, ASU #1 Roosevelt Scott 2.07 and ASU #31 Jonathan Gilling 2.35.

Marquette is a one-point favorite at www.kenpom.com, but if you add Goodman’s 4.46 projected Value Add vs. Fischer’s 0.72, that makes ASU a 3-point favorite. MU needs a win Tuesday and then three easy wins to go to 8-4 entering conference play – where MU is favored in only three of 18 games right now at www.kenpom.com. We will learn a lot about MU with Fischer and the rest of the season Tuesday night.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Carlino 12th MU Player in Top 100? MU one of 15 that can put 5 strong starters on floor? Bid possible?

In putting together the early www.valueaddbasketball.com All-Big East team for Breitbart Sports, I started to believe the ingredients might be there for a 2010-like shocking run to an NCAA bid. Even before the huge defensive upgrade from Deonte Burton to Luke Fischer next game, Marquette is the only Big East team besides Villanova to have five of the top 32 players in the conference.

Matt Carlino is on pace to be the 2nd team all-Big East point guard and the 12th Marquette player to finish in the Top 100 at www.valueaddbasketball.com, and Juan Anderson isn’t far behind as the 3rd team All-Big East power forward. If Luke Fischer proves to be an above-average center OR JaJuan Johnson plays at the level he did in the first four games (11 steals, 9 rebounds), then Marquette would become one of only 15 teams who could put five above average players on the court at once.

Carlino has improved Marquette by an average of 5.98 points per game, making it likely he will join Gardner, Hayward, James, DJO, Mathews, McNeal and Novak as a Top 100 player (for ratings from 2003 to 2014 click here). He is ranked 120th right now of 4000 players, but players in major conferences usually move up once conference play begins because their Strength of Defense faced factor improves.

For a quick historical detour, I discovered for the first time when writing this that the only two teams with FOUR Top 10 players have been MU (Butler, Crowder, Diener and Wade) and Steve Wojciechowski’s former team Duke. Wisconsin would become the third team to do it if Frank Kaminisky finishes in the Top 10.

But back to the present …

In addition to Carlino and Anderson, the team also boasts two other players who measure as strong major college starters (above 3.0 Value Add means you should be starting for a major team) in Duane Wilson and Steve Taylor. Taylor has been forced to match up against bigger centers all year pending Fischer’s return in the next game (Arizona State), so it will be interesting to see if he is even better when being able to slide over to Power Forward in some games.

The only 14 teams that currently have five above-average starters (3.0 or higher) are Arkansas, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami FL, Michigan St., North Carolina, Ohio St., San Diego St., Texas, Villanova and Virginia.

With this potential balance, the high level of play from Carlino and Anderson, and two neutral site wins over major conference opponents, Marquette could pull off a few upsets in their seven road games against teams in the top 60 at www.kenpom.com. Do that, and we could suddenly be hoping for a repeat of the astonishing 2010 bid during which MU suddenly went 11-2 in a stretch to get to the Big East title game and make the NCAA.

As for the competition, the following is the All-Big East team based on www.valueaddbasketball.com ratings but with an attempt to balance for positions on each of the three squads.

I featured Seton Hall’s Sterling Gibbs in a Breitbart Sports piece today. He has been the best player in the country while having an offensive rating of more than 100 in ten straight games going back to his upset of Villanova.

1st Team All-Big East

All five first teamers have turned in dominant performances to give the Big East a great start, though Henton and Providence have fallen off dramatically including an embarrassing home loss to Brown.

PG, 4 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown, 6.11

SG, 4 Sterling Gibbs, Seton Hall, 11.82

SF, 23 LaDontae Henton, Providence, 8.93

PF, 40 Matt Stainbrook, Xavier, 8.09

PF, 15 Sir'Dominic Pointer, St. John's, 9.47

2nd Team All-Big East
As noted, Carlino would run the offense for the 2nd team.

PG, 13 Matt Carlino, Marquette, 5.98

SG, 21 Isaiah Zierden, Creighton, 5.93

SF, 5 Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, 7.83

PF, 4 Myke Henry, DePaul, 5.48

C, 23 Daniel Ochefu, Villanova, 5.11

3rd Team All-Big East
Anderson would practically be playing for Villanova on the third team if center Daniel Ochefu just fell off a little to drop from second to third team.

PG, 15 Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova, 3.3

SG, 31 Dylan Ennis, Villanova, 5.44

SF, 3 Josh Hart, Villanova, 5.36

PF, 10 Juan Anderson, Marquette, 5.36

C, 31 Kameron Woods, Butler, 4.73

Best of the Rest (3.0+ equals solid starter)

Obviously the team cannot afford injuries with Burton (only 57th best player in conference with a 1.47) and Dawson departed, but if these eight stay healthy Fischer, Sandy Cohen and Derrick Wilson certainly provide enough defense. If the season ended today MU would not get an invite anywhere, but for the first time we now have a shot to do more than just dream about next season’s class.

16, SF, 2 Kris Jenkins, Villanova, 4.51

17, PF, 2 Brandon Mobley, Seton Hall, 4.41

18, C, 24 Joshua Smith, Georgetown, 4.29

19, PF, 20 Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall, 4.23

20, C, 1 Jalen Reynolds, Xavier, 4.04

25, SF, 1 Duane Wilson, Marquette, 3.34

27, C, 25 Steve Taylor, Marquette, 3.06

32, SF, 23 JaJuan Johnson, Marquette, 2.69

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Breaking: Wisconsin still sucks, Marquette may not be terrible, and Fischer is on his way

Nobody likes to lose, especially to a rival as filthy and despicable as the rodents from the west. However, that's what happened Saturday with a scrappy Marquette team taking on the #2 team in the country hanging in until late in the game. On this podcast we discuss the game, what we liked and didn't like and if anything can be taken away from a positive perspective. One of the definite positives is that Luke Fischer is now eligible and we will see this team with someone taller than 6'7" in 9 days when they play Arizona State. We discuss the anticipated impact Fischer will on the team both positively and negatively. We also discuss the implications of his availability to the rest of the players on the team, who will get more or less minutes and who's performance will improve. We then transition to the next game on the schedule, Arizona State at home after a week and a half off. What kind of performance can we anticipate from the team. We've got a lot of time between now and the next Marquette game, go ahead and listen a couple of times, if you don't enjoy it...we'll give you your money back. Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Anderson surges into top 100 Value Add Defenders: 9 Defensive Rebounds & Helped Make 2nd Best Offense Play like 333rd Best

Juan Anderson should rank as one of the top 100 defenders in the country after his performance Saturday. Coming into the game, Anderson's defensive Value Add ranked him as the 124th best defender of the 4000 Division 1 players (-1.82 means he takes away an average of 1.82 points per game from Marquette's opponents). That number will drop substantially after he grabbed an incredible nine defensive rebounds against the much taller Badgers, and was a key to holding Wisconsin to a pace of 90.7 points per 100 trips. Wisconsin ranks as the 2nd best offense in the country with 113.4 points per 100 trips adjusted for defense - but their Saturday total of 90.7 would make them the 333rd best offense.

Anderson should join fewer than 100 players in the country who take more than two points a game away from their opponents beyond what a replacement player would be expected to do with his defense. Below are each players season projections and actual Value Add at www.valueaddbasketball.com coming into Saturday's game.data base.

You get this by clicking on www.valueaddbasketball.com, putting "Marquette" in the search box, and then hitting the arrow by the "Player" heading so each player's projection and actual Value Add are next to each other.

When you do the math, Juan, Matt, Steve and Duane have all been more than two points per game better than projected. It looked like they would add about 6.27 points per game to Marquette's margin above how Marquette would do if each was replaced by the 500th best Power Forward, Point Guard, Center and Small Forward/Swing Player. In fact, the four combine for a Value Add of 16.00 exactly, meaning without the four of them we would likely have lost to Wisconsin by 27 instead of by 11 points today.

Derrick's improvement was actually probably two points as well. Value Add is "politically correct" in that we never give a player a rating below ZERO and Derrick therefore had a 0.00 Projected Value add instead of a negative number. Remember that about 1500 of the D1 players have a 0.00. Derrick's actual Value Add has been 0.99 so he adds a point.

Today's performance will hurt everyone's offensive ratings. Despite Matt's great points, his five turnovers kept him down to a Rating of 89 points per 100 trips down the court against a top 10 Wisconsin defense that that was giving up the same on 88.9 points per 100 trips. Every other offensive player has a very low rating, except for the short appearances by Deonte and Sandy.

However, defensive ratings will get better after holding the 2nd-ranked offense in the country down so well. The team's best defensive player (Juan Anderson, -1.89 for taking two points a game away from MU opponent's) will have a phenomenal defensive improvement for his part in holding the Badgers' scoring down and grabbing nine defensive rebounds.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A week can change a lot of things, including the level of Badger Hate

Well, the tone of this podcast has certainly changed in the last number of hours we're too lazy to calculate, lets just call it a week. Legitimately concerned about a 1-2 finish in the Orlando Classic, the previous podcast was filled with doom and gloom. However after seeing, ya know, the team actually play the games, we are decidedly more upbeat. We discuss the results of the Orlando Classic and how impressed we were by the coaching staff making changes to the plan based on previous results. That's a slight change from the previous regime. We then discuss the players themselves and who's impressed and what has made the biggest impact on the performance in Orlando. Lastly, we turn to the big angry elephant in the room, the showdown with Bucky in the Bradley Center. We kick off #badgerhateweek with our general overview of how the game is going to go, and then what has to happen in an ideal world for Marquette to get the win. Lastly, we go on a mini-rant, because we are filled with hate, about some evil maniacs twitter idea, #sconniepact. Sit back, listen, and let us fill you with BadgerHate Download this episode (right click and save)