"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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Happy National Marquette Day!

Scrambled Eggs is celebrating National Marquette Day by having a giddy pod discussing the Marquette victory over Xavier. We start by talking about what a game Markus Howard had and the records he tied or broke. We then talk about the new starting line-up and it's impact on the game and potentially the rest of the season. Related to the new line-up, we discuss JaJuan Johnson's DNP-CD and wildly speculate about cause and length of the "suspension". The conversation turns to the last 4 games of the regular season with Marquette squarely on the bubble. Needless to say, the St John's game on Tuesday for Al's Night is absolutely critical. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Year three of the rebuild....how it is going thus far?

I've long been an advocate that it takes four to five years to do a rebuild correctly.  Allows for two freshman classes in to matriculate, concentrate on the high school ranks, build the culture from top to bottom, add pieces where need be (transfers, etc).  Some coaches turn things around faster, others never make it.  Some take shortcuts, or have a roster waiting for them that is more ready to go.  How good the conference is or the schedule also has tremendous bearing in the results. Very difficult to compare one situation to another because none of them are alike.  One position player can make all the difference in the world.

Where do we stand as the end of February approaches in year three of the rebuild for Coach Wojo? Simply put, we're absolutely heading in the right direction and possibly ahead of timelines.  Some fans will demand turnarounds in 2 or 3 years, but looking at what Wojo inherited, what players remained, the quality of the league last year and this year, we're doing just fine thank you.

In Buzz's last year at MU, a year chosen to win newly formed weaker Big East (a conference that would finish ranked 4th overall), MU finished the year 6th and Buzz left for Virginia Tech.  Half of the freshman on that team are gone. The one incoming Buzz recruit willing to sign, Sandy Cohen, is now in the Horizon League.  Buzz was able to bring over Luke Fischer in a transfer for the second semester of Wojo's first year, and has been a solid player for the Warriors.

This season, we are currently trending ahead of Buzz's last year in every major computerized rating system.  Using Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, RPI, and BPI as source data.  In fact, looking at this year's team, they are not far behind in some ratings of Buzz's 2012-13 year that won the Big East and ran to the Elite 8.  What's equally impressive is Wojo is doing in a conference ranked higher than Buzz's final year.  The Big East currently sits 3rd and has reigning national champion Villanova ready for another deep run.

Plenty of work still to be done and a finish with or without a NCAA berth would not be surprising. The margin for error is small.  We are a bubble team no matter how you slice it. Our defense has plenty of issues, we are young at key positions and lack depth in areas as well.  If our three ball shooting is off, it's over. That being said, this is a team that is capable on any given night and using data comparisons, has progressed nicely in Wojo's first three years at the helm. The doom and gloomers, step back from the ledge. If it doesn't happen this year, it will next.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Where does #mubb go from here?

Well, things look a lot different in mid-February than they did in late January. The pod starts with an overview of the poor performance and Georgetown and looks at it within the context of the last 3 weeks. The defense has struggled all season but recently the offense has struggled as well. With the context of the on-going struggles, we discuss some concerning quotes Duane Wilson shared after the Georgetown game. Does it mean the staff has lost this team, or is this a sign of immaturity within the roster? We then talk about the balance of the season and what Marquette has to do to make the tournament for the first time in four years. Lastly, we focus on the upcoming Xavier game and National Marquette game, including the "stripe out". Let's try to make this thing work, so if you are going to the game wear the right colors. Let's hope we can pull off the stripe out and a victory the team desperately needs. Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Comparing NCAA's Release of Top 16 with Value Add's New Injury Adjusted Rankings

Well, that was depressing. It looks like the scouting report on Marquette's previous unstoppable offense is going to require some adjustments. The new Value Add rankings adjust for players who are no longer suiting up for the season or have returned (e.g. Arizona shoots up from 22nd to 7th in the rankings due to Allonzo Trier finally taking the court in the 19th game of the season. On the flipside, Xavier drops all the way from 27th to 53rd after losing Edmond Sumner and will need Trevon Bluiett and company to step up. The five teams the most hurt by losing players:

1. Xavier 6.64 (Trevon Bluiett #5)
2. St. Joseph’s 5.45
3. Creighton 5.16
4. Ohio 3.56
5. Indiana 3.35

Going into Saturday's blowout loss at Georgetown, Marquette still calculated as a No. 9 seed with Luke Fischer cracking the top 5% of all players (top 200) and Andrew Rowsey cracking the top 300.

Here are the Value Add individual rankings going into Saturday, complete with notes on players who have returned to give a boost or been lost to injury. The team totals in light of these adjustments are here and summarized below as how the seeds would be awarded based purely on the sum values of the players now on the floor, with today's NCAA Top 16 rating in parenthesis.

Seed Team Value Add v5.0 Pts/Game Conf
1 Gonzaga 49.06 WCC (actual No. 4 overall)
1 Virginia 47.69 ACC (actual No. 10 overall)
1 North Carolina 46.83 ACC (actual No. 5 overall)
1 Villanova 45.75 BE (actual No. 1 overall)

2 Louisville 44.82 ACC (actual No. 7 overall)
2 Florida 43.94 SEC (actual No. 11 overall)
2 Arizona 43.79 P12 (actual No. 6 overall)
2 Kentucky 43.03 SEC (actual No. 12 overall)

3 West Virginia 42.57 B12 (actual No. 14 overall)
3 Wichita St. 42.23 MVC
3 Baylor 42.21 B12 (actual No. 3 overall)
3 Kansas 42.17 B12 (actual No. 2 overall)

4 Southern Methodist 42.09 Amer
4 Wisconsin 41.97 B10
4 Duke 41.05 ACC (actual No. 16 overall)
4 Florida St. 39.65 ACC (actual No. 6 overall)

5 Purdue 39.62 B10
5 St. Mary’s 39.24 WCC
5 Butler 38.68 BE (actual No. 13 overall)
5 UCLA 38.51 P12 (actual No. 15 overall)

6 Oregon 37.51 P12 (actual No. 8 overall)
6 Cincinnati 37.36 Amer
6 Oklahoma St. 36.73 B12
6 Iowa St. 36.57 B12

7 Dayton 35.77 A10
7 Notre Dame 35.69 ACC
7 Wake Forest 35.32 ACC
7 Michigan 34.76 B10

8 South Carolina 34.76 SEC
8 Kansas St. 34.2 B12
8 Utah 33.21 P12
8 Northwestern 33.1 B10

9 Clemson 32.1 ACC
9 Marquette 31.83 BE
9 Texas Tech 31.7 B12
9 Maryland 31.67 B10

10 Minnesota 31.66 B10
10 Houston 31.46 Amer
10 Miami FL 31.13 ACC
10 Texas Christian 30.95 B12

11 Illinois St. 30.74 MVC
11 Creighton 30.39 BE
11.5 Virginia Commonwealth 30.37 A10
11.5 Syracuse 30.29 ACC
11.5 Rhode Island 30.25 A10
11.5 Southern California 30.15 P12

12 Middle Tennessee 28.85 CUSA
12 UNC Wilmington 28.61 CAA
12 Nevada 26.93 MWC
12 Belmont 25.89 OVC

13 Vermont 25.85 AE
13 Chattanooga 25.74 SC
13 Bucknell 25.15 Pat
13 Princeton 24.88 Ivy

14 Texas Arlington 24.54 SB
14 New Mexico St. 23.38 WAC
14 Valparaiso 22.62 Horz
14 Akron 22.53 MAC

15 Monmouth 22.43 MAAC
15 North Carolina Central 21.53 MEAC
15 Fort Wayne 21.24 Sum
15 UNC Asheville 20.9 BSth

16 UC Irvine 20.43 BW
16 Florida Gulf Coast 19.73 ASun
16.5 Eastern Washington 16.92 BSky
16.5 Texas A&;M Corpus Christi 14.07 Slnd
16.5 Wagner 11.85 NEC
16.5 Texas Southern 10.9 SWAC

Friday, February 10, 2017

Catching up on the last couple of games, diving into numbers, and.....UCONN???

We're back on the podcasting train after a few games with less than stellar results, so we start with reviewing the last 3 games for Marquette. Part of the discussion is again, what went wrong and is there anything to do to fix it. We then spend some considerable time advertising for KenPom by digging through some offensive(posted below) and defensive numbers to get a sense of what this team might be able to tweak over the next few weeks to get wins that they need to make the tournament. We also talk about the tournament and what Marquette's odds are of making it, and one of us uses the term super soft bubble. The bubble talk leads to a discussion around the last 6 games on #mubb schedule and whether they can win at least 3(preferably 4) and if so against who. Then the conversation takes a turn for the unexpected and we talk UCONN to the Big East rumors and what the circumstances would be where that would happen. We close out the show with a quick discussion of Georgetown and a prediction of the results. And we take a few pokes at Anonymous Eagle along the way. Enjoy! Offensive efficiency vs shot volume Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Big East Tourney Chances Devastated by Injuries to Sumner and Watson

The Big East's chances for a monumental tournament were dealt severe blows with season-ending injuries to point guards for two of their four ranked teams project both as first round losers rather than winners.

The injury to Mo Watson before Creighton's game against Marquette indicates their Sagarin Rating of 87.56 (21st overall) is actually 84.12 (34th, one spot behind Marquette) without Watson, whose Value Add is 5.40 (points per game impact). Due to the Domino effect of losing a player (see explanation in Big Apple Buckets), you subtract the value of a team's seventh best player (1.96 for Creighton) to get the actual impact in points per game off their Sagarin Rating so 87.56 for season to date, MINUS 5.40 for how many of those points were the result of Watson being on the floor, PLUS 1.96 to estimate the overall additional points based on the strength of Creighton's other players who need to extend their game.

Unfortunately, the news is even more devastating for Xavier with Edmond Sumner going down for the season with an ACL. Sumner is a top 100 player with a 7.32 Points Per Game Impact (Value Add), so the math for Xavier's Sagarin Rating without him is 86.79 (24th best) MINUS his 7.32, PLUS their 7th best player's 1.89 for a new rating of 81.36 for 56th place without Sumner. They should certainly still make the tournament, but they will need players to step up beyond what is expected to get a win in the tournament.

On the flip side, I do not see any Big East teams who have a late comer (2nd semester transfer or player returning from injury) who will elevate them substantially. However, to give an example of teams that might be improving, I point to star Austin Wiley of my hometown team Auburn. My graphics are not great, but Wiley is a potentially dominant center who so far is worth 1.96 points - but when you scroll to the right the final number of ^12^ indicates he only played 12 of the teams 21 games.

Because he has played in tougher SEC games, you would expect his value to actually be at least double even though he has played slightly more than half the games. (When a player is not on the floor he gets a ZERO Value Add for that game). Therefore he is probably about a 3.92 rather than a 1.96, so if you add the additional 1.96 to Auburn's Sagarin rating of 78.94, the real team rating with Wiley is 80.83, a jump from 72nd to 60th.

Auburn has an uphill battle to make the tournament because the games they played before Wiley still count, but it appears Bruce Pearl has a team that is at least on the verge of being March Madness quality, so if they can win 22 games between the regular season and SEC tournament - starting with a win against a hot Tennessee team tonight, they could sneak in. Unlikely, but at 60th a team that could easily make the NIT and win at least one game.

I hope this post works as a Value Add guide to measure the impact of missing and returning players and understand who much they impact a teams actual Sagarin rating and if they should be favored in a given game.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Reinhardt and Wilson surge to give MU one of deepest teams; 8-seed in tournament

In a season  highlighted by the play of two of the top freshmen in the country, veterans Katin Reinhardt and Duane Wilson surged to carry Marquette to an projected 8-seed Monday according to both ESPN and CBS Sports

Due to slow starts to the season in which they were worth close to 0.00 points per game, Wilson and Reinhardt still rank as the 8th and 7th most valuable players over the season as a whole, worth an improvement of 1.99 and 2.43 in Marquette's victory/defeat margin for game due to great recent performances.

Marquette's ability to have eight different players who can be the difference in a big game makes them one of the most balanced teams in the country. Only 10 teams have eight players ranked higher than Wilson's 1.99 Value Add, and only 14 teams have seven players with a higher rating than Reinhardt's surging 2.43. Here are the teams, followed by where all of Marquette's players rank.

It is very hard to be a projected 8-seed with no players in the Top 200, but Marquette is doing it with incredible balance. Marquette's victim Villanova is the only team in the nation with three top 50 players in Josh Hart (ranked No. 1), Jalen Brunson (No. 14) and Mikal Bridges (No. 47).

RnkBest 8th Players 1/29/2017Teams w/ Deepest BenchValue
1Mamadi Diakite #25Virginia3.34
2Killian Tillie #33Gonzaga3.12
3Zach Brown #1Wichita St.3.05
4VJ King #0Louisville2.49
5John Egbunu #15Florida2.47
6Kethan Savage #11Butler2.44
7Dominique Hawkins #25Kentucky2.33
8CJ Walker #2Florida St.2.15
9Theo Pinson #1North Carolina2.07
10Parker Van Dyke #5Utah2.04
11Keanu Pinder #25Arizona1.99
12Duane Wilson #1Marquette1.99
13Dustin Thomas #13Arkansas1.90
14Justin Jenifer #3Cincinnati1.89
15King McClure #22Baylor1.88
16Ebuka Izundu #15Miami FL1.86
17Sagaba Konate #50West Virginia1.83
18Admiral Schofield #5Tennessee1.78
19Kaiser Gates #22Xavier1.76
20Isaac Banks #10East Tennessee St.1.62

RnkBest 7th Players 1/29/2017Teams w/ Deepest BenchValue
1Josh Perkins #13Gonzaga4.30
2Anas Mahmoud #14Louisville4.10
3Justin Leon #23Florida3.51
4Jack Salt #33Virginia3.48
5Shaquille Morris #24Wichita St.3.44
6Nate Fowler #51Butler3.44
7Casey Benson #2Oregon3.03
8Terry Maston #31Baylor2.87
9Nate Britt #0North Carolina2.71
10Lamont West #15West Virginia2.71
11Carlton Bragg #15Kansas2.60
12Khalil Iverson #21Wisconsin2.60
13Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12Michigan2.49
14Mychal Mulder #11Kentucky2.45
15Katin Reinhardt #22Marquette2.43
16Ryan Cline #14Purdue2.33
17Temple Gibbs #2Notre Dame2.29
18Devontavius Payne #1East Tennessee St.2.27
19Eric Paschall #4Villanova2.27
20Jarquez Smith #23Florida St.2.26

Marquette player ranks.

207Luke Fischer #405.84
346Markus Howard #04.82
360Andrew Rowsey #304.75
395Sam Hauser #104.46
423JaJuan Johnson #234.32
582Haanif Cheatham #253.69
962Katin Reinhardt #222.43
1151Duane Wilson #11.99
2012Traci Carter #210.61
2102Matt Heldt #120.52
9999Sandy Cohen #50.00

It was still a good week for #mubb

The Scrambled Eggs pod refuses to let losing to Providence to cause us panic or not enjoy the last week and a half of Marquette basketball. As part of that theme, we decided to go out of order and get the Providence game analysis out of the way first. We then talk about the Villanova game and how the experience was for each of us with one of us at the Bradley Center and the other on tape delay. We then play a new game for predicting the future associated with Marquette basketball: "Fact or Alternative Fact". Lastly, we close out with some light recruiting/roster discussion and why this is a most not lose week. Bottom line, MU is in good position, but this week better result in two wins or we've given it all back. As always, enjoy! Couldn't help myself Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, January 23, 2017

What a difference a quality win makes

Prepare yourselves, we thought this was going to be a relatively quick pod after a big Marquette win on Saturday against Creighton; turns out we have a lot to talk about. We talk about the big win, did it matter that Watson didn't play for Creighton, and how much the win impacts Marquette for the rest of the season. We also preview the Villanova game including debating the relative values of a win or a loss in the game. We also spend some time cajoling fans to show up at the Bradley Center on Tuesday. As always, enjoy the pod. Download this episode (right click and save)