"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

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Quick off-season check-in with #mubb

It's been a couple of months so we thought it'd be good to pull together a pod to make sure we don't get too rusty. Plus there has been some roster news in the past couple of weeks so we should probably talk about that. We talk about Greg Elliot first and his potential impact on the upcoming season. We then discuss Ed Morrow at length(pardon the pun), what his transfer to MU means for the roster in 2018 anf does that mean good or bad things for the Joey Hauser recruitment. We also talk about the recruits that MU is looking at for 2018 and what THAT means for the roster. We also talk about the concerns about the point guard position in 2018 given the roster make-up. After we get done wildly speculating about a whole bunch of stuff, we then move on to the really fun stuff TBT (The Basketball Tournament). We walk through the roster as we currently understand it and talk about alumni we'd love to see play on the team this summer. We've included a link below for you to get out and vote for MU's alumni team to be able to be in the tournament. As always, enjoy the pod and the off-season Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Howard and Hauser Project as MU's 1st Top 100 Players in 5 Years

Based on the average improvement between freshmen and sophomore seasons, Sam Hauser and Markus Howard project to be among the top 100 players in the country next year, which would make them the first to break the top 100 since Devante Gardner finished 55th in 2013.

Marquette's Team Value Add was 30.83 in 2017, the 35th best total in the season, but they lost more than a third of that total with the departures of Luke Fischer, JaJuan Johnson, Katin Reinhardt and Duane Wilson (see 2017 values below).

Project Improvement of Returning Players Outweighs Losses

Andrew Rowsey ranked as the 300th best player in the country with a value of an additional 4.80 points per game, according to www.valueaddbasketball.com. He projects to improve to 5.25 for his senior campaign. However, most of a players improvement typically occurs between a player's freshman and sophomore season, and an average jump for Hauser and Howard would place them in the top 100 players, part of 31.60 of projected Team Value Add for Marquette that makes the team already one point better than last year, which would make MU the 32nd best team in the country even if they failed to fill the final roster spots.

2017 RnkPlayerHt2017 Team2017 Actual      2018 Projected
347Sam Hauser #106'6"Marquette4.436.77
358Markus Howard #05'11"Marquette4.366.25
300Andrew Rowsey #305'10"Marquette4.805.25
962Haanif Cheatham #256'5"Marquette2.323.51
NRHarry Froling6'11"SMU if all season1.092.59
NRJamal Cain6'7"High School01.92
1467Matt Heldt #126'10"Marquette1.301.90
NRGreg Elliott6'3"High School01.62
NRTheo John6'8"High School01.27
NRIkechukwu Eke6'9"High School00.52
NRSacar Anim6'5"Marquette 20160.000.00
202Luke Fischer #406'11"Marquette5.500.00
413JaJuan Johnson #236'5"Marquette4.100.00
867Katin Reinhardt #226'6"Marquette2.550.00
1557Duane Wilson #16'2"Marquette1.160.00
2427Traci Carter #216'0Marquette0.310.00
35Team Total (35th to 32nd)Marquette30.8331.60

During the first decade of Value Add Historic Rankings MU had 18 top 100 players in just 10 seasons.

YearSeason RankPlayer
20033Wade, Dwyane
200339Diener, Travis
20047Diener, Travis
200511Diener, Travis
200617Novak, Steve
200676James, Dominic
200890McNeal, Jerel
200896James, Dominic
200950Matthews, Wesley
200980McNeal, Jerel
200989Hayward, Lazar
20105Butler, Jimmy
201034Hayward, Lazar
201148Butler, Jimmy
201169Crowder, Jae
20122Crowder, Jae
201291Johnson-Odom, Darius
201355Gardner, Davante

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wrapping up the season

After giving it a week to breathe, we're ready to talk about the season ending loss to South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. We spend some time breaking down the game and understanding how it went so bad. Then the really disappointing news in that Duane Wilson has decided to seek a grad transfer and leave Marquette after 4 up and down years. We then talk about the season as a whole and whether it was a success or not. That discussion leads to some talk about next year's team and what we can expect from them. Any talk of the future would not be complete without a debate about what Marquette should do with the 3 open scholarships for next year, so we get into it. Then to cleanse the palette and try to have some fun, we discuss the firing of Tom Crean and the opening at Georgetown. Thanks for another fun season, we'll be back when the off-season bat signal goes up but until then, enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Howard falls three 3-pointers short of all-time record percentage

Before the game I joked with Steve Novak that I never thought I'd question if he was the greatest 3-point shooter in Marquette history until this year - and he was humble in agreeing. I talked with Andrew Rowsey on the way up the elevator at 3 a.m. and was happy he had seen my 6-second amateur phone video of him sinking the half court step back.

During the game one of the top sports reporters in the country texted me with a simple, "Markus Howard is just a lovely basketball player." Later when Howard ripped the pass to Sam Hauser for a late bucket, the guy behind me yelled, "That is the future, and bring along baby Hauser too! (referring to 5-star Joey Hauser, who I believe was sitting in front of me, but I could be wrong).

The fact is people were either upset or surprised when I sent out my mass email and posted by bracket and picked South Carolina tonight, but with South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell the top ranked player in the country at www.valueaddbasketball.com and their defense being one of the best at denying the 3-pointer (which we need to win) and stealing the ball (where we are week) in a near home game, I just didn't see it tonight.

However, the future is bright. If Howard hit all six of his 3-pointers tonight he would have set the all-time record for 3-point percentage for a season. Going three of six, he finishes with the second greatest season in the history of college basketball in only his second season. No player has even shot 50 percent for a career. Here is where he finishes - the future is bright, but thank you seniors for getting the team back to March Madness in your final year to help build:

RankBest 3pt seasons ever3ptM3ptA3P%SchoolSeason
1Micah Mason6511656.03%Duquesne2013-14
2Markus Howard8215054.67%Marquette2015-16
3Roosevelt Moore5011953.28%Saint Peter's1992-93
4Nick Masterson7814753.06%Kenneshaw St.2015-16
5Travis Ford10119152.88%Kentucky1992-93
6Royce Olney8015651.28%New Mexico1997-98
7Troy Hudson13426251.15%Southern Illinois1996-97
8Brad Lechtenberg7113951.08%San Diego2003-04
9Ross Land8316350.92%Northern Arizona1998-99
10Ross Land6412650.79%Northern Arizona1996-97

Here is the bracket based on the Value Add bracket which takes the www.kenpom.com rating and adjusts it by any returning or missing players, as explained here. A win in South Carolina just wasn't in the cards.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A #mubb dancing pod

No, this is not a podcast to dance to, but #mubb is dancing again for the first time since the original season of this podcast(Buzz's Elite 8 team). Needless to say we are excited about just being in the tournament and discuss that feeling. We spend a little time talking about the player reactions as well, which unless you are the Grinch, got things a little dusty in whatever room you were in. We then turn to the primary focus, South Carolina. We then continue a debate originated on social media about how to evaluated South Carolina's very impressive KenPom ranking for defense and especially 3pt defense. We break down what Marquette needs to do to win the game and what are some key factors to watch for (TURNOVERS!!!). After focusing on Marquette we turn to the tournament as a whole and give a brief analysis, including Buzz vs Wisconsin vs Meteor. Bottom line, we are happy to be here and there is reason for optimism with the opening round....so as always ENJOY!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The most famous South Carolina vs Marquette battle - 1972

A trip down memory lane, from SI's Curry Kirkpatrick.  The battle of the McGuire boys.....Frank vs Al.  Number 2 vs number 4!  For you youngsters, Kirkpatrick was one of the best SI had, back in the day when SI was the gold standard for sports publications.

1972 Sports Illustrated - Marquette vs South Carolina


In year three, Wojo guides the Warriors back to the NCAA Tournament

After missing the NCAA tournament in Buzz Williams' last year, Marquette hired another assistant to return the Warriors back to the dance.  As year three of Steve Wojciechowski's tenure comes to an end it was richly rewarded tonight as Marquette's name appeared on Selection Show Sunday for the first time in four seasons.   The bid marks the 32nd trip to the NCAA tournament in school history.  

Marquette had to rally the last three weeks of the season to secure a spot in the field after seemingly well on target in late January.  Four losses in five games put MU in a precarious spot with only five conference games remaining.  Wojciechowski juggled lineups, benched players, demanded some defensive accountability, toughness and it paid off.  Marquette won four of its final five games heading into the Big East tournament.  Despite a loss to Seton Hall in the quarterfinals, most experts had the club safely in the tournament.  Earning a 10 seed today, proved those prognosticators correct.

Marquette will play seven seeded South Carolina in Greenville, SC.  The Gamecocks are one of the better defensive teams in the country, but offensively challenged.  The exact opposite of MU's strengths and weaknesses.  If the Warriors are fortunate to advance, second seeded Duke is likely awaiting them.  The Gamecocks are 1.5 point favorites.  USC has not won a NCAA tournament game in 40 years.

Wojo's rebuild in three years should be commended.  Major roster turnover the past three seasons, young players thrust into important roles, and playing in a top three conference could have made the rebuild longer.   

Social media captured the Warrior celebrations today.

St. Patrick's Day in Greenville, a blessing for bar owners as Marquette fans descend to the Palmetto state. 

Monday, March 06, 2017

A year without Henry Ellenson equals a better team for Marquette

April 5, 2016, Marquette forward Henry Ellenson declared for the NBA draft.  The extremely talented freshman was off to greener pastures and a Marquette basketball team that missed the NIT was left wondering what was next.  Few blamed Ellenson for the decision, though many felt he wasn't ready, myself included.  The draft was weak and this was his chance to earn serious money doing what he loves to do. He was slotted to be picked anywhere from 9th to 19th by the time draft day rolled around.  My thoughts at the time were he would be unproductive this year in the NBA and probably even spend time in the D-League.  I had interviewed Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress and put those questions to him in May of last year.

The bigger question on the minds of Warrior fans was the void filled by Ellenson's departure.  How does one replace that kind of talent and what on earth was Marquette going to do without him in Wojo's third season.  The answer, you don't replace him and you get better in the process.  Addition by subtraction.  That statement is not meant to diminish the talents of Ellenson at all.  The reality is the team too often deferred to Henry last year, and didn't grow as a result. Henry took the big shots, Henry got the rebounds, Henry played a lot of minutes, Henry was the face of the team on and off the court.  Mostly this was by default, he was the one guy Wojo could rely on consistently.

Would a team this year with Howard, Hauser, Ellenson, Rowsey, Fischer, Wilson and Johnson be lights out?  On paper, wow!  In reality, I get the feeling guys that have grown so much this year would not have if that lineup were in place. Would the have overcome the urge to defer to the future NBA draft pick?  Impossible to know for sure, fans can debate the what if scenarios.

As for Ellenson, he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the 18th overall pick.  His first year has been one of struggles, not overly surprising to many of us. To date he has appeared in 14 NBA games and scored just 21 points with 12 rebounds in 56 total minutes.  He has played more games, sixteen, for the Grand Rapids Drive of the D-League than for the Pistons.  His D-League stats are fairly impressive, averaging over 17 points and 9 rebounds per game. With time, Ellenson will get stronger, develop a better NBA body and hopefully become the player many hope he can become.  Critics have already listed him and others as potential busts, but it seems way to early at this point in his career to make that judgment.

In the end, it appears that the departure was a net positive for both parties.  Henry is learning the ropes of professional basketball. Although he is struggling as rookies often do, the MU faithful are certainly hoping for major success for him.  He has enjoyed his first year in the NBA.  For Wojo and the Warriors, a year of uncertainty and turned into a year where young guys have filled major roles and likely led this team back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013. Sometimes things have a way of working themselves out just fine.