"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

Monday, December 31, 2007

Wiki Top 10: December

Time for another Wiki Top 10, December:

Here's some other quality pages you might have missed:
I also want to give props to a few people who've been volunteering and helping create and edit wiki pages. As you know, a wiki is created by YOU, and these guys are doing your job. Spartan3186, oldwarrior81, 77ncaachamps, SocalWarrior, MarqGold17.

Thanks, guys.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cupcake Season complete: MU wins big again

MU completed the Cupcake Season without incident this afternoon. The Golden Eagles annihilated a horrendous Savannah State team 77-37 to move to 10-1 on the season, and (thankfully) appear to be healthy after a month of near-scrimmages.

Big East play begins next week when MU hosts Providence on January 3 at the Bradley Center. Finally.

Lazar Hayward and Dominic James led MU with a dozen points each today. The highlight of the game -- and perhaps a big boost for the rest of the season -- was the return of Dan Fitzgerald. Fitz returned to action for the first time in about a month and threw in 11 points in 16 minutes of action. The 6'9" forward was 3-5 from the field, with all of his attempts coming from long range.

Enough cupcakes, it is time for conference play -- after all, MU has played only one good team in the last six weeks.

Happy New Year folks. We'll evaluate MU's season to date shortly-- stay tuned.

AP recap / Box Score / Play By Play
Photos from hilltopper's seat:


Friday, December 28, 2007

Savannah State Quick Hits

Hope that everyone had a Merry Christmas and is getting ready for a joyous and prosperous New Year. Only one more cupcake for this year, and then it's time for Marquette to get a healthy diet of serious competition. Savannah State is next on the schedule, Saturday, 12/29 at 1:00 CT. For those that aren't local, the game can be seen on Time Warner, ESPN Full Court, or ESPN360.


GoMarquette.com's Preview, with an overview of the hot shooting percentages and tough defense being played this month.

GoMarquette.com's Game Notes

Here are the Top Five Numbers to Know for Savannah State
As always, information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report and Game Plan

Five -
Marquette's Pomeroy Rating. Yes, our beloved Marquette is rated as one of the top five teams in the nation according to Pomeroy.

  • Schools ahead of MU in order? (Kansas, Duke, West Virginia, Wisconsin)
  • This is despite a Strength of Schedule of 82
  • Marquette has the #4 Adjusted Offense and the #14 Adjusted Defense

- Savannah State's national rating at forcing turnovers.

  • This is the one thing that Savannah State does well, which is forcing 27% of all possessions into turnovers
  • Marquette only turns the ball over on 19% of possessions (National rating of 47), so watch this matchup

338 - Savannah State's national rating at protecting the ball

  • Unfortunately for Savannah State, they are even worse at protecting the ball. They turn the ball over on almost 30% of all possessions
  • Considering the aggressive defense of Marquette, we're going to call turnovers the matchup of the game

- Savannah State's effective Field Goal % (eFG%)

  • As a reminder, eFG% is normal field goal percentage adjusted for the extra value of a three point shot (shooting 4/12 from three is the same points as 6/12 from two)
  • This eFG% is good enough for Savannah State to have a national rating of 328. That's almost as bad as their rating for committing turnovers. Almost.
  • In contrast, Marquette averages eFG% of 56.7% (national rating of 17)
  • Savannah State has a terrible time scoring points

- Savannah State's RPI rating - which is probably why the computer projection gives us 100% chance of victory

In summary, Savannah State is aggressive at forcing turnovers, but terrible at protecting the ball. Their team is better at defense than they are at offense, where Savannah State is simply atrocious. Watch to see how well we are able to shut down the Savannah State offense.

Take heart, MU fans... the Big East starts up in less than a week!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Marquette's Greatest Players #51-75

The following is the second in a series of guest columns written by John Pudner ('88).

Marquette's 100 Greatest Players
By John Pudner


In the early 1990s, I was writing a column in the New York Post opposite baseball statistical guru Bill James. I would crunch numbers to determine the best pitchers one week, then he would crunch numbers and rank the top everyday players the next. Then Bill James wrote a historical ranking of baseball players over the ages and he made a point in the book that is very pertinent to these rankings.

In addition to crunching statistics (my spreadsheet of 642 players is now up to 61 columns of info on each), you need to focus on what the people evaluating them AT THE TIME THEY PLAYED thought of them. This is the reason for the second ranking that appears by each player – the dominance ranking.

At the time the player played, did people view them as a dominant player? Did NBA scouts think the player was dominant enough to use a draft pick on him? If so, how high a pick? Did the coaches and writers of the time think the player was dominant enough to name him as an All-American? As an all-conference player (Midwestern Collegiate 90-91, Great Midwest 92-95, Conference USA 96-05, Big East 06-present), or before Marquette joined a conference as an All-Catholic player or All-Independent player?

I was able to identify 36 players were so dominant that the writers or coaches picked them as All-Conference or All-American after at least one season. One of these players, Robert Jackson, was viewed as dominant during his ONLY season at Marquette, being named 2nd team All-Conference USA in 1994. All he did in that one year was to lead the team in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and finish second in scoring (15.4 ppg) to some guy named Dwyane Wade. He gave the school it’s first dominant big man since the 1994 squad, giving Diener and Wade the inside presence they needed to go to the Final Four.

I have 226 other 1-year players on my spreadsheet of all-time MU players, and Jackson is the only one in the top 250 – he comes in as the 52nd best player in MU history. All Marquette fans should be very thankful that Robert chose to come back home to Milwaukee for his final year – I wish he could have put up all of his 1,327 points and 756 rebounds at Marquette, but he was here for the most important year.

The only player on this list younger than Jackson is one of the current three superguards, Wesley Matthews. Matthews could shoot much higher than his current #66 ranking by the end of his MU career. He has already piled up stats as a guard who can not only score but rebound, and is one of only 10 players in MU history to average at least 1.5 steals per game. Obviously if he follows his father into the NBA, or even if the team just makes at least an Elite 16 run this year, he will move way up the list.

One other reason we can’t purely rely on statistics is that there were no stats kept on blocked shots, assists and steals until very recently, and even rebounds were not recorded until the 1950s. If you just looked at statistics, you couldn’t put anyone who played below 1950 on the Top 100 list. At a time when teams rarely scored 30 points in a game, averaging 10 points a game helped your team as much as scoring 20 points a game today.

However, when you realize the 1934 team was good enough to go 14-3, and that Ed Mullen was not only named an All-American BUT also played 5 years in the pros, you realize he ranks in the top 50. Also, I do take some educated guesses at what the other stats would have been. After 1950 this is often a matter of running formulas based on typical ratios of assists to steals, and blocked shots to rebounds, etc. However, in other cases I just make a judgment call based on accounts on the player – such as Gene Ronzani, another 1930s star, who was an All-American football player, averaged double figures and according to the Marquette Tribune of the time, “Ronzani particularly had a rollicking time of it, as he roamed all over the floor, scrambling anyone in his path and usually coming up with the ball in the wildest sort of melee.” I assume he was pretty good rebounder, and I gave him 1.5 steals per game based on that description. He ranks as the 69th greatest MU player.

I wish there was someway to put our guards today with the incredible front lines from the 1950s, including the members of the 1959 team on this list. Just a few years after Terry Rand led the biggest front line to the 1955 Elite 8, Walt Mangham (#57) was joined by freshman future All-American Don Kojis to take the 1959 team back with a 23-6 record. Mangham and Kojis were called the “Kangaroo Kids,” as Mangham was the national high jump champion and the two are still 4th and 1st place all-time on MUs rebounding list.

Senior Mike Moran (#51 on this list) was the third member of one of the best frontlines the country has ever seen, as he dropped in 18.1 ppg with an unstoppable left handed hook shot – the third straight year he led the team in scoring. James McCoy (#67) added a big outside threat from the shooting guard spot. Marquette was ranked #15 at the end of the year by the UPI. After destroying Bowling Green in the opening round of the tourney they finally lost 74-69 to the same opponent we drew last year, the #3 ranked Michigan State Spartans.

A total of 54 Marquette players have been drafted by or played in the NBA, a few more have been stars in Europe or the CBA. This list is not quite as selective as the All-Conference list, but obviously it is a similar honor as being drafted and/or playing in the NBA indicates scouts who make their living on identifying the most dominance players in the country chose this player.

In between the most current guys on this list - Matthews and Jackson – and the great 1950s trio, 8 other players on this list were drafted by the NBA. The most exciting of these players may have been dunker supreme Artie “the Grasshopper” Green (#54). Also in the 1980s, the NBA drafted David Boone (#61) and Marc Marotta (#62); Jim Boylan (#53) and Marcus Washington (#59) were taken in the 70s, and Brad Luchini (#71), Dave Erickson (#64) and Mangham in the 1960s. Of course, the draft went 10 or 12 rounds back then, so it was easier to get drafted at some point than it is today.

The following are the rankings of the 51st through 75th greatest players in Marquette history. As outlined in my last column, the three numbers that are added are, in order, statistics, dominance and impact on the program. Theoretically a perfect player could get a 15 + 15 + 15 = 45, but of the 640 players rated, the average score is 2 + 3 + 2 = 7 – so the average score is actually just 7 of 45 as only truly great accomplishments get the player any points.

Key:All-time ranking among Marquette players, Name, (years played), Ratings based on statistics + domination/pro career + impact on program = overall rating.

51, Mike Moran, (1957, 58, 59) 13 + 3 + 4 = 20 Notes on why in Top 100: Over 1,300 points at Marquette, led Marquette in scoring all three years and had 670 rebounds, leading MU back to the tourney in his senior season. He put up 20.4/11.1 campaign in 1957 before Kojis arrived to take all the rebounds. Still in 1959 he used his left-handed jump shot to lead the team with and 18.1 average to finish his career with virtually every record (though Kojis would catch him in rebounds) a couple of years later.

52, Robert Jackson, (2003) 8 + 5 + 7 = 20 Notes on why in Top 100: I've found 36 MU players that were selected either All-American or All-Conference (all Independent or All-Catholic prior to joining a conference). Jackson is the lowest ranked of these 36 only because he played only one season, becoming the 2nd team center selected for the All-Conference USA team. Jackson transferred from Mississippi State to give us our only dominant big man in years and take us to Final 4 with 15.4/7.5 (2nd in scoring to Wade, 1st in rebounding), but he was the indispensable inside man to complement Wade and Diener that year. His total college career had 1,327 points and 756 rebounds.

53, Jim Boylan, (1977, 78) 6 + 6 + 8 = 20 Notes on why in Top 100: Marquette's NCAA Champions 1977 with 7.0 ppg, led team with 114 assists, drafted by Buffalo in 4th round, played overseas.

54, Artie Green, (1979, 80, 81) 7 + 4 + 8 = 19 Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted in 10th round by Milwaukee as hometown favorite, legendary leaper out of New York who was called "the Grasshopper" who was putting down two-handed stuffs back when the shoes were still terrible. While the team didn't make a run, he got bonus points for the excitement of giving MU one of their biggest recruits and most exciting players.

55, Ron Glaser, (1961, 62, 63) 12 + 3 + 4 = 19 Notes on why in Top 100: Over 1,300 points at Marquette, led Marquette in scoring all three years, leading the to the NIT in his final season.

56, Rube Schulz, (1952, 53, 54, 55) 9 + 4 + 6 = 19 Notes on why in Top 100: Forward with more than 1,000 points at Marquette, including 340 points in 1955 to finish 2nd in scoring only to the great Terry Rand on their 1955 Elite 8 team that was their first NCAA bid ever. At 6-foot-8 Rand established the high post and Schulz took the low post in a revolutionary 1-3-1 offense that noone could stop.

57, Walt Mangham, (1958, 59, 60) 10 + 4 + 5 = 19 Notes on why in Top 100: The national high jump champion stunned opponents with his ability to sky over them, while Kojis at them up on the boards. Led MU in rebounding with 10.2 per game in 1958 before Kojis (perhaps the greatest stat playing in Marquette history) arrived to dominate the glass the next year. Drafted by New York in 10th round. Also scored more than 1,000 points professionally in the ABL. Along with Kojis, were called the "Kangaroo kids.".

58, Faisal Abraham, (1994, 95, 96, 97) 7 + 4 + 8 = 19 Notes on why in Top 100: On 1994 Sweet 16 team, scored few points and defensive leader with team high 58 blocked shots for 23-8 team in 1996, followed by 84 blocked shots and team high in rebounding his senior season.

59, Marcus Washington, (1972, 73, 74) 5 + 4 + 10 = 19 Notes on why in Top 100: 9.7 ppg as guard for NCAA Runners Up 1974, drafted by Houston in 10th round.

60, Robb Logterman, (1991, 92, 93, 94) 9 + 4 + 5 = 18 Notes on why in Top 100: 6-foot-3 points guard with over 1,200 points at Marquette - senior year Sweet 16.

61, David Boone, (1986, 87) 8 + 6 + 4 = 18 Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted by Denver in 4th round after leading 1987 team in both ppg and rpg at 15.9/8.8.

62, Marc Marotta, (1981, 82, 83, 84) 8 + 6 + 4 = 18 Notes on why in Top 100: His senior year was my freshman year, drafted in 9th round by New York.

63, Bob Walczak, (1952, 55, 56, 57) 9 + 4 + 5 = 18 Notes on why in Top 100: Starting guard who scored 252 points for the Elite 8 team in 1955 was first tourney team in Marquette history.

64, Dave Erickson, (1961, 62, 63) 7 + 7 + 4 = 18 Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted by Detroit in 4th round after leading the team in rebounding and scoring in double figures his last two years, including an NIT appearance after a 20-9 season in 1963.

65, Dean Marquardt, (1979, 80, 81, 82) 5 + 7 + 6 = 18 Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted by Detroit in 6th round, a solid 6-foot-9 forward center, who led the 1982 23-9 team with 6.6 rpg.

66, Wesley Matthews, (2006, 07) 8 + 5 + 4 = 17 Notes on why in Top 100: Does anyone have a better 3-guard set than James, McNeal and Matthews? Since they started keeping steal stats in 1980, ten MU players have averaged at least 1.5 steals per game, and all three of the current starting guards are in that top 10.

67, James McCoy, (1957, 58, 59) 9 + 3 + 5 = 17 Notes on why in Top 100: After a 14.8/6.1 his freshman year, the shooting guard become the chief outside threat to loosen up defense for Marquette's incredible front line of Kojis, Moran and Mangham on the 1959 NCAA tourney team.

68, Frank McCabe, (1946, 47, 48, 49) 9 + 4 + 3 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: Center played on the 1952 Olympic Gold Medal team that beat the Russians, after being leading scorer with 12.7 ppg his freshman year in 1949. (+3 bonus for Olympics).

69, Gene Ronzani, (1932, 33, 34) 10 + 3 + 3 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: All-American football player helped get Marquette on basketball map in early 1930s averaging double figures (very rare back then) for 14-3 team. The Marquette Tribune, of which I was later News Editor, wrote, “Ronzani particularly had a rollicking time of it, as he roamed all over the floor, scrambling anyone in his path and usually coming up with the ball in the wildest sort of melee.”

70, Don Bugalski, (1954, 55, 56) 8 + 3 + 5 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: The guard who scored 340 points to help lead MU to a 22-game winning streak and Elite 8 in 1955, as he ran the office that piled up 2,273 points to shatter the old mark by more than 300 points.

71, Brad Luchini, (1966, 67, 68) 7 + 4 + 5 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted in 11th round by Milwaukee as hometown favorite, 7th in school history FT percentage at 81.1%.

72, Raymond Morstadt, (1934, 35, 36) 8 + 3 + 5 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: On 14-3 team in 1934, then captain of 1935 team and led them in scoring.

73, Oluoma Nnamaka, (1999, 2000, 01, 02) 8 + 4 + 4 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: Very solid rebounder Crean's first three seasons, including 26-7 campaign in 2001, and averaged 10.2 ppg his junior year.

74, Paul Carbins, (1965, 66, 67) 8 + 3 + 5 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: Al McGuire's first two seasons Carbins was his big man, leading the team with more than 11 rpg both seasons, while scoring 976 career points.

75, Odell Ball, (1978, 79) 6 + 5 + 5 = 16 Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted by Denver in 6th round.

John Pudner, Journalism ’88, was Editorial Editor and then News Editor for the Marquette Tribune. He was named top sports news writer in Virginia in 1991 while working for the Charlottesville Observer and wrote a weekly column on his rankings of baseball pitchers for the New York Post before leaving journalism for a career in politics and government affairs.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Marquette's 100 Greatest Players

A few weeks ago, we got a comment from a writer who had created a "Marquette Top 100 Players of All Time" list. We pursued, and invited John Pudner, a 1988 grad, to do a few guest columns for Cracked Sidewalks during December, otherwise known as "Cupcake Season."

Today, Pudner explains his math, then gives us #76-100. Tune in later this week for the next quartile, and, of course, feel free to leave comments, arguing Pudner's calculations.

Marquette's 100 Greatest Players
By John Pudner


In ranking the Top 100 Marquette players of all time, I had to flash back to my freshman Spring semester. I thought I’d gotten pretty dominant on the rec center court. At the same time I was critical of our varsity team, which had “only” made the NIT – not enough for us fans who had been spoiled by an NCAA title seven years earlier.

My illusions of grandeur were quickly destroyed when five of the varsity players - Mandy Johnson, Robert Hall, Herb Harrison, Willie Hines and Tom Copa – called “next” game and beat us 16-0 by ones in about 4 minutes. Mandy could steal it from us before our first dribble hit the floor, and Tom (who we considered a “slow” 6-foot-10 center) was too fast to let us get our shot off. But while Mandy slips into my Top 100 at No. 94 and Copa is higher up the list, my point is that even players like Robert, Herb, Willie and the other 500+ MU players who don't make the list are AWESOME. The top 100 are truly significant in the history of our great University.

The following are the players I rank as the 76th through 100th “greatest” players in Marquette history. I will first explain the three categories in which I awarded from 0 to 15 “greatness points,” before adding the three figures to rank these players.

1. STATISTICAL CATEGORY. The first number is the “statistical” number that represents the points, rebounds, steals, blocked shots and assists the player put up at Marquette. If I had based these rankings purely on the numbers, 3-year stars Don Kojis and George Thompson would rank at the top of the list, followed closely by 4-year stars Jim McIlvaine and Tony Smith. This system may be the simplest – a center who scores 15 points and grabs 8 rebounds a game, is going to rank ahead of a center who averages 10 points and 4 rebounds over the same number of games. There are certainly many great, steady performers who would have made this top 100 if I had based this purely on stats, but I weighted two other categories as equally important.

2. DOMINANT PLAYER CATEGORY. The second number measures how “dominant” a player proved to be. Based on this category, the guys who dominated in the NBA, led by Dwyane Wade, Maurice Lucas and Doc Rivers, would rank at the top, followed by the other 27 Marquette players who went on to play in the NBA. Next by this ranking are the players who were drafted but didn’t make their NBA team, and those who played in Europe or the CBA. If the Detroit Pistons decided Dave Erickson looked good enough at Marquette to be drafted in the 4th round, then he obviously had some real ability to dominate – so he makes the list at No. 35.

3. POSITIVE IMPACT CATEGORY. The third number represents how much “positive impact” the player had on Marquette’s program, and this category requires the most explanation because it is the most subjective. Some starters from weaker Marquette teams are not in the Top 100 even though they have better stats than Terry Sanders (ranked #93). However, those starters would have been reserves as well behind the backcourt of Wade-Diener (2003). Sanders played key roles on those Final Four teams, drilling these great guards day after day in practice and filling in when they needed rests or got in foul trouble, but the only year he started was the year after Wade graduated – so he would have probably scored 200 more points if he wasn’t stuck behind Wade for two years.

Based on this third criteria, Bo Ellis is clearly the greatest player in Marquette history. Only Bo was a star on the 1974 National runner-up as a freshman AND a star as a senior on the 1977 National Championship team. He was the most important player in Marquette history. Behind him would be Terry Rand, who took a mediocre program in 1955 and carried MU to a 22-game win streak, and their first Top 10 ranking and Elite 8. After that, I give credit to players who helped get teams to the Final Four (2003), Elite 8 (8 teams), NIT title (1970), then Sweet 16 (1979, 1994), as well as players who were part of teams that won at least 2/3rds of their games.

Four other players make the list for having a positive impact either BEFORE or AFTER they were done playing. I gave points to Raymond Eckstein (#95) for what he did 60 years AFTER playing for Marquette - contributing $51 million to the school last year. Jack Nagle (#96) gets credit for coming back after his playing days to coach Marquette to its first Elite 8, and then serving as President of the CBA to put Marquette in the middle of the basketball universe. On the other hand, 6-foot-4 prep star Nick Williams (#100) gets credit for his impact BEFORE playing his first game at Marquette. Granted I’m biased living in Alabama, but I believe Nick Williams may have opened a Southern recruiting pipeline for Tom Crean by signing with Marquette after winning the Alabama state title as a junior last year. And then there is William Gates (#79) …

The greatest subjective boost the program has gotten beyond championships is from Gates.

How do you measure the impact of the movie “Hoop Dreams” against wins and losses?
Early in the movie – which Roger Ebert ranked as the best movie of the 1990s and I consider the best movie ever – we see Gates as a prep sophomore leading his team in the playoffs. When watching Gates exploding down the court, then defying gravity and twirling 360-degrees in the air to softly bank a shot off the glass, we would all assume he would end up piling up his “greatness points” for big numbers for his future statistics at Marquette and in the NBA.

And then Hoop Dreams becomes a tragedy. A knee injury and other personal developments keep Gates from his greatness on the courts at Marquette and the NBA. However, how much did it help the program for kids to watch Coach Kevin O’Neill refuse to give up on Gates, as he gives Gates’ family straight talk in their inner city home in Chicago? How much did it say to potential Marquette recruits who are so often discarded by programs to watch how O’Neill and Marquette took care of Gates, keeping him on scholarship even while going to the Sweet 16 with him unable to play in 1994?

Our friends at that other Catholic school with the gold helmets can cry when Rudy gets on the field to tackle the Georgia Tech quarterback in his last game. The best cry I get when watching a movie is when Gates in the gold Marquette jersey at the conclusion of the film while his voice over says, "People always say to me, 'When you make it to the NBA, don't forget about me.' Well, I should have said back, 'If I don't make it to the NBA, don't you forget about me.'"

William Gates had a strong freshman campaign at Marquette, starting 17 games including a 23-point performance to beat St. Louis in the tournament. When Ronnie Eford (1,400 points, 150 3-pointers, 500 rebounds) arrived on campus the next year to team up with the great Tony Miller and Robb Logterman (1,200 points) in the backcourt, Gates role diminished.and ultimately he never realized his dream of making the NBA, .

Still, his place in history will be immortalized in Hoop Dreams long after most NBA stars are forgotten, and for that he belongs on the list of the greatest Marquette players of all time.

John Pudner, Journalism ’88, was Editorial Editor and then News Editor for the Marquette Tribune. He was named top sports news writer in Virginia in 1991 while working for the Charlottesville Observer and wrote a weekly column on his rankings of baseball pitchers for the New York Post before leaving journalism for a career in politics and government affairs.

Marquette's Greatest Players #76-100

This article is a Guest Column by John Pudner ('88). It is the first installment of four.

All-time ranking among Marquette players, Name, (years played), Ratings based on statistics + domination/pro career + impact on program = overall rating. Notes.

UPDATE: Spreadsheet data can be found here.

76, Pat Smith (1967, 68, 69): Ratings - 7 + 0 + 6 = 13. Notes on why in Top 100: Holds record for 28 rebounds in one game.

77, Jerry Homan (1973, 74, 75): Ratings - 3 + 2 + 8 = 13. Notes on why in Top 100: Reserve for NCAA Runners Up 1974, but played another year then drafted by New York in 8th round

78, Todd Townsend (2002, 03, 04, 05): Ratings - 4 + 0 + 9 = 13. Notes on why in Top 100: Started all 33 games as a 6-7 forward (5.8/2.7) as key player on 2003 Final Four team, though ironically rarely started his final two seasons.

79, William Gates (1992, 93, 95): Ratings - 3 + 0 + 10 = 13. Notes on why in Top 100: Injured knee kept him from his promising career, but Hoop Dreams is still my favorite movie ever and the testimony it gave to how great the Marquette experience is couldn't have had a better advertisement. (+8 for Hoop Dreams)

80, Ron Rahn (1968, 69, 70): Ratings - 5 + 0 + 7 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Started ahead of Ric Cobb on the 1969 Elite 8 team.

81, Ulice Payne (1976, 77, 78): Ratings - 4 + 2 + 6 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Marquette's 1977 NCAA Champions with 4.5 ppg and drafted by Detroit in 9th round

82, Terrell Schlundt (1980, 81, 82, 83): Ratings - 6 + 3 + 3 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Draftedby Dallas in 7th round, excellent forward on Doc Rivers teams that made two trips to the NCAA.

83, Bob Hornak (1961, 62, 63): Ratings - 9 + 0 + 3 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Third in scoring (14.5) and pulled in 204 rebounds to finish only 7 behind NBA-bound Dave Erickson - key player on the 1963 NIT team.

84, Raymond Kuffel (1942, 43, 47): Ratings - 9 + 0 + 3 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Led team in scoring in 1942 and 1943, and then apparently went to war because he came back and played 4 years later.

85, Dwayne Johnson (1982, 83, 84): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Over 1,000 points at Marquette, including leading 1984 NIT sqaud with 14.0 ppg

86, Joseph (Red) Dunn (1922, 23, 24, 25): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Leading scorer on 14-3 1921 team.

87, Walter Downing (1985, 86): Ratings - 5 + 3 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Drafted by Los Angeles in 6th round

88, Kerry Trotter (1983, 84, 85, 86): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Almost saw Charles Barkley beat him up when he sat between Barkley and his girlfriend at a Milwaukee bar, scored 1,200 points. Trotter didn't have a great support staff while I was there, but he was in Parade's top 30 prep stars when he signed, and he then went on to be a two-time MVP in Europe, scoring almost 30 points per game.

89, Tom Flynn (1964, 65, 66): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Over 1,200 points at Marquette, and the leading scorer Al McGuire inherited in his first year as he improved the team only slightly from 5-21 to 8-18. McGuire then made him team captain in 1967 as the team had a winning mark behind Bob Wolf's 22 ppg.

90, John Cliff (1997, 98, 99, 2000): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: 3-point shooter off bench, with 102 of 308, and was 2nd in scoring to Wardle in Crean's first season with 14.6 ppg and solid rebounding year.

91, Gary Brell (1970, 71): Ratings - 3 + 4 + 5 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Made all 4 shots in 1990 NIT championship win over St. John's, drafted by Milwaukee in 3rd round

92, Jerry Hopfensperger (1955, 56, 57): Ratings - 6 + 0 + 6 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Starting forward who scored 252 points for the 1955 Elite 8 team, the finished career with solid 9.0/7/8 in between Rand and Kojis years.

93, Terry Sanders (2001, 02, 03, 04): Ratings - 3 + 0 + 9 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: 2.6 ppg backing up Wade for Final Four team in 2003

94, Charles (Mandy) Johnson (1982, 83, 84, 85): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 4 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Excellent defensive player with 253 steals.

95, Raymond Eckstein (1944, 45): Ratings - 3 + 0 + 9 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: I couldn't find stats from the mid-1940s, but any former Marquette player who is successful enough to donate $51 million to the school gets good credit for his impact on the school.

96, Jack Nagle (1939, 40): Ratings - 2 + 0 + 10 = 12. Notes on why in Top 100: Played two years, then coached Marquette to its first Elite 8 in 1954, before eventually leaving to run the CBA and scout for NBA teams.

97, Pat O'keefe (1954, 55, 56): Ratings - 7 + 0 + 4 = 11. Notes on why in Top 100: Scored 161 points off the bench as one of Marquette's "Big 8" Elite 8 team in 1955.

98, Jim Kollar (1958, 59, 60): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 3 = 11. Notes on why in Top 100: I wish they had recording assists in the late 1950s, and Kollar ran the offense by feeding the ball into the incredible front line of Kojis, Moran and Mangham, or kicking it out to McCoy for the jumper. He did add 251 points himself, and led the team with a 77% mark from the line, but was mainly the distributor.

99, Paul Sokody (1937, 38, 39): Ratings - 8 + 0 + 3 = 11. Notes on why in Top 100: Led team back to a 14-5 mark in 1938 by leading team in scoring.

100, Nick Williams (2008): Ratings - 2 + 0 + 9 = 11. Notes on why in Top 100: I live in Alabama so I'm biased toward Leflore's 6-foot-4 prep guard Nick Williams (Mobile, AL), who is coming to MU next year and was just named the 1st player of the week by the Press-Register for averaging over 27 ppg in 3 games including a double-double. The next great Golden Eagle I hope! Gets a bonus for coming to MU after leading Bama to a state title, and being on track for another after a 120-22 win to improve to 6-0 this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

One for the Record Books:

Next time you're looking for a good MU trivia question, try this on for size:

What is the 10th largest victory margin by a Marquette team?

47 pts. 101-54 vs. Wis.-Milwaukee Feb. 9, 1962
47 pts. 74-27 vs. U.S. International Dec. 1, 1984
47 pts. 85-83 vs. Morris Brown Jan. 2, 2002

And now . . .

47 pts. 89-42 vs. Coppin State, Dec 21, 2007

If MU kept records for quickest first basket, James' score about two seconds in set the tone for the game.. As expected, MU put the Eagles of Coppin State away early, running off to a 15-4 lead before the first media time out. A few interesting lineup notes:

--Trend Blackledge started for MU and directed the opening tip.
--Pat Hazel was in for an extended stretch over the last 8 minutes, and showed a couple of nice blocks.
--For the first time in years, MU played a lineup (albeit briefly) featuring 3 bigs: Hazel, Blackledge and Barro
--Despite the absence of the the two best outside shooters, MU had one of its best 3 point shooting games of the year, shooting 9-20 or 45%

Dominic James paced MU wtih 18 points and 8 assists. Jerel McNeal added 18 points of his own, and Lazar Hayward was close behind with 17.

Dwight Burke, after some surprising strong games early in the season, was surprising by his virtual absence tonight, losing not only the starting job but apparently some major minutes to Trend Blackledge. For his part, Blackledge looked much improved over his play from just a few weeks back.

While one might argue that impressive stats are meaningless against marginal competition, one stat stands out as a bright spot that can't be attributed to weak competition--MU shot 24 of 27 (88.9%) from the Free Throw line.

MU improves to 9-1 with Savannah State on 12/29 standing the way of Big East play.

Video highlights from TallTitan:

MU Christmas greetings

this is very cool.......three different MU Christmas Cards featuring members of the team singing. Send all you want........Funny, clever and full of Christmas spirit. This is outstanding. hohohohohohoho

Click here to spread some Christmas cheer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Marquette Injury, Links, and Coppin State Quick Hits

Marquette Injury Reported

As Rosiak reported last evening, David Cubillan sprained his left ankle in practice on Wednesday. It's good news that he suited up for practice on Thursday, but he'll still be a game-time decision. Rosiak expects an increase in minutes to come from Acker and Christopherson for Friday's game against Coppin State (3-8). Marquette enters the game 8-1 overall and ranked 10th/13th in the nation. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm CST, and the game will be broadcast locally in Milwaukee on Time Warner Sports Channel 32.

Let's hope that Cubillan is able to rest up and see the floor soon. With both he and Fitz out, that would obviously mean that MU is without two of their most prolific three-point shooters. Last year, the two combined for 236 attempts from three, which was 36% of total team attempts. Cubillan is actually firing at an even higher rate this year, launching over five threes a game (last year 3.3 / game).

Despite not shooting as high of a percentage from three (34.8% vs. 42.5%), Cubillan is a far more efficient offensive scorer this year. In fact, according to Pomeroy, Cubillan has the highest offensive rating (129.7) on the team, placing him #46 amongst all Division 1 players. Not only that, but Cubillan is delivering this higher rating while having a larger role in the MU offense (from 7.5% to 11% of all possessions).

Needless to say, get well soon, David.


GoMarquette.com Preview

Game Notes

Rosiak has a nice story on Wesley Matthews

JS Online Preview of the game. The Coppin State coach is nicknamed "Fang". That's pretty cool.

Bring On Coppin State!

Well, it's certainly not the rallying cry that we want, but take solace that this game will mean that the Big East season starts in thirteen more days. Not only that, but it's a Friday night game, so get out and enjoy.

Top Five Numbers to Know about Coppin State

As usual, all information comes from Pomeroy's scouting report and game plan.

Six - This is the number of RPI Top 100 Opponents that Coppin State has faced

  • Coppin State has already matched up with Kent State (55), Xavier (7), Morgan State (93), Arizona State (67), Ohio State (53), Dayton (17)
  • Twice as many as MU, by the way (although IUPUI is right outside the top 100)

- The Defensive Free Throw Rate for Coppin State
  • Not giving up a lot of free throws is the one thing that Coppin State does well
  • They are rated 54 out of all Division 1 schools, which is still top 20%. Marquette is rated 158 on the defensive side, as we give up a rate of 35.1
  • The equation for FT Rate is FTA / FGA - so watch if Marquette is able to get to the line a lot due to the transition game

- The number of times that an opponent has failed to crack 50% at effective FG% against Coppin State
  • That school that failed to crack 50%? Vaunted powerhouse Allen.
  • Marquette is averaging 55% at eFG% - so look to see us exploit this matchup and pad the average even more

318 - Coppin State's Pomeroy Ranking
  • It's not very good, but they do have an RPI rating of 179, which is at least better than that of UWM (199)
  • Plus, they'll still play Indiana (RPI 42) and Missouri (RPI 54) after this

62 - Number of possessions that Coppin State averages per game
  • This is one of the slowest tempos in Division 1 (National Rank 317)
  • In contrast, we average 70 possessions per game
  • Tempo is the matchup of the game

The basic summary is that we should exploit our advantages at eFG% and Offensive Rebounding %. Examine how well Marquette is able to set the tempo of the game, and pay attention to how well either team is doing in terms of getting to the line.

*edit: Added new links from Journal-Sentinel. Changed format slightly.

Roney and Rab

.......the dynamic duo of content for today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

MU Media Updates

While we're in the middle of a slow week of media coverage for MU, there are a few links below that you should check out:

BTW, kudos (major kudos) to the MU administration for prioritizing basketball, committing to invest in a big-time program over the long-term, and energizing the fan base. Look, we could be DePaul -- and just a decade ago the programs were largely comparable. Now the Blue Demons program is in danger of falling off the map. After a lackluster 2006-2007, Paul Gleason's team has not been competitive early this season and fans are now talking openly about their desire to eschew the Big East for the greener pastures of those darling mid-majors.

Bravo, MU.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Tale of Two Cupcakes

After defeating two teams with sub 200 RPIs, we just wanted to recap how things fared on the numbers for Marquette.

Sacramento State
In the Preview for Sacramento State, we said to watch for the following items:

Marquette's effective FG % - FG% that is adjusted to account for the extra value of a three point shot)

Marquette's Offensive Rebounding % - This is the percentage of available offensive rebounds that a team obtains. Equation is: OR / (OR + Opponent DR)

The Turnover Rate forced by Sacramento State - This is turnovers / possessions - 20% is about average

Sacramento State was very poorly rated for eFG% defense and OR% Defense, and the one item that they did well was force turnovers. Turnovers were the matchup to watch for the game.

eFG% - 0.565 (Season Avg - 0.547) As expected, there was some padding of the average, but it was not as substantial as maybe expected.

OR% - 40.0% (Season Avg - 36.5%) Again, some padding of the average, but not substantial. However, we actually had Sacramento State get a higher % (41%) than we did.

Turnover Rate - 19.7% (Season Avg - 18.2%) Sacramento State was able to force a higher rate of turnovers than we usually commit, but all things considered, Marquette still was about average.

In the Preview for IPFW, we said to watch for the following items.

Marquette eFG% and Marquette OR%. The one strength for IPFW was their ability to limit opponents at OR%, and this was the matchup to watch.

eFG% - 0.531 (Season Avg - 0.547) A little unexpected. According to the matchups (strong eFG% against weak eFG% defense), we should have had a higher % than our average. However, this is a minor quibble. After all, our season average is already one of the highest in D1.

OR% - 34.2% (Season Avg - 36.5%) These results are actually somewhat interesting, but mostly because of Crean’s post game comments (link to Rosiak). Crean was upset that we only managed 13 Offensive Rebounds, but our percentage was actually close to our season average. IPFW was able to keep Marquette slightly below season average, but not by much. IPFW only secured 25 Defensive Rebounds, so to get 13 / 38 possible rebounds isn't that bad.

I know that Crean is upset that we only got two more offensive rebounds than IPFW, but their percentage was much, much worse (23%). Marquette grabbed 37 defensive rebounds, so IPFW only got 11 out of 48 possible offensive rebounds.

That's about enough coverage for Sacramento State and IPFW. On to Coppin State!

A most unique all-time MU team.......

Cupcake season is in full swing and we're looking for a diversion. Voila! How about the Marquette All-Time "If he could have only done it again. . . " team.

Ryan Amoroso is the team captain for this bunch. Hey, its cupcake season. Click on the link and jump in.

Monday, December 17, 2007

MU Beats IPFW 80-56

Marquette continued on its "taking care of business" parade, beating the Mastodons by a bunch of point on a sleepy Monday at the Bradley Center to go 8-1 on the season.

Dominic James was superlative, scoring 17 in 29 minutes, with 6 assists, including a pretty 4 point play. Hayward, Matthews, and Coobie all hit double digits in the 24 point drubbing. Added into the mix was 39 deflections and a whopping 50 rebounds.

Trend Blackledge had some very nice minutes, with 4 rebounds and a block and two steals in 10 minutes.

A definite concern is Marquette's FT shooting. MU went 12-23 tonight, as well as 21-38 two days ago. This cannot continue when Big East games start, 3 weeks from now.

AP Recap, Box Score, Play by Play
ESPN / AP Photo Gallery
Todd Rosiak's JSOnine Recap

Here's 40 seconds of the game that should be on Sports Center tonight:

Alumni Update: Jamil Lott & Tony Smith

A Scooper with sharp eyes noted that this past weekend Jamil Lott and Tony Smith finished up their degrees at Marquette's December graduation.

Follow the link to discuss Tony's chances of having his number retired.

Hearty congratulations go out to Jamil & Tony!

IUPUFW Preview - Quick Hits

As we continue through cupcake season, here are the Top Five Numbers to Know for IPFW

One - Number of times a team has gotten to 40% Offensive Rebounding % against IPFW

  • IPFW has opponents average 30% on OR% defense (this is #63 out of all D1 schools)
  • IPFW's OR% Defense was even better before Michigan State got 44%
  • Marquette is averaging over 40% on OR% for the season
  • This is the key matchup of the game - look for us to exploit !
281 - IP Fort Wayne's ranking at eFG defense

  • Teams are averaging 54.0% against IPFW
  • Marquette is ranked top 10% for eFG% offense at 55.8%
Four - Number of RPI Top 100 teams that IUPU Fort Wayne has faced this year

  • Wisconsin (54), Valparaiso (65), Nebraska (71), Michigan State (15)

28 - This is the amount of points that IPFW lost by to Wisconsin

  • If we don't defeat IPFW by the same margin (or better), it means we aren't as good as Wisconsin. No, wait. No, it doesn't. ha!

Two - Days of Rest for IPFW (just like Marquette).

  • They just played in East Lansing, where they gave MSU a good game, but still lost 79 - 57

They key matchup to look for against IUPU Fort Wayne is how Marquette does on the Offensive Rebounds. Defensive Rebounding seems to be a particular strength for IUPUFW. We should look out for threes from this team, but other than that, expect us to win handily.


Rosiak's Recap of Sac State has some info on IPFW

gomarquette.com preview

IPFW Game Notes

AP Preview

Sunday, December 16, 2007

MU recruits in action - UPDATED

During this season's "Cupcake Central/Please Please Please Don't Come Away With a Crippling Injury" portion of the schedule, here's an update on each of MU's four signees from the Class of 2008:

For a kid who only averaged 5 ppg as a high school junior, Chris Otule is positively blowing up as a senior at Fort Bend Bush High School. The 6'10" center had another boffo performance over the weekend, with 21 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots in a 64-52 win. According to the Houston Chronicle, Otule (who is also referred to as "O'Tule" in reports) already has two triple-doubles this season. Rip Van Winkle has official gained consciousness.

Meanwhile, Nick Williams has having a monster season down in Dixie. Averaging 32 ppg, Williams canned 16 to lead LeFlore to another win on Friday night. LeFlore, ranked #15 in the nation by ESPN and 9-0 on the season, travels to a tourney in Hawaii shortly.

Finally, JUCO forward Joseph Fulce had 21 and 10 to lead Tyler JC to an overtime win back on December 1. Big Joe also had 21 in his previous start, a win over Lon Morris. Fulce is having a terrific year in the Lone Star State, where the Apaches are 9-0. Check out this outstanding game log for Fulce from the Dodds board.

Jersey City St Anthony's opened its season with a win on Saturday. Tyshawn Taylor chipped in with six points for the positively loaded Friars, ranked #5 in the nation by USA Today. Taylor followed that up with a 10 point effort in a 72-45 win over the Hun School on Sunday, led by former MU recruit Lance Goulbourne(who had 17 points). The Friars take the court again on Monday night against Cardinal McCarrick.

BTW, here is a worthwhile article on the legendary St. Anthony's Friars - -the article includes a photo of Tyshawn Taylor looking happy in his MU cap. Sweet! This is quite a team - -8 Division One players on the roster this year.......a season that's being chronicled by a documentary filmmaker.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

MU Thumps SacState 82-51

The most exciting part of this game was when Tommy Brice and Robert Frozena got in the game, each got fouled, and each hit 1 for 2 of their attempts. Seriously.

Ok, sure, 5 of our guys hit double figures, Lazar, Jerel, Wes, Ooze, and Mo Acker. And Wes and DJ connected on an alley-oop. But other than that, SacState looked like they didn't belong in this division, starting the game with a 14-0 deficit before finally willing in bucket.

What else can you say? Cupcake central.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sacramento State - Quick Hits Preview

Quick Hits Preview on some numbers and Links at the bottom.

Top Five Numbers to Know about Sacramento State

  • 100% - Pomeroy forecasts a 100% likelihood of a win against this #302 rated team.
  • 35 - This is Sacramento State's ranking at Forcing Turnovers. It is the one thing that they do very well.
    • From Pomeroy, they have forced above average Turnovers / Possession in all of their games but one
    • Since MU takes care of the ball very well, this is the interesting matchup of the game
  • 60% - The average Field Goal % that an opponent gets against Sacramento State
    • Their rating is one of the lowest in Division 1 (338)
    • This is one of Marquette's Pomeroy strengths (ranking 31), so expect us to pad the average a bit
  • 341 - Sacramento State's rating for Offensive Rebounding defense
    • I honestly didn't even know that there were 341 Division 1 schools.
    • Marquette is great nationally at Offensive Rebounding % (ranking of 21), so look for us to hit the offensive boards hard.
  • 4 - The number of RPI Top 100 schools that Sacramento State has already played.
    • Don't expect Sacramento State to be intimidated by Marquette, as they've already played Kansas State (82), Pacific (95), Stanford (53), and Oregon (24).
Bottom line - feel pretty comfortable that Marquette will win behind a high percentage of made shots and offensive rebounds. If things are closer than expected, it's probably because we're turning the ball over too much and because Sacramento State has played other "name" opponents.


gomarquette.com preview

Game Notes

Rosiak's blog with a nice entry

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Using Oooze, part deaux

A few weeks ago I offered a mildly hysterical perspective on Ousmane Barro's slow start to the season. That entry was prompted by a number of factors, namely: Barro's failure to start a game this season (he started 32 last year), the intimation that Oooze was foul prone, the precipitous decline in his production across the board, and the notion that the inimitable Dwight Burke emerged as the starter.

OK, so maybe I was hasty in rushing to judgment in asserting that Oooze should start and play more, and that Burke should sit and play less:

  • Dwight Burke, you've surprised the heck out of everybody this year. Where the heck have you been for the past two seasons? Your marvelous development as an upperclassman has to surprise even the most optimistic Golden Eagles fan. Bravo, man. Keep it up. But again, where did this come from?
  • Barro's supposed "proclivity for early foul trouble." I went to great lengths to demonstrate that last season, Barro didn't have this affliction -- in fact, he fouled about as often as Wes Matthews and less than Dan Fitzgerald. But, as one of my more sane co-conspirators pointed out, "look you simpleton, last year Barro was our only decent option at the '5'. A foul on him was a way bigger deal than a foul on one of our 600 guards." Bingo.
So, when Tom Crean discussed the new big man rotation in the latest bit from Todd Rosiak - - I guess I have no choice but to be converted:
We started the season bringing Ousmane (Barro) off the bench for no other reason than I didn't want him in early foul trouble because last year I felt we had too many games - go back to the Wisconsin game; the whole dynamic of the game changed when we had to sit Ousmane down - and we wanted to guard against that a little bit, he said. Still get him quality minutes but let the game get going before we get him in. Well, Dwight Burke's making it tough for me to change my mind. I look at those two as being contributors.
Bottom line: the rotation seems to be working.

I still can't get over the decline in Oooze's overall production this year after seeing such consistent improvement in him in each of the previous three seasons. However, the formula might just be better for the make-up of this team. After all, depth on the frontline was (is?) one of the primary weaknesses for this bunch......perhaps the two-headed monster can hold that line just enough to get this team over the top.

Early Season Team Trends

Slow week, you say? Not here at Cracked Sidewalks, where the entries keep coming. For today's continued discussion, we just wanted to share some early trends with regards to the 07-08 team.

First of all, let's get this right on the table. Yes, it's still early in the season, and yes, we have not even started with conference play. Feel better? However, we have played approximately 20% of the season and that includes games with Duke and UW. Not only that, but the 2008 Pomeroy Ratings have our strength of schedule at 6. Besides, there are just not a lot of big games going on between now and the start of conference play.

We'll cover how the 07-08 team is trending with respect to our opponents, the 06-07 team, and the 05-06 team. Let's start with some traditional shooting statistics of FG%, 3FG%, FT%, and Points / Game. As a key on how to read the charts, each comparison is the percentage by which we are better (or worse). For example, on FG%, we are shooting 14% better than our opponents and 13% better than last year. These are good and have been tagged green. Much like Wisconsin, anything red is bad.

Looking at the figures, the 07-08 team is looking very favorable. We are up across all categories except for FT% and 3FG% in comparison with the 05-06 team. Steve Novak wrecks the curve on those figures. Also, we should treat the points / game figures with a bit of skepticism because that includes the time we dropped 100 points on UWM.

Now let's take a view at some more traditional statistics.

Right off, the team is committing more fouls on a per game basis. I think part of this can be attributed to (and offset by) the massive increase in steals. The best part of this comparison, however, is the reduction in turnovers. That is fantastic. The block figures are somewhat misleading, because the per-game figures are relatively low. We also note that the assists are up from last year (but only slightly) and down from 05-06. Frankly, we have no idea what that means.

Let's move on to more of the non-traditional stats. As a reminder, Offensive Efficiency is the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions. Defensive Efficiency is the number of points our opponents score per 100 possessions.

We actually found the possessions / game statistic to be somewhat interesting. While it appears that the team is playing at a faster pace, the numbers suggest that this is not quite the case. On a possession basis, we're about the same as last year and the year before that. What has improved, on the other hand, is our Offensive Efficiency. The team Defensive Efficiency does not appear to be as good as last year's team, but it is slightly better than the 05-06 team at this point. Again, this is something to treat with some skepticism because against the top teams we were not as efficient defensively (Duke - 113 ; UW - 110). We'll watch both of these figures closely throughout the year, and especially during conference play.

Finally, let's look at Dean Oliver's Four Factors. In case you are curious as to what these factors are, we've previously explained the definitions here

I feel compelled to say that the numbers I've calculated are not quite the same as Pomeroy, and I don't have a good explanation. I'm reasonably sure that the math is right and there are no spreadsheet errors. Plus, all our information comes from Marquette box scores. Regardless, they are /fairly/ close, so let's proceed.

Again, our Effective FG% is up across the board. This team is better at taking and making open shots. I believe that a good chunk of this comes from the transition game. Also, it's nice to see the Turnover Rate down across the board as well. Our Offensive Rebounding comparison is a little unfair, because our current figure has the team ranked in the top 10% of D1 teams. Last year's team was very good at Offensive Rebounding %, and this year's team just is average at OR% defense. Note that the team is top 10% for eFG%, OR%, and TO Rate.

All in all, these early trends are a pleasure to see. Certainly we'll have to revisit once conference play begins, but the initial high expectations for the team tend to be proving out. Will the trends continue, however?

*edit: provided explanation of charts and a revisit of some of the stats used in the analysis

Rab blogs on the Bucky game and more

Hey there.......don't forget to link over to Coach Rab's blog on the Marquette site regularly. He clearly has a great time with his entries, and now that the season is rolling his content is even more interesting. Heck, this week he needles the poll voters just a bit:

You break college basketball's 3rd longest home court winning streak and only move up one spot in the polls? Not that being ranked #10 is anything to sneeze at, but c'mon voters, you don't just waltz into Madison and come out with a "W"; however we did move from 33rd to 13th in the RPI, the computer knows a great road win when it sees one.

Nice! Here's Coach Rab's latest - - from In Rab's Words.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Marquette media notes

Just a few notes to aggregate this morning that you might find of interest:

BTW, Milwaukee basketball fans take note - - the 3rd annual Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Shootout is coming to the Al McGuire Center on December 27-28. You want talent? This field has talent. MU commit Nick Williams will lead the Mobile LeFlore Rattlers, the reigning Alabama state champion and one of the nation's best teams, into Milwaukee. Other players of note include 2009 stud Jamil Wilson of Racine Horlick, 2010 stud Flavian Davis, and many more talented preps.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bilas with more love for MU -- and a history lesson

Nothing spikes interest in a program like a signature out of conference win on national television. ESPN's Jay Bilas throws heaps of well-deserved praise on Marquette in his weekly update over on ESPN.com -- which the guys at MUScoop used to build a history lesson for the MU faithful. Check it out.......this program has an amazing heritage.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Individual Performances against Wisconsin

Before even getting into this post, I think that it's important to consider the impact of sample sizes on calculating numbers. This will show up when we review through the information. It is because of the sample size that it becomes somewhat dangerous to post game stats of players. This type of information is best presented when a full range of games are included. However, I still like to individual game recaps because they provides a nice snapshot of how each player performed for the game.

We're going to split the individual stats into two basic groups. The first group is how good a player is on the offensive end and the role that player consumes in the offense.

Offensive Action

  • Possessions - A possession is basically any situation where the action ends on that end of the floor. The equation is: FGA-OR+TO+0.475xFTA. (This will be important to note below)
  • Offensive Efficiency - This is not the Dean Oliver statistic. It's a view of Total Points per 100 Possessions. That book is on backorder and has not arrived yet. Regardless, I consider 100 as an average view of Offensive Efficiency.
  • Points Per Weighted Shot - This is (Total Points) / (FGA + (0.475 * FTA)). A PPWS of 1.00 is average and 1.300 is doing quite well.
  • Usage - The total number of possessions that this player consumes during the game. It may sound obvious, but a team wants a highly efficient or high PPWS player to have a high usage.

Remember about 30 seconds ago when I said that sample size was kind of dangerous? That is Dwight Burke in a nutshell. So if 100 is about average, and the team is somewhere around 110-112 per game, how on earth does Dwight Burke end up with an Offensive Efficiency of Eight Hundred and Seventy Two? Well, it comes down to possessions. Each Offensive Rebound cancels out a possession (since the player continues the action on the floor). Dwight had seven offensive rebounds. That's right, and it's pretty darn good, but his numbers are a statistical outlier. His PPWS figure is a much better indication.

I also struggled a lot with the numbers for Dominic James. I watched the game, and it was clear that he was outstanding against UW. However, his numbers are kind of pedestrian. He's about average for PPWS and below average for Offensive Efficiency, and this is all while consuming almost 30% of total Marquette possessions.

I think this gets to the heart of one of the fundamental questions regarding statistics and sport. Do the statistics provide a better indication of true value, or do other intangibles factor in that discount the stats? I don't pretend to have the answer or an opinion, but I will certainly take a different look at James' play the next time I watch the UW game.

Finally, there are plenty of good seats aboard the Lazar Hayward bandwagon. This guy is a stud. Every week we can pretty much lock him in for Offensive Efficiency of 130+, PPWS of 1.28, and 11-13% usage. It is going to be a lot of fun watching him grow his role in the MU offense for the next 2.5 years.

All-Around Contribution
The second group to look at is all-around contribution. For this, I've presently settled on the following stats. I mean, have you seen the equations for Hollinger's PER Rating (scroll down)?
  • Efficiency - This is the NBA Efficiency Rating, and it is meant to track all-around contributions for a player.
    • The formula is (Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) - ((Field Goals Att. - Field Goals Made) + (Free Throws Att. - Free Throws Made) + Turnovers)
  • Efficiency Per Minute - This takes the NBA Efficiency Rating and divides it by the number of minutes per player. This is, quite frankly, a statistic that I made up. However, I like it because it takes an all-around view of a player (NBA efficiency) and tracks it on a per-minute basis.

Once again, Burke = stud. I mean, the guy got 11 points and 9 rebounds (7 offensive) in 17 minutes of play. So is this a statistical outlier or a view of things to come?

The James numbers appear to be more in-line with expectations. Here he is, well above the averages on a per-minute basis (and this is for 34 minutes). Perhaps this is where his real value is measured.

Notice again that Hayward is above average. Looks like the bandwagon just got a little bit more crowded.

McNeal, Matthews, and Cubillan were somewhat disappointing. McNeal and Cubillan have been outstanding so far this season. Unfortunately, no one is quite sure what is going on with Wesley Matthews. As we'll cover sometime later this month, Matthews has actually been a more efficient contributor than McNeal and James over the last two seasons. Let's also not forget the significant three by Cubillan and the huge OR and FT's by Matthews.

Just for grins, I pulled a similar comparison for Butch and Trevon Hughes. Butch actually had a pretty good game, but Hughes may have single-handedly cost UW the game. yeesh, that's terrible....

MU vs. UW - Numbers Recap (Team)

What a great weekend. I have to agree with mu_hilltopper that everything was just a little bit sweeter after the Marquette victory. Anyways, we went through the box score and looked at the numbers to see how things played out.

Clearly, the two most important numbers were 81 and 76. Ha!

When we did the preview, the conclusion was basically that the keys were advantage on Effective Field Goal % (eFG%), Offensive Rebounding % (OR%), and for Wisconsin, Turnover Rate (TO%). Both teams appeared to be fairly evenly matched. So how did these keys match up during the game?

  • eFG % - Wisconsin did better at eFG%
    • MU was held below their season average (57%).
    • However, MU has never had eFG% below 48% and this game was no exception.
    • Wisconsin was ranked #3 on Pomeroy's site at eFG% defense. They had held five of seven opponents under 40% eFG%, so for MU to hit 50% was excellent.
  • Marquette was dominant at Offensive Rebounding %, not only against UW but also against their season average (38.6%).
    • To put it in context, an OR% of 38.6 put MU as top 15% of all D1 teams.
    • 53.8% is off the charts. It's an obscene number.
    • Wisconsin had held six of seven opponents under 26%, and the sole exception was Duke at 32%!
    • I clearly believe this to be the key of the game.
  • Marquette also managed to win the TO Rate battle, but finished worse than their season average.
    • A TO Rate of 20% is about average, so MU ended up about average.
    • Wisconsin needed to force a higher rate of turnovers in order to win.
  • Despite all of my complaining, FT Rate ended up being somewhat unimportant for both teams.

Let's just look at a few additional stats. Obviously, it's no secret that Marquette wanted to push the pace. The game plan for Wisconsin actually shows a negative correlation to pace. What did the final pace look like?

Good news! Marquette ended up with more possessions than UW and a faster pace than their season average. Interestingly enough, the Points / Possession ended up identical for both teams, and was consistent with MU's season average.

That's it for this review. We'll address the MU players in the next segment.