In our Louisville Preview, we said to watch for several things. First of all, Louisville is doing an outstanding job at Defensive Efficiency, especially on limiting 2-point field goals. Second, Louisville is limiting almost all opponents to under 35% Offensive Rebounding Percentage. Finally, Louisville likes to keep the pace down.
Four Factors Review
Hey, new season lows! It's no secret that Marquette shot horribly, but here is how horribly they shot. Marquette's previous low at Offensive Efficiency was 89.0 (against Seton Hall), and before that they'd never been below 100. Marquette's previous season low at effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) was 40.2%, and our season average is 53%. We are one of the best teams in the nation at both of these areas, but not last night.
Marquette also achieved a season low at defensive Free Throw Rate. The 59% number for Louisville means that about 60% of the time that Louisville attempted a shot, they also shot a free throw.
Not only that, but yet again, Marquette did not do well on Offensive Rebounds. This is...
A Very Bad Trend
Looking at the graph above, we can see the moving 5-game average for Marquette's Offensive Rebounding % (blue) and our opponents' OR% (pink). That sloping downward trend started once Big EAST play began. Remember too that Marquette was once as high as #7 in the Nation at Offensive Rebounding, but we're now at 28 and falling. Plus, our opponents are doing better and better against us.
Not to point to doom and gloom, but two of our team strengths this year have been effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) and Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%). Once the Big EAST started, both of those areas have gradually gotten worse. These two trends need to reverse themselves to allow MU to have success this season.
If you are looking for a silver lining on an individual basis, it's that Wesley Matthews and Lawrence Blackledge had a net positive game. After that, the whole team pretty much did poorly. James and Hayward had their worst games of the season (statistically), but expect that to rebound. Hopefully, James will be able to play on Sunday.
An Argument to Play Blackledge More... sort of
There have been increasing calls to play Blackledge more. He certainly brings an energy to the game, and performed admirably against Harangody. Blackledge's blocks and dunks are a spark, but does he deserve more time?
First, some perspective on the graph above. It's a cumulative view of each player's contribution on a per-game basis. Upward trends are good and downward trends are bad. One is looking to see a trend that is overall positive or overall negative. Looking at the trends of the cumulative point contributions for our Three B's, we can see a few things.
- Both Burke and Barro are in a serious slump. Ever since the West Virginia game, their net contributions have declined consistently every game. This isn't really news.
- Blackledge's season net contributions are actually overall negative, but...
- Since the Sacramento State game, Blackledge's contributions have been trending slightly up (except for WVU)
The team needs Barro and Burke to break out of their slump soon. We are going to need them for the rest of the season.
Let's move on and get ready for UConn.