"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, February 05, 2008

Half Full or Half Empty?

There certainly does seem to be far more of the Half-Empty types around lately. In truth, neither answer is completely right and neither answer is completely wrong, although one of those viewpoints is certainly more recent and more vivid. Let's move onto the numbers and address the silver linings and the clouds of our most recent game.

Four Factors Review

Half-Full? Marquette won on three of the Four Factors, including on Offensive Rebounding for the second game in a row.

Half-Empty? This was our second worst effective Field Goal Percentage of the year. The worst was our first game against Louisville. It was our third worst Offensive Efficiency outing.

Season Projections based on Offensive and Defensive Ratings

Half-Full? Pomeroy projects us with a season record of 23-7 (12-6 in the Big East)

Half-Empty? Based on our Big East Conference averages (Team ORtg 102.5 ; Team DRtg 100.7), we project to a conference record of 9.8 - 8.2. Looking at how we've been playing the last five games (Team ORtg 101.9 ; Team DRtg 101.9), we project to a conference record of 9-9. That would mean losing six times out of the next nine games.

Individual Ratings

Half Full?
We got net positive games from Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal, and Ousmane Barro. Matthews appears to be really coming into form during conference play. Plus, Maurice Acker was the net points leader for the team and fan fave Scott Christopherson continues to provide a net positive impact in limited minutes.

Half-Empty? Yet again, Louisville managed to shut down Lazar Hayward. Hayward has had only four games with a net negative impact, for a total of -10.7 points. Almost all of those negative net points (-10.1) have come against Louisville. Our top two three point shooters, Cubillan and Fitzgerald, were negative net contributors. Fitz and Burke had offensive ratings of zero! Plus, James continues to endure his slump.

Monday's game was another rough one, and these are really starting to wear on the fan base. It's getting harder to look for the Half-Full folks around, but perhaps things will turn around on Saturday. Saturday really could be the critical point of the season.
In other news, Jonah Keri (from the New York Sun and ESPN.com) recently published an interesting article on Inconsistent Teams. One of his featured teams was Marquette, who ranks at the bottom of Pomeroy's inconsistency rankings, saying:

Don't be surprised if you see one or more of these three make the Elite Eight — or all three bow out in the first weekend of the big dance.

Mr. Keri also thought well enough to consider Marquette as a potential Final Four Team way back in early November. Let's not let that ruin his credibility, though. Maybe he's just a Half-Full kind of person...

What do you think?
Talk about it here on MUScoop - - half full or half empty.


brewcity said...

I'm still half full.

Lazar just doesn't match up well against Louisville's long athletic bigs. DJ's not 100% physically. When this team gets back in sync and the cover comes off the rim (and the shots start to fall), we can go deep into the tourney. There's still at least 10 games left before March Madness to get the swagger back.

If not, another 1st round loss?

MBRox said...

I hope we do get the swagger back. Thanks for some hope in this post. I have been feeling quite half empty, myself. It's frustrating to watch the inconsistency!

Matt and Shana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MQ said...

Thanks for the stats, as always, Mr. Sugar.

Half-full here...but the inconsistency has been the only constant in BE conference play. Going 4-4 in the next eight conference games is a fair expectation because it would mean we get a couple solid wins. 10-8, while a regression from the last two years, should still get us in the tournament, then, who knows. We'd be a low seed, but one that few high seeds would want to face in the opening round.

NIT would be an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Half empty here, this team looks unmotivated and lost. Crean has had 9 seasons to build this program and he was a shining star the coaching ranks in '03 but my how that star has fallen. Is the difference between now and then simply Dwyane Wade? I don't know but he is not getting the results that his salary dictates he should be. How long can we hang our hats on that Final Four appearance before we demand present day results? And I'm not talking about rankings and 20 win seasons, the bottom line is NCAA tournament wins and he's got some work to do. I would love nothing more than to see them playing in a 2nd round game this year, despite my negativity I hope he turns it around.

Anonymous said...

Well, you pretty much set your criteria. Win a first round NCAA tourney game. You seem pretty pompus to feel everyone has to judge Crean by your criteria.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see us actually show up in the first half of an NCAA game.

By the way, is it "pompous" to ask your coach to have some success? What we've seen this year isn't exactly top leve entertainment...more like a trip to the dentist!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Henry. Half full. We don't match up well with UL.

TC's team are very inconsistent at times. Is this due to the lack of depth like a UL, GT, UNC or Duke have? TC has done a good job recruiting the top 7-8, but there is a gap after that. One thing TC can offer at MU is playing time. Once that is filled up, hard to get a 4 star to come here to sit on the bench for two years when they can go to the MVC and start. We need to break through that ceiling.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere we have come to the expectation to always win. How we exactly got here I am not sure. I would like to win, but I never expect to. I have come to the conclusion it's not fun for the majority of MU fans unless we win. But to each their own. Nothing like destroying something good faster than infighting.

Gene Frenkle said...

I'm half full. Gotta get the swagger back. That starts with the team and adjustments by the coaches.

I really think you can look to our inconsistency from a players standpoint at the bench. Fitz, Cubi, and Acker haven't contributed much from a scoring standpoint. Acker's at least done decent protecting the ball, but Fitz and Cubi's three point shooting haven't come into play in weeks.

And to say MU isn't "successful" becasue they haven't won a tourney game is shortsighted at least, moronic at most. Syracuse has no tourney wins since '04. I guess Boeheim can't recruit or coach either..and he wasn't just coming off a final four, he was coming off a championship. What a bum.

Anonymous said...

Our expectations were set by Bilas etc. in their pre season predictions not just by the fans. Also by a salary of 1.7 mill! One win in the NCAA is not enough!! I'm tired of the BS.

Anonymous said...

How did Dukiet, O'Neil, Deane get past our coach selection committee? And then we let Majerus go who turned into a great coach at Utah. To think the next coach is a slam dunk Final Four type coach is strictly serious hallucinations. Is this BS?

Anonymous said...

Did any one of those coaches get the handout that Crean is getting? Even hiring his father-in-law. Be serious.

I truly hope Crean can turn it around, BUT right now he has reason to pace the court. It is even money that the bloom is off the rose.

Anonymous said...

To further iterate as much as Hank Raymonds was an excellent person, he would of no where got the recruits Al did. Hence, the program was in a state of decay the minute Al left. Hence, let us see, Hank, Rick, Dukiet, Deane, O'Neil and now Crean all failures. That makes us 0 for 6. And now you are ready to bet this next magical coach will make us an elite basketball program. Let me know if you want more BS.

Anonymous said...

Crean is getting kids in school that none of our coaches since Al could have.


Oliver said...

My two cents:

- Majerus was not that great when he was here. It was an understandable mistake to let him go.
- Crean has failed in recruiting and keeping big men. Amoroso would help this year.
- Crean has succeeded in raising the program better than anyone in 25 years, but he has not shown himself to be an elite coach.
- The team is undersized and built on energy. That is difficult to sustain game to game, so they have off-night and fade during the season. That is why they are usually spent by tournament time.
- Since they are built on energy, they are very capable of catching lightning in a bottle during March, but I don't want Marquette structured in this way. It usually disappoints.

Anonymous said...

I believe Al built his program similar to how Crean is. Al's first outstanding player wasn't a center or forward. It was Dean "the Dream" Memminger. A quick small point guard. But Al with time started to add the forwards and center. Al only had one outstanding center in Chones. A good center in Whitehead. The rest were only servicable to say the least.

Anonymous said...

To the last poster -- Crean has been here for 8 or 9 years. Do you realize McGuire was only here 13 years?

When is Crean's plan going to take effect? Right now we don't have a single "outstanding" player. Not one. We have James, who is basically an exact clone of Kenny Patterson from DePaul in the 1980s. Don't remember him? Exactly.

Anonymous said...

If you were a highly rated high school player, who would you rather play for?

1. B. Ryan
2. J. Wainwright
3. T. Matta
4. B. Weber
5. Tubby Smith
6. Izzo
7. Jamie Dixon
8. Crean

I think Marquette fans, when looking at the players on other rosters (and recruits they have signed), that the answer is not one they want to hear.

Championships Matter... said...

Half empty.

Sorry folks, that's what it is. This team has lost something from the days when it knocked off that Roadkill from Madison in his own den and nearly capsized the Dukies.

Maybe it is fatigue (see V.T. Lombardi, "Fear makes cowards of us all), maybe its frustration or just something we don't see, but this team is no different from the one that went to Winston-Salem and had its head handed to it by Michigan State.

This team is successful when it opens up the lanes with outside bombing -- or when a team is silly enough to match up our quickness against whatever they have. After watching Izzo, the Huggy Bear and others pack in a zone and tell MU, "go to it, guys," nobody is going to do this.

We'll be our usual 6th to 7th seed in the NCAA, play somewhere we don't want to play (aka, North Carolina) and exit quickly. We'll get Izzoed or Huggy Beared by a sharp coach.

Lurch said...

Home grown talent will always get away (anyone remember Nick Van Exel?). The question is, can you recruit the players you need (no matter location). Al did it by picking players from the East Coast then adding what he couldn't get there from Chicago then Milwaukee/WI.

I'm reptty sure that Majerus choose to leave MU, not that we fired him. From what I remember, it was he was having too much trouble living in Al's shadow.

On to Crean, I think this team would be drastically different with Trevor suiting up every game. Crean hasn't been able to develope a true break-through/dominate forward/center. Merritt was a Top100 player and didn't develop as well as most thought he would. I hate to say it, but Crean learned at Izzo's elbow. Who was the last center/forward you remember out of MSU? Obviously, Crean's system doesn't demand a dominate center, but more athletic bigs that can run teh floor and rebound. Is this the best system? Juries still out in my book.

Obviously Crean thought this season this team was going to take that next step. I'm pretty sure that's why he used his once-every-three-years NCAA sanctioned class trip up to Canada to prepare for the season. To give them a jump on installing the offense and getting the freshman up to speed. Injuries and poor execution have lead us to this.

Runs a clean program
Kids graduate and are upstanding citizens
Program is always competitive

Has trouble consistently beating rivals (UW, UL, ND)
Only one deep run in NCAA's

Anonymous said...

I don't know about all the other coaches to be purely objective. But none of them jump off the page ahead of Crean.

Anonymous said...

Ok, concede, Crean is no Al. But how many Al's are out there hireable? Good luck with your fishing.

Anonymous said...

Even mentioning Crean's name in the same sentence as Maguire is absurd. I think people are misintrepeting the glass half-empty folks a bit. Nobody is expecting some miracle coach to walk in and deliver a national championship. I'b be happy with someone like Gonzaga's Mark Few, graduating solid citizens like Crean but his team also threatens to make a deep tourney run most seasons . All we threaten to be is one of the most overhyped team in the country every year with the most overpriced coach in the land. Would you pay $50,000 for a Ford Fusion? No and that's about the deal we're getting with this coach.

Gene Frenkle said...

Actually you bring up a good comparison to Crean. Few. Seems to me the programs are the exact same (minus the B.East Conference). Both schools are threatening. Both schools have improved the stature of their program. Both coahces are rumored to be going elsewhere annually. And both schools are short of tourney wins of late.

Oh...and both are good coaches. Not the greatest thing ever. But good coaches.

Anonymous said...

This is what I propose, I am not a student or season ticket holder for Marquette. Hence, that seems to be the gripe. Season Ticket holders and students feel are not getting their moneys worth with Crean. I propose that Season Ticket holders buy season tickets the length of the new coach's contract. The thing is you get to choose him. If he is a flop, well, who cares you already upfront paid for his salary since you wanted him. If you want to be in on the vote for the next new coach, you have to upfront buy your season tickets the length of his contract.

Anonymous said...

Actually Gene Coach Few has 4 wins in the last 4 years while Crean has 0.