"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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Marquette Battles Georgetown on National TV

The schedule makers couldn't have done a better job of pitting Marquette against Georgetown this Saturday afternoon at the Bradley Center. The Hoyas, tied with Louisville for first place in the Big East, have won three in a row. Marquette, winners of five straight, are surging and looking to secure favorable seeding in both the Big East tournament and the NCAA tournament. This game is huge for Marquette, and Georgetown needs the win to stay in the running for the Big East championship.

Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm CST. The game will be broadcast on CBS. Here's hoping Clark Kellogg comments on Marquette's "spurtability" early and often during the broadcast. To win this game, MU must force turnovers and dictate a quicker pace to create (hopefully) easier opportunities against the stingy Hoya defense.

Saturday is also National Marquette Day. If you are unable to watch the game live, then get out there with alums in your city and watch it in a group setting. We Are Marquette!

Media Updates - tons of links!
CBS Sportsline video preview
Rivals.com with an outstanding preview
Washington Times on the Hoyas' quest for the top seed in the BET
Hoya Hoops with a numbers preview
Scout.com preview
Marquette.com preview and game notes
Hoya Saxa with a preview
College Hoops Net with a great preview
Seth Davis picks us to win
ESPN's Weekend Watch Highlights Dominic James
Rosiak's blog has a great preview with lots of strategy comments by Crean

Stats Breakdown
Here are the Top Five Numbers to Know about Georgetown. As always, information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report and Game Plan.

  • #7 - Rating for the Hoyas effective Field Goal (eFG%) offense
    • Georgetown is number seven amongst Division 1 programs for their effective Field Goal Percentage
    • This is due to hitting a high percentage (#5) overall of two-point field goals - almost 56%
  • #1 - top rating for effective Field Goal Defense
    • That's right. Georgetown is the number one team in the country at effective Field Goal defense - limiting opponents to 41.7%
    • Inside the arc, opponents get 40.1% field goal percentage, which is #3 in the country
    • Georgetown is also good at defending on the three point line (29.8%), which is #10 in the country
  • 320 - The national rank for Georgetown's pace
    • The Hoyas only average 62 possessions / game, which is one of the slowest paces in the country
    • Georgetown is a classic example of the value for tempo free (possession-based) stats
  • 13.7% - Block rate for Georgetown
    • This is good enough to be Top 10% in the country (#27 overall), or a block about once every seven shots
  • 20.2% - Turnover Rating that Georgetown averages on offense
    • TO Rate plays a large role in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency for Georgetown
    • Signs of hope! Marquette wins the turnover battle consistently! and does a lot better when our opponents are worse than average (20%)
    • Georgetown only forces a 19.2% Turnover Rate for Defense, so expect Marquette to protect the ball fairly well
Basically, Georgetown is exceptional at two things... making and preventing two-point baskets. Even more troubling, there are a lot of the similarities between the areas of expertise for UConn, Louisville, and Georgetown. All three teams do well at effective Field Goal defense, two-point field goal defense, and blocking shots. This is a real concern for Marquette, and we expect that everyone should just prepare themselves to watch our half-court offense look very ugly.

However, there are some definite opportunities. Marquette has been outstanding at forcing turnovers lately, and our ball-pressure could really challenge Georgetown's guards. If we're able to rattle the Hoyas into more turnovers than they want and make this into a transition game, then the Bradley Center crowd will start rocking.

Bonus Stats Coverage

In addition, Georgetown has had some rough patches lately that suggest potential weakness. Certainly, the fact that they were beaten soundly by Louisville, and needed a controversial call in order to defeat Villanova, indicates to the casual observer that Georgetown may not be playing particularly well.

It is certainly true that Georgetown has not been playing as well recently as they represent for the entire season. Don't get too confident, however. The Hoyas appear to be getting back on track both offensively and defensively with trends that are headed in the desired directions (at least for Georgetown).

The good news is that Marquette has been playing great basketball as of late.

Marquette is streaking, and unlike the Hoyas, we are playing better right now that we have been for the entire season. Note that Marquette's efficiency for the year is completely comparable to Georgetown's. In front of a rabid home crowd and a national audience, it could be a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon.

*post is a joint contribution from NYWarrior and Henry Sugar


Anonymous said...

Love the stats. Is it possible to show Marquette's Offensive and Defensive efficiency against common opponents on the same chart as Gtowns?

Big game tomorrow. I think it will really say what kind of tournament we can expect.

Rob Lowe said...

Thank you. Good question. Hard to represent them both on the same chart, so I'll just write it up. Everything listed below is Efficiency Margin (Offensive efficiency - Defensive Efficiency).

However, common wins:
Rutgers (GU - 20.5 ; MU - 43.3)
Notre Dame (GU - 27.3 ; MU#1 - 26.7)
St. Johns (GU +50.3/+20.8 ; MU +17.6)
Seton Hall (GU +17.2 ; MU#2 +32.8)
Providence (GU +16.6 ; MU +40.3)
Cincy (GU +31.5 ; MU +18.9)
USF (GU +16.2 ; MU +15.9)

Common Losses
Louisville (GU -13.4 ; MU -32.9 / -14.8)

Mixed Results
UConn (GU +4.8 ; MU -30.6)
Pitt (GU -15.1 ; MU +32.3)
Nova (GU +3.2 ; MU 18.8)
WVU (GU +1.9 ; MU -31.1)
DPU (GU +23.0 ; MU 10.6)
plus ND game #2 (MU -4.1) and SHU game #1 (MU +4.1)

We're both sort of beating up on the same teams and we both got worked by Louisville. GU did better against UConn, WVU, DePaul, whereas MU did better against Pitt and Nova.

And yes... I think tomorrow tells us exactly what kind of post season we can expect.

Rob Lowe said...
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