"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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MU/SJU Preview @ MSG

#24 Marquette takes on St. John's Redmen at Madison Square Guarden on Wednesday night, 6pm on ESPN2. Marquette will try to extend its 2 game winning streak against the Johnnies, who are 4-9 in Big East Play.

SJU is one game out of the 12th spot in the Big East Tournament and has lost 7 of their last 10. SJU has played RPI Top 50 teams eight times and have lost each and every time.

SJU's Anthony Mason, Jr. returns for his 2nd game after a long stretch on IR with an ankle issue.

I'm not going to mince words: Marquette should win this game handily. MU has an edge on everything. Points/game, FG%, FT%, Defense, Rebounding, Turnovers and Bench quality. But it is a road game, which has given MU the willies.

On top of that, SJU will probably be "looking past" #24 Marquette and gearing up to play @ #5 Duke on Saturday, 2/23. Now that's a gutsy OOC schedule. Can you imagine, 18 Big East games, with Duke in the middle?

Here are the Top Five Numbers to Know about St. John's. As always, information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report and Game Plan.
  • 91% - Pomeroy predicts a 91% chance of Marquette victory
    • Remember that these predictions are more accurate (for some reason) on home games
    • We were also 60-70% favorites to defeat Louisville and UConn
  • 51 - SJU's rank for Defensive Efficiency
    • This is the highest ranking for St. John's at any of the Pomeroy metrics
    • However, before getting too cocky, St. John's is also improving at their defense over the last few games
  • 228 - St. John's rank for pace
    • SJU is another one of those teams that plays at an extremely slow pace, averaging 65.7 possessions / game
    • The Johnnies haven't been above 63 possessions in a game in their last six games
    • Slowing the pace down has helped St. John's go 3-3
  • 22.3% - The turnover rate that SJU averages on offense
    • 20% is considered average, so this turnover rate is fairly poor at a ranking of 231 out of 341 Division 1 schools
    • In the games that SJU wins, they keep their TO Rate under 20%
    • Marquette is forcing opponents into a TO Rate of 23%, and almost every opponent we face ends up with more turnovers than their average
  • 21.9% - The turnover rate that SJU averages on defense
    • In other words, SJU also forces their opponents into a lot of turnovers
    • Unfortunately for the Johnnies, Marquette is #28 in the country at protecting the ball
    • We haven't had a worse than average (20%) game at protecting the ball since January 8th... that's ten games!
Thanks to a slow pace and an improving defense, St. John's has managed to go 3-3 in their last six games. However, two of the most statistically significant factors for SJU are their ability to protect the ball and force turnovers. In each of these areas, Marquette has a definite advantage. Expect to see our team disrupt the Johnnies' offense and push a faster pace that SJU would like.

And since we're on Mbakwe .. here's a little interview for you:

1 comment:

NY Warrior said...

Road wins look great on Selection Sunday. Huge opportunity for MU tonight against a very beatable team.......Mason will be a tough matchup for MU