"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 19, 2008

Things to Consider Down the Stretch

Want a reason to believe that this Marquette team could be different than the last two years? According to Pomeroy, Marquette has the #15 offense and the #11 defense in the country. This is in spite of our team troubles in the early part of conference play. Here's a quick view at the 2007 and 2006 Pomeroy statistics.

Interestingly enough, our performance in the past two NCAA tournament games has been an exaggerated microcosm of the team's rankings. The 2006 MU defense was the weak point, and that team was torched by Alabama. The 2007 weak area was the offense, and... well, let's just not discuss the woeful ineptitude of the MSU game. Frankly, looking at the Pomeroy Rankings, it's not really a surprise that Marquette ended up seeded where they were in the tournament.

This team is better than the last two years on both ends of the court, and they are playing better overall as well. It's okay to believe that this team is good.

On the other hand...

Marquette is also only 3-6 against Top 50 RPI teams this year. As Hilltopper says, despite all the stats it really only matters how well you do on the court against the top teams. Regardless of home/away, good teams need to beat other good teams. There are at least two more potential games for Marquette against Top 50 teams (Georgetown and Syracuse), so perhaps MU will get that record closer to 0.500. However, it's far more likely that we split, which would leave Marquette with a record of 4-7 against Top 50 RPI teams going into the Big EAST Tournament. A few wins in the tournament may also help MU beef up this portion of the record but we'll mostly likely end up sub-0.500 for the season.

Performing well in the NCAAs is about defeating the top teams, and so far this year, Marquette has not done well. It's also okay to be nervous about how well Marquette will do in the NCAA tournament. If 2008 ends up as also an exaggerated microcosm in the tournament, then one need only think of how poorly we looked against Louisville...



Rosiak's blog has had several nice entries the last few days. Lots of good links from Rosiak. The most recent entry includes coverage of how Jay Bilas lists Jerel McNeal as one of his six defensive candidates, as well as bracketology updates. Frankly, Cracked Sidewalks just doesn't see the same McNeal defensive brilliance. His Defensive Rebounding Percentage, his Block Rate, his Steal Rate, and his overall Defensive Rating are worse than last year.

The Journal-Sentinel has their Weekly Marquette Report (sorry, but I'm not calling it Golden Eagles). They look at who is Hot (Barro) and who is Not (Burke).

updated: Information regarding Top 50 teams based on brewcity's blog comments


BrewCity said...

Don't forget, we could still get over .500 against top 50 teams with a coupla wins in the BE Tourney.

Henry Sugar said...

Good Point!

Gene Frenkle said...

One other thing the optimist in me sees is that...while we aren't at or above .500 in beating top 50 teams, we don't have any losses at all to bad teams.

So...yeah we have more losses (some bad losses) to good teams, but not bad losses to bad teams. Hopefully I haven't spoken too soon w/St.Johns and Rutgers on the docket.