Now that we've gone through an entire regular season, Marquette fans have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Or do we? After all, it's fairly common for fans to say that Marquette needs to force a lot of turnovers (true) or hit their three pointers (not quite true) in order to win. Therefore, in an effort for MU to "Know Thyself", we wanted to take a dive into the numbers for Marquette.
Marquette's Pomeroy Rating is #12. In fact, we've been hovering around the Top 10 all season, so we certainly are better than our seed (at least according to Pomeroy).
Marquette's Offensive Efficiency (Rank of #38) depends on:
- Our effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) and... that's it.
- Seriously, how well we do on offense basically boils down to the field goal percentage that Marquette achieves. For the season, our eFG% averages 50.7% (national rank of 141)
- Unfortunately, our offensive efficiency rank has been falling in the last month or so. The current rank of 38 is our lowest of the season and we are especially trending poorly at eFG%. Not. Good.
- Marquette is #27 in the country at Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%)
- We are #48 in the country at Turnover Rate (protecting the ball).
Where our team has really been good has been on the defensive end. Marquette's Defensive Efficiency (Rank of #6) depends on:
- Our Opponent's effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
- MU is #25 in the country at eFG% defense, holding opponents to an eFG% of 45.9%
- Our Opponent's Turnover Rate
- Marquette is #35 in the country at forcing turnovers, forcing a turnover rate of 23.9%, or almost one in four possessions
- Our Opponent's Free Throw Rate - if they shoot more free throws, then our defense suffers
- MU is #264 in the country at preventing their opponent from getting to the line
As is surely no surprise to Marquette fans, when we foul our opponents a lot we tend to lose. Fouls are going to play a huge role in this game on both sides.
How does Marquette win? Marquette has established their ability to win on the defensive end. Everything derives from the defensive pressure on the perimeter. Unfortunately, our offensive capabilities are not at the same level.
The last two NCAA tournament games have been an exaggeration of that team's capabilities. In 2006 (overall rating of 28 ; 7 seed in tournament), our Steve-Novak-driven offense was better than our defense, and that team got torched defensively by Alabama. In 2007 (overall Pomeroy rating of 38 ; 8 seed in tournament), our defense was better than our offense, and without Jerel McNeal we... let's not rehash the Michigan State game again. The fear is clearly that this year's team will falter offensively.
However, unlike the last two years, Marquette has a much stronger Pomeroy rating and we are underseeded instead of overseeded. In addition, this year's team doesn't just have a good defense. We have an elite defense that can help propel us forward.