”Bunch of mites. Run you off the boards. You gotta push ‘em back! Make ‘em chuck it from the cheap sheets. Watch that purgatory they call a gym, no shot 12 foot in. That’ll do.” ... 'Shooter’ Flatch, from "Hoosiers".
The 295th tallest team in the nation leaves the friendly confines of the Bradley Center for the (ahem) nearly equally friendly surroundings of the Allstate Center tonight as the Golden Eagles visit DePaul in the first of three road games in the next seven days.
While Shooter Flatch may have Marquette figured out, the rest of the BIG EAST has yet to architect a defense to contain the Golden Eagles' high-octane offense. In conference play, Marquette leads the BIG EAST in scoring at nearly 82 points per game, is second in the league in field goal percentage (48%), and is setting the pace with the best assist to turnover ratio as well.
Riding an 11-game win streak and now alone atop the BIG EAST conference, Marquette (19-2, 8-0) surely has a more visible target on its back. Jerry Wainright's Blue Demons (8-14, 0-9) will look to derail the Golden Eagles tonight and even up the season series after falling 79-70 in Milwaukee last month.
The victory-starved Blue Demons are coming off an embarrassing 75-56 loss at Rutgers last weekend. Will Walker led the Blue Demons with 23 points in the loss. Despite sitting at 0-9 in BIG EAST play, the Blue Demons have yet to reach the bottom. DePaul started the 1995-1996 Conference USA season at 0-12.
Game time is 8 pm. Check here for TV clearances.
Let's move on to the numbers.
As for the strengths and weaknesses, they haven't really changed since the last preview. DePaul is still strong at defensive free throw rate, not getting blocked, and protecting the ball. They're still weak in lots of areas, but particularly at offensive eFG%, defensive rebounding, and forcing turnovers. Check the Pomeroy scouting report to see the specific numbers. What has changed, however, is our view of the keys to victory.
Here are the Specific Statistics Recommendations (In order of importance)
1. Stop DePaul from making shots (eFG% of 50% or less)
2. Force turnovers (TO Rate of 18% or more), which is about 12 turnovers (DPU's average)
3. Don’t turn the ball over (TO Rate of 14% or lower)
4. Prevent offensive rebounds (DPU OR% of 29% or less)
5. Get offensive rebounds (OR% of 29% or more)
Pomeroy predicts a 91% chance of victory, but we are slightly less optimistic at 81%. In a slower game (67 possessions), Marquette is expected to win the game by nine points. The model predicts that FTR and OR% will be about even, but MU will have an advantage on turnovers and field goal percentage. As is the norm on the road, MU's offense is predicted to be about average, but defense is predicted to be worse than average.
- Official GoMarquette.com release, which includes their Game Notes
- In case you missed it, McNeal was named Big East player of the week for his performances last week. This is his third time receiving the accolade this season. McNeal is tied with Shrek among all active BE players with four BE POTW honors.
- Rosiak has a story for this morning's paper. Plus, Todd also had a chat session last night. Good stuff.
- The Chicago Tribune has a really nice story on Marquette. Well worth reading.
- We Are DePaul offers a solid preview of the game as well.