Back-to-back conference losses quickly ended the burgeoning euphoria over Marquette's 9-0 start in BIG EAST conference action. On Saturday night the Golden Eagles (20-4, 9-2) look to recapture the magic when they open a modest two-game homestand against the St. John's Red Storm (12-12, 3-9).
All things considered, the Johnnies are a fairly welcome opponent for a team looking to bounce back from consecutive road losses. St. John's heads into Milwaukee on a three-game skid. The Johnnies have lost four of five, last gaining a conference win nearly two weeks ago against USF. St. John's is led by 6'3" guard Paris Horn who averages 15ppg. Former Marquette recruiting target DJ Kennedy averages 13 ppg to go along with seven rebounds. Amidst the struggles SJU head coach Norm Roberts might be on the hot seat once more, adding a bit of desperation to the Johnnies' final regular season matchups.
In last year's game Marquette won 73-64 at Madison Square Garden. If you recall, this game started off with Marquette crushing St. Johns, and then the game became much closer than desired thanks to a giant whistle-fest. The Johnnies had a FTR of 93% in that game, which we can practically guarantee won't happen this year.
So, on Valentine's Day take your sweetie out to a nice steakhouse and then go watch Marquette get their act together. On your way in, grab an Al McGuire statue because it's Al's Night. Game time is 8 pm. If you can't make it to the game, check here for TV clearances.
Opponent Strengths and Weaknesses
As always, this information comes from Pomeroy's Scouting Report
1. Offensive Rebounding – St. John’s is #31 in the country at offensive rebounding, getting an offensive rebound on 37.8% of all missed shots
2. Blocking shots – St. John’s is #81 in the country at blocking shots, where they block shots on 10.5% of all field goals
1. Protecting the ball – SJU is #209 in the country at protecting the ball. They turn the ball over on 21.0% of all possessions. SJU allows the ball to be stolen on 11% of all possessions
2. Shooting the ball – SJU is #254 in the country at effective field goal percentage (46.6%). They're #317 in the country at three pointers (29.6%) and #295 in the country from the FT line (64.2%).
3. Defending three pointers – SJU is #231 in the country at allowing opponents to shoot threes (35.3%)
Specific Statistics Recommendations (In order of importance)
1. Stop SJU from making shots (eFG% of 44% or less). This translates to 22 FGM (including four threes), which is three less than their average and predicts a 37 point win
2. Make shots (MU eFG% of 64% or higher), which would be 35 FGM (including seven threes)... eight more than average
3. Force turnovers (TO Rate of 29% or higher for SJU), which is 21 SJU turnovers (six more than their average)
4. Prevent offensive rebounds (SJU OR% of 33% or less)
a. This is twelve offensive rebounds for SJU, which is one less than their average
5. Keep the pace fast (70 possessions or more)
Pomeroy predicts a 93% chance of victory. My calculations show a 100% chance of victory and 37 point margin. Yes, I just wrote 100% chance of victory and 37 point margin. The model predicts that MU will have an advantage on every factor, with a significant advantage on FGM, turnovers, and FTA. However, what will probably happen is something similar to the DePaul games, where Marquette will take their foot off of the Johnnies' throats and the game is closer than expected. No data... just a hunch on this one.
- Here is the official GoMarquette.com release. As always, check out their Game Notes
- The site also has podcasts from Buzz Williams, Jerel McNeal, and even George Thompson. Great stuff.
- Speaking of Thompson, Michael Hunt has an article talking about how gracious George is about the scoring record. Seriously, Brute Force had a scoring record at Marquette that lasted for almost 40 years, and he played only three years and without a three-point line. That's insane. I'm sure he'll be at the Bradley Center on Saturday, so make sure to give him the standing ovation he deserves.
- Here's a link to JohnnyJungle's preview of the game.
Buzz's pre-game presser: