Well, if you went straight by the formula predictions I presented a couple of days ago (http://www.crackedsidewalks.com/2011/03/formula-says-one-and-done-but-heart-and.html) then you've gone 24-8 through one round and only have one other guaranteed loss in the final 33 games (Louisville was picked to win two games).
In fact, you can tell a Marquette guy invented the formula because it only went 2-4 in games decided by 2 points or less (picked UCLA, Butler, Morehead and Temple to lose, and 22-4 in all other games).
One of the four the formula missed badly - Marquette over Xavier, baby!
While I am a statistical nut, sometimes the cold hard numbers obscure the fact that these are just a great bunch of young men. They were loose and confident around the hotel the past couple of days, nice as could be to any young kid who stood by them in the elevator etc. - just everything you would want student athletes to be win or lose. But of course, even more fun when they WIN the big one like last night!
How did Marquette win so easily? There are 8 things that determine 95% of all games (the Four Factors - offense and defense). Five of the eight balanced out to an even game, but Marquette dominated the other three by:
1. Harassing defense that shut down Xavier's shooting - particularly on the perimeter (43% eFG% was 10% below what would have been typical for an Xavier offense vs. MU defense).
2. Great shooting by Marquette (59% eFG% was 10% better than expected, fueled by a combined 15 of 25 by Crowder-Butler-DJO that included 4 straight treys by DJO in a 14 minute stretch that started with 1:39 to go in the half.
3. Getting to the line at MUs typical fantastic pace (42% FTA/FGA) that made it impossible for Xavier to press to catch up. MU knew Xavier had only 7 players, and Frease has to sit for them to press. Four of the remaining six were in foul trouble, so Xavier simply couldn't use the press for very many minutes or they would have lost by 20+ due to foul outs.
|4 factors||MU expected||MU actual||Xavier expected||Xavier actual||Notes|
|Shooting||49%||59%||53%||43%||MU shut denied easy looks all day & DJO, Jimmy & Jae hit 60% on 15 of 25 includine 4-4 on treys for DJO in a 14 minute stretch starting with 1:39 to go in the half.|
|Turnovers||17%||23%||19%||23%||Both forced turnovers, but Marquette got 6 steals compared to just 3 by Xavier.|
|Off Reb||32%||23%||33%||32%||Xavier got the 33% of their misses that was expected and held MU to 23% for the edge, but not the dominance that victimized MU a few times this year.|
|Getting to line||42%||42%||36%||29%||Xavier only has 6 players who can press, and MUs ability to get 4 of them in foul trouble eliminated the chance for a comeback (Lyons 3 fouls in first 13 minutes, McLean/Jackson 4, Taylor 3 off bench)|
How MU overcame the tournament formula
So why was Marquette one of only four teams in the opening round to beat the formula badly?
The formula said Tu Holloway was the best player on the court based on www.nbadraft.net. Jimmy Butler and company simply shut him down - harassing him into a 5 point performance on 1 of 8 shooting and registering 3 fouls and 0 steals.
The formula also credited Xavier for being the hotter team, having won 9 of their last 10. However, while inconsistent, MUs wins over UConn and West Virginia down the stretch were more impressive than any of those nine wins.
Take those two out and you get back to the fact that Sagarin and Pomeroy calculate that MU was the better team, and they were simply dominant Friday night.
Marquette's Sagarin game score for beating Xavier by 11 is a 94. Syracuse's game score for beating Indiana State by 17 is a 92. The rough math there is that if both teams play exactly as well on Sunday, Marquette wins by 2 points. Pretty rare for an 11-seed to beat a 3-seed, but let's get it done.
Great work guys!