"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, March 29, 2011

Win Credits predicts 26+ wins for MU next two years

Hoping the storm clouds will pass, but in the meantime ... Ever since the Ultimate Hoops Guide: Marquette University was published a few years ago with the Win Credits for former Marquette players, I've annually compiled how many "Win Credits" each player gets for the most recent season. This year the formula gives Jimmy Butler credit for 5.8 of Marquette's wins, with DJO and Jae Crowder not far behind.

PlayerSTLBLKREBAPTSContribWin Credits
Butler, Jimmy53132258658210255.8
Crowder, Jae4832251584359044.9
Johnson-Odom, Darius317112885848604.6
Buycks, Dwight3821111213186302.9
Otule, Chris115513451884591.6
Blue, Vander338104591874321.3
Cadougan, Junior202661151453700.9
Gardner, Davante4573101522530
Fulce, Joseph776112921930
Williams, Erik40383531020
Jones, Jamail6121327650
Smith, Reggie92121311580
Frozena, Robert10418150

Without revisiting the whole formula, just note that Steals and Blocks count double, and then one-tenth of the team's points allowed are subtracted for each player to account for defense (254.6 this year, so a player had to have 255 contributions to get Win Credits, unfortunately leaving Davante just short despite several huge performances).
In looking at upcoming seasons, these performances are compared to the performances of all Big East players since 2003 based on how many Stars Rivals awarded them out of college, and what year they are in school. When we ran through this a year ago, we did express some concern about how much was expected of Vander Blue as a freshman, since typically 5-stars are not key players until their sophomore year, while 4-stars typically become key players as juniors. Here are the Big East averages since 2004:

0-2 Stars0.

Based on this table, we did stress last year that Jae Crowder was almost sure to be the more dominant rookie player over Blue this year. Blue was at the end of the 5-star list for Rivals, so we'd expect him to contribute a little less than the 2.4 a 5-star freshman averages, while as national JUCO player of the year, we certainly expected Crowder to produce much more than your typical 3-star junior's 2.1. In fact, Blue's 1.3 as a freshman was below average but not bad, and Crowder simply had a phenomenial year that your average 4-star never reaches.

Now in looking ahead, we put the two tables together above to project the standard improvement, and it appears Marquette has about 26 wins on the roster for the next two years, plus whatever they can get out of one more signee for next year and two more for 2013.

In looking at the forecast, and the last two years, the 2010 Win Credit total is a little high because Singleton actually produced wins for High Point while Wilson produced his for Oregon.

Crowder, Jae (3, Jr.)JCJC4.96Gr
Johnson-Odom, Darius (3,Jr.)JC3.54.65.7Gr
Blue, Vander (5,Fr)HSHS1.33.65.2
Otule, Chris (2,So)RS01.62.53.6
Cadougan, Junior(4,So)HS00.92.33.5
Anderson, Juan (4,HS)HSHSHS1.93.3
Wilson, Jamil (4,RSSo)HS0.5RS1.93.1
Singleton, David (0,RSJr.) 1.1RS1.2Gr
Gardner, Davante (3,Fr)HSHS00.91.8
Wilson, Derrick (3,HS)HSHSHS0.31.2
Mayo, Todd (3,HS)HSHSHS0.31.2
Williams, Erik (4,So)HS0000
Jones, Jamail (4,Fr)HSHS001.2
Ferguson, Jamal (4,HSJr)HSHSHSHS1.9
Acker, Maurice (Gr)02.7GrGrGr
Burke, Dwight (3,Gr)0.1GrGrGrGr
Butler, Jimmy (0 star, Sr.)
Buycks, Dwight (3,Sr)JC1.72.9GrGr
Cubillan, David (Gr)01.7GrGrGr
Frozena, Robert (0,Fr)000GrGr
Fulce, Joseph (3,Sr)00.50GrGr
Hayward, Lazar (4,Gr)6.36.6GrGrGr
James, Dominic (4,Gr)3.4GrGrGrGr
Matthews, Wesley (4,Gr)6.6GrGrGrGr
McNeal, Jerel (4, Gr)7.4GrGrGrGr
Smith, Reggie (3,Fr)HSHS0TrTr
Total wins forecast25.123.62226.626
Additional spots to fill   12

I believe this gives a pretty good picture of the potential for the next two years. I believe the 2010 team was clearly better than the sum of its parts (22 wins vs. 19 projected through this method), while this year the total was not quite as good as the sum of its parts (22 wins against with 25 projected), and the latter pulled down the projections for the next two years.

The prediction last year was that MU would be back at about the Three Amigos level of a team that could make the tournament and possibly win a game, so the Sweet 16 did exceed expectations even though the 22 overall wins was three short (partly due to playing Duke, Gonzaga, at Vandy and in a tougher than expected Big East). That leaves the question of whether the team is truly ready for a deep run next year, now that the forecast is down to 26+ wins.

My subjective look at these projections are that I don't know if Crowder and DJO can take it to another level from the high level they already hit this year, but it looks like it's their team this year and Vander's the next.

They guys who clearly have more upside than this straight formula shows are Davante Gardner, who would have showed a strong season except for the long stretch of games he rarely played in, and Jamail Jones, who is still considered the 36th best freshman prospect in the country according to www.nbadraft.net. Unlike a few years ago, virtually everyone seems to have the potential to step in and be a big contributor, but this gives just the projected contributions based on their stats or star-ratings to date.

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