I was bit stunned before writing the previous post to see that Marquette had actually played better defense than offense this year (by a hair) based on the ultimate measure - how many points per trip down the court do you allow? (see www.kenpom.com).
Well, the come from behind win against Louisville was even better defense, as MU allowed only 63 points on 74 trips down the court to - IRONICALLY - win by a reversal of the two numbers, 74-63. Only four defenses in the country are allowing fewer points per trip than the defensive performance MU allowed today:
|5||MU (today only)||0.851|
Admittedly Louisville is an average offense without injured Kyle Kuric, but the sharp-shooter is not dominant like he was last year, as he still only gets the ball about 15% of their possessions and has dropped from a Top 10 to barely a Top 200 offensive player.
When looking at how MU shut down the Cardinals offense, they once against used great pressure to end 23.4% of Louisville's trips in turnovers, but perhaps more impressively turned it over without fouling. Louisville's free throw rate of only 15.9% (only 10 free throw attempts vs. 63 field goal attempts) indicate an incredible job of stripping the ball and forcing other turnovers without fouling.
|Lville O||MU Def||Today|
Once again that effort was needed to stop Louisville's pretty strong offensive rebounding, which would have dominated except for Jae Crowder's 8 defensive rebounds. Along with Crowder's 6 steals and two treys, this keeps him on pace to easly become only the second player in the past decade to hit 160 defensive rebounds and 40 steals while hitting 40 treys in TWO seasons. (thanks for pointing this out College Hoops Journal.)
Carmelo Anthony would have done if for a second year if he hadn't gone NBA, but even if I include him that leaves Jae in pretty elite company of only three players to accomplish the feat assuming he grabs just 56 more defensive rebounds this year:
|The Elite Three||Def. Reb||Steals||Treys|
|Carmelo Anthony 2003||248||55||56|
|Terrence Williams 2008||208||48||60|
|Terrence Williams 2009||266||86||68|
|Jae Crowder 2011||168||48||42|
|Jae Crowder 2012 (19 games)||104||42||36|
In fact, Lazar Hayward is one of only 10 players to do it just once along with Kyle Singler, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Kevin Durant, Wes Johnson, Ryan Gomes, Maarty Leunen and Anthony, Williams and Crowder.
Crowder is also one of the top shot-blockers among all forwards, as Gorgui Dieng learned first hand when Crowder basically did a volleyball spike on his dunk attempt. But I believe the other exciting defensive development today was seeing Jamil Wilson step up defensively, because if he plays like that then MU really does have a potential dominant defensive line-up in Derrick Wilson, Vander Blue, Crowder, Wilson and a much improved DJO.
This line-up can suffocate many many opponents, with the only question being whether or not they can contain great offensive rebounding teams. But Louisville was a very good - though not great - offensive rebounding team, and today was reason for guarded optimism.