"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

Monday, July 02, 2012

Sizing up MUs home-and-away opponents: Pitt, Gtown, SH and USF with and without Mayo

The Big East announced the home-and-away match-ups for the coming season.  With West Virginia gone, each team now is paired up with four teams rather than three, and Marquette has drawn Pitt, Georgetown, Seton Hall and South Florida.  How will Marquette match-up again each?

The first question that will need to be answered is whether or not Todd Mayo's reported suspension - hopefully just for the summer so he could concentrate on academics - means he will not be back for next season.  Going to the www.valueaddbasketball.com database, Marquette drops from the 20th best team in the land to the 33rd best team in the land if Mayo is not on the squad.

Based on Projected Value Add, that would push MU behind a Pitt team that should shoot back toward the top, and close to Georgetown, which Value Add projects will have the Conferences best player in Otto Porter.  The table below shows each team's Value Add projection, and then where their top 5 players project - so Georgetown projects as the 25th best team in the country and Porter as the 4th best player in the country:

25Georgetown14Pitt85Seton Hall66USF
4Porter, Otto37Patterson, Lamar57Edwin, Fuquan114Collins, Anthony
297Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes61Adams, Steven540Cosby, Aaron194Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn
450Trawick, Jabril271Woodall, Tray584Auda, Patrik356Austin, Waverly
474Upshaw, Robert284Zanna, Talib766Mobley, Brandon789Abdul-Aleem, Musa
498Lubick, Nate556Johnson, John781Karlis, Haralds901Hawkins, Javontae

Certainly any updates to the table are welcome, but based on what we have:

Seton Hall - MU shot at a sweep:  Marquette should have a good chance to sweep Seton Hall.  Fuquan Edwin projects as the 57th best player in the land, better than any MU player. However Gardner, J. Wilson, 
Blue, Mayo and Cadougan would be the next best four players on the court and should be able to win even in New Jersey.

USF - While MU should hold the Bradley Center match-up, the trip to South Florida would certainly be a toss-up without Mayo as 6-foot-11 JUCO All-American Waverly Austin will require the best defense out of Chris Otule.  Anthony Collins was scary good in the tournament run, finally giving USF the point guard play that was the missing ingredient, and both he and 6-8 Toarlyn Fitzpatrick should be in the top 5% of all D1 players (Top 200).

Georgetown - This figures to be another split, as MU projects as being slightly better than the Hoyas with Mayo and slightly worse without Mayo - but either way the home court advantage should be a bigger difference than the narrow talent difference.  Value Add projects Otto Porter as not only the Big East POY, but a contender for National Player of the Year given his incredible freshman season and the huge jump players usually make between their freshman and sophomore season.  At first glance of traditional stats he wouldn't jump out, and the Big East even skipped him for All-Rookie team before he was named Freshman All-American.  But he was positively - well Jae Crowder-like - as he hit 61% of his 2-point shots while being among Pomeroy's national leaders in effective Field Goal percentage, defensive rebounding, avoiding turnovers, blocked shots, and just missed in steals at 2.4% despite being 6-foot-8.

Pitt - The Panthers' one-year struggle ended with small forward Lamar Patterson being named MVP of the CBI tournament, and he will continue to improve as a junior. The team improved even last year once Tray Woodall came back to run the point, and if he had a full season last year he might even project to give Pitt THREE top 100 players, along with Patterson and 6-foot-10 star freshman recruit Steven Adams.  MU could be an underdog at the Pitt, and if Mayo isn't around even holding home court could be a toss-up.

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