"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

Friday, September 07, 2012

MU Big East Schedule; despite lacking an all-conference player deepest team in conference could be favored in 15 of 18 BE games

In Big East play last year Marquette had the top player (Jae Crowder, 2nd in the country 11.12% Value Add at www.valueaddbasketball.com) and the best duo (combined with Darius Johnson-Odom a 16.38 Value Add).  Based on 2013 preseason Value Adds Marquette will only have the best player on the court 3 times in Big East play, vs. DePaul Feb. 3, at Villanova Feb. 23 and at Rutgers March 5.  The following is a comparison of where Marquette's top 3 players rank vs. the top 3 from each Big East opponent:

DateOpponentRnkBest PlayerFtInRnk2nd Best PlayerFtInRnk3rd Best PlayerFtIn
 Marquette158Gardner, Davante68317Wilson, Jamil67327Blue, Vander64
1-JanConnecticut20Napier, Shabazz60110Boatright, Ryan60205Daniels, DeAndre68
5-JanGeorgetown4Porter, Otto68297Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes63450Trawick, Jabril65
12-Janat Pittsburgh37Patterson, Lamar6561Adams, Steven610271Woodall, Tray511
16-JanSeton Hall57Edwin, Fuquan66540Cosby, Aaron63584Auda, Patrik69
19-Janat Cincinnati55Wright, Cashmere60392Rubles, Titus68499Parker, Jaquon63
26-JanProvidence48Henton, LaDontae66117Cotton, Bryce61118Ledo, Ricardo65
28-JanSouth Florida114Collins, Anthony61194Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn68356Austin, Waverly611
3-Febat Louisville18Dieng, Gorgui61059Behanan, Chane67208Smith, Russ60
6-Febat South Florida114Collins, Anthony61194Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn68356Austin, Waverly611
9-FebDePaul246Young, Brandon63345Crockett, Jamee64815Melvin, Cleveland68
11-Febat Georgetown4Porter, Otto68297Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes63450Trawick, Jabril65
16-FebPittsburgh37Patterson, Lamar6561Adams, Steven610271Woodall, Tray511
19-Febat Seton Hall57Edwin, Fuquan66540Cosby, Aaron63584Auda, Patrik69
23-Febat Villanova250Yarou, Mouphtaou610403Ochefu, Daniel610478Bell, James66
25-FebSyracuse69Fair, CJ68173Southerland, James68254Triche, Brandon64
2-MarNotre Dame19Cooley, Jack6950Grant, Jerian65152Connaughton, Pat65
5-Marat Rutgers207Miller, Dane66217Mack, Myles59259Seagears, Jerome61
9-Marat St. John's33Harrison, D'Angelo63333Sanchez, Orlando69484Pointer, Sir'Dominic66
In short, MUs top 3 do not look like a good match-up against most other Big East trios.  However, this will be balanced by the fact that Marquette has the deepest team in the Conference.  No other team has 10 players who project in the top 1000 (or top 25% of all players), and it may be that no team has as many potential "surprise" top 100 players.  If Gardner or Otule stay healthy all year they could emerge; if Blue improves as much as his age projects or Mayo as much as the typical freshman to sophomore season; Trent Lockett could return to freshman form with better teammates etc.

The following is how Marquette's top player (Gardner) ranks among the Conferences top players, etc, then all the way down the list until Jamal Ferguson projects as the best No. 10 player and Lockett as the best No. 11 player and obviously potentially much higher.
RnkMU playerFtInCompared to other BE
158Gardner, Davante6811 BE teams have better No. 1
317Wilson, Jamil679 have better No. 2
327Blue, Vander647 have better No. 3
463Mayo, Todd637 have better No. 4
531Cadougan, Junior615 have better No. 5
613Anderson, Juan665 have better No. 6
688Otule, Chris6114 have better No. 7
848Taylor, Steve674 have better No. 8
951Thomas, Jake632 have better No. 9
979Ferguson, Jamal630 have better No. 10
1062Lockett, Trent640 have better No. 11
1323Wilson, Derrick605 have better No. 12
MU could be 7th best team, but with projected 2nd best BE record With UConn ineligible, there is a huge gap between the top 7 teams ending with MU at 25th and the 53rd best team in Rutgers.  Luckily for MU, the draw of home and away games could make them the favorite in 15 of 18 games - though at Rutgers would be a close call.

MU would be an underdog against national contender Louisville even at home, so having them as one of the 9 road games is better than a team where home court might make the difference.  There are 6 conference foes who would be close enough to MU in the rankings that the home court would determine the rankings, and MU gets all 6 of them at home (Providence, Pitt, ND, Syracuse, Georgetown and UConn), though they do also play at Georgetown and Pitt for possibly the only games besides Louisville in which MU would be the projected underdog.  You always expect a couple of upsets at least, but based just on who is favored MU would have a 15-3 edge though admittedly at Rutgers would be a close call.
Please don't accuse me of predicting a 15-3 finish. Even if MU was given an 80% chance of winning each of those 15 games, that means they would probably be upset 3 times so a 12-6 mark might be a more reasonable goal even assuming the team can gel and have a lot of people step up to make up for DJO and Jae being gone, but flipping the schedule might have made MU an underdog in 6 or 7 games, so the schedule creates a very high ceiling of what is possible.
While a prohibitive favorite in the conference this year, Louisville did not get a good draw and could be underdogs at Georgetown, Notre Dame, Syracuse and perhaps even UConn - who will treat that visit as their national championship.

So while it is certainly possible to see Marquette finish as low as 7th, their balance and a very favorable schedule makes it quite possible they could finish as high as 2nd and not impossible that they could contend for the title though a likely double digit loss at Louisville would give the Cardinals the tie-breaker.

Here is where each Big East team ranks nationally right now on Value Add.

Notre Dame17
St. John's59
South Florida66
Seton Hall86

No comments: