Davante Gardner grabbed 8 more offensive rebounds on 18 Marquette misses to improve on his national best 29.1% offensive rebounds. If Gardner grabs over 30% of MUs misses tomorrow, and USCs 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon grabs his average 30% (7th best defensive rebounder in country), then that leaves less than 40% of MUs misses for the other 8 players on the court.
Wednesday at 4 CT defensive coaching specialist Kevin O'Neill will try to keep him off the boards. I have written in glowing terms on what O'Neill did for MU basketball in turning a sub-.500 program into a Sweet 16 team in just a few years (1994), but after his Trojans upset Texas in overtime he is now the enemy for a day who is trying to shut down an MU team that suddenly looks very good after Butler beat UNC by double digits and MU killed Mississippi State. The most valuable performances in that game:
|vs. Mississippi State||FG||FGA||FT||FTA||OR||DR||A||TO||BLK||S||Net Avg|
|Davante Gardner, F||7||14||1||1||8||4||2||3||1||1||7.718|
|Vander Blue, G||8 (2)||14||0||0||0||0||3||1||0||1||5.308|
|Trent Lockett, G||5 (2)||10||1||1||1||2||4||0||0||1||5.277|
|Jamil Wilson, F||4||5||3||3||1||3||1||0||4||1||4.606|
|Chris Otule, C||3||6||2||2||4||4||0||1||2||1||3.481|
|Jake Thomas, G||3 (3)||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||1||2.955|
|Steve Taylor Jr.||2||3||1||2||1||2||0||0||0||1||1.703|
|Junior Cadougan, G||1||5||0||0||0||5||4||0||2||0.000|
|Juan Anderson, F||1||5||0||0||0||2||1||1||1||0.000|
|Derrick Wilson, G||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||2||0.000|
I was the only one on the team in the preseason to pick MU to beat UNC today. While we will never know if it would have happened, watching Butler take a 29-point lead over UNC the day after needing a miraculous shot to beat Marquette certainly makes it appear MU might have won. Butler eventually settled for a 72-61 win, on the same day that Marquette destroyed Mississippi State 89-62.
We will also never know if Davante Gardner could have dominated UNC again, but the No. 1 offensive rebounder in the country certainly had little trouble with a much weaker opponent in Mississippi State. Gardner came into the game grabbing 29.1% of all MU misses - the top offensive rebounding number in the country even before grabbing 8 of an estimated 18 MU missed shots while he was in the game today.
Due to some complications with the game calculator of Value Add (e.g. afraid it was just about doubling everyone's Value Add yesterday so Vander's great night was actually just over 10%), I have shifted the game calculator to "Net Average" as calculated by Rob based on Dean Oliver's figure in "Basketball on Paper." Based on that, Davante improved MUs margin by about 7.7 points tonight, making him the top contributor. Vander Blue nudged out Trent Lockett for the 2nd top player in the game, but note that Jake Thomas went 3 of 3 - all from behind the arc - and overall improved MU's margin by 2.95 points in just 10 minutes played.
That gives Gardner two statistical Player of the Game honors, and I decided to start tracking them for the year by giving the top statistical player each game 5 points, the 2nd best 3 points, and 3rd best 1 point. Today gives Gardner 10 points, putting him just ahead of Blue and J. Wilson who took the other two Game MVPs as well as one 2nd place: