As I posted on MUScoop, thanks for noticing our posts have been a bit scarce since this season.
With one writer getting married, another changing states for a new job last year, and me taking over as Sports Editor of Breitbart Sports New Year’s Eve, we’ve just been spread a bit thin.
The only excuse I can make for my lack out output this year has been the 39 articles I’ve written for Breitbart Sports in the last 25 days (see all by clicking here.) And any time you can click and add any comment - I'm learning that's what stories are judge by, so any of you who have ripped on my analysis in the past do it again there to add to my comment count!
However, while I do have paid responsibilities there, I believe all of us love Cracked Sidewalks and will continue to volunteer our time here as a true Labor of Love.
To that end, I do believe the preseason analysis was right. With Todd Mayo, I had us as barely in the Top 25, and without him wrote we were a borderline tournament team. That’s not to say he is our best player, but I believe he is a key because he has the potential to offer the three point shooting from way downtown that makes our incredible ability to get to the hoop that much harder to stop.
We’ve seen that teams are all figuring out we will be tough to stop on the drive, so they are going to zones, and there is nothing better than a Todd Mayo rainbow from way outside to discourage the zone – but also with his ability to drive to the hoop.
That being said, the layoff clearly hurt as he has had some off games and some turnovers, but he came back in time to be in great form for the tournament.
The other observation I’d make is that I really am surprised that there seems to be doubt that Davante Gardner is our best player. I know I started saying that about Jae Crowder way before his senior year, but in that case you had one other incredible player in DJO that I understand someone thinking is better.
This is not a knock on the rest of the team - MU is one of the deepest teams in the country.
For several games Vander Blue’s Value was actually ZERO because he had so many missed shots and turnovers even when we had faced very week opponents. However, unlike in the past when he played great against terrible teams and then fell way off against the good ones – Blue has been on fire and cut down on missed shots and turnovers to rise from not even in the top 2000 to just breaking the top 500 of 4000 players on a very fast incline.
That make four Top 500 players along with Junior Cadougan and the inconsistent but sometimes dominant Jamil Wilson. Chris Otule makes MU one of the only teams with two centers in the top 1000, and Juan Anderson is there too and there is solid play form the whole team.
But Davante Gardner is now in the top 1% of all players at 38th in the country in Value Add. I know it seems hard to judge a post player’s value against a guard, but that’s why Value Add boils it all down to one number.
Sure you still subjectively lower him a little for occasionally playing around for a steal instead of running back on defense, or not rotating in time, but even with a subjective discount, the guy is dominant. A huge guy who draws two and three defenders, can’t be kept off of the board rarely misses at the line is truly elite.
That being said, Providence has the 11th best player in the country in Bryce Cotton, and two more in the top 300 in Kadeem Batts and LaDontae Henton for tomorrow’s game. If everyone had been ruled eligible for them this year, they would have added to this trio and be a contender for the Big East title – but our depth should handle them tomorrow.
As always, if you go to www.valueaddbasketball.com and search “Marquette” in the box you can see where everyone is ranked.