"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, March 14, 2014

Marquette and Priorities - Part One


This all sort of started with the following.

Of course, not smart enough to leave well enough alone, we actually started providing the charts via twitter for each section. After about 150 tweets and maybe half that number of charts, I realized that this should have begun as a series of blog posts after all...

This is the first of five parts looking into a deeper analysis of Marquette and the priorities for the basketball team on the court. Much of this information has already been presented in the Cracked Sidewalks twitter feed if you want to look ahead. The analysis covers five different sections.
  • Part One - What does it take to make the Final Four?
  • Part Two - Which of the Four Factors is more important than the other three combined? (spoiler: it's eFG%)
  • Part Three - Marquette is not good enough on eFG% to have a top 20 offense/defense
  • Part Four - What goes into eFG% for Top 20 teams?
  • Part Five - Are Paint Touches the root cause?
Part One - To make the Final Four, a team should have roughly a top 20 offense and a top 20 defense

Here is the stats profile of every team over the past seven years to make the Elite Eight.

Almost every team that made the Elite Eight over this time period had either a top 20 offense (left of the vertical line) or a top 20 defense (below the horizontal line). Most of the teams had both a top 20 offense and a top 20 defense.

Yes, there are exceptions. For example, Marquette (in the red circle) made the Elite Eight last year. Other notable exceptions include Butler (x2), VCU, and Michigan last year. However, those are exceptions.

Here is the same profile of every team to make the Final Four.

Good luck making the Final Four if you don't have a top 20 defense. However, even then, you really should have both a top 20 offense AND a top 20 defense.

Again, there are exceptions. Not on this chart, but a certain team made the Final Four in 2003 with the #2 overall offense in the country and the #119 overall defense.

Does having a top 20 offense and defense guarantee anything? Certainly not, but it's better to have the odds be in your favor than the other way around.

How Has Marquette Stacked Up?

Marquette has had the offensive profile once, and was arguably close to that three other times. As for the defensive profile, the #mubb defense has only been good enough one year.


The profile of teams that have successfully made the Final Four shows a strong preference for having both a top 20 offense and a top 20 defense. Unfortunately, Marquette has not been strong enough at the rankings, particularly defensively, to get to the next level.  In the next post, we'll look at eFG% and how it is by far the most important factor for efficiency.

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