"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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Marquette and Priorities - Part Three

This is a Five Part series looking more in-depth at Marquette and the Priorities on the court.

  • 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?
In Part One of this series, we presented the idea that a team needs roughly a top 20 offense and a top 20 defense to make the Final Four. In Part Two, we shared that eFG% is 63% of the total contribution to efficiency.

Part Three - Marquette is not good enough on eFG% to have a top 20 offense/defense

Here's a chart showing the #mubb offensive and defensive rankings over the past six years. I've put in the various four factors and color coded everything by degree. Green is good and red is bad. The factors have been organized by the average ranking.

One thing to notice is the consistency of colors for Factor #1 and #4. While there is one red color for offensive Factor #1, consistently those show up as good rankings. The opposite is true for Factor #4.

Here is the same chart, except that now I've included the actual rankings and the labels for each factor.

Marquette consistently has the best rankings for Free Throw Rate both offensive and defensively. Turnover Rate is consistently #2. eFG% is either #4 in terms of ranking (offense) or #3 (defense). In other words, the area that is least important is where Marquette does best, and the area that is most important is where Marquette either is consistently worst or close to that.

Here's the same information presented slightly differently.

On both offense and defense, FTR consistently is towards the top and eFG% is consistently towards the bottom.

Look, I have no idea what is being emphasized or not, but there appears to be a consistent approach on both sides of the ball where eFG% is not stressed as highly as the other factors, and FTR may be over-stressed.

Last point - on twitter, several folks asked whether or not it was an issue of #MUBB not having the right players vs. scheme. Here are some of the top 10 teams for eFG%
  • Offensive - Belmont, Iona, American, and Colgate (plus Creighton and Michigan)
  • Defensive - UC Irvine, Southern(!), E Michigan, and UTEP (plus SLU, UVA, and Arizona)
How is it some of these teams do well at eFG%? It's because they prioritize that aspect of the scheme.

Does having the right type of players matter? Certainly. Players that can shoot threes will help a lot with offensive eFG%. But shouldn't the roster construction place more emphasis on that? What of the defensive end?


While I argue that MU doesn't prioritize eFG% enough, it almost doesn't matter. Who cares if it's scheme vs personnel? The facts are that Marquette is consistently good at FTR, which matters least, while being consistently poor at eFG%, which matters most. If Marquette wants to improve where the program goes, eFG% has to get better.

In Part Four , we will look at what goes into eFG% and what a top 20 eFG% looks like.

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