"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

Monday, November 30, 2015

What a difference a week makes

Just a week ago, we podded about how we were really disappointed in the team's performance to date and were hoping the Iowa result was rock bottom. A week later and we think that may have been rock bottom as Marquette went retro 1950s basketball and came away with two critical wins in New York City and a solid buy win at home. As opposed to walking through each of the wins, we decided to revisit the areas of concern from last weeks podcast and assess if there was improvement or not. We started with the 3 point shooting situation and whether Wojo has shown coaching chops. We transition into how the defense has performed and what the point guard play looks like now and going forward. We also talk about the rest of the non-conference season and what we should be looking to get out of it. Lastly, we talk about the Big East overall performance and how the impacts (hint: it helps) Marquette going forward. Overall much better circumstances then a week ago to pod about. Download this episode (right click and save)

Value Add 3.0 Introduction; 4 1/2 Years After Value Add Introduction

It is amazing how much has changed in college basketball since I introduced Value Add basketball in May 2011. Kris Dunn's was really hoping Marquette would sign him, nine other teams were in the Big East, and teams were scoring under 67 points a game (this year 72 a game).

Value Add 2.0 was necessitated three years later due to some peer criticisms and scoring exploding from 1.004 to 1.043 points per trip due to freedom of movement rules. Today Value Add 3.0 is introduced to pinpoint even more accurately each players offensive and defensive value to his team.

I realize the exhaustive detail of how every action a player takes impacts the team's score is too technical to be of interest to most readers, so the rest of you may want to scroll to the bottom for the rankings of all Big East players through Providence hard-fought loss against Michigan State the evening of November 29, 2015. The database will updated soon with the new system once the programmers are done, but as of this writing the only current Value Add 3.0 valuations are for the Big East players below.


Value Add 1.0 Overview: Anthony Davis added 7.29% to Kentucky’s scoring with his offense, and took away -5.06% from opponent’s scoring in the first season after the introduction of the system, so his total impact on the score was 12.35%, the highest Value Add in the country. Value Add 1.0 therefore calculated that if Kentucky would have lost a game 69-70 with a typical fourth or fifth man off the bench playing instead of Davis, then with Davis they win 74-66.
Version 2.0 Overview: As we tested the system we found we were under valuing players and it appeared the actual figure was close to the POINTS rather than the PERCENT OF POINTS added by a player.
Version 3.0 Overview: For various reasons, it became important to set the level of the "replacement player" lower - thus meaning we assumed a player further down the bench. Therefore a solid mid-major/high-major starter (pegged as the 100th best player at either SG, SF, PF or C) is now likely worth about 4.0 rather than 3.0 points per game and a player would need to be higher than 10.0 Value Add to be a candidate for an All-American team. The fact that the best teams in the country now calculate as close to 50 points better than the worst teams is consistent with other team calculations.

1st of 3 Components - Offense
Value Add 1.0 Offense. The Offensive component was first explained in this post, as we can measure with great precision how many points a player ad to his team’s score. Perhaps the most important breakthrough of this system was that the level of every defense faced is measured, so a player must put up much better stats against a mediocre team than a top-level team to get the same stats. 
Value Add 2.0 Offense. This was thThe other benefit of this system is that it led to a pretty reliable projection tool as players' main improvement came between their freshman and sophomore seasons.
Value Add 3.0 Offense. The main offensive adjustment increases the value rating, but as we continue to look for small tweaks in measuring the value of each stat in an era of increased freedom of movement and a 30-second shot clock Value Add 3.0 also added a control factor so that if the sum of a team's players is dramatically above or below the team value at www.kenpom.com, then each players offensive value add is scaled to correct the discrepancy. 

2nd of 3 Components - Defense
Value Add 1.0 Defense. The Defensive component is not quite as precise, but even some in the analytics arena admit to me that noone else matches the measurement of the impact of a college player's defense better than Value Add. This system measures a player’s ability to block shots, steal the ball, grab defensive rebounds - all of which goes into other systems. HOWEVER, the key component is it measures every trip down the court and what percent of the trips result in a basket or miss when there is no blocked shot or steal.
Value Add 2.0 Defense. Two adjustments were necessary to the defensive rating. First, I had assumed a player who had a lot of steals also tended to force more turnovers in addition to those steals, and in studying the last few years this does NOT appear to be the case. Secondly, the system was built assuming scoring would always be very close to 1.00 points per trip, and when scoring exploded to 1.04 in 2014 as suddenly the vast majority of players with a lot of minutes looked like bad defenders. We "patched" this system in 2.0 on the fly in 2014.

Value Add 3.0 Defense. Now the defensive adjustment has been adjusted so that a decent defensive player in any season will be 1.5 points a game better on defense than a replacement player no matter how many points are being score per trip or in the average game.

3rd of 3 Components - Position Adjustment
Value Add 1.0 Position. The original Point Guard/Perimeter Defensive Rating (PG/Per) redistributed a small percent of the credit from post players who do not turn the ball over as much because they do not have to dribble as often and who grab more defensive rebounds because they do not have to play defense on the perimeter.  I wrote that after extensive study, this figure was determined the most accurate way to fairly adjust ratings based on position, as explained in this post.

Value Add 2.0 Position. And the bottom line is that the peer review on this system was terrible. Others in the analytical arena hated this approach as a way to throw subjective evaluations into what was otherwise an objective system worthy of serious consideration. While I would still like to reward a player like UVa's Malcolm Brogdon extra credit for the subjective evaluations of him running the team on offense and defense, it was just a non-starter. Therefore we changed the system to simply adjust the final rating so that the 100th best player at each position would be worth 3.0 points per game and the average point guard 3.5.

Value Add 3.0 Position. We did modify further - still based on the top 100 players at each of the five positions - so that the 100th best at each position will usually be around a 4.0 Value Add and the average point guard at 4.5 Value Add. Point guards usually are more valuable - and it is because they must run the show. However, as rules were changed to allow more and more freedom of movement, the overall stat productivity moved from the front line (you needed to lob it inside once physically manhandled at the perimeter a few years ago but now you can drive by them). But this is all relative - if your opponents are now getting a lot more from their guards and you are only getting a little more, then your guards are far less valuable.

Critics of 1.0 Please Take a Look at 3.0; Thanks to Existing Fans
First and foremost, I hope those who really liked the system except for the PG/Per factor or some other specific criticism - thank you for the constructive criticism and I hope you will look at the new ratings as we update them.
I want to thank those NBA officials who met with me to talk about the NBA Indicators developed in conjunction with Rob Lowe, particularly those who asked me to explain why the numbers showed Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder would be so good at the NBA-level prior to those drafts. 
I must thank Sports IllustratedESPNNBC Sports and especially Fox Sports for their praise of the system as well as all of the other outlets who have covered Value Add.  
In addition, thanks to school sites (e.g. Kentucky,ArizonaNC StateBaylor) and League sites for the Big Ten, Summit, Horizon and Patriot Leagues for their coverage, and the many Sports Athletic Departments who email and offer corrections on rosters. It is hard to track 4,000+ players a year!

Top 100 Big East Players through Sunday

For those of you who skipped the technical stuff to skip to here ...

Kris Dunn easily tops the list in the Big East with a value of 12.70 points per game over a borderline substitute, but you can also see why Villanova is the favorite with the next three spots. One apology I may owe - Ryan Arcidiacano. I scoffed at him being named co-Big East Player of the Year with Dunn last year. While I stand by Dunn being clearly the best player in the conference, Arcidiacono does rank well ahead of Georgetown's D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera so far - partly due to Smith-Rivera's three-point shooting and offensive rating being much lower than the last two years in early going but partly due to the new system showing Ryan was better than I thought.

RnkBE Players through SunTeamHtYrOffDefPosVANBA?
1Dunn, Kris 3Providence6'4"Jr4.75-6.3212.7084%
2Ochefu, Daniel 23Villanova6'11"Sr3.82-3.810.39.857%
3Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova6'3"Sr4.34-3.059.646%
4Hart, Josh 3Villanova6'5"Jr3.26-4.199.0417%
5Copeland, Isaac 11Georgetown6'9"So4.43-1.608.9213%
6Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall6'6"So3.99-2.188.861%
7Farr, James 2Xavier6'10"Sr2.92-
8Bullock, Rodney 5Providence6'8"So3.68-2.34-0.36.98
9Groselle, Geoffrey 41Creighton7'0Sr3.75-1.870.36.92
10Reynolds, Jalen 1Xavier6'10"Jr2.11-
11Macura, JP 55Xavier6'5"So4.150.856.59
12Chrabascz, Andrew 45Butler6'7"Jr4.80-2.07-0.36.27
13Peak, LJ 0Georgetown6'5"So2.49-1.780.26.162%
14Fischer, Luke 40Marquette6'11"Jr3.65-
15Mvouika, Ron 24St. John's6'6"Sr2.13-0.996.05
16Dunham, Kellen 24Butler6'6"Sr6.14-0.095.805%
17Wideman, Tyler 4Butler6'8"So4.73-1.50-0.35.63
18Brunson, Jalen 1Villanova6'2"Fr2.83-1.415.5930%
19Zierden, Isaiah 21Creighton6'3"Jr3.81-0.540.25.57
20Bluiett, Trevon 5Xavier6'6"So2.68-0.75-0.35.5417%
21Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown6'3"Sr2.11-1.805.3610%
22Davis, Myles 15Xavier6'2"Jr2.810.155.16
23Sanogo, Ismael 14Seton Hall6'8"So1.29-3.29-0.35.14
24Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler6'4"Sr3.17-1.910.25.12
25Cameron, Reggie 5Georgetown6'7"Jr3.07-0.28-0.35.091%
26Jenkins, Kris 2Villanova6'6"Jr2.06-2.115.05
27Lewis, Tyler 1Butler5'11"Jr4.48-0.784.98
28Garrett, Billy 5DePaul6'6"Jr3.760.230.24.93
29Bentil, Ben 0Providence6'9"So1.97-2.174.81
30Govan, Jessie 15Georgetown6'10"Fr1.68-
31Sima, Yankuba 35St. John's6'11"Fr1.29-2.820.34.34
32Henry, Myke 4DePaul6'6"Sr2.44-1.094.32
33Fazekas, Ryan 35Providence6'8"Fr2.72-0.310.34.25
34Huff, Cole 13Creighton6'8"Jr2.00-0.98-0.33.29
35Simpson, Aaron 15DePaul5'11"Sr2.470.043.22
36Nzei, Michael 1Seton Hall6'7"So1.55-
37Milliken, James 23Creighton6'3"Sr2.330.260.22.96
38Bridges, Mikal 25Villanova6'7"Fr0.49-2.84-0.32.95
39Derrickson, Marcus 24Georgetown6'7"Fr1.20-0.872.95
40Booth, Phil 5Villanova6'3"So0.66-1.850.22.73
41Davis, Jackson 13Butler6'8"So1.63-0.710.32.64
42Lomomba, Junior 32Providence6'5"Jr2.440.870.22.60
43Carrington, Khadeen 0Seton Hall6'3"So1.550.190.22.591%
44Ellenson, Henry 13Marquette6'10"Fr0.43-2.17-0.32.4291%
45Thomas, Khyri 2Creighton6'3"Fr1.45-0.472.41
46Hayes, Bradley 42Georgetown7'0Sr0.17-1.680.32.41
47Sumner, Edmond 4Xavier6'6"Fr1.110.390.22.40
48Delgado, Angel 31Seton Hall6'9"So0.00-
49Johnson, Kaleb 32Georgetown6'6"Fr1.04-
50Wood, Darrick 1DePaul6'5"Jr1.07-0.792.20
51Watson, Maurice 10Creighton5'10"Jr2.260.782.15
52Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton Hall6'4"So0.91-0.512.0318%
53Cohen, Sandy 5Marquette6'6"So0.25-1.671.99
54Reynolds, Darryl 45Villanova6'8"Jr0.37-2.06-0.31.99
55Hegner, Toby 32Creighton6'10"So0.80-0.540.31.97
56Cheatham, Haanif 25Marquette6'5"Fr0.78-0.981.96
57Gordon, Derrick 32Seton Hall6'3"Sr0.63-0.871.91
58O'Mara, Sean 54Xavier6'10"So0.16-0.450.31.83
59Abell, Remy 10Xavier6'4"Sr0.950.561.78
60Hanson, Zach 40Creighton6'9"Jr1.18-0.42-0.31.73
61Wilson, Duane 1Marquette6'2"So0.00-1.500.21.705%
62London, Makinde 13Xavier6'10"So0.00-0.550.31.67
63Lindsey, Jalen 21Providence6'7"So0.960.030.31.54
64Mussini, Federico 4St. John's6'1"Fr0.00-1.531.46
65Krampelj, Martin 15Creighton6'9"Fr0.36-0.821.42
66Hamilton, Tommy 2DePaul6'11"Jr0.02-
67Martin, Kelan 30Butler6'6"So0.72-0.591.39
68Johnson, Durand 5St. John's6'6"Sr0.00-
69Carter, Traci 21Marquette6'0Fr0.00-1.251.25
70Johnson, JaJuan 23Marquette6'5"Jr0.00-
71Etherington, Austin 0Butler6'6"Sr0.20-0.871.19
72Gathers, Jordan 5Butler6'3"Sr0.61-
73Pettus, Trey 10Butler6'4"Jr0.900.090.21.07
74Gates, Kaiser 22Xavier6'8"Fr0.18-0.22-0.31.02
75Harrell, Ronnie 4Creighton6'7"Fr0.69-0.18-0.30.88
76Clement, Tyler 11Creighton6'1"So0.03-0.450.20.84
77Balamou, Felix 10St. John's6'4"Sr0.17-0.520.20.81
78Jones, Christian 2St. John's6'7"Jr0.00-1.17-0.30.80
79Campbell, Tre 1Georgetown6'2"So0.00-0.630.77
80Singh, Veer 33Seton Hall6'7"Fr0.400.210.30.75
81Fowler, Nate 51Butler6'10"Fr0.24-
82Bennett, Steven 25Butler6'2"Jr0.550.070.58
83Anim, Sacar 2Marquette6'5"Fr0.30-0.180.57
84DiVincenzo, Donte 10Villanova6'5"Fr0.00-1.23-0.30.56
85Ellenson, Wally 22Marquette6'6"Jr0.00-0.520.53
86Cain, Eli 11DePaul6'6"Fr0.00-0.470.47
87Ryckbosch, Peter 30DePaul6'10"Sr0.00-
88Smith, Quadree 10Providence6'8"Fr0.00-
89Barry, Oumar 25DePaul6'10"Fr0.
90Anthony, Rashed 25Seton Hall6'9"So0.
91Ellison, Malik 0St. John's6'6"Fr0.00-
92Carter, Myles 23Seton Hall6'9"Fr0.
93Holifield, Elijah 12St. John's6'2"Fr0.00-0.250.18
94Stimage, Rashaun 3DePaul6'8"Sr0.00-0.46-0.30.16
95Council, Ricky 22Providence6'5"Fr0.00-0.180.16
96Heldt, Matt 12Marquette6'10"Fr0.
97Edwards, Drew 25Providence6'3"Fr0.
98Molinari, David 10DePaul6'0Sr0.00-0.080.08
99Anderson, Braeden 4Seton Hall6'9"Jr0.00-0.39-0.30.07
100White, Paul 13Georgetown6'8"So0.00-0.19-0.30.04

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Big East's Big Week: 7 of top 8 team move up, 4-0 vs. Pac-12, 4-1 vs. SEC, 4-4 when underdog

What a week for the Big East. The week started with Georgetown falling just short of an upset of Duke, 86-84, but the Hoyas still moved up from 38th to 30th at www.kenpom.com.

That started a week in which the Big East went 4-4 in games in which the Big East team was ranked behind their opponent at www.kenpom.com (Providence over Arizona, Marquette's two wins and Seton Hall over Georgia, though in that last game the home court gave Seton Hall a slight edge).

The conference went 4-0 against the Pac-12 and 4-1 against the SEC.

Two of the losses were in a 20-4 week were by lowly St. John's against ranked teams, and DePaul was weak.

Of the top 8 teams in the conference only Butler slid (from 25th to 35th after losing to #16 Miami).

Villanova's actual rating improved to keep them in 2nd place, and the others move up. The week is important because once conference play starts Marquette's opponents must be ranked highly enough to let MU potentially get enough quality wins to earn a bid to the tournament.

The bad news is these teams are looking tougher to beat than it appeared a couple of weeks ago - the good news is there will be enough chances for quality wins that MU could earn a bid.

Big EastStarting RnkCurrent RnkResults and Rank of Opponent
Villanova2254, Akron, W, 75-56; 125, Stanford, W, 59-45 and 88, Georgia Tech, W, 69-52
Xavier2218281, Northern Kentucky, W, 78-66; 95, Alabama, W, 64-45 and 43, USC, W, 87-77
Georgetown38305, Duke, L, 86-84 and 295, Bryant, W, 77-47
Butler253516, Miami FL, L, 85-75 and 319, SIU Edwardsville, W, 89-73
Providence5946127, NJIT, W, 83-76; 75, Evansville, W, 74-64 and 19, Arizona, W, 69-65
Creighton8253221, Rutgers, W, 85-75; 123, Massachusetts, W, 97-76 and 166, Western Illinois, W97-67
Seton Hall917079, Mississippi, W, 75-63 and 59, Georgia, W, 69-62
Marquette1029964, LSU, W, 81-80 and 74, Arizona St., W, 78-73
DePaul140150264, Norfolk St., W, 82-78
St. Johns15617211, Vanderbilt, L, 92-55; 26, Indiana, L, 83-73 and NR, Chaminade, W, 100-93

Thursday, November 26, 2015

MU must beat Wisconsin, go 11-7 in Big East, win a tournament game to get to RPI of 53

Despite the big wins in New York, RPI Forecast gives MU less than a 10% chance to go 23-10, which is what it would take to get MU to an RPI of 53 and trip to the NCAA.

According to RPI Forecast and the pure Wins and Losses at www.kenpom.com, MU should finish the regular season 16-15 with an RPI of 177. The good news is this is based on results during which Henry Ellenson's Value Add has been just 0.4 due to his first three games including 12 of 35 shooting and 10 turnovers. The good news is that if Ellenson keeps building on strong play in New York and gets to his projected 7.4 Value Add for the year, that 7-point improvement would tip seven additional wins for Marquette based on www.kenpom.com projected scores to finish 23-8 before the Big East tournament and make the NCAA tournament.

So there is hope as Marquette fans go into the Thanksgiving Weekend very thankful for two exciting and huge wins in New York this week against #22 LSU and Arizona State, as the team won praise by many including Reid Forgrave of Fox Sports.

Unfortunately due to the RPI hit Marquette will take for all the upcoming games against terrible teams, it appears Marquette would need to win all remaining non-conference games including an upset at Wisconsin, go 11-7 in conference and then win a 4th place-5th place Big East tournament game to finish with an RPI of 53 and sneak into the tournament.

That means it would take a 23-10 record to get an NCAA bid - even one more loss to drop to 22-11 plummets Marquette to 69th in RPI based on the RPI Forecast calculator.

Traci Carter's EXCELLENT play that has put him among assists leaders at www.kenpom.com and helped Duane Wilson, Luke Fischer and Haanif Cheatham combine to hit more than 2/3rds of their two-point shots. However, he will be going up against the toughest conference for a point guard - and an 11-7 mark for a team with a freshman point guard looks tough.

However, there is hope. The good news is young teams improve more during the season than other teams, and as the 10th least experience team in the country, MU has a great ceiling. So far the team is the WORST three-point shooting team of the 77 teams in the top six conferences, and MU is the 8th worst at turning the ball over. Assuming Henry Ellenson and Duane Wilson find their three-point stroke and the young team learns to protect the ball moderately well, the team would make a huge stride forward and the 23-10 record represented above would be possible.

In addition to the Fox Sports praise, a second basketball expert (Rob Dauster of NBC Sports) recently called MU one of the most underachieving team in the opening few games and saw the combination of the twin towers and talented guards as enough to rank MU 23rd in the nation in June.

So far only Luke Fischer has played up to expectations based on www.valueaddbasketball.com. He projected to be worth about 3.56 additional points a game, through the team's terrible first three games he was almost there at 3.19, and in the two wins in New York he was right at the 3.56 projection to raise his season total to date to 3.40 - in the top 10% (top 400) of all players.

Beyond Ellenson, other huge improvements from Duane Wilson and others are possible - as well as he is harassing opponents and getting to the rim, if his three-pointer and even free throws start to drop at all the defenses will spread and give MU a shot to be truly great.

Here are the projections for each players (Replacement Level indicates most players were playing no better than a solid replacement player would have been expected to play), followed by where they ranked through the 1-2 start and where they rank now. The start was very bad, the improvement was very dramatic, and the ceiling is high enough to potentially sneak into the tournament - but the margin of error is very small.

PlayerProjectionWhen 1-2NowNBA%
Fischer, Luke 403.56 (458th)3.19 (438th)3.40 (397th)
Cohen, Sandy 52.53 (796th)1.28 (1678th)0.58 (1678th)
Ellenson, Henry 137.40 (58th)ReplacemLevel0.42 (1873rd)91%
Johnson, JaJuan 232.87 (655th)ReplacemLevel0.37 (1936th)2%
Anim, Sacar 21.20 (1623rd)ReplacemLevel0.35 (1941st)
Ellenson, Wally 22ReplacemLevelReplacemLevel0.10 (2365th)
Wilson, Duane 15.27 (192nd)ReplacemLevelReplacemLevel5%
Heldt, Matt 121.00 (1973rd)ReplacemLevelReplacemLevel
Carter, Traci 212.10 (1004th)ReplacemLevelReplacemLevel
Cheatham, Haanif 252.35 (878th)ReplacemLevelReplacemLevel
Marotta, CamReplacemLevelReplacemLevelReplacemLevel

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top 25 Big East Players in Early Play

Things looked bleak until last night. Only Luke Fischer broke into the top 25 of Big East players through Sunday's www.valueaddbasketball.com calculation on Sunday. But Monday's stunning upset of #22 LSU was a major breakthrough for the third least experienced team in the country and the Big East Conference.

Ken Pomeroy ranks Villanova, Xavier, Butler and Georgetown easily in the NCAA field, but .. that is based on Georgetown's near upsets of both Duke and Maryland so the 1-3 Hoyas need wins. Butler is one of only seven team to have three players in Pomeroy's top 100 in Offensive Efficiency and Andrew Chrabascz is the most valuable player in the conference at www.valueaddbasketball.com based on being among the national leaders in shooting, offensive rebounding, steals and protecting the ball on offense.

While the ACC and Big 12 rank well ahead of everyone else, Pomeroy has the four other major conferences - the Big East, SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 - in a virtual four-way tie as the third best conference. Therefore MU's upset of LSU and Seton Halls win over Mississippi were big wins looking ahead to bids vs. the SEC, and the Big East's ability to go 5-4 against the Big Ten last week also helps. A win tonight for Marquette over Arizona State could give the Big East good bragging rights against the other three if MU, Seton Hall, Providence or Creighton end up on the bubble.

Putting out a ranking based on around three games each is admittedly way to small a sample size, but nonetheless, the database at www.valueaddbasketball.com reflects all 4000 players through Sunday's games, and I also wanted to post one at the benchmark/low point from the 1-2 start to remember how far MU will have come if last night leads to a turnaround.

BENatlPlayer through SundayTeamHtYrValueNBA?
131Chrabascz, Andrew 45Butler6' 7"Jr8.21
233Dunn, Kris 3Providence6' 4"Jr8.1884%
349Ochefu, Daniel 23Villanova6' 11"Sr7.477%
457Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova6' 3"Sr7.276%
566Lewis, Tyler 1Butler5' 11"Jr6.86
6129Bullock, Rodney 5Providence6' 8"So5.74
7149Sima, Yankuba 35St. John's6' 11"Fr5.42
8167Hart, Josh 3Villanova6' 5"Jr5.2617%
9177Zierden, Isaiah 21Creighton6' 3"Jr5.11
10180Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall6' 6"So5.081%
11190Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown6' 3"Sr5.0110%
12194Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler6' 4"Sr4.97
13203Sanogo, Ismael 14Seton Hall6' 8"So4.9
14214Copeland, Isaac 11Georgetown6' 9"So4.7913%
15216Wideman, Tyler 4Butler6' 8"So4.79
16220Macura, JP 55Xavier6' 5"So4.69
17231Brunson, Jalen 1Villanova6' 2"Fr4.5730%
18253Dunham, Kellen 24Butler6' 6"Sr4.325%
19361Jenkins, Kris 2Villanova6' 6"Jr3.57
20375Reynolds, Jalen 1Xavier6' 10"Jr3.4916%
21376Farr, James 2Xavier6' 10"Sr3.49
22377Govan, Jessie 15Georgetown6' 10"Fr3.49
23438Fischer, Luke 40Marquette6' 11"Jr3.19
24473Cameron, Reggie 5Georgetown6' 7"Jr3.041%
25475Martin, Kelan 30Butler6' 6"So3.03

Monday, November 23, 2015

If you were looking for positive, I don't think this will be your podcast

Well, it looks like we achieved the most depressing(hopefully) podcast of the season in quick order. Trying to find some positivity, we introduce a new podcast character, but the discussion quickly turns to Marquette basketball. We talk about the season to date but spend a lot of time on the Iowa debacle (not hyperbole). We go through a laundry list of issues that include 3pt shooting, coaching strategy, experience (or lack thereof), post offense, and where we go from here. We also talk about whether any of this reflects on Marquette's future and an excellent column by Paint Touches. Lastly we preview the Legend's Classic in New York and what we expect to see out of this team, with an emphasis on fervent hope that we don't get boat raced by LSU. I'd say enjoy the podcast, but it's not that kind of podcast. Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The season has started, but not quite how we hoped.

First podcast of the new regular season, like the game against Belmont has it's high and low points. If you've ever been in a performance review at work, we're going to treat the Belmont game that way....the compliment sandwich. We talk about a few good things, then focus on the bad, and talk about a few more good things. We finish up with a brief discussion of recruiting and how we see the next week of games going. Enjoy. Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ellenson All-Big East Big Man in PG Dominated Conference

Yes, it is a point guard dominated conference including the preseason Breitbart Sports National Player of the Year Kris Dunn (pictured going up against Jajuan Johnson). However, when combining the preseason top 50/100 ratings of ESPN, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, the Big Lead, Fox Sports and www.valueaddbasketball.com, Marquette's Henry Ellenson is the one big true big man on Breitbart Sports All-Big East team. Click here for story below.

Monday, November 09, 2015

MU Faces Toughest Point Guard Gauntlet in the Country

When Traci Carter picked Marquette over Xavier and UConn I was thrilled - but also scared of him being thrown in the gauntlet against Big East Point Guards. Not only is Kris Dunn National Player of the Year in my calculation of experts posted today (click here), but Marquette's starting point guard will play 12 games against a point guard ranked in the top 300 at www.valueaddbasketball.com - more than any other conference (see table below).

By the way, my first flight up will be for the Iowa game - and I am having a get-together in Mader's private room from 5-7 p.m. before the game for the www.takeback.org non-profit that I run, but please call 334.329.7258 and leave your name if you are going to stop by so we can order appropriate food.

One thing I noted in the All-American piece was that the seniors making the list averaged rating outside of the top 1000 as freshman - so Traci was higher than all of them.

The only other conference with six point guards in the top 300 is the ACC, and that is six out of 15 teams. An ACC point guard would therefore go up against no more than 10 point guards in the top 300 in a season even if all four of their home-and-home games were against these elite point guards. After the ACC and Big East, no conference has more than four point guards in the top 300.

RnkBig East Point GuardsTeamHtYrValue AddNBA
5Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown6'34 Sr9.6810%
6Dunn, Kris 3Providence6'33 Jr9.6084%
75Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler6'44 Sr6.970%
133Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova6'34 Sr5.916%
192Wilson, Duane 1 - move to PG?Marquette6'22 So3.695%
231Watson, MauriceCreighton5'103 Jr4.93-0.21
298Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton Hall6'42 So4.500%
299Garrett, Billy 5DePaul6'63 Jr4.480%
993Carter, TraciMarquette6'01 Fr2.100%
1002LoVett, MarcusSt. John's6'01 Fr2.090%
1284Austin, Larry 0Xavier6'22 So1.640%
1949Stewart, MarlonCreighton6'11 Fr1.000%

Granted, I am not sure if Isaiah Whitehead is ultimately the point guard at Seton Hall - which will be playing someone out of position there. But Mo Watson already rated very high at Boston University before his transfer year to Creighton, and while you can argue the order of the rest, it is a gauntlet.

I did not agree with the co-MVP for Ryan Arcidiacono, but most would rate him higher than my 133rd (still top 3% of all players), and many also believe Billy Garrett should be rated even higher. Obviously Roosevelt Jones is a different kind of point guard, but he would outweigh Carter by 50 pounds. I have D'Vauntes Smith Rivera ranked higher than most, but the guy can play.

So while I would love to have the option of Duane Wilson ending up having 30-point games at point guard, I would assume he ends up taking the load at point guard against this elite level of play. I believe Carter will be awesome, but he is a freshman and let's protect him a little!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Glad We Picked St. John's Last Place - A DII Team Just Beat them by 32 Points

This has nothing to do with the story, but four years after NBC Sports referenced Value Add Basketball in saying Jae Crowder might be the most complete player in basketball - he added what would have been the longest shot ever if it counted. But from the thrill of victory, we go to the agony of defeat ...

The recent www.valueaddbasketball.com calculations ranked St. John's a DISTANT last place as the 150th best team in the country, and after tonight those who did not join us in picking them last are feeling guilty.

That is because Division II St. Thomas Aquinas just destroyed Chris Mullin's debut 90-58.

Our ranking also made them the only team that we did not believe would deserve a bid to ANY post season tournament - even assuming the CBI and CIT were able to get the best 48 teams after the NCAA and NIT selected. Here are the rankings, and what bid the other nine teams would deserve.

RnkBig EastValueNBAConfBid?Seed
10Villanova42.610.6BE1 NCAA3-seed
31Georgetown34.630.3BE1 NCAA8-seed
35Xavier32.620.3BE1 NCAA9-seed
40Butler33.940.1BE1 NCAA10-seed
51Seton Hall29.380.3BE2 NIT1-seed
51Seton Hall29.380.3BE2 NIT1-seed
55Marquette28.281.0BE2 NIT2-seed
76Providence24.370.8BE3 CBI2-seed
80Creighton23.460.0BE3 CBI3-seed
122DePaul17.90.0BE4 CIT6-seed
150St. John's14.710.0BE

Gary Parrish at CBS Sports had a good sense of humor about the game, writing that it made him look "crazy" for having picked St. John's ahead of DePaul as the 9th best team. My recent piece in Breitbart Sports noted it looked very uphill, with my lead paragraph stating:

"...Chris Mullins preparing to coach his first St. John’s game after losing his top two stars due to point guard Rysheed Jordan skipping his exams and the oft-in-trouble Chris Obekpa quitting because the coach’s toughness."
The usually reliable Massey Ratings shows St. John's as the 50th best team in the country - and St. Thomas Aquinas 530th.
While St. John's is depleted, the conference has talent. In addition to National Player of the Year candidate Kris Dunn (sorry, still have not quite gotten over the coaches giving Ryan Arcidiacono the co-MVP with Dunn last year only to have Dunn outscore him the next day 22-6 despite a gift call to give Archiiacono the two game winning free throws).
Fox Sports almost agreed with me on D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera being one of the two best players in the Big East:
22. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, senior guard, Georgetown. I don’t know whether he’ll be an NBA player, but Smith-Rivera has been a phenomenal college player. He leads a talented Georgetown team that should contend at the top of a chock-full Big East. A college basketball analytics site I love to use, valueaddbasketball.com, has Smith-Rivera ranked as the fifth most valuable college player in the country, a spot ahead of his Big East nemesis Kris Dunn of Providence, who has been tabbed as a possible national player of the year candidate.
Soon the speculation will be over.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Simulated Game-by-Game: Loss at Stanford or in NIT Semi vs. Syracuse Caps 23-13 Season

After updating the Value Add database today, I immediately simulated a season in which Marquette went 23-13 (including 3-11 against NCAA-bound teams) to earn a 2-seed in the NIT where we lost at Stanford in the quarterfinals or to Syracuse in the semis at MSG.

Henry Ellenson (7.4 points in Value Add) and Duane Wilson (5.27) makes MU 12.67 points better per game than they would be without either - and they join Butler, Providence and Xavier with two players in the top 5% of all players. The only team with more is Villanova (5 players in top 5%).

Winning those two would revenge past heartbreaking NCAA losses to both and give us a shot at South Carolina for the NIT title. Obviously just a couple of extra wins turn a 2-seed in the NIT into an NCAA team, so hopefully MU is back in the Big Dance.

The following is the game-by-game giving the team with the higher Value Add the win once adjusting for home court advantage and the fact that young teams like MU improve more during a season than more experienced teams. This is why I have MU as a Big East 6-seed defeating Xavier as a 3-seed in the opening round of the Big East tournament. I also have MU as the best team in the NIT tournament, but with the overall record justifying a 2-seed, MU would play AT Stanford and then in MSG vs. Syracuse to lose home court advantage.

For MU and then each opponent I list the team's National rank based purely on the sum of their players' Value Add (Marquette is the 55th best team based on 28.28 in total Value Add and Belmont is 133rd based on 16.25).

"NBA" is how many NBA players the team will likely have, so MU has a 1.0 based on Henry Ellenson having a 91% chance and JJJ and Duane Wilson having a small chance to make the NBA. The only opponent with more potential NBA talent is LSU with a 1.4 as the rounded sum of Ben Simmons (96% chance), Tim Quarterman (34%), Craig Victor (8%), Elbert Robinson (4%) and Josh Gray (4%). In other words, we expect LSU to produce 1.4 NBA players like we expect the average American couple to produce 1.9 children.

MU's first opponent Belmont would win the OVC to get the bid and a 16-seed based on Value Add, giving MU three projected NCAA opponents in 10 days with Iowa (11-seed) and LSU (7-seed). While a big underdog against LSU the first game in New York, MU would have the edge in the second New York game November 24 - whether it be against NC State or Arizona State.

Obviously the March opponents in the NIT, NCAA or any other tournament could be anyone, and I laid out the extra tournament games in both the Big East and NIT, even though under this scenario MU would be eliminated before facing Nova for the Big East title or Syracuse or South Carolina in the NIT Final Four.

Nat'lTeamPredValue AddNBAConfBidSeedMU vs.
55Marquette28.281.0BE2 NIT2-seedNA
133BelmontW16.250.0OVC1 NCAA16-seed11/13/2015
45IowaW30.670.1B101 NCAA11-seed11/19/2015
27Louisiana St.L38.761.4SEC1 NCAA7-seed11/23/2015
62North Carolina St.W27.170.2ACC2 NIT3-seed11/24/2015
282Jackson St.W6.740.0SWAC11/29/2015
296San Jose St.W5.770.0MWC12/8/2015
21WisconsinL39.340.7B101 NCAA6-seed12/12/2015
319Chicago St.W6.590.0WAC12/21/2015
51Seton HallW29.380.3BE2 NIT1-seed12/30/2015
31GeorgetownL34.630.3BE1 NCAA8-seed1/2/2016
76ProvidenceL24.370.8BE3 CBI2-seed1/5/2016
150St. John'sW14.710.0BE1/9/2016
10VillanovaL42.610.6BE1 NCAA3-seed1/13/2016
35XavierW32.620.3BE1 NCAA9-seed1/16/2016
122DePaulW17.90.0BE4 CIT6-seed1/20/2016
150St. John'sW14.710.0BE1/23/2016
324StetsonW3.90.0ASun5 Ineligible1/27/2016
40ButlerL33.940.1BE1 NCAA10-seed1/30/2016
51Seton HallL29.380.3BE2 NIT1-seed2/3/2016
35XavierL32.620.3BE1 NCAA9-seed2/6/2016
76ProvidenceW24.370.8BE3 CBI2-seed2/10/2016
80CreightonW23.460.0BE3 CBI3-seed2/13/2016
122DePaulW17.90.0BE4 CIT6-seed2/20/2016
80CreightonW23.460.0BE3 CBI3-seed2/24/2016
10VillanovaL42.610.6BE1 NCAA3-seed2/27/2016
31GeorgetownL34.630.3BE1 NCAA8-seed3/1/2016
40ButlerL33.940.1BE1 NCAA10-seed3/5/2016
35XavierW32.620.3BE1 NCAA9-seed3/10/2016
31GeorgetownL34.630.3BE1 NCAA8-seed3/11/2016
10VillanovaL42.610.6BE1 NCAA3-seed3/12/2016
159Weber St.W14.150.2BSky2 NIT7-seed3/17/2016
61MississippiW27.260.1SEC2 NIT3-seed3/22/2016
52StanfordL29.010.2P122 NIT1-seed3/24/2016
53SyracuseL28.680.2ACC2 NIT1-seed3/29/2016
50South CarolinaL29.680.1SEC2 NIT1-seed3/31/2016
23-13 (Nova, Syracuse, SC)

Ellenson ranks in the top 60 of all players. Remember, even though he is one of the best 10 players based on mock drafts, players are drafted based on how good they will get to be - so always be patient with freshmen! The huge improvement for most players is during the offseason between freshman and sophomore seasons.