"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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

First Big East win to get ready for the new year!

Podcast has been on a break for the holidays, somewhat unplanned but after the first big win of the Big East system, we're back to talk about Marquette basketball. We jump right in and talk about the victory over Georgetown this past Wednesday. As part of that discussion we highlight the outstanding performance of Markus Howard who, you may have heard, is only 17. We also chat about how the coaching staff seems to be finally getting the players into the roles they desire them so that the whole is greater than the parts. We also have to talk about JaJuan Johnson's post-game "observations" of Georgetown's defensive intensity and while we're having fun we talk about Wojo's interview of Markus Howard, which gave us a look into "fun" Wojo which we haven't really seen before (http://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/college/marquette/2016/12/29/wojciechowski-has-fun-howard-after-win/95948696/). As we transition to the upcoming games, we talk about whether Seton Hall is the same match up this year as last year. Additionally, going to Philadelphia and taking on the number 1 team in the country is going to be a tall ask for anyone. We break down what has to happen in each game for Marquette to give themselves a chance to win. Bottom line, this next week is going to be very tough for Marquette but if they can win at least one of them that leaves them on schedule to a top 5 Big East finish. It's going to be an interesting week for Marquette, let's see how this plays out together. Download this episode (right click and save)

53% Chance at Bid; Updated Top 50; JJJ Closing on MVP

A year ago I wrote that Marquette needed 23 wins to make the NCAA tournament and had a 3.2% chance of making the tournament. I will not recreate the math here, but using the same combination of RPI Forecast, MU needs only 20 total wins this year (season and/or Big East tournament) and has a 54 percent chance at a bid.

I ran an extremely detailed effort today to review all player changes and other factors, and rank MU as having the 43rd best chance at making the tournament (see top 50 here).

The two impact performances vs. Georgetown resulted in Marquette becoming on of only eight teams with five players in the top 10% of all players, and JuJuan Johnson (worth 6.50 points per game) almost taking over first place from Luke Fischer (6.57).

Nat'l RnkTop 10% of all playersPt Value
225Luke Fischer #406.57
230JaJuan Johnson #236.50
384Haanif Cheatham #255.43
396Sam Hauser #105.36
411Markus Howard #05.25

There are now 4,123 players rated in www.valueaddbasketball.com, leaving Howard just in the top 10 percent - and keep in mind players get a ZERO when they miss a game.

The only other teams with that balance are Arizona, Clemson, Duke, Louisville, UNC, Purdue and SMU.

A 50% better chance of making the tournament than last year is a nice Christmas Present.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Georgetown's two All-Big East Players Next Up; MU one of Few Teams with 4 in Top 10%

The Georgetown Hoyas will be the first to visit after Christmas, and they bring two of the top six Big East players in Rodney Pryor and LJ Peak.

Marquette counters with balance. Markus Howard might be be in the top 10% of all Value Add players (top 400) if not for the concussion, and even without him Marquette is one of only 22 teams with four players in the top 10 percent at www.valueaddbasketball.com. MU joins fellow Big East teams Butler, Seton Hall and Villanova as well as the ACC's Clemson, Duke and North Carolina; the American's Cincinnati and SMU; the Big Ten's Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Wisconsin; the Big 12s Baylor and Texas Tech; the MVC's Wichita St.; the Pac 12s Oregon, UCLA and USC; the SEC's Kentucky and South Carolina; and finally the WCC's Gonzaga.

While we will need to clean up the headers, Value Add also now indicates when an injured player will return (Gone if left team, Sea if out for season, or the month they will return) and how many games they have played. Remember that any time a player misses a game his Value Add ranking for that game is 0.0, so Bradley Hayes for Georgetown has a Value Add ranking of 1.50, but when you notice he has played only 8 games while his teammates have played 12, you realize he would be worth about 50% more (2.25 Value Add) if he has not had to sit out the first four games.

1Josh Hart, No.316.2VillanovaSG*1.1*12Gms6' 5"Sr
17JP Macura, No.5510.9XavierPG*1.2*12Gms6' 5"Jr
28Rodney Pryor, No.2310.3GeorgetownC*1*12Gms6' 5"Sr
31Mikal Bridges, No.2510.2VillanovaSF*1*12Gms6' 7"So
43Trevon Bluiett, No.59.7XavierSF*1*12Gms6' 6"Jr
44LJ Peak, No.09.7GeorgetownSG*1.1*12Gms6' 5"Jr
65Khyri Thomas, No.28.9CreightonSG*1.1*12Gms6' 3"So
69Shamorie Ponds, No.28.8St. John'sSG*1.1*13Gms6' 1"Fr
73Andrew Chrabascz, No.458.8ButlerSG*1.1*12Gms6' 7"Sr
92Jalen Brunson, No.18.3VillanovaPG*1.2*12Gms6' 2"So
95Emmitt Holt, No.158.2ProvidenceSG*1.1*11Gms6' 7"Jr
101Edmond Sumner, No.48.1XavierSG*1.1*12Gms6' 6"So
115Tyler Lewis, No.17.9ButlerPG*1.2*12Gms5' 11"Sr
124Justin Patton, No.237.7CreightonC*1*12Gms7' 0Fr
152Jalen Lindsey, No.217.3ProvidenceC*1*12Gms6' 7"Jr
171Khadeen Carrington, No.07.1Seton HallSG*1.1*11Gms6' 4"Jr
191Rodney Bullock, No.56.8ProvidenceSF*1*12Gms6' 8"Jr
223Kris Jenkins, No.26.6VillanovaPF*1*12Gms6' 6"Sr
237Luke Fischer, No.406.4MarquetteC*1*12Gms6' 11"Sr
263Angel Delgado, No.316.2Seton HallC*1*11Gms6' 10"Jr
274Kelan Martin, No.306.2ButlerPF*1*12Gms6' 7"Jr
287Haanif Cheatham, No.256.1MarquetteSG*1.1*12Gms6' 5"So
298Jessie Govan, No.156GeorgetownPF*1*12Gms6' 10"So
302JaJuan Johnson, No.236MarquetteSF*1*12Gms6' 5"Sr
354Myles Powell, No.135.7Seton HallSG*1.1*11Gms6' 2"Fr
359Desi Rodriguez, No.205.6Seton HallSF*1*11Gms6' 6"Jr
381Tyler Wideman, No.45.5ButlerC*1*12Gms6' 8"Jr
382Maurice Watson, No.105.5CreightonPG*1.2*12Gms5' 10"Sr
392Sam Hauser, No.105.4MarquettePF*1*12Gms6' 6"Fr
415Marcus Foster, No.05.3CreightonSG*1.1*12Gms6' 3"Jr
479Eli Cain, No.114.9DePaulSF*1*12Gms6' 6"So
482Kamar Baldwin, No.34.9ButlerSG*1.1*12Gms6' 0Fr
527Darryl Reynolds, No.454.6VillanovaC*1*12Gms6' 9"Sr
528RaShid Gaston, No.354.6XavierC*1*12Gms6' 9"Sr
609Markus Howard, No.04.2MarquettePG*1.2*11Gms5' 11"Fr
616Avery Woodson, No.04.2ButlerPG*1.2*12Gms6' 2"Sr
621Donte DiVincenzo, No.104.2VillanovaSF*1*12Gms6' 5"So
672Kyron Cartwright, No.244ProvidencePG*1.2*12Gms5' 11"Jr
733Marcus LoVett, No.153.7St. John'sPG*1.2*10Gms6' 0Fr
742Tre'Darius McCallum, No.103.7DePaulPF*1*12Gms6' 7"Jr
780Toby Hegner, No.323.5CreightonC*1*12Gms6' 10"Jr
817Nate Fowler, No.513.4ButlerPF*1*12Gms6' 10"So
846Tariq Owens, No.113.3St. John'sC*1*13Gms6' 11"So
847Madison Jones, No.303.3Seton HallPG*1.2*11Gms6' 2"Sr
894Cole Huff, No.133.1CreightonSF*1*12Gms6' 8"Sr
946Andrew Rowsey, No.303MarquettePG*1.2*12Gms5' 10"Jr
969Eric Paschall, No.42.9VillanovaC*1*12Gms6' 7"So
1034Michael Nzei, No.12.7Seton HallC*1*11Gms6' 8"So
1037Ryan Fazekas, No.352.7ProvidencePF*1*12Gms6' 8"So
1132Sean O'Mara, No.542.5XavierC*1*12Gms6' 10"Jr
1183Duane Wilson, No.12.3MarquetteSG*1.1*12Gms6' 2"Jr

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holidays are upon us, let's hope Marquette can unwrap a new defense

Welcome back to the Scrambled Eggs podcast, holiday edition. It's a holiday edition in that we mention Christmas at some point. Other than that the focus is on Marquette basketball: So what happened. First we talk about the most recent news, Traci Carter deciding to leave the program at semester end. Given our proclivity to overreact in the past, this is a somewhat measured discussion about the impact of Traci leaving and how Marquette basketball moves forward from here. It also generates a discussion about roster turnover and what Wojo may do with 3 more open scholarships for next year (Wally, Sandy and Traci scholarships). We then turn to the terrible result at the end of #BadgerHateWeek with a convincing drubbing of Marquette by the hated red menace. We talk about what happened in the game, what it means for the season as a whole, and most critically what the hell is up with the defense. We have a detailed discussion about Marquette's defense and how they move forward into the Big East with a boat we can row really fast(offense) but is leaking like a sieve(defense). We close out with thoughts on the Big East and what challenges face Marquette come December 28th. As always we hope you enjoy the pod and hope everyone enjoys the holidays with their loved ones and Marquette basketball. Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

3 Freshman in American have hit 20+ 3-pointers at 50% clip, and 2 of them are ...

Marquette is one of 14 teams with more than one freshman in the top 20% of all players according to Value Add Basketball. Kentucky has four, while Arizona, Auburn, Florida State, Maryland and Miami FL have three.

Sam Hauser (600th of 4000+) and Markus Howard (682nd and skyrocketing) let MU join UCLA, Michigan State, Virginia, Appalachian State, St. John's Penn State and Drexel with two elite freshman.

During Saturday's loss to Wisconsin, Sam Hauser was finally stopped, but the other incredible freshman three-point shooter was incredible again.

When it comes to hitting threes, Marquette's freshman lap the field. There are only three freshman in the country who have hit at least 20 three-pointers at a 50% clip - MUs two stars and Hofstra's Eli Pemberton.

Josh Hart is the top ranked player in any of the Power 6 Conferences in both Value Add and www.kenpom.com at this point.

Here are the top 10 freshman three-point shooters among those who have hit at least 20 this season.

Freshman with 20+ 3PM3PM-3PAPct
Eli Pemberton, No.5, Hofstra21-4151.2%
Sam Hauser, No.10, Marquette23-4551.1%
Markus Howard, No.0, Marquette21-4250.0%
Kari Jonsson, No.12, Drexel22-4647.8%
Lauri Markkanen, No.10, Arizona21-4447.7%
Isaiah Ross, No.2, UMKC20-4346.5%
Lonzo Ball, No.2, UCLA24-5345.3%
Marcus LoVett, No.15, St. John's20-4544.4%
Shamorie Ponds, No.2, St. John's31-7044.3%
Myles Powell, No.13, Seton Hall22-5341.5%

Thursday, December 08, 2016

The team delivered important wins, now we can focus on #BadgerHateWeek

The most hateful time of year is here and we're excited to talk about it. However, first we have to talk about the two wins Marquette got this week, on the road against Georgia and at home against a frisky Fresno State. We talk about the team's performance in both games, especially the freshman, Sam Hauser and Markus Howard. After spending time breaking down critical performances and concerns over Haanif Cheatham's slump, we jump into #BadgerHateWeek The discussion covers the ins and outs of Saturday's game against our hated rival, including keys to the games, player match ups, and predictions. We have a lot of fun hating on the red menace, we hope you enjoy it with us. Ring Out Ahoya! Download this episode (right click and save)

Current Forecast: Play-in Game in Dayton then Wisconsin in NCAA 1st Round

As Marquette gets ready for the Wisconsin Badgers, and interesting forecast played out on the RPI Forecast site. If bids were passed out exclusively by the projected final RPI for each school, with automatic bids accounted for, Marquette would be the third from final at-large bid.

The last four in play in Dayton in the opening week, and under this scenario if every favored team kept winning except for Marquette, the following would be Marquette's path:

Dayton: (12) Wake Forest vs. (12) Marquette

1st Round: Marquette vs. (5) Wisconsin again (the third best 5-seed on the s-curve)

2nd Round: Marquette vs. (4) Saint Mary's

Regional Semi: Marquette vs. (1) Kansas

Regional Championship: Marquette vs. (2) Baylor

Final Four: Marquette vs. (1) North Carolina

National Championship: Marquette vs. (overall No. 1) Villanova

The other Big East teams would be:

Butler (last 3-seed)
Xavier (1st 4-seed)
Creighton (last 5-seed)

With Marquette as the 5th and Final Big East Seed:

Providence (first 2-seed in NIT)

Seton Hall (top 4-seed in NIT)

And Georgetown missing the NIT by three spots though it would be more due to automatic bids for regular season winners that did not win their tournaments.

Obviously this projection could go way up or down based on Saturday against the Badgers.

Friday, December 02, 2016

All filled up on cupcakes, now things get intersting

We're back with a new podcast after we've all fattened up on cupcakes. We spend some time talking about the three games that MU most recently played to decide if there is anything we can gleam from the performance of the team after the sub-optimal performance in NYC. Then, we get into a few impromptu #ScrambledQs starting with a discussion of the starting line-up. That discussion turns to the hot #mubb social media question, what's up with Katin Reinhardt and is he salvageable. We also spend some more time talking about the point guard situation and how fluid it continues to be. That conversation leads to the topic of significance, the road game against Georgia, breaking down how Marquette could win and whether we think they will. We also talk about how important the Georgia game in the context of the season as prompted by Paint Touches. We also talk a little bit about the trap game, Fresno State, and what to be concerned about. We close out with a couple of fun #ScrambledQs: @MUBBNation wanted to know which one of us had the better jumper and @PaintTouches wants to know if we still hate Buzz and/or Crean and if so why? Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Georgia's Maten (6th best), Nova's Hart (12th) toughest MU Opponents

For the first time in four years, Marquette has three players in the 90th percentile (top 400) most valuable players in the country with Luke Fischer (189th), Haanif Cheatham (261st) and JuJuan Johnson (313th). MU fans were spoiled when MU did it from 2006 to 2013, and in 2003 all five MU starters made it including No. 3 Dwyane Wade and No. 39 Travis Diener being in the 99th percentile, or top 1% of all players.

Below is a list of the top 50 players at Value Add Basketball that you will see if you watch the rest of Marquette's games. While Villanova's Josh Hart is making his case for Player of the Year as the 12th most valuable to date, MU faces an even more valuable opponent Sunday in 6-foot-8 Yante Maten of Georgia. Maten scored 30 points against Kansas and could not miss in the first half, and he is ranked among national leaders in blocked shots and rebounds and actually leads the Bulldogs in steals.

The "Actual Value" shows how many points per 100 trips the player is worth to his team per 100 offensive and defensive trips (Value Add 3.0), while the "If Go To" shows how many they would project to be worth if they received the ball at least 16% of the time (Value Add 4.0).

Below I list players by their actual value, but right now www.valueaddbasketball.com ranks by the projected value:

RnkPlayerTeamHtActual ValIf GoTo
6Yante Maten, #1Georgia6'8"13.3413.34
12Josh Hart, #3Villanova6'5"12.5513.80
19Rodney Pryor, #23Georgetown6'5"12.1312.13
29Rodney Bullock, #5Providence6'8"11.7111.71
37Ethan Happ, #22Wisconsin6'10"11.1711.17
40JP Macura, #55Xavier6'5"10.9813.18
45Mikal Bridges, #25Villanova6'7"10.7513.95
51Eli Cain, #11DePaul6'6"10.6010.60
83Khadeen Carrington, #0Seton Hall6'4"9.6510.62
90Keenan Simmons, #45SIU Edwardsville6'6"9.5715.79
121Khyri Thomas, #2Creighton6'3"8.9111.92
140Jahmel Taylor, #5Fresno St.6'08.5513.27
153Josh Nebo, #32St. Francis PA6'8"8.329.34
181LJ Peak, #0Georgetown6'5"7.978.77
189Luke Fischer, #40Marquette6'11"7.8410.02
193Shamorie Ponds, #2St. John's6'1"7.788.56
215Kris Jenkins, #2Villanova6'6"7.577.57
220Trevon Bluiett, #5Xavier6'6"7.547.54
227JJ Frazier, #30Georgia5'10"7.428.90
246Andrew Chrabascz, #45Butler6'7"7.239.06
261Haanif Cheatham, #25Marquette6'5"7.118.33
275Justin Patton, #23Creighton7'07.0410.06
277Edmond Sumner, #4Xavier6'6"7.037.73
289Cullen Russo, #13Fresno St.6'9"6.958.17
298Keith Braxton, #13St. Francis PA6'4"6.876.87
305Bronson Koenig, #24Wisconsin6'3"6.817.49
313JaJuan Johnson, #23Marquette6'5"6.776.82
316Marcus LoVett, #15St. John's6'06.758.09
324Nigel Hayes, #10Wisconsin6'8"6.706.70
376Kamar Baldwin, #3Butler6'06.3710.32
392Emmitt Holt, #15Providence6'7"6.256.88
407Tre'Darius McCallum, #10DePaul6'7"6.146.66
433Jalen Brunson, #1Villanova6'2"6.007.20
434Myles Powell, #13Seton Hall6'2"6.007.81
486Tyler Lewis, #1Butler5'11"5.719.55
535Desi Rodriguez, #20Seton Hall6'6"5.455.45
603Jalen Lindsey, #21Providence6'7"5.138.31
612Avery Woodson, #0Butler6'2"5.069.30
613Donte DiVincenzo, #10Villanova6'5"5.067.78
633Marcus Foster, #0Creighton6'3"4.935.43
652Tyler Wideman, #4Butler6'8"4.847.23
659Sean O'Mara, #54Xavier6'10"4.818.13
660Darrick Wood, #1DePaul6'5"4.808.55
680Zak Showalter, #3Wisconsin6'3"4.729.04
716Darryl Reynolds, #45Villanova6'9"4.527.71
757Sam Hauser, #10Marquette6'7"4.337.81
762Kelan Martin, #30Butler6'7"4.324.32
792Angel Delgado, #31Seton Hall6'10"4.194.19
810Maurice Watson, #10Creighton5'10"4.124.94
826Michael Nzei, #1Seton Hall6'8"4.057.04

Friday, November 25, 2016

Value Add Rankings, Projected NCAA Bids and Impact Players Returning in December

Value Add ranks UNC No. 1, while remaining more skeptical of the AP No. 1 Kentucky. A UNC-Nova (#3) rematch for the national title is possible, but the Value Add dark horse is Utah. The Utes would rank 16th based on their players' Value Add to date, but Value Add projects that big man transfer David Collette in the coming weeks makes them the fifth best team in the country.

On the downside, Virginia's 50.77 is actually No. 1, but that includes 1.9 from Memphis transfer Austin Nichols, who has been kicked off the team. After subtracting out his value UVa falls three spots to No. 4 at 48.87.

ValueAddBasketball.com calculates Marquette with just enough talent to sneak into the last NCAA tournament spot, giving the Big East six teams. That ranks behind only the ACC (12), Big 12 (8) and Big Ten (7), and with a better ratio than the Big Ten. Value Add gives the Pac 12 five teams, but for some reason is particularly unkind to the SEC while giving only Kentucky and Florida a bid. However, a half dozen SEC teams are in the top 66, so that number could grow. The A10, American Athletic and West Coast Conference all have three bids. The other 23 conferences only get one bid.

Marquette will face Fresno State while Value Add calculates they have the 189th best team in the country. The week after that game Karachi Edo will take final exams to try to become eligible at which point Value Add calculates his impact (+5.0 Value Add) moves them up 89 spots to make them the 100th best team. Last year he went 7 of 9 shooting to keep close to Utah in the NCAA.

Here is the ranking of teams that either project to make the tournament, be in the last four out, or to have a player returning in the next few weeks (mid-season transfers or early season injuries) to give a significant Value Add boost in the second number - or in the case of UVa and UConn a big loss.

RnkTeamConBid?Value AddTrans/InjKey Transfers/Injuries changing 2nd number
1North CarolinaACCauto49.9849.98We don't project return value for long-term injuries like Theo Pinson - the players listed below should be back within a couple of weeks.
4VirginiaACCbid50.7748.87Austin Nichols -1.9 Memphis transfer dismissed after strong opener.
David Collette +8.0 Value Add's 18th best freshman in 2015 before Utah St. tried for months to block his transfer to Utah, where ex-NBA center Larry Krystkowiak could make him another NBA center.
8Wichita St.MVCauto46.6046.60
10KentuckySECauto46.5746.57AP No. 1
15Miami FLACCbid41.8641.86
16ClemsonACCbid39.4741.47Elijah Thomas +2.0 former top 50 prospect transferred from Texas A&M to play in December.
19Saint Mary'sWCCbid40.7140.71
20Iowa St.B12bid40.7040.70
21ArizonaP12bid40.1940.19AP No. 8
24West VirginiaB12bid39.4439.44
26OklahomaB12bid38.0039.00Dante Buford +1.0 coming off suspension after some action as a freshman.
29East Tennessee St.SCauto38.8138.81
32Seton HallBEbid38.3438.34
34Ohio St.B10bid37.9937.99
36Texas TechB12bid37.7137.71
37Notre DameACCbid37.6637.66
38Michigan St.B10bid37.4837.48
39Rhode IslandA10bid37.3437.34
40Virginia TechACCbid37.2337.23
41Kansas St.B12bid36.9136.91
42Florida St.ACCbid36.5236.52
43TCUB12bid32.3736.37Alex Robinson +4.0 a number of double digit outings at Texas A&M before transfer, enough to take them from 67th to 43rd and make the tournament.
45Wake ForestACCbid36.0836.08
48MarquetteBEbid35.2135.21 Yes the last bid, and no I did not fudge - just ran the numbers.
51North Carolina St.ACClast434.9634.96
54UNC WilmingtonCAAauto32.6634.16Names in italics below would make the tournament by winning their conference
Ambrose Mosley +2.5 at UNCW for senior year after being leading 3-point shooter for 27-8 ODU team.
57Cal St. FullertonBWauto26.3333.83Khalil Ahmad +7.0 conference freshman of the year missing semester for academics, Riley Dearring +1 hit a couple of shots for Wisconsin's tourney team two years ago.
60St. BonaventureA10gain32.4833.48Nelson Kaputo +1.0 some action as freshman and needs to pass exams to return Dec 17.
72San Diego St.MWCauto31.3631.36
78Incarnate WordSlndinelig30.5730.57new D1 not eligible yet, but otherwise could make tournament at-large or as conf champ
80North Dakota St.Sumauto29.9429.94
84CharlotteCUSAauto28.0929.59Austin Ajukwa +1.5 two seasons at Clemson and should contribute at Charlotte.
89Georgia TechACCgain27.8529.05Josh Heath +1.2 takes the court against Tulane Saturday after 4-game suspension.
100Fresno St.MWCgain23.2128.21Karachi Edo +5.0 capped 3 strong first years with 7 of 9 shooting to keep close to Utah in the NCAA, but must pass exams in mid-December.
103Stephen F. AustinSlndauto28.0628.06
107MissouriSECgain25.8427.84Jordan Barnett +2.0 returns to Missouri from Texas - former top 100 recruit.
116UT ArlingtonSBauto27.2027.20
118Florida Gulf CoastASunauto27.1027.10
126Texas SouthernSWACauto22.7426.24Tevon Saddler +3.5 led UNCG in scoring and assists before transfer.
128Boston UniversityPatauto26.1626.16
158New Mexico St.WACauto24.3624.36
167Cal St. BakersfieldWACgain23.6424.04
Following teams have significant player changes to their current Value Add
Fallou Ndoye +0.4 played in 30 games as a freshman at Mississippi St. then six more last year before transfer.
184DePaulBEgain22.4223.42Austin Grandstaff +0.2 hit some 3-pointers for Ohio State.
191Western KentuckyCUSAgain21.5023.00Jabari McGhee +1.5 hit 62% of his shots (23-37) at Tennessee.
192ConnecticutAmerlost27.4622.96Terry Larrier -4.5 off to a great start but season ending knee injury crushing for Uconn.
224Kent St.MACgain19.0821.08Taishaun Johnson +2.0 after averaging 12.5 points as a freshman at South Alabama, a nice addition.
235Norfolk St.MEACauto20.3420.34
236Tennessee TechOVCgain19.8020.30Curtis Phillips +0.5 eight points a game at Campbell.
239South FloridaAmergain14.6320.13Jahmal McMurray +4.5 all-freshman team hopes to return from suspension, Isaiah Manderson 1.0 Texas Tech transfer 4.4 ppg as freshman.
257Alabama St.SWACgain15.9518.95Demetrius Houston +3.0 returns home to Montgomery after showing promise his freshman year at Mississippi St.
263Florida AtlanticCUSAgain15.4218.42Justin Massey +3.0 solid player at Florida Atlantic as a freshman, then transferred to Brown for 9 games before coming back.
280PepperdineWCCgain16.8517.85Kameron Edwards +1.0 after scoring 7 points/gm as a freshman he will return from a jaw injury.
294HowardMEACgain13.1517.15James Daniel +4.0 quest for 2000 points resumes after early season ankle injury.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

JJJ 1st Team All-Big East Defense; Cheatham & Fischer 3rd Team All-Big East

Haanif Cheatham and Luke Fischer earn All-Big East 3rd Team Honors in the early going, based on Value Add Calculations. Cheatham improves MU by 6.94 points per 100 offensive trips, and takes 1.21 points off the opponents scoreboard during those trips for a total Version 3 Value Add of 6.94 points.

Version 4.0 (introduced this week) calculates that the average shooting guard is averaging almost 10% less value than other players, so between that adjustment and the calculation of how much value Cheatham could have with 16% of MU's possessions instead of his current 14%, Cheatham calculates to a  potential overall value of 9.48 if MU can get him the ball more.

Only three sophomores (Bridges, Thomas and Cain) and one freshman (LoVett) are more valuable than Cheatham.

Luke Fischer is just behind Cheatham at 9.38 and could definitely use more than 12% of all possessions as he hits over 70 percent of his shots. Both are in the 94th percentile of all players at 265th and 271st nationally of over 4000 players that can be pulled up at www.valueaddbasketball.com.

JuJuan Johnson's -2.76 defensive rating is the fourth best in the Big East, meaning he takes away three points per 100 trips away from opponents over a replacement player. Duane Wilson and Sam Hauser have been very valuable while having the ball 8 percent of the time for MU, indicating  they would both join Johnson as very valuable if they were given the ball a lot more often (16% instead of their current 8%).

These rankings are based on how valuable players would be if given the opportunity to be a major contributor for their team, so players like Baldwin and O'Mara have not truly been worth enough points to make the first two teams, but in theory are playing at that level while on the court and getting the ball.

Nat'l1st Team All-Big EastTeamValue4.0V3.0PossOffDef
23JP Macura #55Xavier14.7112.2519%11.42-0.83
24Mikal Bridges #25Villanova14.6711.1912%9.14-2.04
55Josh Hart #3Villanova12.9511.7820%9.41-2.36
56Kamar Baldwin #3Butler12.957.429%3.86-3.56
95Khyri Thomas #2Creighton11.888.1512%7.05-1.1
Nat'l2nd Team All-Big EastTeamValue4.0V3.0PossOffDef
111Rodney Pryor #23Georgetown11.5711.5717%9.69-1.88
175LJ Peak #0Georgetown10.649.6720%8.36-1.31
198Eli Cain #11DePaul10.3210.3221%10.770.44
219Marcus LoVett #15St. John's10.028.3524%8.410.06
235Sean O'Mara #54Xavier9.795.668%5.08-0.58
Nat'l3rd Team All-Big EastTeamValue4.0V3.0PossOffDef
243Tyler Lewis #1Butler9.75.039%4.99-0.05
265Haanif Cheatham #25Marquette9.488.1514%6.94-1.21
270Khadeen Carrington #0Seton Hall9.398.5319%8.24-0.29
271Luke Fischer #40Marquette9.387.1412%6.13-1.02
283Darrick Wood #1DePaul9.264.828%5.770.95
Nat'lOther High MU PlayersTeamValue4.0V3.0PossOffDef
499Duane Wilson #1Marquette7.644.28%3.36-0.84
666JaJuan Johnson #23Marquette6.676.4415%3.68-2.76
669Sam Hauser #10Marquette6.653.878%3.17-0.7

A piece in Breitbart Sports indicated former MU recruit
Marial Shayok was one of the top 10 Value Add players through Saturday, but he has dropped to 84th as of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Maybe we got a little ahead of ourselves

Well, the tone of this podcast has changed rapidly, much like Marquette's performance on the court. No sugar coating it, we got a little over our skis after the first two games of the season with Michigan and Pitt bringing us all back to Earth. We spend time talking about the 2K Classic results and what it means for Marquette. We try to breakdown what went wrong and how it might be corrected. We also have a discussion around the coaching staff and whether or not there is reason to be concerned early in year 3 of the Wojo era. After finishing our moping about the NYC results we turn to some surprising news in the transfer of Sandy Cohen. We discuss what the news means, and how it may have come to this. Then, wrapping up the Eeyore episode of Scrambled Eggs, we look ahead to the rest of the non-conference schedule and look at how it may play out with the new, less rose colored viewpoint. Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Value Add 4.0 Process and Rankings; High Ranking MU Trio

One year ago Value Add 3.0 provided the most precise value of all 4000 players in D1 basketball, and now Value Add 4.0 finally provides a measurement of how valuable each player would be if they were a Major Contributor for their team. This answers the lingering criticism of how we measure the value of a superstar stuck down the bench at Kentucky.

First we will reveal the top few players, the players from Major Conferences in the Top 1% of all players (top 40), the Big East players in the top 5% of all players (top 200) and the Marquette trio in the top 15% of all players, then we will cover the new math. While we are just updating the tables, you can find the ranking for all 3,898 players by clicking on www.valueaddbasketball.com.

No. 13 on the early list is a painful one for MU, as Brewtown Andy wrote two years ago.

RnkPlayerTeamv4.0 if MajorConfv3.0 Pts/G%usagePosGoTo Adj
1Jacob Van #15Air Force16.48MWC13.7316%PG*1.21.00
2Jeremy Morgan #20Northern Iowa16.19MVC16.1921%PF*11.00
3David DiLeo #14Central Michigan15.84MAC14.1414%PF*11.12
4Marquis Wright #1Siena12.30MAAC10.2526%PG*1.21.00
5Brandon Parrish #11TCU12.17B127.028%PF*11.73
8Markelle Fultz #20Washington12.03P1210.0331%PG*1.21.00
12Charles Cooke #4Dayton11.02A1011.0223%PF*11.00
13Marial Shayok #4Virginia10.93ACC6.7210%SG*1.11.48
17Devin Davis #15Houston10.73Amer10.7316%C*11.00
19Josh Hart #3Villanova10.51BE9.5520%SG*1.11.00
20DJ Johnson #4Kansas St.10.42B127.3611%C*11.42
22Devin Robinson #1Florida10.41SEC8.1412%SF*11.28
24Malcolm Hill #21Illinois10.36B1010.3625%SF*11.00
29ShawnDre' Jones #3Richmond9.97A108.3129%PG*1.21.00
31Tyus Battle #25Syracuse9.86ACC5.158%SG*1.11.74
32Mikal Bridges #25Villanova9.76BE7.5612%SF*11.29
33Joel Berry #2North Carolina9.76ACC7.9615%PG*1.21.02
35Anton Beard #31Arkansas9.70SEC5.139%PG*1.21.58
36Manu Lecomte #20Baylor9.61B128.0119%PG*1.21.00
63Khyri Thomas #2Creighton8.81BE6.0112%SG*1.11.33
68Kamar Baldwin #3Butler8.68BE5.1610%SG*1.11.53
107Darryl Reynolds #45Villanova7.55BE4.026%C*11.88
120Shamorie Ponds #2St. John's7.30BE6.4115%SG*1.11.03
171JP Macura #55Xavier6.63BE5.5321%PG*1.21.00
182Justin Patton #23Creighton6.49BE4.2410%C*11.53
190Jalen Brunson #1Villanova6.41BE5.3515%PG*1.21.00
222Luke Fischer #40Marquette6.09BE4.6812%C*11.30
371Haanif Cheatham #25Marquette5.00BE4.2314%SG*1.11.08
544JaJuan Johnson #23Marquette3.95BE3.9516%SF*11.00

Based on Value Add 3.0 we know that Luke Fischer improves Marquette's points per 100 trips by 4.68 (almost all on offense right now). He is worth an outstanding 130 points per 100 trips down the court. However, Fischer is only getting 12% of Marquette's overall possessions (on the court for 68% of minutes multiplied by 18% of possessions when on the court equals 12%). Based on Dean Oliver's charts in "Basketball on Paper," we can estimate that Fischer would could impact Marquette's scores by 1.3 times as many points (far right factor) if he could get the ball a solid 16% of all possessions in a game, which calculates to a potential Value of 6.09 points - the 222nd best rating in all of basketball.

We do also monitor the average performance by possession each season. While we list the five traditional positions (Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Power Forward and Center) this position is calculated for each player based on four factors. First, a players assist rate is divided by his defensive rebound percentage, which gives an indication on if he plays more on the perimeter or underneath. The players height is also factored, and finally these factors are compared to all of his teammates so that each team has a pretty even distribution of minutes played at each of the five positions. If a team plays a four guard set, the player who spends the most time inside and/or is tallest is going to be considered a power forward for purposes of comparison to the other "No. 4" players on other teams.

So far this season the teams' three "forward/centers" are averaging about the same value over the 351 teams. Shooting guards rank almost 10% lower in the calculations than the front line players, and point guards rank almost 20% lower, so these players have their rankings further multiplied by 1.1 and 1.2 respectively to show how much they improve their team over a replacement player at the same possession.

The initial Value Add 3.0 Calculation is thus multiplied by the position factor and then the usage factor. If a player already has at least 16% of his team's possessions then he is considered to already be performing at his maximum level.
Therefore JuJuan Johnson's 3.95 ranking is not adjusted upward because he is already possession the ball 16% of the time Marquette has it (partly by coming up with his own steals). That is good enough for 544th in the country, placing him in the top 15% of all players.

Haanif Cheatham's 4.23 is increased slightly (*1.08) based on how much more he could contribute if he had the ball 16% of the time instead of 14%, but he also has that factor multiplied by 1.1 to account for his numbers being even more impressive as a shooting guard.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Now THAT was some fun basketball to watch!

The season is underway with a big opening season win against Vanderbilt and so we react (and in some cases overreact) to the results of the first game of the season. Does the starting line-up tell us anything? Is Sam Hauser for real? Will we ever lose again? All questions we ask ourselves and then answer. We also talk about whether this game gives any signal as to how Wojo has progressed as a coach. Once we soak up every ounce of enjoyment from the Vanderbilt result, we turn to the week ahead including the home opener against Howard, and match-ups against Michigan and Pitt/SMU in NYC. Even the resident podcast pessimist sees reason to believe a 4-0 start is possible. Then we get a little over our skis and mention the word ranking before finding sanity and closing out the podcast. Also, wish Joe (@joemccann3) a very happy birthday today! Enjoy the show. Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The season is nearly upon us, time to predict it

Marquette basketball is on the cusp of starting the 2016-17 so we're here to talk about it. First stop is to discuss and overreact to what we saw of the exhibition game against Rockhurst. As we talk about the game we also reference back to the "secret" scrimmage against Dayton from two weeks ago. We then talk about the first real game on the schedule, The Veteran's Classic at the US Naval Academy against Vanderbilt. We talk about what the game will look like and if we think Marquette prevails. With the first game prediction out of the way, we then prognosticate the entire season and compare it to the KenPom projections. While one of us is more optimistic than the other, we are both definitely on the positive side of the ledger for the season over all. To close out the projections and the episode we talk about who we think will be the MVP, Newcomer of the Year, and Breakout players this season. Let's get ready for some real basketball! Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Practice, we're talking about #mubb practice

The season is almost here and regular practice has started so we have an action packed podcast for you. There was a practice held for season ticket holders and Marquette Madness is kind of a practice so we breakdown what we saw at practice and how that projects to this season. As a natural transition, we move to the Tim Gunn portion of the podcast to discuss the sartorial choices by Nike and MU around the new Marquette jerseys. Once we complete our review of MU fashion we move to an early ramp up to #BadgerHateWeek around Duane v Nigel and the student-athlete value proposition. Wrapping up the podcast, we go through recruiting news of players missed and potential commits still out there*. Enjoy! *Since the pod was recorded French has committed to SLU, our breaking news track record is alive and well. Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lots of big news from #mubb as summer turns to fall

Football is in full swing now, but there's been some news on the Marquette basketball front so we need to break in with some Scrambled Eggs podcast. We start the show with the most exciting news since the last pod, two new commitments in the form of Theo John and Jamal Cain. Welcome to the program gentlemen! Joining previous commit, Ike Eke, the three represent a significant bolstering of Marquette's frontline options. We discuss what their commitments mean and with theoretically only one roster spot left, who the remaining targets are Hint: they seem to be all big men. Based on the targets in 2017 we can speculate about what the roster looks like in 2017 and 2018 as well as some thoughts around 2018 targets. This all leads to a discussion around what Wojo's team strategy will be based on what we think the rosters will look like from a skill set standpoint. We then get to the Big East conference schedule which was released last week. While we don't go step by step through it, we do review key games or general impressions on what the schedule means including what MU has to do to make a tournament this season. We wrap up with an overview of the half century team that Big East Coast Bias put together based on voting. Oh and a new logo!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Schedule is finally out and Marquette(alumni) are going deep in The Tournament(not the tournament)

The off season has been long and drawn out, much like the non-conference schedule...hey OH! All teasing aside we roll through the non-conference schedule and discuss want an improvement it is over the previous year and how it may impact the team this year. The discussion even includes a sad Pitt bear reference. We transition to a brief discussion around the MU BBQ and some recruiting news. Talk then turns to red hot incoming freshman Marcus Howard and what his impact may or may not be on the season this season based on his USA team performance. Then we get to the exciting topic, THE TOURNAMENT (capitalization is a marketing ploy I guess) which features a very compelling Marquette Alumni team. We discuss all sorts of thing regarding this fun off season glorified pick up game tournament including a mic'd Wesley Matthews, Joe Chapman sightings and the rarest of unicorns, a Derrick Wilson 3 pointer.Very exciting stuff for off season entertainment and all games going forward should be on an ESPN platform so if you haven't watched yet, you should start. We wrap up the latest off-season pod with a quick discussion of Fred Hoiberg's Marquette NBA roster down in Chicago and possible MU players to earn NBA contracts this summer. Enjoy and stay cool. Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Team of Marquette NBA Alums 6th Best in Country - Projected 52-30 Record

I realize this will be viewed as a "homer" post, particularly as I head to Milwaukee Thursday for an 11:30 presentation (yes, those of you in Milwaukee please RSVP here and come!).

However, I ran the estimated wins created by all NBA players as calculated by ESPN's Estimated Wins Added formula and Value Add Basketball Rankings of incoming players (see details in post here). Then I broke down all 728 players who are on NBA rosters, D-League Rosters or Free Agents by their college. In a stroke of luck, the 36 colleges here are the only teams with at least five players each.

Those 36 teams breakdown nicely into six divisions similar to the NBA's actual divisional footprint. (Keep in mind, Davidson doesn't have five NBA players, to Seth Curry would not be on a team, and James went straight from high school to the NBA, so Russell Westbrook of UCLA and Kevin Durant of Texas would be the top two players from these 36 schools). Eastern Conference (NBA Alums).

While I will post a Breitbart Sports story later on all six divisions here, and you can look at standings and players in each division here, let me just focus on the six Midwestern Schools who could field a starting five:

East - Central W-L GB
Marquette 52-30 0
Michigan State 49-33 -3
Ohio State 41-41 -11
Indiana 34-48 -18
Michigan 28-54 -24
Wisconsin 26-56 -26

Based on ESPN's Estimated Wins Added, Jimmy Butler (worth 13.3 extra wins) and Dwyane Wade (11.1) both edge out Michigan State's Draymond Green (10.9) as top players in this hypothetical Division of schools whose NBA alums would make up the "Eastern Conference, Central Division."

Even though Wesley Matthews was not at the same level post-injury, Value Add doesn't rank Henry Ellenson as a huge producer yet, and we don't know if the Bucks will bring Steve Novak back, the addition of Jae Crowder (6.1) gives MU a trio that ranks overall slightly ahead of Michigan State's balanced alumns (Denzel Valentine, Zach Randolph).  Ohio State's Mike Conley and Indiana's Victor Olidipo rank in a distant tie for fourth behind the big three.

While they do not calculate as adding wins, Marquette is one of the few teams that could fill an entire roster with Vander Blue, Dwight Buycks, Matt Carlino and Lazar Hayward available in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th spots.

If the entire projection played out in a hypothetical season, MU would go into the tourament as the No. 3 seed in the East to draw No. 6 Florida, then No. 2 UConn and No. 1 Duke. At that point a prohibitive overall No. 1 Kentucky from the West would be the prohibitive favorite - actually projects and an unrealistic 80-2 on the season - but we all know what happens when a Dwyane Wade MU team plays a Kentucky team ranked No. 1.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Bulls' hit jackpot with Wade, Crowder's Celtics score even better offseason

Outside of Golden State's signing of Kevin Durant, Marquette's returning NBA players are  on the teams that could improve the most based on offseason moves to date. I rank the 30 team's offseasons in a Thursday Breitbart piece.

Click here for a more detailed analysis of the 148 best players by team. Here are the Bulls and Celtics players worth at least four extra wins based on last year's NBA Estimated Wins and the college Value Add basketball rankings

Player20162017Extra Wins
Robin LopezNYCHI7.8
Jimmy ButlerCHICHI13.3
Dwyane WadeMIACHI11.1
Rajon RondoSACCHI7.5
Denzel ValentineMichigan St.CHI7.2
Taj GibsonCHICHI4.0
Isaiah ThomasBOSBOS13.9
Al HorfordATLBOS11.6
Jae CrowderBOSBOS6.1
Jared SullingerBOSBOS5.9
Ben BentilProvidenceBOS5.7
Amir JohnsonBOSBOS4.1
Ante ZizicCroatiaBOS4.0
Guerschon YabuseleFranceBOS4.0
Jaylen BrownCaliforniaBOS4.0
Kelly OlynykBOSBOS4.0

To walk through the math, Wade was worth an additional 11.1 wins last season, while the acquisition of Robin Lopez (+7.8) and Rajon Rondo (+7.5) and the draft of Denzel Valentine (+7.2) improve the team. Next we subtract -12.7 for the loss of Pau Gasol and the normal -6.0 atrophy for each team – the Bulls project a 15-game improvement.

Whether or not Wade can repeat his level of play at 35 years old, and whether adding a whole bunch of good players to a Celtics team that really just needs one great one is also in question, but the pick up of Al Horford seems to give the Celtics a shot to go to the next level in the East.

As for Detroit, we have Michael Gbinije having a bigger first year impact, with Henry Ellenson the bigger star over his career once he stops twisting his body and hand on his shot.

It has been a great offseason for the former MU players - let's see if it plays out next year.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The night before the NBA Draft - where does Ellenson go?

UPDATE;   Ellenson was picked 18th by the Detroit Pistons. DraftExpress had picked him 18th yesterday afternoon.  DraftExpress also predicted the Milwaukee Bucks would take Thon Maker at 10.

The NBA will conduct its annual draft tomorrow as 60 players from around the world will be selected for an opportunity to play in the NBA.  Marquette's Henry Ellenson is a sure fire first round pick, but whether he is a sure fire lottery pick now has some experts uncertain.  Last month we interviewed Jonathan Givony, founder of DraftExpress, for his predictions.  Since that meeting, DraftExpress has had Ellenson move up a bit, but recently slipping all the way to number 18.  They caution that the prediction ultimately could change based on a number of unknown variables, a trade, a team misses out on a "must have" player, a last minute piece of information that causes a player's stock to drop as we saw in the NFL draft this year.  Ellenson could go as high as 9 per the site.

Other publications have Ellenson also in the 7 to 21 range.  Several believe he will land locally with the Milwaukee Bucks and continue his presence in Cream City.  Regardless of where he is drafted, tomorrow night will be one of the most important days in his life and mark another draft choice from the Marquette basketball program.

Henry Ellenson NBA Draft Mock predictions

Sports Cheat Sheet pick 7 - Denver Nuggets
Forbes pick 8 - Sacramento Kings
CBS pick 9 - Toronto Raptors
WalterFootball  pick 9 - Toronto Raptors
Dick Vitale pick 9 - Toronto Raptors
NBA.com pick 10 - Milwaukee Bucks
Fox Sports pick 10 - Milwaukee Bucks
Draftsite pick 11 - Orlando Magic
Bleacher Report pick 12 - Utah Jazz
MyNBADraft  pick 12 - Utah Jazz
Chad Ford pick 13 - Phoenix Suns
SB Nation  pick 13 - Phoenix Suns
NBADraft.net pick 16 - Boston Celtics
Hoops Hype  pick 16 - Boston Celtics
Draft Express pick 18 - Detroit Pistons
Washington Post pick 21 - Atlanta Hawks

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Podcast is in off season form

Well, it's the off season which means we are more unprepared and disorganized then ever but we have a good amount of topics to cover, so hopefully that makes up for it. We talk about non-basketball related Marquette topics before we remember we are a basketball podcast and then jump into the latest news first. We discuss Khalif Young and LG Gill deciding not to don the blue and gold next season. We debate whether it's a big deal, does it matter, is it a sign of weakness, and why people seem so anxious about some mid-tier recruits. We then talk about everybody's least favorite topic: was Wally cut and why. Basically it boils down to Phil is cold hearted and Joe has some sympathy but basically we should all move on. Since we do have a scholarship open, its worth talking about what the team should do with it. Then we transition to some schedule news that's been coming out in dribs and drabs and what that means for the non-conference season. Lastly we spend time talking about "The Tournament" which is something that Marquette basketball alum led by Dan Fitzgerald are trying to qualify for so they can go win $2 million. The potential team looks pretty good with a lot of fan favorites signed up. Hopefully it'll show up on tv somewhere so we can spend time analyzing it to no end. Link to vote for MU in The Tournament: https://www.thetournament.com/teams/golden-eagles-alumni-marquette-alumni?type=fan&f=570594e91a926927767547 Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Henry Ellenson's draft stock - An interview with DraftExpress founder Jonathan Givony

I was fortunate to spend a few minutes yesterday with Jonathan Givony, the founder of DraftExpress to discuss Henry Ellenson and the 2016 NBA draft.  Givony has been kind enough over the last four or five years to give his time to us as he has weighed in on MU draft hopefuls like Vander Blue, Jimmy Butler, Dominic James, Steve Novak and Wes Matthews.

Jonathan and his wife Rebecca just had a baby last week, so we kept the questions short and sweet.

Cracked Sidewalks:  Why do you have Henry at #9?  Earlier in the year you had him as high as 5 or 6.  Other mock draft sites and draft experts have Henry anywhere from 5 to 18.   That seems a pretty big range for someone that is considered a top ten pick.  What have you seen that puts him in that 9 or 10 spot at this point?

Jonathan Givony:  If you are top 10 pick, that's pretty good.  That shows how good we think he is, nothing negative.  We are always evaluating not just against yourself, but others in the draft class.  Other guys are stepping up, improving their draft stock, so some guys will move down when others move up.  There is a give and take.   

I would say some of it, if he were in the draft 5 years ago, there might be a little more excitement about him.  That 6'10" power forward who struggles on defense and doesn't really give you a lot of rim protection to be a full-time small ball center, there isn't as big of an appetite now for those guys now as there was 5 years ago for guys like that.  There is more of a trend moving toward guys that block shots, or more agile and mobile in terms of moving their feet and guarding on the perimeter. That isn't to say he can't get there.  I think he already made and improved substantially just off this year in college, the kid is 19 years old, so hard to say he can't continue to improve moving forward.

CS:  Does he have the athleticism at the NBA level to guard the type of guys he has to guard.  Secondly, does he have the shooting skills today to play on the outside, if needed?  Can he make the improvements there to be an outside threat

JG:  I think a lot of guys...there's not many 6'10 or 6"11" guys that start off where he is as a shooter, especially those that can do other things, too.  I think he will continue to improve there over time. He's not consistent right now, shoot's it a little flat, has a little extra motion going on. He's probably better in the mid-range spots than at the three.  He will get there, but you're not going to throw him into a NBA playoff game tomorrow and say go to make shots for me.  He's more like an all around scorer, but not necessarily a great shooter.

CS:  A general question about the draft and the NBDL.  Seems like the last few years a rather large number of draft picks have been sent down to the D-League to work on their game as opposed to say 5 years ago.  Do you see this as a potential option for Ellenson...I know that is difficult to answer without knowing who is going to draft him.

JG:   The NBA has become a lot more closely with the D-League, adding their own franchises.  Teams understand they need to invest in it, more money into scouting, coaching staffs, facilities and such.  It's really no longer a negative to send a guy down to the D-League at all.  You're giving them extra reps with an extension of your coaching staff, put them in real games, real situations, and help them work on the things you want them to improve on.  A lot of the best teams in the NBA utilize the D-League really well.  The Spurs, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Toronto, and others are very invested.  That's the difference between now and 5 years ago.  They may not have seen the value, but the D-League has become so much more serious, more professional and a good place to develop young players.

CS:   Final question.  Final prognostication.  If you were to think 10 to 12 years down the road, is Henry a future all-star or more of a 12 and 6 type guy.  One of the criticisms that we have heard some Marquette fans or basketball fans in general state that he is already closer to his ceiling than others.  Perhaps not as much upside is the argument.  Would you agree or disagree with that assertion?

JG:  Maybe he is closer to his ceiling because he is already a really really polished player at age 19, and I don't think that's not something you want to hold against him.  While other guys are only now getting into shape for the pre-draft process, he transformed his body 2 years ago.  He took this seriously for a longer time isn't something you hold against him.  At the same time, he's only 19 years old.  If you look at the NBA playoffs now, there are so many guys who are big time impact players and if you look back and say what were these guys like at age 19 and they were really nothing.  I think he has a chance to be really really good, especially if he becomes a better shooter and as he becomes more serious about playing defense.  I wouldn't project him as an all-star.  There's only a couple of those in every draft class, but I do think he has a chance to be a starter in the NBA.  

That was the end of our questions, short and sweet this time.  Perhaps we'll do a post draft recap with Jonathan as a follow-up.  

Monday, April 04, 2016

Seasons over and changes are coming....now what?

We put a couple of weeks between us and the end of the Marquette season, and now we're ready to talk about it. Be prepared, this is a far ranging and deep conversation on all things Marquette basketball (not to mention an hour long). First welcome Markus Howard to the Marquette family! We start with a brief recap of the end of the season and what we took away from the season overall. We then spend some time commiserating over the lack of a post season and the impact on the future that might have. The much maligned schedule is discussed and how it ultimately impacted Marquette's season and post season opportunities. This conversation leads to a very deep dive into the possibility of a Big East expansion that surfaced over the last couple of weeks. After getting the general topics out of the way we got to the main focus right now: Henry Ellenson leaving (we assumed but since confirmed), what the team needs, and Markus Howard. We also spent a little time talking about the future and where the team goes next year. Overall, drawing one season to a close and getting everything tucked away in the podcast so we can settle in to the summer hibernation that is Marquette basketball. Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

JJJ Surges; Remembering Beating Nasty Big East Turned ACC Team; New Big East to New Heights Without Stars

Reflections on Marquette's past March battles with the former nasty Big East opponent still alive this year and the fact that the current Big East team representing one of the top three conferences - but a conference with no stars.

JuJuan Johnson was one of the biggest breakthroughs, surging to join Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer among the top 30 Big East players in the Value Add rankings listed below.

Daniel Ochefu overcame injury to make Villanova the only team in the country with four top 100 players - and that quartet is in the Final Four. The Big East, Big 12 and ACC are the top three conferences based on www.kenpom.com, and are the only three with teams in the Final Four as well as the only three with a winning record in the NCAA tournament, so how can the other two conferences have 10 players rated higher in Value Add than any Big East player?

Yes, Syracuse roughed MU up in the last NCAA match-up, but that memory is eclipsed by DJO and Crowder hitting the consecutive three-pointers in Cleveland to send them home.

This year while the Big East had two stars is you go by likely NBA potential. But our own Henry Ellenson was too inconsistent as most freshman are to be a superstar this year (275th final ranking of 4000+ players).

Which begs the question, "What about Kris Dunn?"

Kris is my favorite non-Marquette player - a great kid when I interviewed him at the Big East tournament  last year where he talked about his trust in God, and he will be a great NBA player. He was my preseason National Player of the Year, and I am thrilled the AP selected him as a 2nd Team All-American. However, he dropped to 74th in Value Add and I dropped him to 5th team All-American.

When you really crunch the numbers, Dunn just did not live up to his projected value for one reason - he couldn't stay on the court. Obviously missing some games with the flu is tough. But Dunn just couldn't resist reaching fouls that really hurt Providence by forcing him to sit.

The team barely survived Illinois, USC and Arizona despite Dunn missing more than 14 minutes a game due to foul trouble. He has at least four fouls and averaged missing 10 minutes in two losses to Seton Hall and Michigan State, and if he was on the court to keep them in those games and pull one out then Providence may have improved from an 8-seed and avoided UNC in the second round.

Once they played UNC, he was once again brilliant while on the court - 29 points in 26 minutes - but if Providence could have pulled ahead in the first half while Dunn was sitting on the bench with fouls they might have had a chance. So on the court, no one is better - but resisting those cheap fouls might have given the Big East an additional Sweet 16 team in what is nonetheless a great year.

Season RankPlayerTeamClassTotal Pts/Gm ValueNBA%
37Bentil, Ben 0Providence2 So7.6980%
74Dunn, Kris 3Providence3 Jr6.7894%
81Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown4 Sr6.7117%
87Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall2 So6.61
99Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova4 Sr6.4911%
102Hart, Josh 3Villanova3 Jr6.4736%
110Jenkins, Kris 2Villanova3 Jr6.32
114Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton Hall2 So6.2632%
115Bluiett, Trevon 5Xavier2 So6.2636%
171Ochefu, Daniel 23Villanova4 Sr5.7220%
200Groselle, Geoffrey 41Creighton4 Sr5.54
225Farr, James 2Xavier4 Sr5.27
233Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler4 Sr5.21
265Dunham, Kellen 24Butler4 Sr4.9825%
272Carrington, Khadeen 0Seton Hall2 So4.93
275Ellenson, Henry 13Marquette1 Fr4.9191%
291Delgado, Angel 31Seton Hall2 So4.8126%
296Henry, Myke 4DePaul4 Sr4.79
298Martin, Kelan 30Butler2 So4.7816%
331Davis, Myles 15Xavier3 Jr4.59
360Fischer, Luke 40Marquette3 Jr4.4535%
370Chrabascz, Andrew 45Butler3 Jr4.42
374Macura, JP 55Xavier2 So4.42
400Peak, LJ 0Georgetown2 So4.2724%
430Wideman, Tyler 4Butler2 So4.17
468Watson, Maurice 10Creighton3 Jr3.9616%
470Huff, Cole 13Creighton3 Jr3.95
515Zierden, Isaiah 21Creighton3 Jr3.82
523Bridges, Mikal 25Villanova1 Fr3.7918%
524Johnson, JaJuan 23Marquette3 Jr3.7921%

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Nova Hopes to Add to Big East Breakthrough Tournament

Butler and Xavier could have made it an incredible tournament for the Big East, but this is still a strong one for the conference. As I just posted on Breitbart, the Big East is one of only three conferences with a winning record even if Nova loses tonight. When you look at the disappointments of the first two tournaments of the new Big East, this may be the breakthrough year.

If we have a few upsets, there could even be a reunion of the old Big East in the Final Four with Nova, Notre Dame and Syracuse winning. Pomeroy gives Nova a slightly better than 50-50 chance, but only a 2% chance of all three of those winning.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Former MU asst coach, Trey Schwab, has passed away

I was saddened to learn that Trey Schwab passed away today.  He had been fighting for his life while waiting for another lung transplant, but had been in touch via social media with many of us over the years and last few months.  

A wonderful man, so genuine to the core.  Not a nicer person that you could ever meet.  He would call me in my early days at DIRECTV to get the MU basketball team hooked up with satellite on the road, so he could scout various games as a member of Tom Crean's staff.  It was always good to catch up with Trey, get his two cents on the team and the prospects for success on the court.

When it was learned he would need a transplant, the MU and UW communities responded.  He underwent double lung transplant surgery and suffered a heart attack while recovering.  That would be only the beginning as a major blood clot left him dead on an operating table for 40 minutes, with no pulse.  Somehow he survived....and thrived.  


After coaching, he spent the last 11 years working for the Donate Life Wisconsin, where the state finally had an official organ registry program in 2010, thanks in large part to Trey's efforts.

Fox 6 News in Milwaukee had recently done an interview with Trey by MU's own Tim Van Vooren

A few articles we wrote about Trey over the years on Cracked Sidewalks.  



RIP Trey

Your friend, JD