"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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Howard and Hauser Project as MU's 1st Top 100 Players in 5 Years

Based on the average improvement between freshmen and sophomore seasons, Sam Hauser and Markus Howard project to be among the top 100 players in the country next year, which would make them the first to break the top 100 since Devante Gardner finished 55th in 2013.

Marquette's Team Value Add was 30.83 in 2017, the 35th best total in the season, but they lost more than a third of that total with the departures of Luke Fischer, JaJuan Johnson, Katin Reinhardt and Duane Wilson (see 2017 values below).

Project Improvement of Returning Players Outweighs Losses

Andrew Rowsey ranked as the 300th best player in the country with a value of an additional 4.80 points per game, according to www.valueaddbasketball.com. He projects to improve to 5.25 for his senior campaign. However, most of a players improvement typically occurs between a player's freshman and sophomore season, and an average jump for Hauser and Howard would place them in the top 100 players, part of 31.60 of projected Team Value Add for Marquette that makes the team already one point better than last year, which would make MU the 32nd best team in the country even if they failed to fill the final roster spots.

2017 RnkPlayerHt2017 Team2017 Actual      2018 Projected
347Sam Hauser #106'6"Marquette4.436.77
358Markus Howard #05'11"Marquette4.366.25
300Andrew Rowsey #305'10"Marquette4.805.25
962Haanif Cheatham #256'5"Marquette2.323.51
NRHarry Froling6'11"SMU if all season1.092.59
NRJamal Cain6'7"High School01.92
1467Matt Heldt #126'10"Marquette1.301.90
NRGreg Elliott6'3"High School01.62
NRTheo John6'8"High School01.27
NRIkechukwu Eke6'9"High School00.52
NRSacar Anim6'5"Marquette 20160.000.00
202Luke Fischer #406'11"Marquette5.500.00
413JaJuan Johnson #236'5"Marquette4.100.00
867Katin Reinhardt #226'6"Marquette2.550.00
1557Duane Wilson #16'2"Marquette1.160.00
2427Traci Carter #216'0Marquette0.310.00
35Team Total (35th to 32nd)Marquette30.8331.60

During the first decade of Value Add Historic Rankings MU had 18 top 100 players in just 10 seasons.

YearSeason RankPlayer
20033Wade, Dwyane
200339Diener, Travis
20047Diener, Travis
200511Diener, Travis
200617Novak, Steve
200676James, Dominic
200890McNeal, Jerel
200896James, Dominic
200950Matthews, Wesley
200980McNeal, Jerel
200989Hayward, Lazar
20105Butler, Jimmy
201034Hayward, Lazar
201148Butler, Jimmy
201169Crowder, Jae
20122Crowder, Jae
201291Johnson-Odom, Darius
201355Gardner, Davante

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wrapping up the season

After giving it a week to breathe, we're ready to talk about the season ending loss to South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. We spend some time breaking down the game and understanding how it went so bad. Then the really disappointing news in that Duane Wilson has decided to seek a grad transfer and leave Marquette after 4 up and down years. We then talk about the season as a whole and whether it was a success or not. That discussion leads to some talk about next year's team and what we can expect from them. Any talk of the future would not be complete without a debate about what Marquette should do with the 3 open scholarships for next year, so we get into it. Then to cleanse the palette and try to have some fun, we discuss the firing of Tom Crean and the opening at Georgetown. Thanks for another fun season, we'll be back when the off-season bat signal goes up but until then, enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Howard falls three 3-pointers short of all-time record percentage

Before the game I joked with Steve Novak that I never thought I'd question if he was the greatest 3-point shooter in Marquette history until this year - and he was humble in agreeing. I talked with Andrew Rowsey on the way up the elevator at 3 a.m. and was happy he had seen my 6-second amateur phone video of him sinking the half court step back.

During the game one of the top sports reporters in the country texted me with a simple, "Markus Howard is just a lovely basketball player." Later when Howard ripped the pass to Sam Hauser for a late bucket, the guy behind me yelled, "That is the future, and bring along baby Hauser too! (referring to 5-star Joey Hauser, who I believe was sitting in front of me, but I could be wrong).

The fact is people were either upset or surprised when I sent out my mass email and posted by bracket and picked South Carolina tonight, but with South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell the top ranked player in the country at www.valueaddbasketball.com and their defense being one of the best at denying the 3-pointer (which we need to win) and stealing the ball (where we are week) in a near home game, I just didn't see it tonight.

However, the future is bright. If Howard hit all six of his 3-pointers tonight he would have set the all-time record for 3-point percentage for a season. Going three of six, he finishes with the second greatest season in the history of college basketball in only his second season. No player has even shot 50 percent for a career. Here is where he finishes - the future is bright, but thank you seniors for getting the team back to March Madness in your final year to help build:

RankBest 3pt seasons ever3ptM3ptA3P%SchoolSeason
1Micah Mason6511656.03%Duquesne2013-14
2Markus Howard8215054.67%Marquette2015-16
3Roosevelt Moore5011953.28%Saint Peter's1992-93
4Nick Masterson7814753.06%Kenneshaw St.2015-16
5Travis Ford10119152.88%Kentucky1992-93
6Royce Olney8015651.28%New Mexico1997-98
7Troy Hudson13426251.15%Southern Illinois1996-97
8Brad Lechtenberg7113951.08%San Diego2003-04
9Ross Land8316350.92%Northern Arizona1998-99
10Ross Land6412650.79%Northern Arizona1996-97

Here is the bracket based on the Value Add bracket which takes the www.kenpom.com rating and adjusts it by any returning or missing players, as explained here. A win in South Carolina just wasn't in the cards.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A #mubb dancing pod

No, this is not a podcast to dance to, but #mubb is dancing again for the first time since the original season of this podcast(Buzz's Elite 8 team). Needless to say we are excited about just being in the tournament and discuss that feeling. We spend a little time talking about the player reactions as well, which unless you are the Grinch, got things a little dusty in whatever room you were in. We then turn to the primary focus, South Carolina. We then continue a debate originated on social media about how to evaluated South Carolina's very impressive KenPom ranking for defense and especially 3pt defense. We break down what Marquette needs to do to win the game and what are some key factors to watch for (TURNOVERS!!!). After focusing on Marquette we turn to the tournament as a whole and give a brief analysis, including Buzz vs Wisconsin vs Meteor. Bottom line, we are happy to be here and there is reason for optimism with the opening round....so as always ENJOY!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The most famous South Carolina vs Marquette battle - 1972

A trip down memory lane, from SI's Curry Kirkpatrick.  The battle of the McGuire boys.....Frank vs Al.  Number 2 vs number 4!  For you youngsters, Kirkpatrick was one of the best SI had, back in the day when SI was the gold standard for sports publications.

1972 Sports Illustrated - Marquette vs South Carolina


In year three, Wojo guides the Warriors back to the NCAA Tournament

After missing the NCAA tournament in Buzz Williams' last year, Marquette hired another assistant to return the Warriors back to the dance.  As year three of Steve Wojciechowski's tenure comes to an end it was richly rewarded tonight as Marquette's name appeared on Selection Show Sunday for the first time in four seasons.   The bid marks the 32nd trip to the NCAA tournament in school history.  

Marquette had to rally the last three weeks of the season to secure a spot in the field after seemingly well on target in late January.  Four losses in five games put MU in a precarious spot with only five conference games remaining.  Wojciechowski juggled lineups, benched players, demanded some defensive accountability, toughness and it paid off.  Marquette won four of its final five games heading into the Big East tournament.  Despite a loss to Seton Hall in the quarterfinals, most experts had the club safely in the tournament.  Earning a 10 seed today, proved those prognosticators correct.

Marquette will play seven seeded South Carolina in Greenville, SC.  The Gamecocks are one of the better defensive teams in the country, but offensively challenged.  The exact opposite of MU's strengths and weaknesses.  If the Warriors are fortunate to advance, second seeded Duke is likely awaiting them.  The Gamecocks are 1.5 point favorites.  USC has not won a NCAA tournament game in 40 years.

Wojo's rebuild in three years should be commended.  Major roster turnover the past three seasons, young players thrust into important roles, and playing in a top three conference could have made the rebuild longer.   

Social media captured the Warrior celebrations today.

St. Patrick's Day in Greenville, a blessing for bar owners as Marquette fans descend to the Palmetto state. 

Monday, March 06, 2017

A year without Henry Ellenson equals a better team for Marquette

April 5, 2016, Marquette forward Henry Ellenson declared for the NBA draft.  The extremely talented freshman was off to greener pastures and a Marquette basketball team that missed the NIT was left wondering what was next.  Few blamed Ellenson for the decision, though many felt he wasn't ready, myself included.  The draft was weak and this was his chance to earn serious money doing what he loves to do. He was slotted to be picked anywhere from 9th to 19th by the time draft day rolled around.  My thoughts at the time were he would be unproductive this year in the NBA and probably even spend time in the D-League.  I had interviewed Jonathon Givony of DraftExpress and put those questions to him in May of last year.

The bigger question on the minds of Warrior fans was the void filled by Ellenson's departure.  How does one replace that kind of talent and what on earth was Marquette going to do without him in Wojo's third season.  The answer, you don't replace him and you get better in the process.  Addition by subtraction.  That statement is not meant to diminish the talents of Ellenson at all.  The reality is the team too often deferred to Henry last year, and didn't grow as a result. Henry took the big shots, Henry got the rebounds, Henry played a lot of minutes, Henry was the face of the team on and off the court.  Mostly this was by default, he was the one guy Wojo could rely on consistently.

Would a team this year with Howard, Hauser, Ellenson, Rowsey, Fischer, Wilson and Johnson be lights out?  On paper, wow!  In reality, I get the feeling guys that have grown so much this year would not have if that lineup were in place. Would the have overcome the urge to defer to the future NBA draft pick?  Impossible to know for sure, fans can debate the what if scenarios.

As for Ellenson, he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the 18th overall pick.  His first year has been one of struggles, not overly surprising to many of us. To date he has appeared in 14 NBA games and scored just 21 points with 12 rebounds in 56 total minutes.  He has played more games, sixteen, for the Grand Rapids Drive of the D-League than for the Pistons.  His D-League stats are fairly impressive, averaging over 17 points and 9 rebounds per game. With time, Ellenson will get stronger, develop a better NBA body and hopefully become the player many hope he can become.  Critics have already listed him and others as potential busts, but it seems way to early at this point in his career to make that judgment.

In the end, it appears that the departure was a net positive for both parties.  Henry is learning the ropes of professional basketball. Although he is struggling as rookies often do, the MU faithful are certainly hoping for major success for him.  He has enjoyed his first year in the NBA.  For Wojo and the Warriors, a year of uncertainty and turned into a year where young guys have filled major roles and likely led this team back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013. Sometimes things have a way of working themselves out just fine.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Regular season finale had it all: offense, big leads, missed free throws, and a proposal.

You are looking live, at least live to tape as both of us were in Milwaukee for the senior day festivities and final regular season game. So we recorded a podcast to discuss the game and where we stand for the NCAA tournament. First, we discuss the game against Creighton and JjJ's big first half, how nervous we got in the second half, and of course the Luke Fischer proposal. Then it's time to talk NCAA tournament chances, with both of us feeling pretty confident we're in regardless of the Big East Tournament results. However, we do have to talk about the Big East tournament and the 2nd round match up of Marquette against Seton Hall. After talking about the Big East tournament and the NCAA tournament we talk about the All Big East team and bemoan the lack of Marquette players on the list and question the fact that Markus Howard was not a unanimous freshmen All Big East selection. Let's get a win on Thursday to remove all doubt but we should probably get our dancing shoes ready. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

7 of 10 Would Give Howard Greatest 3-Pt% in History of College Basketball

As I recorded Andrew Rowsey before the Creighton game asking a defender to come out and guard him at half court, dribbling, and then calmly sinking a 45-footer (see here and photo above), I dwelled on the fact that he might be only the third best three-pointer shooter in the Bradley Center. Steve Novak was sitting a few rows in front of me, and then there is Markus Howard.

If Markus Howard hits seven of his next 10 three-pointers he would be hitting at a 56.08 percent clip - giving him the greatest season in the history of college basketball. Of course, we do not now how many more three point attempts he will take between the Big East and NCAA tournament,

Howard can also become the greatest three-point shooter in the history of college basketball if he finishes the season 4 of 4, 13 of 20, 19 of 30 or 24 of 40, as shown on the table below. Howard is chasing only the 56.03 percent mark of Micah Mason of Duquesne a couple of years ago:

1Micah MasonDuquesne2013-146511656.03
2Markus HowardMarquette2016-177613855.07
1?Markus Howard (if 4 of 4)Marquette2016-178014256.34
1?Markus Howard (if 7 of 10)Marquette2016-178314856.08
1?Markus Howard (if 13 of 20)Marquette2016-178915856.33
1?Markus Howard (if 19 of 30)Marquette2016-179516856.55
1?Markus Howard (if 24 of 40)Marquette2016-1710017856.18
3Nick MastersonKennesaw St.2016-178816154.66
4Roosevelt MooreSaint Peter's1992-9353.28
5Travis FordKentucky1992-9352.88
6Royce OlneyNew Mexico1997-9851.28
7Troy HudsonSouthern Illinois1996-9751.15
8Brad LechtenbergSan Diego2003-0451.08
9Ross LandNorthern Arizona1998-9950.92
10Giddy PottsMiddle Tennessee2015-1650.64
11Salim StoudamireArizona2004-0550.42
12Jon DieblerOhio State2010-1150.22
13Josh CarterTexas A&M2006-0750.00
14Jeremy CrouchBradley2006-0750.00
15Chris WestlakeGreen Bay1994-9550.00

As long as Howard closes the season reasonably well he will finish as one of 15 players to ever shoot 50 percent from behind the arc for a season. Nick Masterson also matched the feat this season with Kennesaw State, a team that was eliminated from the ASun Tournament as the 252nd best team in the country, and played some non-Division 1 schools.

As a team, Marquette is now at 43 percent on three-pointers, a full 1.5 percent ahead of second place UCLA.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Getting closer

Last night's win moved our RPI up to 58.  All other ratings now 30 or better (click on graphic below). Despite the crazy talk after the Providence game by some fans, this team and staff continue to make very good progress.  A NCAA berth is within reach if they can stay focused and come away with a win against Creighton and perhaps a first round win in the Big East tournament.

A difficult loss to Providence could have left this team shaking their heads, but the Warriors output was one of the best of the season against a desperate Xavier squad playing at home for the last time.  Tremendous job by the players and coaches to get this team ready.  A lot riding on the Creighton game, but this team is playing lights out offensively and good enough defensively to get it done.  Matt Heldt is no longer just a bit player, he is someone we can rely on for 20 minutes a game.  The guards are shooting lights out, and despite size issues our rebounding is keeping teams honest.

Marquette's Ken Pom rating is nearly identical now to the 2013 Elite 8 squad at this point.  Sagarin and BPI also very close.  Though our defense is troublesome, no NCAA team is going to want to play this offensive juggernaut when we are shooting well.

Monday, February 27, 2017

#MUBB is skating on thin ice

Terrible pun aside, this weekend was tough for #mubb basketball for a whole lot of reasons. We discuss the Providence game and especially the conditions underwhich is was played. We also talk about the coaching and personnel decisions and whether that impacts our belief in Wojo as a coach. Of course, we also have to talk about Team Bubble Watch and where MU stands with tournament chances. We wrap up the conversation with a discussion of the final regular season week with Xavier and Creighton on the menu in must win games. This is going to be a nerve filled week of basketball, so get prepared and as always, enjoy! On a serious note, if you were not aware, incoming Marquette recruit Ikechukwu “Ike” Eke lost his mother in a tragic accident in his native Nigeria on Sunday. At the time of recording we didn't know the details and felt it best to leave it uncommented on. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ike and his family as they navigate this very difficult time. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/high-school/2017/02/26/jesuit-wins-record-league-crown-heavy-hearts/98457440/ Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Happy National Marquette Day!

Scrambled Eggs is celebrating National Marquette Day by having a giddy pod discussing the Marquette victory over Xavier. We start by talking about what a game Markus Howard had and the records he tied or broke. We then talk about the new starting line-up and it's impact on the game and potentially the rest of the season. Related to the new line-up, we discuss JaJuan Johnson's DNP-CD and wildly speculate about cause and length of the "suspension". The conversation turns to the last 4 games of the regular season with Marquette squarely on the bubble. Needless to say, the St John's game on Tuesday for Al's Night is absolutely critical. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Year three of the rebuild....how it is going thus far?

I've long been an advocate that it takes four to five years to do a rebuild correctly.  Allows for two freshman classes in to matriculate, concentrate on the high school ranks, build the culture from top to bottom, add pieces where need be (transfers, etc).  Some coaches turn things around faster, others never make it.  Some take shortcuts, or have a roster waiting for them that is more ready to go.  How good the conference is or the schedule also has tremendous bearing in the results. Very difficult to compare one situation to another because none of them are alike.  One position player can make all the difference in the world.

Where do we stand as the end of February approaches in year three of the rebuild for Coach Wojo? Simply put, we're absolutely heading in the right direction and possibly ahead of timelines.  Some fans will demand turnarounds in 2 or 3 years, but looking at what Wojo inherited, what players remained, the quality of the league last year and this year, we're doing just fine thank you.

In Buzz's last year at MU, a year chosen to win newly formed weaker Big East (a conference that would finish ranked 4th overall), MU finished the year 6th and Buzz left for Virginia Tech.  Half of the freshman on that team are gone. The one incoming Buzz recruit willing to sign, Sandy Cohen, is now in the Horizon League.  Buzz was able to bring over Luke Fischer in a transfer for the second semester of Wojo's first year, and has been a solid player for the Warriors.

This season, we are currently trending ahead of Buzz's last year in every major computerized rating system.  Using Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, RPI, and BPI as source data.  In fact, looking at this year's team, they are not far behind in some ratings of Buzz's 2012-13 year that won the Big East and ran to the Elite 8.  What's equally impressive is Wojo is doing in a conference ranked higher than Buzz's final year.  The Big East currently sits 3rd and has reigning national champion Villanova ready for another deep run.

Plenty of work still to be done and a finish with or without a NCAA berth would not be surprising. The margin for error is small.  We are a bubble team no matter how you slice it. Our defense has plenty of issues, we are young at key positions and lack depth in areas as well.  If our three ball shooting is off, it's over. That being said, this is a team that is capable on any given night and using data comparisons, has progressed nicely in Wojo's first three years at the helm. The doom and gloomers, step back from the ledge. If it doesn't happen this year, it will next.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Where does #mubb go from here?

Well, things look a lot different in mid-February than they did in late January. The pod starts with an overview of the poor performance and Georgetown and looks at it within the context of the last 3 weeks. The defense has struggled all season but recently the offense has struggled as well. With the context of the on-going struggles, we discuss some concerning quotes Duane Wilson shared after the Georgetown game. Does it mean the staff has lost this team, or is this a sign of immaturity within the roster? We then talk about the balance of the season and what Marquette has to do to make the tournament for the first time in four years. Lastly, we focus on the upcoming Xavier game and National Marquette game, including the "stripe out". Let's try to make this thing work, so if you are going to the game wear the right colors. Let's hope we can pull off the stripe out and a victory the team desperately needs. Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Comparing NCAA's Release of Top 16 with Value Add's New Injury Adjusted Rankings

Well, that was depressing. It looks like the scouting report on Marquette's previous unstoppable offense is going to require some adjustments. The new Value Add rankings adjust for players who are no longer suiting up for the season or have returned (e.g. Arizona shoots up from 22nd to 7th in the rankings due to Allonzo Trier finally taking the court in the 19th game of the season. On the flipside, Xavier drops all the way from 27th to 53rd after losing Edmond Sumner and will need Trevon Bluiett and company to step up. The five teams the most hurt by losing players:

1. Xavier 6.64 (Trevon Bluiett #5)
2. St. Joseph’s 5.45
3. Creighton 5.16
4. Ohio 3.56
5. Indiana 3.35

Going into Saturday's blowout loss at Georgetown, Marquette still calculated as a No. 9 seed with Luke Fischer cracking the top 5% of all players (top 200) and Andrew Rowsey cracking the top 300.

Here are the Value Add individual rankings going into Saturday, complete with notes on players who have returned to give a boost or been lost to injury. The team totals in light of these adjustments are here and summarized below as how the seeds would be awarded based purely on the sum values of the players now on the floor, with today's NCAA Top 16 rating in parenthesis.

Seed Team Value Add v5.0 Pts/Game Conf
1 Gonzaga 49.06 WCC (actual No. 4 overall)
1 Virginia 47.69 ACC (actual No. 10 overall)
1 North Carolina 46.83 ACC (actual No. 5 overall)
1 Villanova 45.75 BE (actual No. 1 overall)

2 Louisville 44.82 ACC (actual No. 7 overall)
2 Florida 43.94 SEC (actual No. 11 overall)
2 Arizona 43.79 P12 (actual No. 6 overall)
2 Kentucky 43.03 SEC (actual No. 12 overall)

3 West Virginia 42.57 B12 (actual No. 14 overall)
3 Wichita St. 42.23 MVC
3 Baylor 42.21 B12 (actual No. 3 overall)
3 Kansas 42.17 B12 (actual No. 2 overall)

4 Southern Methodist 42.09 Amer
4 Wisconsin 41.97 B10
4 Duke 41.05 ACC (actual No. 16 overall)
4 Florida St. 39.65 ACC (actual No. 6 overall)

5 Purdue 39.62 B10
5 St. Mary’s 39.24 WCC
5 Butler 38.68 BE (actual No. 13 overall)
5 UCLA 38.51 P12 (actual No. 15 overall)

6 Oregon 37.51 P12 (actual No. 8 overall)
6 Cincinnati 37.36 Amer
6 Oklahoma St. 36.73 B12
6 Iowa St. 36.57 B12

7 Dayton 35.77 A10
7 Notre Dame 35.69 ACC
7 Wake Forest 35.32 ACC
7 Michigan 34.76 B10

8 South Carolina 34.76 SEC
8 Kansas St. 34.2 B12
8 Utah 33.21 P12
8 Northwestern 33.1 B10

9 Clemson 32.1 ACC
9 Marquette 31.83 BE
9 Texas Tech 31.7 B12
9 Maryland 31.67 B10

10 Minnesota 31.66 B10
10 Houston 31.46 Amer
10 Miami FL 31.13 ACC
10 Texas Christian 30.95 B12

11 Illinois St. 30.74 MVC
11 Creighton 30.39 BE
11.5 Virginia Commonwealth 30.37 A10
11.5 Syracuse 30.29 ACC
11.5 Rhode Island 30.25 A10
11.5 Southern California 30.15 P12

12 Middle Tennessee 28.85 CUSA
12 UNC Wilmington 28.61 CAA
12 Nevada 26.93 MWC
12 Belmont 25.89 OVC

13 Vermont 25.85 AE
13 Chattanooga 25.74 SC
13 Bucknell 25.15 Pat
13 Princeton 24.88 Ivy

14 Texas Arlington 24.54 SB
14 New Mexico St. 23.38 WAC
14 Valparaiso 22.62 Horz
14 Akron 22.53 MAC

15 Monmouth 22.43 MAAC
15 North Carolina Central 21.53 MEAC
15 Fort Wayne 21.24 Sum
15 UNC Asheville 20.9 BSth

16 UC Irvine 20.43 BW
16 Florida Gulf Coast 19.73 ASun
16.5 Eastern Washington 16.92 BSky
16.5 Texas A&;M Corpus Christi 14.07 Slnd
16.5 Wagner 11.85 NEC
16.5 Texas Southern 10.9 SWAC

Friday, February 10, 2017

Catching up on the last couple of games, diving into numbers, and.....UCONN???

We're back on the podcasting train after a few games with less than stellar results, so we start with reviewing the last 3 games for Marquette. Part of the discussion is again, what went wrong and is there anything to do to fix it. We then spend some considerable time advertising for KenPom by digging through some offensive(posted below) and defensive numbers to get a sense of what this team might be able to tweak over the next few weeks to get wins that they need to make the tournament. We also talk about the tournament and what Marquette's odds are of making it, and one of us uses the term super soft bubble. The bubble talk leads to a discussion around the last 6 games on #mubb schedule and whether they can win at least 3(preferably 4) and if so against who. Then the conversation takes a turn for the unexpected and we talk UCONN to the Big East rumors and what the circumstances would be where that would happen. We close out the show with a quick discussion of Georgetown and a prediction of the results. And we take a few pokes at Anonymous Eagle along the way. Enjoy! Offensive efficiency vs shot volume Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Big East Tourney Chances Devastated by Injuries to Sumner and Watson

The Big East's chances for a monumental tournament were dealt severe blows with season-ending injuries to point guards for two of their four ranked teams project both as first round losers rather than winners.

The injury to Mo Watson before Creighton's game against Marquette indicates their Sagarin Rating of 87.56 (21st overall) is actually 84.12 (34th, one spot behind Marquette) without Watson, whose Value Add is 5.40 (points per game impact). Due to the Domino effect of losing a player (see explanation in Big Apple Buckets), you subtract the value of a team's seventh best player (1.96 for Creighton) to get the actual impact in points per game off their Sagarin Rating so 87.56 for season to date, MINUS 5.40 for how many of those points were the result of Watson being on the floor, PLUS 1.96 to estimate the overall additional points based on the strength of Creighton's other players who need to extend their game.

Unfortunately, the news is even more devastating for Xavier with Edmond Sumner going down for the season with an ACL. Sumner is a top 100 player with a 7.32 Points Per Game Impact (Value Add), so the math for Xavier's Sagarin Rating without him is 86.79 (24th best) MINUS his 7.32, PLUS their 7th best player's 1.89 for a new rating of 81.36 for 56th place without Sumner. They should certainly still make the tournament, but they will need players to step up beyond what is expected to get a win in the tournament.

On the flip side, I do not see any Big East teams who have a late comer (2nd semester transfer or player returning from injury) who will elevate them substantially. However, to give an example of teams that might be improving, I point to star Austin Wiley of my hometown team Auburn. My graphics are not great, but Wiley is a potentially dominant center who so far is worth 1.96 points - but when you scroll to the right the final number of ^12^ indicates he only played 12 of the teams 21 games.

Because he has played in tougher SEC games, you would expect his value to actually be at least double even though he has played slightly more than half the games. (When a player is not on the floor he gets a ZERO Value Add for that game). Therefore he is probably about a 3.92 rather than a 1.96, so if you add the additional 1.96 to Auburn's Sagarin rating of 78.94, the real team rating with Wiley is 80.83, a jump from 72nd to 60th.

Auburn has an uphill battle to make the tournament because the games they played before Wiley still count, but it appears Bruce Pearl has a team that is at least on the verge of being March Madness quality, so if they can win 22 games between the regular season and SEC tournament - starting with a win against a hot Tennessee team tonight, they could sneak in. Unlikely, but at 60th a team that could easily make the NIT and win at least one game.

I hope this post works as a Value Add guide to measure the impact of missing and returning players and understand who much they impact a teams actual Sagarin rating and if they should be favored in a given game.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Reinhardt and Wilson surge to give MU one of deepest teams; 8-seed in tournament

In a season  highlighted by the play of two of the top freshmen in the country, veterans Katin Reinhardt and Duane Wilson surged to carry Marquette to an projected 8-seed Monday according to both ESPN and CBS Sports

Due to slow starts to the season in which they were worth close to 0.00 points per game, Wilson and Reinhardt still rank as the 8th and 7th most valuable players over the season as a whole, worth an improvement of 1.99 and 2.43 in Marquette's victory/defeat margin for game due to great recent performances.

Marquette's ability to have eight different players who can be the difference in a big game makes them one of the most balanced teams in the country. Only 10 teams have eight players ranked higher than Wilson's 1.99 Value Add, and only 14 teams have seven players with a higher rating than Reinhardt's surging 2.43. Here are the teams, followed by where all of Marquette's players rank.

It is very hard to be a projected 8-seed with no players in the Top 200, but Marquette is doing it with incredible balance. Marquette's victim Villanova is the only team in the nation with three top 50 players in Josh Hart (ranked No. 1), Jalen Brunson (No. 14) and Mikal Bridges (No. 47).

RnkBest 8th Players 1/29/2017Teams w/ Deepest BenchValue
1Mamadi Diakite #25Virginia3.34
2Killian Tillie #33Gonzaga3.12
3Zach Brown #1Wichita St.3.05
4VJ King #0Louisville2.49
5John Egbunu #15Florida2.47
6Kethan Savage #11Butler2.44
7Dominique Hawkins #25Kentucky2.33
8CJ Walker #2Florida St.2.15
9Theo Pinson #1North Carolina2.07
10Parker Van Dyke #5Utah2.04
11Keanu Pinder #25Arizona1.99
12Duane Wilson #1Marquette1.99
13Dustin Thomas #13Arkansas1.90
14Justin Jenifer #3Cincinnati1.89
15King McClure #22Baylor1.88
16Ebuka Izundu #15Miami FL1.86
17Sagaba Konate #50West Virginia1.83
18Admiral Schofield #5Tennessee1.78
19Kaiser Gates #22Xavier1.76
20Isaac Banks #10East Tennessee St.1.62

RnkBest 7th Players 1/29/2017Teams w/ Deepest BenchValue
1Josh Perkins #13Gonzaga4.30
2Anas Mahmoud #14Louisville4.10
3Justin Leon #23Florida3.51
4Jack Salt #33Virginia3.48
5Shaquille Morris #24Wichita St.3.44
6Nate Fowler #51Butler3.44
7Casey Benson #2Oregon3.03
8Terry Maston #31Baylor2.87
9Nate Britt #0North Carolina2.71
10Lamont West #15West Virginia2.71
11Carlton Bragg #15Kansas2.60
12Khalil Iverson #21Wisconsin2.60
13Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12Michigan2.49
14Mychal Mulder #11Kentucky2.45
15Katin Reinhardt #22Marquette2.43
16Ryan Cline #14Purdue2.33
17Temple Gibbs #2Notre Dame2.29
18Devontavius Payne #1East Tennessee St.2.27
19Eric Paschall #4Villanova2.27
20Jarquez Smith #23Florida St.2.26

Marquette player ranks.

207Luke Fischer #405.84
346Markus Howard #04.82
360Andrew Rowsey #304.75
395Sam Hauser #104.46
423JaJuan Johnson #234.32
582Haanif Cheatham #253.69
962Katin Reinhardt #222.43
1151Duane Wilson #11.99
2012Traci Carter #210.61
2102Matt Heldt #120.52
9999Sandy Cohen #50.00

It was still a good week for #mubb

The Scrambled Eggs pod refuses to let losing to Providence to cause us panic or not enjoy the last week and a half of Marquette basketball. As part of that theme, we decided to go out of order and get the Providence game analysis out of the way first. We then talk about the Villanova game and how the experience was for each of us with one of us at the Bradley Center and the other on tape delay. We then play a new game for predicting the future associated with Marquette basketball: "Fact or Alternative Fact". Lastly, we close out with some light recruiting/roster discussion and why this is a most not lose week. Bottom line, MU is in good position, but this week better result in two wins or we've given it all back. As always, enjoy! Couldn't help myself Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, January 23, 2017

What a difference a quality win makes

Prepare yourselves, we thought this was going to be a relatively quick pod after a big Marquette win on Saturday against Creighton; turns out we have a lot to talk about. We talk about the big win, did it matter that Watson didn't play for Creighton, and how much the win impacts Marquette for the rest of the season. We also preview the Villanova game including debating the relative values of a win or a loss in the game. We also spend some time cajoling fans to show up at the Bradley Center on Tuesday. As always, enjoy the pod. Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Apparently hope isn't a strategy, but that doesn't stop us from trying

Every MU fan in the 2nd Half against Butler Marquette is where we thought they would be after the Seton Hall, DePaul and Butler games...the only problem is the way they got there. We start out with a quick review of the first two games played since our last pod and any impressions we took from them. Then we turn to the crater that is Marquette's defense after the Butler game. We talk about the "collapse" and where the blame lays (spoiler: a lot of places), put into context how bad the defense was, and ask what should change. We also have a discussion of Luke Fischer performance and whether it is time for a change in the 5 spot, or at least a significant modification of minute distribution. Next up is a Creighton match-up that has a different look to it now that their senior PG, Mo Watson, went down with an ACL tear. We discuss whether that gives us a better chance and how it impacts the game. We close out the pod with some light recruiting news. Enjoy and let's hope the team forgets to pack it's ole defense for this road trip. Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Howard Surging, MU 1st Four Out in Value Add

While Markus Howard continues to surge toward the top 5% (top 200) of all players at www.valueaddbasketball.com, the earlier departure of Traci Carter lowers Marquette's team Value Add just enough to classify as the "1st Four Out," the same status MU has with Jerry Palm. Meanwhile, RPI Forecast calculates MU in the "Next Four Out."

The basic rule is that if a player has to miss a game it will cost a team his Value Add, however it will be slightly lower if the 9th best player on the team is higher than zero. So if Luke Fischer misses a game, his 6.39 Value Add indicates Marquette is actually about 5.39 points worse off since Katin Reinhardt is in the 9th spot and worth 1.00. This is not due to Reinhardt "replacing" Fischer as it would be in baseball WAR where a backup shortstop replaces a short stop, but rather the "domino" effect outlined in this Big Apples piece on each player becoming a little less efficient as they are stretched to take on more minutes and tougher shots.


Sunday, January 08, 2017

That was a suboptimal performance from Marquette, let's see if they can bounce back

Two Marquette games and two bad outcomes for very different reasons. First we focus on the most recent game, the drubbing in Philadelphia by Villanova. The game was a reflection of the talent disparity between Marquette and Villanova, but we try and figure out how reflective the result is on how MU can perform the rest of the season. We also talk about the performance of Luke Fischer and Haanif Cheatham's offensive issues within Big East play. We shift the topic to the tough, last minute loss at Seton Hall. With much chagrin, we relive the last minutes of the game and discuss what that may tell us about the team going forward. Having talked about all that, we take stock of where the team is currently and what might happen over the next several weeks. We talk about the rematch with Seton Hall and the always unsettling match up with DePail. While the last week has been pretty dishearening for Marquette fans, we find reason to be positive about the upcoming week for Marquette. Last, we spend a little time talking about potential recruit Harry Froling. Enjoy the week and lets hope Marquette can take a couple of victories this week. Download this episode (right click and save)

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Marquette shoots for second win over a No. 1 team

Marquette will try for a win over a No. 1 ranked team for the only time besides Dwyane Wade's win over Kentucky.

Kenpom gives Marquette a 14% chance of the upset in the toughest game of the year - at Villanova. Based on Value Add, Nova's offense beats out Creighton for best in the conference, and their defense beats out Xavier for best. Marquette still ranks ahead of Seton Hall despite the heartbreaking loss there.

RnkTeamOffDefValue Add
52Seton Hall24.5-7.5632.66
108St. John's22.75-2.6526.06

Nova has three of the top six players in the conference, while Marquette is very balanced, with five players in the top 500, however noone in the top 200 or top 15 in the Big East.

Season RankPlayerTeamValue
1Josh Hart^ 3Villanova16.11
11JP Macura^ 55Xavier11.21
34Jalen Brunson^ 1Villanova9.96
64Shamorie Ponds^ 2St. John's9.1
68Khyri Thomas^ 2Creighton8.95
76Mikal Bridges^ 25Villanova8.74
77Rodney Pryor^ 23Georgetown8.72
83Justin Patton^ 23Creighton8.58
84Andrew Chrabascz^ 45Butler8.56
88Edmond Sumner^ 4Xavier8.51
92Trevon Bluiett^ 5Xavier8.48
134Khadeen Carrington^ 0Seton Hall7.51
149LJ Peak^ 0Georgetown7.39
165Emmitt Holt^ 15Providence7.22
166Tyler Lewis^ 1Butler7.18
202Maurice Watson^ 10Creighton6.78
210Jalen Lindsey^ 21Providence6.67
223Luke Fischer^ 40Marquette6.59
232Angel Delgado^ 31Seton Hall6.53
239Kris Jenkins^ 2Villanova6.45
256Rodney Bullock^ 5Providence6.31
278Tyler Wideman^ 4Butler6.2
281Kelan Martin^ 30Butler6.17
295JaJuan Johnson^ 23Marquette6.06
373Desi Rodriguez^ 20Seton Hall5.44
384Sam Hauser^ 10Marquette5.32
403Kamar Baldwin^ 3Butler5.24
406Avery Woodson^ 0Butler5.22
422Jessie Govan^ 15Georgetown5.12
428Markus Howard^ 0Marquette5.1
431Tre'Darius McCallum^ 10DePaul5.09
441Marcus Foster^ 0Creighton5.05
490Haanif Cheatham^ 25Marquette4.79
492RaShid Gaston^ 35Xavier4.77