"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, 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