"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Sunday, January 14, 2018

We got what we needed out of the past week, let's beat DePaul and rest up

#mubb went 1-1 this week and looked great against Seton Hall while reverting to defensive form against Butler so we're going to declare that a successful but not spectacular week. We're going to start with the good and discuss they shockingly great defensive effort against the top team in the Big East(at the time) Seton Hall. We try to understand what changed and how it can be carried into future games. What is clear is that #mubb would not carry it into the next game against Butler where the interior defense was more useless than the Maginot line (yes that's a WWII joke, whatever). We discuss the Butler game and what went wrong and what positives we can take away from it. A positive we can take away from that game and the season really, has been the play of Sam Hauser. Seemingly lost in the flashy play of the lead guards for Marquette, Sam has managed to put together a strong offensive game while also being our best interior defender if not best defender period. So we talk about how efficient his offense has been. We also have a shotout for Matt Heldt, most efficient man in the NCAA. We wrap up the podcast with a discussion of the DePaul(just don't lose to them) and some odds and ends. As always, enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, January 08, 2018

So we should probably spend some time talking about Markus Howard

So the week turned out exactly how we thought it would, #mubb went 1 and 1 with a win over Providence and a tough loss to Villanova, ho hum not much to talk about. Just kidding, of course we are going to carry on for 25 minutes about Markus Howard's historic 52 point performance and his equally impressive 37 points and 8 assists against Villanova. In fact, we spend time talking about where the performance against Providence ranks in modern MU single player performance pantheon. Once even we've had enough of talking about Markus, we do breakdown the Providence and Villanova games to talk about what we liked and didn't like from the games. Finally, we turn ahead to this week, which is another must go 1 and 1 week, previewing the Seton Hall and Butler games. I'd take another 89 points from Markus this week, but let's hope we don't have to for at least one win. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Happy New Year and mostly happy start to Big East play

Happy New Year! Hope everyone has recovered from the holidays and is ready to talk #mubb basketball. First we discuss the old year, and the mixed results of the first two games of conference play. We break down the Xavier and Georgetown games including is the defense getting better and how worried should we be about Markus Howard's slump. We then transition to the new year and the brutal next 7 games on Marquette's schedule and what our expectations should be. We then get into a conversation about the next two games, @Providence and @Villanova and our expectations for those games. We close out the pod with a brief remembrance of broadcast legend, Dick Enberg, who had multiple connections to Marquette. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, January 01, 2018

If Bids Went to Players Instead of Teams: Rowsey v. Bridges and Hauser v. UCLA's Welsh

As I ran the Value Add Basketball Numbers to finish out the 2017 calendar year, one thing became apparent - if the season ended today Oklahoma's Trae Young would be the best college player OF THE CENTURY, which clearly gives Oklahoma the best athletic duo of the century since Baker Mayfield takes the field against Georgia today as one of the top five football players of the century.

Last season I insisted Sindarius Thornwell of South Carolina was the best player in the country and then Marquette drew him in the opening round - but Young is much better than him and after going into #10 TCU and upsetting them 90-89 with a 39 point, 14 assist game, these guy edges out even Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant for the most dominant college player of the century based on the history Value Add rankings.

This made me think about just how prohibitive a favorite Young would be if the NCAA bids were for a one-on-one tournament and you could somehow factor in his assists, which obviously necessitate playing on a team.

I went ahead and sent out bids to both the NIT and NCAA based on the new Value Add numbers, but also giving the best player in each conference an automatic bid, and ended up with great match-ups for Marquette's two top 100 players (with the streaky Markus Howard out of the top 100 for the moment.

Of course, Michigan State fans will cry foul that Value Add ratings would currently place Andrew Rowsey as the slighly favored No. 4 seed in the NIT Western bracket against their National Player of the Year hopeful. However, Rowsey has been worth an extra 7.33 points per game to Marquette this year to an almost identical 7.27 for Miles Bridges. Great players tend to rank lower earlier in a season of blowouts since the minutes are spread.

A Georgetown fan texted me after Saturday's game to ask, "Who is Andrew Rowsey and give me one good reason I should not hate him." While his defense is not great (note he gets a "D" for defensive rebounding, C for a few blocked shots, and B for steals) he and the rest of the team have improved enough that he is currently the 67th most valuable player in the country, and therefore would be in an at-large "player" March Madness except that we gave the smaller conferences one team each. Bridges will shoot up now facing tougher Big Ten opponents, but when www.kenpom.com says Bridges has only been the best player in 1 of 15 games so far, and Value Add adjusts for strength of opponents (the Spartans last six opponents have been ranked 310, 106, 295, 238, 302, 330).

SeedNIT Midwest SeedsTeamValue Add v5.0 Pts/GameDef Grades
1Jaylen Barford #0Arkansas7.53Reb Blk Stl=C C B
2Trevon Bluiett #5Xavier7.48Reb Blk Stl=B C D
3Udoka Azubuike #35Kansas7.44Reb Blk Stl=A A D
4Andrew Rowsey #30Marquette7.33Reb Blk Stl=D C B
5Miles Bridges #22Michigan St.7.27Reb Blk Stl=A A D
6Jessie Govan #15Georgetown7.13Reb Blk Stl=A A C
7Nick Ward #44Michigan St.7.04Reb Blk Stl=A A F
8Zhaire Smith #2Texas Tech7.01Reb Blk Stl=C A A

OK, so I cheated a little and created one NIT play-in match-up since Hauser technically missed the last NIT spot as the 87 best player in basketball. This would put him up against Shannon Evans of the amazing Arizona State team of Bobby Hurley, for the right to play the top seed in the NIT West in big man Thomas Welsh of UCLA. As good as Hauser's all-around offense is every day, completely in the flow of the game, I also wanted to point out that he is one of the few that has a strong ranking in all three defensive categories, getting a "B" (top 40%) in Defensive Rebounding, Blocked Shots and Steals.

SeedNIT West SeedsTeamValue Add v5.0 Pts/GameDef Grades
1Thomas Welsh #40UCLA7.54Reb Blk Stl=A A C
2Elijah Bryant #3Brigham Young7.49Reb Blk Stl=A B A
3Shake Milton #1Southern Methodist7.47Reb Blk Stl=C B A
4Caleb Martin #10Nevada7.37Reb Blk Stl=B C B
5Justin Bibbins #1Utah7.23Reb Blk Stl=D D B
6Rob Gray #32Houston7.18Reb Blk Stl=D D C
7Chimezie Metu #4Southern California7.02Reb Blk Stl=A A D
8-playinShannon Evans #11Arizona St.6.97Reb Blk Stl=D D B
8-playinSam Hauser #10Marquette6.95Reb Blk Stl=B B B

Fair to note that Ethan Happ had an All-American ranking until Matt Heldt slowed him down, and he has slipped a bit and would place as an NIT player at this stage. Max Strus of DePaul is looking strong after the incredible scare they put into Xavier.

SeedNIT East SeedsTeamValue Add v5.0 Pts/GameDef Grades
1Donte Grantham #32Clemson7.5Reb Blk Stl=B B D
2Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #22Kentucky7.48Reb Blk Stl=D C A
3Ethan Happ #22Wisconsin7.42Reb Blk Stl=A B B
4Tyus Battle #25Syracuse7.34Reb Blk Stl=F C A
5Max Strus #31DePaul7.24Reb Blk Stl=D B A
6Jared Terrell #32Rhode Island7.13Reb Blk Stl=D F A
7Tony Carr #10Penn St.7.07Reb Blk Stl=C D B
8Kevin Huerter #4Maryland7Reb Blk Stl=C B D

Finally these would be our NIT bids to the south.
SeedNIT South SeedsTeamValue Add v5.0 Pts/GameDef Grades
1Jeremiah Martin #3Memphis7.56Reb Blk Stl=C B A
2Jordan McLaughlin #11Southern California7.49Reb Blk Stl=D C A
3Matt Rafferty #32Furman7.41Reb Blk Stl=A B A
4Melvin Frazier #35Tulane7.29Reb Blk Stl=B B A
5Wendell Carter #34Duke7.26Reb Blk Stl=A A D
6Terance Mann #14Florida St.7.11Reb Blk Stl=C C B
7Tyler Rawson #21Utah7.01Reb Blk Stl=A A C
8Marcquise Reed #2Clemson7Reb Blk Stl=B F A

Shifting to the top 68 players in the hypothetical NCAA one-on-one tournament, Villanova continues to have two of the top eight players in the country, and with no undefeated teams remaining they still look like the best in the country - not just the Big East. St. John's and Shamorie Ponds have slipped a little after an extremely hot start.

SeedNCAA East SeedsTeamValue Add v5.0 Pts/GameDef Grades
1Jalen Brunson #1Villanova10.44Reb Blk Stl=D F B
2Mikal Bridges #25Villanova9.83Reb Blk Stl=B A A
3Nick King #5Middle Tennessee9.61Reb Blk Stl=A D D
4Tookie Brown #4Georgia Southern9.29Reb Blk Stl=C B A
5Ajdin Penava #11Marshall8.9Reb Blk Stl=A A A
6Landry Shamet #11Wichita St.8.49Reb Blk Stl=D C C
7Fletcher Magee #3Wofford8.37Reb Blk Stl=F D C
8Zach Thomas #23Bucknell8.18Reb Blk Stl=A B C
9Shamorie Ponds #2St. John's8.06Reb Blk Stl=B D A
10Kevin Hervey #25Texas Arlington7.9Reb Blk Stl=A B A
11CJ Massinburg #5Buffalo7.85Reb Blk Stl=B B C
12Josh Reaves #23Penn St.7.74Reb Blk Stl=D B A
13Garrison Mathews #24Lipscomb7.51Reb Blk Stl=C C B
14Devin Cannady #3Princeton6.88Reb Blk Stl=B D D
15Joe Cremo #24Albany6.45Reb Blk Stl=C D C
16Isaiah Reese #13Canisius6.11Reb Blk Stl=A F A

No freshman ever had a Value Add rating more than two points better than anyone else in the country. It is still a long season, but if Trae Young keeps this pace up he is the best college player of the century.

SeedNCAA MWSeedsTeamValue Add Def Grades
1Trae Young #11Oklahoma13.17Reb Blk Stl=D C A
2Bonzie Colson #35Notre Dame10.14Reb Blk Stl=A A A
3Gary Clark #11Cincinnati9.61Reb Blk Stl=A A A
4Devonte' Graham #4Kansas9.31Reb Blk Stl=D D A
5Justinian Jessup #3Boise St.8.7Reb Blk Stl=B B B
6Keita Bates-Diop #33Ohio St.8.53Reb Blk Stl=A A B
7Jordan Murphy #3Minnesota8.43Reb Blk Stl=A A C
8Anthony Cowan #1Maryland8.31Reb Blk Stl=C D B
9Josh Cunningham #0Dayton8Reb Blk Stl=A B C
10Dakota Mathias #31Purdue7.9Reb Blk Stl=C C B
11Cassius Winston #5Michigan St.7.85Reb Blk Stl=C F B
12James Thompson #2Eastern Michigan7.75Reb Blk Stl=A A C
13Blake Francis #3Wagner7.33Reb Blk Stl=F D B
14Scottie James #31Liberty6.71Reb Blk Stl=A B B
15Reed Timmer #12Drake6.45Reb Blk Stl=D D D
16-playinFemi Olujobi #25North Carolina A&T5.94Reb Blk Stl=A B D
16-playinGary Blackston #3Prairie View A&M4.53Reb Blk Stl=B C A

West Virginia's Jevon Carter is second best partly due to being an incredible defender.

SeedNCAA South SeedsTeamValue Add v5.0 Def Grades
1Jevon Carter #2West Virginia11.03Reb Blk Stl=B B A
2Dean Wade #32Kansas St.9.88Reb Blk Stl=A B A
3Marvin Bagley #35Duke9.69Reb Blk Stl=A B D
4Luke Maye #32North Carolina9.37Reb Blk Stl=A A D
5Isaiah Wilkins #21Virginia8.96Reb Blk Stl=A A A
6Ria'n Holland #10Mercer8.57Reb Blk Stl=D F A
7Dewan Huell #20Miami FL8.47Reb Blk Stl=A A C
8Collin Sexton #2Alabama8.12Reb Blk Stl=F F B
9Kenrich Williams #34Texas Christian7.98Reb Blk Stl=A C A
10Chris Silva #30South Carolina7.89Reb Blk Stl=A A C
11Grayson Allen #3Duke7.8Reb Blk Stl=F D B
12Chris Chiozza #11Florida7.62Reb Blk Stl=B F A
13Dylan Windler #3Belmont7.26Reb Blk Stl=A A D
14Zach Lofton #23New Mexico St.6.59Reb Blk Stl=B D C
15Drew McDonald #34Northern Kentucky6.33Reb Blk Stl=A C D
16Devontae Cacok #15North Carolina Wilmington5.96Reb Blk Stl=A B D

I am not sure if it is really allowed to have three of the four play-in games feed one bracket, but just having fun. DJ Hogg teams up with our old friend Duane Wilson, so the best of luck to them on an incredible start. We saw Georgia's Yante Maten, who couldn't quite win at Kentucky to help our RPI, and we will see Seton Hall and Desi Rodriguez of course.

SeedNCAA West SeedsTeamValue Add Def Grades
1Deandre Ayton #13Arizona10.96Reb Blk Stl=A A D
2Jock Landale #34St. Mary's10.29Reb Blk Stl=A B F
3Yante Maten #1Georgia9.58Reb Blk Stl=B A D
4Tra Holder #0Arizona St.9.18Reb Blk Stl=C F A
5Allonzo Trier #35Arizona8.61Reb Blk Stl=F B D
6Keenan Evans #12Texas Tech8.54Reb Blk Stl=D B A
7Lagerald Vick #2Kansas8.47Reb Blk Stl=B C B
8Juwan Morgan #13Indiana8.14Reb Blk Stl=B A B
9DJ Hogg #1Texas A&M8Reb Blk Stl=B B B
10Mohamed Bamba #4Texas7.94Reb Blk Stl=A A C
11Desi Rodriguez #20Seton Hall7.79Reb Blk Stl=B B B
12-playinJeff Roberson #11Vanderbilt7.6Reb Blk Stl=A C C
12-playinJustin Tillman #4Virginia Commonwealth7.57Reb Blk Stl=A B D
13-playinHayden Dalton #20Wyoming7.59Reb Blk Stl=A B C
13-playinDonta Hall #0Alabama7.58Reb Blk Stl=A A D
14Chima Moneke #11UC Davis6.8Reb Blk Stl=A B B
15Mike Daum #24South Dakota St.6.54Reb Blk Stl=A B C
16-playinAhmaad Rorie #14Montana5.92Reb Blk Stl=C D B
16-playinKevon Harris #1Stephen F. Austin5.44Reb Blk Stl=B D C

And that's how it would play out if we were selecting the bids of the best player. Obviously you can sort the best of the Big East or anything else among the 4000-plus players at www.valueaddbasketball.com.