"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

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Texas A&M & Harvard Previews

Texas A&M Aggies
December 1, HP Field House, Orlando FL
Coach: Buzz Williams (0-0 at Texas A&M, 253-155 overall)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 68.7
3-Year kenpom Average: 61.3
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 49

Projected Starters: PG T.J. Starks (6'2" Jr), SG Wendell Mitchell (6'3" Sr), SF Jay Jay Chandler (6'4" Jr), PF Savion Flagg (6'7" Jr), C Josh Nebo (6'9" Sr)

Billy Kennedy's started his final season in College Station 1-4 and it never really looked up from there as the Aggies missed the NCAA and NIT. They do return their top three and five of their top six scorers, so there's reason for optimism. In addition, Williams immediately landed a top-10 JUCO reserve in Quenton Jackson as well as a pair of freshmen in Cashius McNeilly and Emanuel Miller that will be expected to contribute immediately.

Buzz went from three-anemic at Marquette to a heavily perimeter-oriented attack at Virginia Tech. One thing about Williams, he excels at adapting his style to his team. This A&M team is filled with mediocre shooters, so expect them to pound it inside to Flagg and Nebo. Tempo-wise, I expect a slow pace. With the exception of his first year at Marquette with the Amigos, Williams has played slower and last year in Blacksburg was the lowest ranked tempo of his career. With an unfamiliar roster that could struggle to score, a slower pace and mostly zone defense seems likely. That said, there is enough here that a good coach might be able to eke a NCAA bid out of this roster.

Marquette Connection: Shall we talk about the elephant in the room? Paint Touches' contributor Ryan Jackson is a Marquette alum that works at Texas A&M. Oh...the OTHER elephant in the room. After a stellar run at Marquette that included two Sweet 16s and an Elite 8, Buzz Williams left for Blacksburg and brought Virginia Tech to their first Sweet 16 in more than five decades. Then, in customary Buzz fashion, he headed for greener pastures with a program in disarray behind him. If this game happens it will be the first meeting between Buzz and one of his former programs. This would be one of the biggest narratives of the Thanksgiving weekend and if MU lost this matchup would likely make #mubb Twitter and MUScoop.com unbearable for a week or so.


Harvard Crimson
December 1, HP Field House, Orlando FL
Coach: Tommy Amaker (180-92 at Maryland, 430-251 overall)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 129.7
3-Year kenpom Average: 122.3
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 18

Projected Starters: PG Bryce Aiken (6'0" Sr), SG Christian Juzang (6'2" Sr), SF Justin Bassey (6'5" Sr), PF Seth Towns (6'7" RS Jr), C Chris Lewis (6'9" Sr)

Harvard has finished in a tie for the league title each of the past two years and ended each of those seasons in the NIT. On paper, Tommy Amaker's team looks like a strong bet to get back to the NCAA Tournament this year. Their top-7 scorers are all back, as is 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns, who missed last season with injury (and will likely be a hot grad transfer name in 8 months due to Ivy League rules). How optimistic should Crimson fans be? T-Rank only has them as underdogs once this entire season. They are deep, experienced, and talented. The top-20 projection might be a little bullish, but this does look like a fringe top-25 roster.

In the past, Amaker's teams have tended to play slow and make shots. They won't pound you inside and while they usually shoot free throws well, they struggle getting to the line. The return of Towns will be intriguing as Aiken dominated the offense last year, scoring 22.2 ppg. At the other end, expect pressure man-to-man defense. In terms of resume building, Harvard is set to be very good. 20-25 wins and a NCAA bid seem likely. This is the kind of team that will be a very tough out thanks to their experience and talent level.

Marquette Connection: Tommy Amaker and Steve Wojciechowski have a lot in common. Both played point guard for Coach K. Both won Defensive Player of the Year for Duke. Both were Duke assistants, both went on to head coaching careers, and both made the NIT in 2018, when Amaker's Crimson saw their season end in Milwaukee, dropping a 67-60 decision to Wojciechowski's Golden Eagles. While Amaker was part of the staff that recruited Wojo to Duke, he is probably getting sick of him on the opposing sideline: Amaker is 0-3 against teams Wojo has been on the coaching staff for, going 0-2 while at Michigan against Duke when Wojo was an assistant before that 2018 NIT game.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Maryland & Temple Previews

Maryland Terrapins
December 1, HP Field House, Orlando FL
Coach: Mark Turgeon (180-92 at Maryland, 430-251 overall)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 45.0
3-Year kenpom Average: 36.3
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 8

Projected Starters: PG Anthony Cowan (6'0" Sr), SG Darrell Morsell (6'5" Jr), SF Eric Ayala (6'5" So), PF Aaron Wiggins (6'6" So), C Jalen Smith (6'10" So)

Like Marquette, the Terps started last year on fire but faded down the stretch. Big man Bruno Fernando left for the NBA but everyone else of note returns. This is a talented team with potential star power in Cowan and Smith. The Terps could go bigger and put 4-star freshman Makhi Mitchell in the middle so Smith can remain at his natural PF position, but the roster above would give them a combination of on-ball defense and scorers.

The question this year will be the Terps' identity. Fernando dominated the offensive glass and was a potent rim protector, both of which were keys to their efficiency on both ends. They don't shoot particularly well and relied on put-backs. Expect a motion offense with a fairly deliberate pace. Everyone on the team can score, but I'm not sure they have that guy who can take control of a game. Defensively, they challenge shots and generally stick to man, though Turgeon is willing to go zone if necessary (see the LSU game last year). Maryland is getting top-10 respect and should be a Big 10 title contender. On paper, they are the best team Marquette could see in the non-conference, but pundits may be underestimating how important Fernando was on both ends of the floor. They will overwhelm some teams with sheer talent, but when it comes to other deep, high-major rosters, someone will have to emerge as a star.

Marquette Connection: If Maryland and Marquette meet in Orlando, it will mark the first time in their mutual history. Maryland is one of just three high-major programs (along with Oklahoma and California) that Marquette has never played. The closest they came was in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The teams were set to meet in the Sweet 16, but each lost one game too early for the matchup to happen. Marquette lost to Missouri while Maryland fell to Memphis.


Temple Owls
December 1, HP Field House, Orlando FL
Coach: Aaron McKie (0-0)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 81.0
3-Year kenpom Average: 91.0
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 86

Projected Starters: PG Alani Moore (5'10" Sr), SG Nate Pierre-Louis (6'4" Jr), SF Quinton Rose (6'8" Sr), PF J.P. Moorman (6'7" Jr), C Justyn Hamilton (6'10" Jr)

Temple won 7 of their last 9 conference games to grab one of the last 2019 at-large NCAA bids. That streak was largely carried by the departed Shizz Alston's 23.7 ppg down the stretch. Alani Moore will take the reins, but it'll be hard for a guy who has only hit double-digit scoring 4 times in the past 2 years to fill those shoes. Expect the offense to be dominated by Rose, who is a high-usage, low-efficiency wing. The Owls have depth and experience as the top-8 rotation players are juniors or seniors, but the ones that look most likely to dominate the ball (Rose, Pierre-Louis, Moore) are also the least efficient offensively.

I expect this team to try to run. Since McKie's second season, Temple's pace has increased every year while top assistant Monte Ross had his greatest success pushing the pace at Delaware. Defensively, Temple focuses on turning teams over. Rose, Pierre-Louis, and bench wing D'Vondre Perry all excel at forcing turnovers so I expect a high-pressure man-to-man that seeks to get easy baskets in transition. As far as expectations, without Alston this just doesn't look like a tourney team. They will likely play fast and make games fun to watch, but Temple looks like a middle-of-the-American team that will be fighting for a NIT berth rather than a NCAA one. If Marquette plays them, it likely means they lost to Davidson.

Marquette Connection: Before Aaron McKie became the heir apparent to Fran Dunphy, there was another rising assistant at Temple. Current Marquette assistant Dwayne Killings started his college coaching career as the Director of Basketball Operations at Temple from 2006-09. After a brief stint away,  he came back as an assistant from 2011-16. He arrived with the Owls three years before McKie was hired. While McKie, as a Temple alum and former NBA assistant was a natural fit to succeed Dunphy, it's possible Killings would've been just as viable a candidate had he stuck around. This will be their first on-court reunion since Killings left Connecticut and the AAC for Marquette.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fairfield Preview

Fairfield Stags
November 29, HP Field House, Orlando, FL

Coach: Jay Young (0-0)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 217.3
3-Year kenpom Average: 239.0
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 215
Projected Starters: PG Aidas Kavaliauskas (6'1" Sr), SG Landon Taliaferro (6'3" Sr), SF Taj Benning (6'3" Jr), PF Jesus Cruz (6'5" Jr), C Vincent Eze (6'8" RS Sr)

When it comes to the Advocare Invitational field, "one of these things is not like the others" and it's definitely Fairfield. It isn't just that the Stags were bad last year, and finishing bottom of the 28th ranked MAAC is definitely bad, but they proceeded to follow that up by firing Coach Sydney Johnson and losing three starters. Big men Matija Milan and Jonathan Kasibabu graduated while freshman point guard Neftali Alvarez transferred to Mercer. Before those departures, the Stags went 9-22 on their way to the worst kenpom ranking of Johnson's coaching career.

So who comes back for rookie coach Jay Young? Taliaferro was last year's leading scorer and will carry the offensive load alongside Cruz, the only other returning player who averaged over 6 ppg last year. Kavaliauskas and Benning both earned minutes last year, but are both also very turnover prone. Eze joins as a grad transfer from Maine that contributed as a rotation piece last year and will be expected to fill a bigger role for the Stags. Calvin Whipple and Wassef Methnani provide some depth off the bench, but this is generally an unproven team that was bad for a reason. The freshmen will be intriguing, particularly 6'10" big man Chris Maidoh, who needs development but picked Fairfield over St. John's.

Young had some success as a Division II head coach before joining Steve Pikiell as an assistant, first at Stony Brook and later at Rutgers. Unlike most recent head coach hires that preach offense and pushing pace, Young is planning to set the tone for the Stags on defense. His first two days of practice were exclusively working on defense. Pikiell's teams were deliberate on offense and got their points by outworking teams on the offensive glass. Defensively, they mixed man and zone, but I would expect more zone from Fairfield this year as it's easier to install early.

The consensus seems to be that Fairfield will be around the middle of the MAAC this year, but that still leaves them as by far the worst team in Orlando. USC should handle them with ease, so if Marquette plays Fairfield, the downside is a hit to the strength of schedule but the upside is what should be a comfortable 20+ point win. This is essentially a neutral court buy game and will likely be a Quadrant 4 win when Selection Sunday rolls around. The best case scenario would be Fairfield cracking the top-200 of NET to reach Quadrant 3, but I'm not at all optimistic and honestly, the T-Rank projection might be a bit high for this team.

Marquette Connection: Before he came to Marquette, former assistant coach Aki Collins was an assistant at Fairfield. Collins joined Buzz Williams' staff in 2008 and was best known for player development, though he was also instrumental in recruiting guards Derrick Wilson and Todd Mayo. In addition, Collins' boss at Fairfield was current Providence head coach Ed Cooley, who has a 5-9 record against Marquette since leaving the Stags for the Friars.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

USC Preview

USC Trojans
November 29, HP Field House, Orlando, FL

Coach: Andy Enfield (151-120 overall, 110-92 at USC)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 54.3
3-Year kenpom Average: 62.0
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 77

Projected Starters: PG Elijah Weaver (6'5" So), SG Jonah Matthews (6'3" Sr), SF Daniel Utomi (6'6" RS Sr), PF Isaiah Mobley (6'9" Fr), C Nick Rakocevic (6'11" Sr)

On paper, the Trojans looked like a team that would compete for a NCAA bid. Instead, injuries and off-court issues led to a losing season that included 6 sub-100 kenpom losses and three losing streaks of 3+ games. This led to massive roster upheaval in the offseason. Leading scorer Bennie Boatwright and starting wing Shaqquan Aaron graduated. Star freshman Kevin Porter left for the NBA Draft. Starting point guard Derryck Thornton led a cascade of transfers that also included bench players Jordan Usher, J'Raan Brooks, and Victor Uyaelunmo.

Matthews and Rakocevic are proven Pac-12 players that will lead the new-look Trojans. Weaver got some run at the point last year and will hope to improve on a dismal offensive efficiency rating. Utomi (Akron) and fellow grad transfer Quentin Adlesh (Columbia) were both double digit scorers for their mid-major programs and will add scoring and three-point shooting options. In addition to the returning starters and grad transfers, USC has an injection of young talent coming in as well. The biggest name is 5-star recruit Isaiah Mobley. He is not only the centerpiece of a top-10 recruiting class that includes another 5-star (6'8" F Onyeka Okongwu) but also the older brother of the top-ranked recruit in 2020, Evan Mobley, who will join the Trojans next season.

Under Andy Enfield, USC runs what they call an attacking man-to-man offense. They want to spread teams out to the arc and attack the interior using their length and athleticism in isolation. Enfield's teams have never been ranked lower than #67 in offensive average possession length, so their intent is to get to the rim before the defense is able to get set. The Trojans don't shoot a ton of threes, but when they do they do so efficiently. Expect lots of drives inside and when they kick it out the shooters to knock down shots. USC doesn't turn it over often (top-50 TO% each of the past 3 years). On the other end, USC will be looking to find a defensive identity. Enfield uses both man and zone defenses and numerous injuries led to a lack of identity last year. They will try to challenge every shot and do so without fouling, but even in his most successful seasons Enfield has never had a defensive efficiency rating better than #80 in the nation. They win games on the offensive end.

USC has a lot of intriguing pieces, but getting them to fit together will be a challenge. There's no proven point guard and while USC has plenty of size, how they play together will be a question mark. Their raw talent will earn them wins but they are projected almost across the board as a middle of the pack Pac-12 team. If it all comes together, they could challenge for an at-large bid, but while they will almost certainly win their first round Advocare matchup with Fairfield, this is a team that Marquette should beat.

Marquette Connection: Marquette has only played USC once in program history, but it was chock full of inter-program coaching ties. The two teams met in 2012 in the final game of the Maui Invitational. What stands out about that game is that USC was also coached at the time by former Marquette coach Kevin O'Neill. O'Neill wasn't the only former Marquette connection on the sidelines that day. Marquette's all-time assists leader, Tony Miller, was one of the O'Neill's assistant coaches. Jamil Wilson led the way for Marquette with 19 points and 6 rebounds as MU claimed a 72-64 win. It was also the last chance Marquette had to see O'Neill, as he would be fired less than 2 months later. Marquette dealt USC their second loss of the season en route to a 7-10 start that saw him fired mid-season. I would love to say that future USC and Marquette wing Katin Reinhardt was on the bench that day, but he didn't arrive at USC until 6 months after this game was played.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Davidson Preview

Davidson Wildcats
November 28, HP Field House, Orlando, FL

Coach: Bob McKillop (578-350)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 70.3
3-Year kenpom Average: 71.0
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 52

Projected Starters: PG Jon Axel Gudmundsson (6'5" Sr), SG Kellan Grady (6'5" Jr), SF Luke Frampton (6'5" RS So), PF KiShawn Pritchett (6'6" Sr), C Luka Brajkovic (6'10" So)

Last year had to be a disappointment for Davidson fans. They returned the dynamic backcourt duo of Gudmundsson and Grady, both of whom were at least on NBA radars the year before. They had a ton of young talent, but after an 8-1 start, lost their last three meaningful non-conference games to Temple, Wake Forest, and North Carolina. They finished second in the A-10, including being one of two teams to knock of regular season champs VCU, and when early conference tournament upsets of VCU & Dayton left them the only top-100 (per Pomeroy) team in the semifinals, a NCAA bid seemed within grasp. Then they got lambasted by a mediocre St. Louis team and went to the NIT instead, where they squandered a 9-point second half home lead to fall in the first round to Lipscomb.

The good news is that after testing the waters, Gudmundsson and Grady are back. Along with Frampton, they form the most dangerous offensive backcourt in the A-10. All five starters are back, as is the only other player to average double-digit minutes in SG Carter Collins. The A-10 looks to have three NCAA caliber teams this year, and this is definitely one of them. The Wildcats will be tested again, with games against Auburn, Vanderbilt, Nevada, Wake Forest, and Loyola-Chicago in addition to the three Orlando games. The difference this year is that, according to T-Rank, they are pick-em or better in all of those games. In the A-10, they play VCU and Dayton just once each with both games at home. They are only projected as more than a 1-point underdog in 2 of their games: Marquette and at Rhode Island. This is a team that is going to win 20+ games, has a legit shot at winning their conference, and should be at least in the mix for an at-large berth come Selection Sunday.

Bob McKillop has had 18 straight winning seasons at Davidson, including 13 campaigns with 20+ wins in that span. The main reason is because of his dynamic offense. His teams are incredibly adept at running the break, running ball screens, shooting, and making good decisions. Everyone is involved, everyone can pass, everyone can shoot, and they take a LOT of threes (18 straight years in the top-65 of 3PFGA%). Davidson is also a team that won't beat themselves. They don't turn the ball over much, they don't expose themselves to fast-breaks by overcommitting on the offensive glass, and on the other end, they limit second chances. What's impressive about the last bit is that in the past two years, McKillop has taken advantage of his long guards by moving more to a 2-3 zone. The length of Gudmundsson and Grady bothers shooters on the perimeter and unlike traditional zone teams, they have been able to limit offensive rebounds. For comparison, the past two years Davidson has been top-35 each season in defensive rebounding percentage. The most notable zone in the country, Syracuse, has never been ranked better than #131 in the past 23 years.

I'll be honest, when I saw Davidson come up for Orlando, I shuddered. Their creative, well-schooled offense makes them an incredibly tough defensive matchup, and without the Hausers, shooting over their zone will be a challenge for Marquette. Davidson is a team that, like Belmont or Syracuse, are simply very difficult to match up with because what they do is unlike what anyone else does. The loser of this game will also likely draw a second-round match with Fairfield, which is by far the weakest opponent in Orlando, and also miss out on the chance to make a statement against preseason top-10 Maryland. Because of the importance of neutral court games and the implications on the schedule, this is unquestionably the most important non-conference game on the schedule, on par with the 2017 VCU game and 2012 Butler game, both played in Maui.

Marquette Connection: Anyone that listens to the Real Chilly Podcast knows the call from their introductory music. "Here we go, 5 seconds left, Marquette down by 1, trying to avoid the upset. Blue with the drive, the left hand, IT'S GOOD! 1 second to play, Vander Blue has put Marquette in front by 1!" Any Marquette fan whose allegiance goes back more than 5 years was likely jumping and dancing like an overcaffeinated idiot just like I was at BBC on the East Side of Milwaukee. Marquette finished the game on an 11-4 run. While some called it a choke, Davidson's 4 possessions before Blue's layup featured 1.200 points per possession, 75% free throw shooting, 100 eFG%, and just one turnover. They didn't choke. It was Marquette scoring a ridiculous 2.750 ppp, going 3/3 beyond the arc after starting the game 1/12, and having a 175 eFG% in the final minute of the game. Blue stole the final inbound to seal the improbable triumph. Marquette went on to follow that win with victories over Butler and Miami en route to the Elite 8. It all started with that Davidson game. If you never saw it or just want a reminder, you can get your goosebumps here.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Robert Morris Preview

Robert Morris Colonials
November 20, fiserv.forum

Coach: Andrew Toole (168-140)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 234.3
3-Year kenpom Average: 262.7
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 229

Projected Starters: PG Jon Williams (6'1" Jr), SG Josh Williams (6'2" RS Sr), SF DJ Russell (6'7" Jr), PF Charles Bain (6'8" Jr), C Yannis Mendy (6'8" Sr)

After a rough non-con start, the Colonials turned things around in conference play. They started 7-1 en route to an 11-7 NEC season and an invitation to the CIT, where they fell in the second round to Presbyterian. The Williams brothers backcourt was a large key to their success, as elder brother Josh led the team in scoring and younger brother Jon led them in assists. The Colonials return two other starters in Bain and Mendy. This is an experienced team with a mixture of returning talent and an infusion of quality JUCOs that should challenge for the NEC title this year.

Josh Williams averaged 14.5 ppg last year and is the star of the team. He also owns a three-point record that would make Markus Howard envious. He connected on a NCAA-record 15 three-point field goals in a game last year, albeit against D3 Mount Aloysius. Along with his brother Jon, the Colonials have an experienced back court, both of whom can shoot and distribute. Up front, Russell is the man to watch. He was rated one of the top-50 JUCO transfers in the country and said Coach Toole "is expecting me to get a double-double every night and if I don't do that, something is wrong." In addition to Bain and Mendy, the Colonials have another JUCO forward in AJ Bramah that will be expected to contribute immediately.

It's hard not to feel a bit for Andrew Toole. In his first 5 years, his team played in 4 postseason tournaments, including two NIT invites and one NCAA berth. He won at least one game in each of those trips, most notably on the road at Kentucky and St. John's in the NIT. But that success came with a cost: transfers. Toole's 2015 NCAA team included Marcquise Reed, who would later lead Clemson to a Sweet 16, and Rodney Pryor, who would later lead Georgetown in scoring and rebounding. Dachon Burke won NEC rookie of the year before picking Nebraska over Marquette when he left RMU, and just this summer another NEC rookie of the year winner, Koby Thomas, left the program.

Toole has planted his flag as a pressure-oriented defensive coach. His teams are going to generally play a high-pressure man defense designed to turn opponents over. The downside is this can turn into a feast-or-famine approach and if they aren't generating turnovers, they aren't stopping opponents from scoring. In addition, they lost their two best ballhawks in Malik Petteway and Matty McConnell, so it will come down to the Williams brothers or the new arrivals to show they can keep the pressure on. Offensively, Toole's best teams thrived at making threes and scoring quickly in transition. Transfers out have led to an offensive dropoff over the past four years. This year's RMU side brings back more minutes than any team since the 2012-13 team that beat Kentucky at Rupp including 6 of their top 8 players from last year. Expect this Colonial team to go back to relying on threes and to hit the offensive glass hard.

Toole was 110-65 in his first five seasons at Robert Morris before the transfer talent drain led to three straight losing seasons. Last year the Colonials had their first winning record for both conference play and overall since the 2015 NCAA bid. Look for a return to that level of play this year. They have the top-of-the-roster quality and overall depth to be one of the best teams in their league. Is it enough to pull off an upset in Milwaukee? Not likely, but this will likely be a top-half of Quadrant 4 game.

Marquette Connection: It isn't often that Robert Morris is recruiting against the likes of Marquette, but this year is an exception. On June 20 of this year, Marquette offered 2020 big man Zed Key. Robert Morris offered him on June 15...of last year. This is the conundrum of small school recruiting. Andy Toole was in on Key early, but as Key became better known, it became less likely RMU would land him. Now that Key holds offers from schools like Marquette, Florida, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Providence, Seton Hall, Georgia, Notre Dame, Illinois, and St. John's, it seems unlikely he'll be a Colonial.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

We aren't going to use the jump to conclusions map - foreign tour edition

The off season is starting to come to the close so it's time to get back in the podcast studio and catch up on things. We kick-off with a discussion of the foreign tour(3:40) and how practical the two center line-up actually will be(8:50). We then spend some time on key cog(in our opinion) Koby McEwen to determine if the tour told us anything about his performance(15:32). We then talk team ceiling and what has to go right to achieve it(21:11). Next up is the news that MU will play UCLA twice and that means we get to host(cue evil music)......Mick Cronin so we discuss how much or little we will enjoy that(25:33). Speaking of schedule, we talk impact of the UCLA home and home on the schedule in 2020 plus a 20 game conference schedule and wildly speculate as to what that does to the annual Badger game(29:30). We close out the pod with a walk through of recruiting news, the medical disqualification of Ike Eke and reminisce about the fun TBT run that the MU alumni went on(33:45). As always, enjoy!


Monday, August 26, 2019

UW-Madison Preview

UW-Madison Badgers
November 17, Kohl Center

Coach: Greg Gard (80-47)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 55.3
3-Year kenpom Average: 35.7
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 25

Projected Starters: PG D'Mitrik Trice (6'0" RS Jr), SG Brad Davison (6'3" Jr), SF Brevin Pritzl (6'3" RS Sr), PF Aleem Ford (6'8" Jr), C Nate Reuvers (6'11" Jr)

The 2018-19 Badgers had an up-and-down season that ended with a thud similar to the one felt by Marquette fans as both teams were boat-raced by 12-seeds in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. For UW-M, it was Oregon that stomped all over the memory of Ethan Happ, who left Madison as the third-leading scorer and all-time leading rebounder in school history. The other guy UW-M fans may really miss is Khalil Iverson, who also graduated and was the only consistent scoring option in the last two months of the season aside from Happ. The majority of the team returns, but the question remains who will step forward as the star on a team that has plenty of depth but little obvious top-end talent.

Trice will be the leading candidate as he is the top returning scorer and assister, but his numbers are deceptive. Coming into last year's Marquette game, Trice was averaging 17.0 ppg and shooting 60% (30/50) from three. He had four 20-point games in UW-M's first nine outings and looked like the Robin to Happ's Batman. Starting with their game against Marquette, however, he averaged just 9.6 ppg, shot 31.7% from three, and didn't reach 20 points in a game again the rest of the season, including scoring in single-digits in 11 of UW-M's last 13 games. Davison, Pritzl, and Reuvers have all shown the ability to step up, but also all suffered from similar inconsistency down the stretch. If none of them can step forward, Kobe King, Micah Potter, and Tyler Wahl provide options off the bench.

The one thing that won't change about UW-Madison is their play style. Slow, methodical offense designed to drain the shot clock and find a good shot in the last 10 seconds with a rigid man-to-man defense focused on limiting three point attempts and accuracy. One thing that will likely change is the volume of threes they shoot. Happ dominated the ball, which meant lots of 2PFGA at the rim. With his departure and Reuvers likely getting those minutes, expect a lot more 3PFGA from the Badgers this year.

It's hard to know what to expect from UW-Madison this year, and pundits seem to agree. I've seen them ranked as high as fifth and as low as eleventh in the Big 10. The most likely scenario is a team that is situated right on the bubble throughout the season. Marquette fans should feel cautiously optimistic going into this game. Without Happ, this won't be the same UW-Madison team, but Greg Gard still boasts a .763 winning percentage at the Kohl Center, and visitor wins there rarely come easy.

Marquette Connection: When Marquette goes to Madison this year, they will be trying to accomplish something they haven't done in more than 35 years: beat UW-Madison for a third straight time. The last time this happened, Rick Majerus coached Marquette to his only career win over the Badgers on February 16, 1984. After holding a 28-22 halftime lead, Marquette used a 14-4 run in the second half to open up a 15-point lead that would equal the margin of victory. It was clearly a different time in the rivalry, as Marquette raised their record against the Badgers to 22-2 since 1969 with the win. Milwaukee Sentinel Badger beat writer Bud Lea wrote "The Warriors own the Badgers" and Majerus' own post-game comments further illustrated the significance of the rivalry: "It means nothing anymore. I'm glad we won, I'd be OD-ing on soda all night if we had lost." Suffice to say, Steve Wojciechowski will probably take this year's tilt a bit more seriously.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Purdue Preview

Purdue Boilermakers
November 13, fiserv.forum

Coach: Matt Painter (321-159 at Purdue, 346-164 overall)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 13.3
3-Year kenpom Average: 11.0
2019-20 T-Rank Projection: 8

Projected Starters: PG Jahaad Proctor (6'3" RS Sr), SG Eric Hunter (6'3" So), SF Nojel Eastern (6'6" Jr), PF Aaron Wheeler (6'9" So), C Matt Haarms (7'3" Jr)

In the last four years, Purdue has been on a roll, earning a 5-seed or better every year, going to two Sweet 16s before last year's Elite 8 run that ended in overtime to eventual National Champions Virginia after an incredible tying buzzer-beater to end regulation. However, gone are Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline, and Grady Eifert, all starters that combined for 54.5% of the team's scoring, 54.6% of the team's assists, and 31.3% of their rebounding. That's a ton of production. Those losses have led to most early projections leaving them out of the top-25, though as seen above, Torvik's advanced stats model still has them in the top-10.

Simply, there are a lot of questions to answer. The first is who will play the point. Grad transfer Jahaad Proctor (19.5 ppg/3.3 apg at High Point) may get the first look, though he spent most of his time at the 2. Nojel Eastern seems certain to start and might also get a look at the 1, though his reputation as a lock-down defender came from guarding wings. Purdue fans are tabbing Wheeler as their next potential NBA talent while monster big man Haarms will likely retain the starting center spot. There's depth for the final starting position, with Hunter, Sasha Stefanovic, Trevion Williams, Evan Boudreaux, and Brandon Newman all being bandied about as possible starters.

While there are questions about the starting lineup, there's no doubt Purdue is deep and talented, even if no one on this roster has had to carry the load for a high-major team before. I expect Eastern and Wheeler to develop into the offensive 1-2 punch but the team not to fully realize their identity until conference play. While that seems like a good sign for Marquette, the same could've been said about the Indiana team that bludgeoned Marquette in the Gavitt Games last year and some of these same Purdue players were part of the team that pounded Marquette at the BC two years ago.

Purdue's renaissance under Painter has largely come down to a change in style of play. Purdue was known as a gritty, defense first team that was going to leave opponents battered. From 2010-14, their aggressive play style led to diminished results as the game became more perimeter oriented and games were officiated tighter. Painter realized their deficiencies and changed how they played. This started by recruiting longer, more athletic players. They became a team that focused on ball movement and finding the best shot, which increased the percent they took beyond the arc, both in terms of accuracy and in the volume of threes taken. Defensively, their turnover-oriented style was too physical for the reduced contact allowed in the rules changes so they focused on staying in front of their opponents and defending straight up. In many ways, they have undergone a similar transition to the one Marquette went through when Buzz Williams left and Steve Wojciechowski took over. The three-oriented offense, a defense that wants to challenge shots rather than creating turnovers, this will be a matchup of strength versus strength with the only difference being Marquette wants to play a bit faster.

It's tough to forecast what Purdue will be this year. I almost certainly think the T-Rank above is too bullish. Most pundits have the Boilers as a top-half Big 10 team and it seems foolish to not expect them to make the NCAA Tournament. The question is still who will score. Eastern, Wheeler, and Haarms have all shown themselves to be efficient in low doses but have combined for just one 20+ point game in all their careers (Haarms scored 21 against Illinois last year). Proctor scored at High Point, but has averaged just 5.5 ppg in his career against top-100 kenpom teams, which will be the norm for him this year. If any of the other players can prove to be an effective scorer while not being a defensive embarrassment, they will likely get a lot of minutes. This looks like a fringe top-25 team that should be on the right side of the bubble, but if they can't find someone to shoulder that load, it could be a long year in West Lafayette.

Marquette Connection: 0-9. That is Marquette's series record against Purdue. The series dates back to 1932 and Marquette has never secured a win against the Boilermakers. It is the most frequent opponent Marquette has played and never defeated. This includes, most famously, the 1969 Elite Eight matchup where Rick Mount sank Marquette's Final Four dreams 75-73 on a buzzer-beating 20-foot jumper in overtime. It also includes the 86-71 Gavitt Games defeat from 2 years ago at the Bradley Center. Purdue is one of only two Big 10 teams Marquette has never defeated, but the other is Maryland, who they have never played (but could in Orlando this year). If you need any extra motivation, Marquette's abysmal record against Purdue and in the Gavitt Games should be reason to really cheer for a victory in this one.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Loyola-Maryland Preview

Loyola University of Maryland Greyhounds
November 5, fiserv.forum

Coach: Tavaras Hardy (11-21)
3-Year NCAA Rank Average: 271.7
3-Year kenpom Average: 273.3
2019-20 T-Rank Projection:153
Projected Starters: PG Isaiah Hart (5'11" Jr), SG Chuck Champion (6'4" Sr), SF Andrew Kostecka (6'4" Sr), PF Brett Holcombe (6'8" Jr), C KaVaughn Scott (6'8" Sr)

The results in Hardy's first year weren't pretty, but there were some reasons for optimism. After starting 4-12 (0-3) the Greyhounds went 7-9 down the stretch, including a win over a Colgate team that went to the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds return everyone of note, which has them projected by T-Rank as the third best team in the Patriot League. This ranking is also notable because, if accurate, it would be the best Greyhound team since they joined the Patriot League in 2014.

These lofty projections start with Andrew Kostecka. The do-everything forward ranked first or second on the team in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks with a stellar line of 21.3 ppg/4.8 rpg/2.4 apg/2.7 spg/0.9 bpg. He also led the team in minutes, offensive efficiency, and usage. But while he's the star, he has help. Hart, Champion, and Holcombe all averaged double-digit scoring and this starting lineup has been playing together for 3 years. This team also has depth as they return three other players that averaged 13+ mpg and started at least one game last year. Further, keep an eye on Spanish freshmen Golden Dike & Santi Aldama. Dike is a 6'7" forward & was regarded as a 4-star prospect by Evan Daniels. He could be a threat to crash the starting lineup or at least give quality minutes off the bench. Aldama is a 6'11" prospect that can stretch the floor & was named MVP of the U-18 FIBA Europe championships.

In his first year, Hardy promised an exciting, up-tempo style of play and he delivered. The team played at the fastest tempo for a Greyhound team in over a decade. They love to get out in transition, but in the halfcourt are very good at sharing the ball. Last year they largely ran a 4-out/1-in system  thanks to their guard depth, but even with the return of big man Brent Holcombe that won't change much since he averaged 2.4 three point attempts per game. On the other end, they play high-pressure defense that led to the 7th highest steal rate in the nation. That didn't translate to efficiency, however, in large part because of their terrible three-point defense. It makes sense, as gambling for steals can lead to open looks at the arc.

Hardy did a great job keeping this team together. The Greyhounds are experienced and deep. Considering he just took over last year, that's somewhat amazing as there are some legitimate high-major players here and the usual expectation for a new coach is mass transfers. They should be right in the middle of a four-team dogfight for the Patriot League title, though Colgate will be the favorites. If they stay healthy, there is a realistic change for this to be a Quadrant 3 (NET ranking 76-160) game.

Marquette Connection: LUM Head Coach Tavaras Hardy began his college basketball career at Northwestern, where he was a two-time All-Big 10 player. He was recruited there by none other than former Marquette head coach Kevin O'Neill. Not surprisingly, Hardy had similar recollections about O'Neill as the Marquette faithful did. He said this when O'Neill was hired at USC: "“He’s going to tell it like he sees it, and sometimes he’s going to say it in an animated way. Sometimes it’s actually funny, but it’s no secret that he has a different vocabulary than a lot of people.”

Friday, July 05, 2019

4th of July off season pod to catch up on schedule and other info

It's the off season so it's a stress free catch up on the latest and greatest #mubb news. First, a brief interruption to highly the Jalen Johnson to Duke announcement, then we dive into the regular pod. We start by talking about the latest(at the time of recording) news that Brett Nelson is leaving MU to be the HC at Holy Cross. We discuss impact and the potential replacements. We then go deep on the non-conference schedule announcement and then pivot into the news the UConn is back. UConn in the Big East is great, convince us otherwise. We close out on some light recruiting news and an overview of MU alum in the NBA. Enjoy! https://scrambledeggs.podbean.com/mf/play/tx3hi2/scrambledeggs_edit_070319.mp3

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Value Add Basketball Official Rules (starts with Rebound Chart)

Roll 20-sided die for position on chart below, and 6-sided die to see if he gets it (if within his 1-6 range on Off Reb or 1-6 on Def Reb).  Following italics ONLY for MISSED FREE THROWS. If 20-sided die is 6-9 after missed free throw, ignore 6-sided die and defensive Power Forward (4) gets rebound. If 16-19, Defensive Center (5) gets rebound. If Off C or Off PF misses FT, then 20-sided gives them chance at rebound (roll of 1-3 or 4-5),Off SF has chance instead.

1Offensive C (bottom of 5 players) 11Defensive C (bottom of 5 players in game)
2Offensive C12Defensive C
3Offensive C13Defensive C
4Offensive PF (4th player in game) #14Defensive PF (4th player in game)
5Offensive PF15Defensive PF
6Offensive SF (middle of 5 players)16Defensive SF (middle of 5 players)
7Offensive SF17Defensive SF
8Offensive SG (2nd from top)18Defensive SG
9Offensive PG (top of 5 players) 19Defensive PG (top of 5 players)
10 or 20: Check all 5 Offensive Ranges of 1-6 for team that shot, and all 5 Defensive Ranges of 1-6, and highest range of all 10 players gets rebound (offense gets tie).

If missed shot or free throw occurs on odd numbered possession (43, 41, 39 … 3) except for final “1”, then ignore chart and instead score as defensive team rebound.

The Offensive Point Guard (or Off PG)  above refers to the "1" or top player of 5 cards of the team that missed the shot. The Offensive Shooting Guard (Off SG) is the "2" or 2nd card of the shoting team, the Offensive Small Forward (Off SF or "3") is the middle of 5 cards, the Offensive Power Forward (Off PF or "4") is the next to the bottom card, and the Offensive Center (Off C or "5") is the bottom of the 5 cards.

Likewise the Defensive player at each of these five positions are the same positions top (1, Def PG) to bottom (5, Def C).

Once you are familiar with the game, you will probably only need to look at the rebound chart above during the game, but for your first couple of games we spell out the various dice results for all four dice.

Official rules of Value Add Basketball

The rebound chart above is actually the 5th of 5 steps in the game. We put it at the top because to play the game the rebound chart down is the first thing you need visible, followed by 2) a score sheet, and 3) 5 player cards visible of the players in the game from top (1) to bottom (5). You also need a 20-sided die, 8-sided die, and two 6-sided dice of different colors to get a roll of 11-66. You roll all 4 dice to start the game with the visitors 44th possession (counting down to the end of the game with the home team’s first (1) possession.

Step 1 (player card column 1, bottom): who gets the ball (look at 8-sided die):

When the 8-sided roll is 1,2,3,4 or 5 the ball goes to that player - 1 to the top player, 5 to the bottom. 

For rolls of 6,7 or 8 refer to any players who have either a “6 7” or just a “7” in the lower left corner - some players will have just a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 for their recommended position (you can play anyone in any of the five), but after that one number some players have an extra "7" or an extra "6 7." At the beginning of the game and anytime the line-up changes, check all five players bottom left corner to determine which scenario applies whenever you roll a 6, 7 or 8.

Scenario 1: No player has “1” OR if none of the 5 players have either a 6 7 or a 7

6 = Roll again
7= Roll again
8 =Roll again

Scenario 2: any player has 6 7

6 - Player with 6 7 gets ball
7 - Player with 6 7 gets ball ignore 11-66 and use his 20-sided die
8 - Ball goes to player nearest top of 5 with a 7, if none of other 4 have a 7 then roll again

Scenario 3 - If no 6 to 7, but at least one player has a 7 

6 - Player nearest the top of 5 players with a 7 gets ball
7 - 2nd player from top with a 7 gets ball, if only one player has a 7 roll again
8 - 3rd player from top with a 7 gets ball, if only 2 players have 7 then  roll again (note if 4 or 5 players all have 7s then the player or players at the bottom including the center my will never get the ball in a roll of 6,7 or 8, but they get the ball more in offensive rebounds)

Roll again - if the 6,7 or 8 roll results in a roll again then the shot clock is running low. Roll all 4 dice again using the same chart but with the following adjustments:

If roll again appears a second time on the same possession, score as a turnover (shot clock violation), record no points scored that possession and roll for the team.

Step 2: 11-66 results (check defender's card on 11-36 or player with ball 41-66)
Note from above (if "7" on 8-sided die and a player with "6 7" is on court, skip to Step 3)

11-16 – if in defender's steal range then steal, if not go to 20-sided die. Note that steal range on card is sometimes adjusted:

If offensive team’s dunk range is 51-57 or 51-58 then all defenders’ steal range is lowered by 1.

If offensive team’s dunk range is 58 or higher then all defenders’ steal range is lowered by 2.

If roll occurs with a roll of 6, 7 or 8 roll (instead of 1-5 below) then all defender’s steal range is cut in half and rounded DOWN, so 11-11 becomes no steal, 11-12 or 11-13 becomes 11-11, 14-15 becomes 11-12 etc.

21-26 – if in defender's block range then blocked shot, if not go to 20-sided die. Note that steal range on card is sometimes adjusted.

Use same three possible reductions to block range as you make to the steal range above.

31 – If any of 5 defenders on court have steal range of 11-19 after any adjustments above, defensive player steals the ball no matter which player has it.

32 – If any player has block range of 21-29 or higher after any adjustments, he blocks the shot and check for rebound if an even numbered possession as you would any missed shot.

33-36 – If falls with defenders foul range he commits foul for at least two shots. This is the one case in which you use both the 33-36 range on defense AND the 20-sided die. Player normally gets two shots, BUT if occurs on 3-point shot made or 2-point shot made he gets the score and gets one free throw. If fouled on missed 3-points shot then he gets three free throws.

41-46 – If player with ball has turnover range that die roll falls within, mark as team turnover with no points scored that possession then roll all dice for other team’s possession.

If teams’ offensive dunk range is 51-58 or 51 -59 then lower turnover range by 1. If range is 51-60 or higher, then lower turnover range then lower turnover range by two.

51-66 – If falls within offensive dunk/layup range minus the defender's adjustment, then scores 2 points, but if 20-sided die indicates a 3-point shot made then he makes a 3-pointer instead. 

Since all players on a team have the same dunk range and all their defenders have the same adjustment range for their dunk range, it is easiest to write each dunk range on the scoresheet at the beginning of the game. Assume the following dunk ranges and adjustment to dunk ranges:

Step 1:

Find below middle column  Team A.       Team B
Dunk range.                           51-56.          51-52
Adjust dunk.                           -2.                2
Add\subtract opp 2nd line.   51-58.          51-50   

Step 2

The LOWER player's dunk range minus opponent's adjustment must always be between 51-50 (no dunks) and 51-53. 

Scenario A - in the caee above the lower range is 51-50, so no further adjustment is needed and those two ranges will be used for the whole game with Team A never getting a dunk and Team B scoring a dunk of layup on any roll of 11-58 (really 11-56 since there is no 57 or 58).

Scenario B - if instead Team A's range calculated to 51-54, it would need to be lowered by 1 to 51-53, and thus Team B would also be decreased by 1 to 51-57.

Scenario C - if Team A's range were instead 51-46, then it would need to be increased by 4 to 51-50 and Team B would.likewise be increased by 4 to 51-62.

Step 3 - because their are really no rolls of 57, 58, 59 or 60 on the two 6-sided dice, a team in those ranges instead lessens the chance of a steal or turnover. 

If team B's dunk range is 51-57, then write above team A "-1 from all steals."

If team B's range is 51-58, then also write "-1 from all turnovers" above team B."

If team B's range is 51-59, so both but make it "-2 from all steals" over team A."

If team B's range is 51-60 or higher, then also write "-2 from all turnovers" above team B.

So in scenario C above where Team B has a 51-62, any of their players score immediately on a roll of 51-62, but also anytime a team A player has a chance for a steal it is lowered by 2 (e.g. a steal 11-15 becomes 11-13) and any time the Team B player might turn it over it is lowered by two (e.g. a 41-44 becomes 41-42).

If the 11-66 roll does not fall into the relevant player range above, then proceed to the 20-sided die.

Step 3: 20-sided die for shot or fouled while shooting

If nothing on the 8-sided die or 11-66 roll ends the action, then the player gets off a shot. Refer to the 20-sided die for the result of that shot.

If a team had to roll again on the same possession because the first roll included a 6, 7 or 8 that did not match a player, then all odd numbered rolls of the 20-sided die (1, 3 ... 19) become missed shots and the defense gets a team rebound. In all other cases, simply read the result and apply one of five results:

3-pt made range: add three points to the team’s score on the running score on the possessions and if scoring players add three points to his total.

2-point made range: add two points, otherwise same as above.

Fouled, 2 shots: take two fouls shots as noted in Step 4 below.

Misses 3: Shot is missed, odd numbered possessions except for final “1” possession record that no points were scored and record defensive team rebound. On even numbered (shaded on scoresheet) or last “1” possession, go the rebound chart at top.

Misses 2: same as above for misses 3. The only reason we break down whether it is a missed 3 or missed two is in case the player is also fouled on a 33-36 roll and we need to know if he gets 2 or 3 shots.

Only if playing a game with players from different teams -  A roll of 19 or 20 is a missed shot. However, if you are playing a team of different players like an all-conference team or mix and match, look for any player on the court with an A: 19-20 (Ethan Happ of Wisconsin or Ja Morant of Murray State) or an A:20. These indicated those rolls for any of their four teammates are changed to a 2-point basket. Do NOT use this when playing a team, because the great assists player is already built into their cards shooting.

Step 4: Free Throws (roll 20-sided die only and refer to FT)

If in players “Free Throws” range in bottom right, free throw is made, if not, missed.
If last free throw is missed, roll 20-sided die again and use chart above but note # and @ results of 6 to 9 and 16 to 19 go directly to defensive PF or C regardless of 6-sided die (in games, offense only gets 14% of missed free throws, less than half of 29% of missed shots).

Step 5: Check for Rebound (back to top)

If a player misses a shot or the last free throw, check to see who gets the rebound.

1. If the miss occurs on an odd numbered possession (39, 37 ... 3) except for the final "1" possession, then record a defensive team rebound and no points for the offense on that possession.

2. If the miss occurs on the even numbered possession (shaded on the score sheet) or on the final "1" possession, then roll the 20-sided die and one 6-sided die and refer to the Rebound Chart at the top of this blog.

3. If the miss occurs on an even numbered possession but on a free throw, use the rebound chart but note rolls of 6-9 or 16-19 always go to the defense on a free throw.

At the end of a possession record the team's new score - adding 3 for a 3-pointer, 2 for a 2-pointer, 1 for each free throw, but leaving the score the same if the possession ends with a defensive rebound, turnover or steal.  However, if the possession continues after a score because a player scores and is fouled, or gets an offensive rebound off a free throw after shooting, we recommend writing a small 1, 2 or 3 in the corner to note that many points already have been scored but that there could be more points scored before the possession is over and you write the new score.

If you use google sheets and google docs and want all components of the game including players in one google sheet, just click here.

Player cards are now broken into conferences to make printing easier:
Big 12 cards

Big Ten cards

Sunday, June 02, 2019

McDermott Top Offensive Player of Century; Adding Creighton & Other Greats to Game

In the basketball board game I picked the 42 teams (7 teams for 6 conferences) who made the Final 4 or finished in the top 5 of www.kenpom.com. However, when I decided to round out each conference with an 8th team based on the greatest team on a school not represented, I missed one thing that should have jumped out at me years ago in www.valueaddbasketball. Here are the playing cards for the six new teams.

Doug McDermott is by far the best offensive college basketball player of the century.

While there are many great one and dones, I realized only two players were ever one of the best five offensive players in the country more than once (see list of the top 5 offensive players every year - including Travis Diener, Steve Novak and Jimmy Butler).

In 2005, Duke's JJ Redick was the third best offensive player in basketball, and in 2006 he improved to be the best offensive basketball. Truly amazing, and yet ...

In 2012 and 2013 in the Missouri Valley Conference McDermott was the third best offensive player in the country (keep in mind Value Add adjusts for competition, so this means it is estimated he would have ranked as the third best offensive player whether he played in the ACC, old Big East, Big Ten etc.

Only four players ranked in the top 5 overall players (Offense, defense and position adjustment); Boston College's Troy Bell in 2002 and 2003, Duke's Shelden Williams in 2004 and 2005, Davidson's Stephen Curry in 2007 and 2008 and Utah's Delon Wright in 2013 and 2014. You may assume Steph would have made the offensive list but not the overall - but actually he played in a stretch of years where the guards were so roughed up that their actual numbers were much lower than front line players - and it is actually the position adjustment that made it clear he was a top five player both years.

Adding the Teams of these Great Players to the Game

As for the game, I am adding McDermott's Creighton team to the Big East, Curry's Davidson team to the "SEC," and Wright's Utah team to the Pac-12. I did toy with adding Kawhi Leonard's San Diego State team instead of Utah since Kawhi is the greater NBA player in the headlines and both teams wee equal as No. 8 at www.kenpom.com and both losing to the eventual national champ in the Sweet 16 (UConn and Duke). However, at the college level Kawhi's best year was 11th ranked, and Wright was the only player to finish in the top two twice - so I went with him and did not he had triple doubles a few times after taking over the starting position for the Grizzlies this year.

To fill out the other conferences with a great player, I went with Reggie Evan's Iowa team from the beginning of the Century as the 8th team in the Big East, Chris Paul's Wake Forest team for the ACC and Michael Beasley's K-State team for the Big 12.

McDermott's Legacy

For the debut of the realigned Big East in 2014, McDermott was even better as the best offensive player in the country. More importantly for the Big East, he was selected as the National Player of the Year by all six major selection groups.

Marquette and the rest of the Big East owe the McDermott's a lot for that 2014 debut season - when people still weren't sure about the Big East after alignment. Obviously everyone owes Villanova for the two national titles, but having the greatest offensive player of the Century for a debut season went a long way.

Top 5 Offensive Players Each Season 2002 to 2019

Off rankPlayerTeamOverall RankYear
1Henry DomercantEastern Illinois92002
2Reece GainesLouisville22002
3Steve LoganCincinnati12002
4Rasual ButlerLa Salle52002
5Chris DavisNorth Texas472002
1Adam HessWilliam & Mary92003
2Chris WilliamsBall St.112003
3Troy BellBoston College32003
4Mike SweetneyGeorgetown12003
5Brett BlizzardNorth Carolina Wilmington82003
1Devin HarrisWisconsin12004
2Travis DienerMarquette72004
3Luke JacksonOregon22004
4Chris PaulWake Forest32004
5Ryan GomesProvidence42004
1Taylor CoppenrathVermont82005
2Andrew BogutUtah12005
3JJ RedickDuke62005
4John LucasOklahoma St.322005
5Spencer NelsonUtah St.22005
1JJ RedickDuke22006
2Adam MorrisonGonzaga62006
3Brandon RoyWashington42006
4Quincy DoubyRutgers52006
5Steve NovakMarquette172006
1Kevin DurantTexas12007
2Jared DudleyBoston College32007
3Drew NeitzelMichigan St.62007
4Jaycee CarrollUtah St.282007
5Adam HaluskaIowa82007
1Tyler HansbroughNorth Carolina32008
2Michael BeasleyKansas St.12008
3Maarty LeunenOregon62008
4Kevin LoveUCLA22008
5Ryan AndersonCalifornia82008
1Ty LawsonNorth Carolina12009
2Aaron JacksonDuquesne372009
3Jerome RandleCalifornia162009
4Blake GriffinOklahoma22009
5DeJuan BlairPittsburgh32009
1Jon ScheyerDuke12010
2James AndersonOklahoma St.102010
3Jimmy ButlerMarquette52010
4Kyle SinglerDuke22010
5Quincy PondexterWashington62010
1Jordan TaylorWisconsin12011
2Kemba WalkerConnecticut22011
3Charles JenkinsHofstra112011
4Reggie JacksonBoston College162011
5Noah DahlmanWofford192011
1Kevin JonesWest Virginia42012
2Anthony DavisKentucky12012
3Doug McDermottCreighton172012
4John JenkinsVanderbilt132012
5Damian LillardWeber St.192012
1Trey BurkeMichigan12013
2Erick GreenVirginia Tech42013
3Doug McDermottCreighton142013
4Kyle BaroneIdaho732013
5Nate WoltersSouth Dakota St.102013
1Doug McDermottCreighton72014
2Billy BaronCanisius62014
3Bryce CottonProvidence492014
4Nik StauskasMichigan442014
5Joseph YoungOregon242014
1Frank KaminskyWisconsin32015
2Jerian GrantNotre Dame52015
3Delon WrightUtah12015
4Aaron WhiteIowa62015
5Kevin YogiIndiana702015
1Quinton HookerNorth Dakota52016
3Buddy HieldOklahoma22016
4Anthony BarberNorth Carolina St.202016
5Kay FelderOakland152016
1Mike DaumSouth Dakota St.292017
2Dallas MooreNorth Florida712017
3Frank MasonKansas22017
4Luke KennardDuke72017
5Monte MorrisIowa St.42017
1Nick MastersonKennesaw St.1912018
2Trae YoungOklahoma62018
3Jeff RobersonVanderbilt162018
4Yante MatenGeorgia32018
5Jordan HowardCentral Arkansas1092018
1Zion WilliamsonDuke12019
2Cassius WinstonMichigan St.42019
3CJ MassinburgBuffalo62019
4Ja MorantMurray St.82019
5Sam MerrillUtah St.182019

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Villanova 2018 Nudges Louisville 2013 to Start 2-0 in Simulation; Syracuse 2003 Leads ACC

Carmelo Anthony (22 ppg) led Syracuse 2003 to a buzzer beater win over Duke and 1st place in my simulated "ACC" replay but Villanova's 2018 Mikal Bridges (28.5, 8.0 rebound) has been even better as Nova nudged Louisville 2013 to take first in the Big East.

Obviously it is only a 2-game sample and while I believe the player cards in the free game are now very accurate, dice lead to the same variations as you see in real games. In fact, in the first two games of my SEC play, Kentucky 2012, Florida 2006 and Auburn 2019 are all 2-0, but using the same player card for Sidarius Thornwell (who we still have nightmares about from the South Carolina tournament game a few years ago) scored 33 points against VCU after being held to 7 by Florida. Partly that is the result of tougher defensive match-ups, but part is just the dice from game to game - and likewise as awesome as Marquette fans saw both Bridges and 2002 Cincinnati great Steve Logan are, they will not keep their current 28.5 and 26.0 points per game over the course of several games.

With the disclaimer that it is only two games, here are Big East leaders in four categories followed by the stats for all Marquette players who played enough to have a card, followed by the standings and box scores from the seven games played so far.

Big East Scoring leaders (2 games)PtsRebStlBlock
Bridges, Villanova 201828.
Logan, Cincinnati 200226.
Gordon, Connecticut 200423.
Green, Georgetown 200721.
Smith, Louisville 201319.
Big East Rebound leaders (2 games)PtsRebStlBlock
Okafor, Connecticut 200417.516.51.50.5
Dieng, Louisville 20137.
Hibbert, Georgetown 200711.
Bridges, Villanova 201828.
Spellman, Villanova 201810.
Davis, Cincinnati 20024.
Big East Steals leaders (2 games)PtsRebStlBlock
Siva, Louisville 201319.
Wade, Marquette 200314.
McElroy, Cincinnati 200210.
Brown T, Connecticut 20042.
Brunson, Villanova 201815.
Big East Blocks leaders (2 games)PtsRebStlBlock
Hibbert, Georgetown 200711.
Williams, Connecticut 20041.

Bridges, Villanova 201828.
Green, Georgetown 200721.
Boone, Connecticut 20045.
Other Marquette 2003 PtsRebStlBlock
Jackson, Marquette 200315.
Diener, Marquette 200314.
Novak, Marquette 20035.
Townsend, Marquette 20034.
Merritt, Marquette 20033.
Chapman, Marquette 20033.
Grimm, Marquette 20032.
Bradley, Marquette 20030.

Here are the standings. After the 6-game round robin the tie breaker will be point differential and teh top two make my tournament, but 2nd place team must win two play-in games (like being in the round of 32 to start) while the champ goes right to the Elite 8. I would say Marquette's road is a little uphill due to a very weak defense and the fact that they have not played and of the three defending national champs, but as we all know from 2003 MU's fire power gives them a shot even against a No. 1. This is the same setup for my Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC, but because the addition of Syracuse 2003 gives the ACC five national champs, I am giving them the two extra spots for their 3rd and 4th place team in the preliminary round of my tournament.

Just updated the standings after McDermott scored another 32 points against UConn to up his mark to a national best 31.5 ppg, but UConn dominated 86-61 to move into second place due to a 12-point average margin of victory.

Big East (past & present)WLPtsPtsAllPt Dif
Villanova 201820836716.0
Connecticut 200421736112.0
Marquette 20032173730.0
Louisville 20131174695.0
Georgetown 20071176715.0
Cincinnati 2002117175-4.0
Butler 2010025480-26.0

Finally these box scores would be a little more neat of I did not include the info to the left, but it is helpful when others play the game. It shows the position at which I play each player and which of the last 44 possessions I have them on the court when playing the game. For example, Steve Novak has the best three-point card and the best free throw card of all players on all 42 teams, but the card shows he can play 14 of the last 44 possessions, so I play him at the end in possessions 14-1 (1 is the final). Todd Townsend is actually the workhorse, so he plays from the 1st possession (44) down to when Novak enters (so "44-15"). Here are the instructions of you want to try any matchups yourself, and it links to cards for all 353 teams from 2019 if anyone is curious about current.

Villanova 201877
Louisville 201373
G-FPossVillanova 2018PtsRebStlsBlks
G-FPossLouisville 2013PtsRebStlsBlks
1,2,344-41, 40,35, 34-32Ware0202
344-39Van Treese3000
Connecticut 200471
Butler 201047
G-FPossConnecticut 2004PtsRebStlsBlks
139-1Brown T5261
330-1Brown D0400
539 - sTooles0100
G-FPossButler 2010PtsRebStlsBlks
Cincinnati 200279
Georgetown 200777
G-FPossCincinnati 2002PtsRebStlsBlks
5,344-30, 29-1Maxiell5622
G-FPossGeorgetown 2007PtsRebStlsBlks
244-43, 41-1Sapp13110
1,244-43, 42Macklin0000
Marquette 200373
Cincinnati 200262
G-FPossMarquette 2003PtsRebStlsBlks
G-FPossCincinnati 2002PtsRebStlsBlks
5,344-30, 29-1Maxiell13400
Marquette 200362
Georgetown 200774
G-FPossMarquette 2003PtsRebStlsBlks
G-FPossGeorgetown 2007PtsRebStlsBlks
244-43, 41-1Sapp7130
1,244-43, 42Macklin3602
Villanova 201889
Butler 201060
G-FPossVillanova 2018PtsRebStlsBlks
G-FPossButler 2010PtsRebStlsBlks
Connecticut 200461
Louisville 201374
G-FPossConnecticut 2004PtsRebStlsBlks
139-1Brown T0110
330-1Brown D3410
539 - sTooles0100
G-FPossLouisville 2013PtsRebStlsBlks
1,2,344-41, 40,35, 34-32Ware0020
344-39Van Treese0120