"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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Know Thyself - Marquette's Numbers

Now that we've gone through an entire regular season, Marquette fans have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Or do we? After all, it's fairly common for fans to say that Marquette needs to force a lot of turnovers (true) or hit their three pointers (not quite true) in order to win. Therefore, in an effort for MU to "Know Thyself", we wanted to take a dive into the numbers for Marquette.

Marquette's Pomeroy Rating is #12. In fact, we've been hovering around the Top 10 all season, so we certainly are better than our seed (at least according to Pomeroy).

Marquette's Offensive Efficiency (Rank of #38) depends on:

  • Our effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) and... that's it.
  • Seriously, how well we do on offense basically boils down to the field goal percentage that Marquette achieves. For the season, our eFG% averages 50.7% (national rank of 141)
  • Unfortunately, our offensive efficiency rank has been falling in the last month or so. The current rank of 38 is our lowest of the season and we are especially trending poorly at eFG%. Not. Good.
Of course, looking at the MU Scouting Report, we can see that MU is good in two other areas offensively.
  • Marquette is #27 in the country at Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%)
  • We are #48 in the country at Turnover Rate (protecting the ball).
As we see below, OR% has been somewhat up and down for the whole season, but has been trending favorably lately. Marquette was ferocious on the boards in the Big East Tournament, and Kentucky is average at best at preventing Offensive Rebounds.

Where our team has really been good has been on the defensive end. Marquette's Defensive Efficiency (Rank of #6) depends on:
  • Our Opponent's effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)
    • MU is #25 in the country at eFG% defense, holding opponents to an eFG% of 45.9%
  • Our Opponent's Turnover Rate
    • Marquette is #35 in the country at forcing turnovers, forcing a turnover rate of 23.9%, or almost one in four possessions
  • Our Opponent's Free Throw Rate - if they shoot more free throws, then our defense suffers
    • MU is #264 in the country at preventing their opponent from getting to the line
One can see that Marquette's defense is based on limiting our opponents from getting easy shots, and by forcing a lot of turnovers. How is Marquette able to limit our opponents and force turnovers? We are #3 in the country at three-point defense and we are #5 in the country at stealing the ball. Our perimeter defense is really quite good. Considering that Kentucky has adjusted their game plan to start on the perimeter more, that's a good sign for Marquette.

As is surely no surprise to Marquette fans, when we foul our opponents a lot we tend to lose. Fouls are going to play a huge role in this game on both sides.

How does Marquette win? Marquette has established their ability to win on the defensive end. Everything derives from the defensive pressure on the perimeter. Unfortunately, our offensive capabilities are not at the same level.

The last two NCAA tournament games have been an exaggeration of that team's capabilities. In 2006 (overall rating of 28 ; 7 seed in tournament), our Steve-Novak-driven offense was better than our defense, and that team got torched defensively by Alabama. In 2007 (overall Pomeroy rating of 38 ; 8 seed in tournament), our defense was better than our offense, and without Jerel McNeal we... let's not rehash the Michigan State game again. The fear is clearly that this year's team will falter offensively.

However, unlike the last two years, Marquette has a much stronger Pomeroy rating and we are underseeded instead of overseeded. In addition, this year's team doesn't just have a good defense. We have an elite defense that can help propel us forward.


Anonymous said...

Hate to interrupt the countdown to Kentucky, but on a 08-09 note, the Alabama Sportwriters Association just named Marquette-bound Nick Williams the 6A (highest division) player of the year for the state.


Rob Lowe said...

Great stuff, JP. Thanks for posting, and we'll add it to the next media update.

Ben said...

Check this MU '77 article out from the Omaha World Herald:


Rob Lowe said...

... and thank YOU, Ben for that tip as well. We'll have that link included in tomorrow's media updates.

Anthony Cox said...

"How does Marquette win? Marquette has established their ability to win on the defensive end. Everything derives from the defensive pressure on the perimeter. Unfortunately, our offensive capabilities are not at the same level."

Sounds like you are describing my beloved Wildcats. Don't forget our defense has been pretty good, too.

Anonymous said...

If this team loses in the 1st round they'll be taking it to their grave. Their fking grave. If MU is better than their seeding then Kentucky(who shouldn't even be in the tourney), should pose little challenge. Anything other than a sweet sixteen for this team will be a huge disappointment. No more excuses get the job done. My prediction is that if MU doesn't make the sweet sixteen once in the next 3 years Crean will be gone. The alumini have had enough. This team clearly has the talent to make a run.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the analysis but we do know this team. This is a ball club that has elite eight talent but lacks consistency. A team with a coach who still doen't know how to attack a zone defense. A team that still has their bigs hedge way to high on screens which allow easy baskets time and time again. A team with a pt. guard with immense ablities but can start a game 0 for 11 throwing up brick after brick after brick. A team that if they had a Bo Ryan would be a threat in the tourney every season. A team that wasted a season of eligibility on possibly a quality inside player. A team that hasn't won squat since D. Wade. A team that has the 3rd highest paid coach in the country. A team who better be hitting jumpers come tomorrow or attack the rim. A team who fouls way, way, too much. A team who has had a total of 1 post player in the Crean era and he was a transfer. A team who inexplicibly is named the Golden Eagles in lieu of The Warriors, and this great University has lost millions of Alumni dollars because of idiotic political correctness. This team better win a fking game or believe me heads will roll in the next few years. Get the kid from Butler to come here for a third of Crean's salary.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that last post was very hateful. I just wanted to comment on how little faith the voters have in the "How will MU fare against UK?" poll. Yes we haven't won a tourney game since Dwayne Wade, but every year it is a fresh slate, and I've got to think that the bad taste in the mouth from the two previous years has to give out juniors an edge. I'm not blind to our weaknesses and all, but I do like to believe at least in basketball that hope springs eternal!

Anonymous said...

I find Rosiak's replay of DJ and TC's talk "over dinner" very curious. You mean to tell me with all of his great coaching (in game and at practice)and ongoing shouting during games, a junior who is a 2nd team BE player, who could graduate in three years still does not know what is expected of him? Zouch! There is something mighty wrong here.

I still question this team's chemistry.

Anonymous said...

reality....what a major pill to swallow.
an alumni
an season ticket holder since '83
an employee
and by the way...pretty good with #'s too.
let's start with the latter first.
#'s can AND will work anyway you want to manipulate them...so pomeroy or not...doesn't matter
inside the university...we finally got smart and moved out of the Cords era into the WHAT??? Cottingham era...the animals during the ice age had a better chance than we do.
Crean...are u kidding?? i hope he has been and continues to give D. Wade his fair share of his salary, because Crean hasn't earned squat!!! See...blowhard.
bottom line...i love MU and hope the challenge every year, but until Senior Management gets its head in the real world and look in the mirror...