"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, February 03, 2009

Marquette journeys to the Bradley Center South

”Bunch of mites. Run you off the boards. You gotta push ‘em back! Make ‘em chuck it from the cheap sheets. Watch that purgatory they call a gym, no shot 12 foot in. That’ll do.” ... 'Shooter’ Flatch, from "Hoosiers".

The 295th tallest team in the nation leaves the friendly confines of the Bradley Center for the (ahem) nearly equally friendly surroundings of the Allstate Center tonight as the Golden Eagles visit DePaul in the first of three road games in the next seven days.

While Shooter Flatch may have Marquette figured out, the rest of the BIG EAST has yet to architect a defense to contain the Golden Eagles' high-octane offense. In conference play, Marquette leads the BIG EAST in scoring at nearly 82 points per game, is second in the league in field goal percentage (48%), and is setting the pace with the best assist to turnover ratio as well.

Riding an 11-game win streak and now alone atop the BIG EAST conference, Marquette (19-2, 8-0) surely has a more visible target on its back. Jerry Wainright's Blue Demons (8-14, 0-9) will look to derail the Golden Eagles tonight and even up the season series after falling 79-70 in Milwaukee last month.

The victory-starved Blue Demons are coming off an embarrassing 75-56 loss at Rutgers last weekend. Will Walker led the Blue Demons with 23 points in the loss. Despite sitting at 0-9 in BIG EAST play, the Blue Demons have yet to reach the bottom. DePaul started the 1995-1996 Conference USA season at 0-12.

Game time is 8 pm. Check here for TV clearances.

Let's move on to the numbers.

As for the strengths and weaknesses, they haven't really changed since the last preview. DePaul is still strong at defensive free throw rate, not getting blocked, and protecting the ball. They're still weak in lots of areas, but particularly at offensive eFG%, defensive rebounding, and forcing turnovers. Check the Pomeroy scouting report to see the specific numbers. What has changed, however, is our view of the keys to victory.

Here are the Specific Statistics Recommendations (In order of importance)
1. Stop DePaul from making shots (eFG% of 50% or less)
2. Force turnovers (TO Rate of 18% or more), which is about 12 turnovers (DPU's average)
3. Don’t turn the ball over (TO Rate of 14% or lower)
4. Prevent offensive rebounds (DPU OR% of 29% or less)
5. Get offensive rebounds (OR% of 29% or more)

Bottom line
Pomeroy predicts a 91% chance of victory, but we are slightly less optimistic at 81%. In a slower game (67 possessions), Marquette is expected to win the game by nine points. The model predicts that FTR and OR% will be about even, but MU will have an advantage on turnovers and field goal percentage. As is the norm on the road, MU's offense is predicted to be about average, but defense is predicted to be worse than average.

Media Updates

*Tim Blair and Rob Lowe contributed to this post.


JohnPudner said...

I do think how we handle DePaul tonight is important as another test about playing against a big team. DePaul is the tallest team we play this year except for UConn, and so far we are doing 5 points worst against very tall teams than other teams. If you take the 5 teams we've played that are amonng the biggest dozen teams in a "BCA" conference (NC State, Rutgers, DePaul the first time, ND and Gtown), those teams average being ranked 95th in Pomeroy and we have won the average game by just 7 points.

If you take the 11-best "non-tall" teams, for lack of a better term, we've played, their rank also averages out to 95th in Pomeroy, but we beat them by 12 points a game. So while we've proven we can beat the big teams, so far it does appear to be a much tougher matchup for us.

Actually Dayton is the sixth tallest team we've played, so if you move them over to the "tall" teams, then our average score against the 6 tallest teams is 78-74 and against the other 10 good teams we've played is 83-68. Having just come off our first double-digit win against a tall team (Georgetown), I think it would be a good indication that adjustments have been made if we can put DePaul away a little more convincingly than the game at the Bradley Center. If we are in a battle tonight, it might indicate vulnerability if we draw another team like Stanford in the tourney this year.

Unknown said...

Well I hope for a nice win tonight against the lowly DePaul Blue Demons. Check this article out.
Big East Player is nice but being named national player of the week is pretty sweet.