"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, November 25, 2009

Marquette Early Season Tea Leaves

Before we kick into the preview of Xavier later, it's worthwhile to look at Marquette and how Marquette has been performing. This ended up being just a little more information than would fit in the Xavier preview. Let us state up-front, this is all just early returns based on four games, and there are almost no conclusions that can be drawn from the data. That said, we found it interesting to look at some of the early clues.

From the Pomeroy Scouting report:

Consistent with Last Year
Yet again, Marquette is doing a great job protecting the ball (TO% of 16%). If you recall, Marquette was #11 in the country last year at protecting the ball. Granted, this is early in the season, but the cross-season consistency with protecting the ball is great.

In addition, Marquette has also done a good job of scoring 2-point baskets this season, which was also a strength last year.

Inconsistent with Last Year
Marquette has also done a good job of effective field goal percentage (57.5%; #19 overall), forcing turnovers (27.3%, #16 overall) and limiting offensive rebounds by opponents (21.8%, #6 overall). The Warriors did not do any of these things particularly well last year (#85, #122, and #97, respectively), so it remains to be seen if that trend will continue this season.

What has been a big difference from last year is the Free Throw Rate disparity. Last year, Marquette tried (and often succeeded) at making more free throws than their opponent attempted. This has not been the same situation so far, as Marquette has been getting to the line less than their opponents early. Some of this can be chalked up to the zone defenses, and some of this can be attributed to the different mix of players. In addition, the results both offensively and defensively have been pretty variable, so I expect the results to smooth themselves out over time.

What has also been somewhat concerning is how well opponents have been able to score. In comparison to how well other BE teams are playing, opponents have been able to hit a higher percentage of field goals against MU. Part of this is also because opponents are getting to the line more often against Marquette than they are against other BE teams.

As Buzz likes to say, the team's character will be revealed over the entire season, but especially starting tomorrow. Check back later for our Xavier preview.

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