"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

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Marquette’s big 3 outrebound entire Seton Hall team; grading 12 teams chasing MU for NCAA

MUs dominant inside performance resulted in a 73-64 win vs. Seton Hall, which gets a "B" grade as a win that is not a resume-builder (A), but gets a team closer to an NCAA bid. Here is how the 12 teams right behind MU graded today, with a "D" for teams that hurt themselves and fell further behind MU and an "F" being a game that could kill off a bubble contender.

Marquette – Grade "B" – 73-64 win vs. Seton Hall
1. Minnesota – No Game (team just behind MU in Forecast RPI)
2. UCLA – No Game
3. Michigan State – B – big 61-57 win at home against Illinois in a toss-up game
4. Baylor - F – lost an embarrassing 69-78 game at home vs. Texas Tech, who they were favored to beat by 13
5. Xavier – D – a very underwhelming 79-72 win at home against Fordham, favored by 22
6. Georgia – A – won by 6 at Tennessee, where they were 6 point underdogs
7. UNLV - B – went into Colorado State and won 68-61, despite only being a 2-point favorite
8. Washington State – D – were upset 69-71 at Arizona State, after being a 4-point favorite
9. Oklahoma State -D – missed a golden opportunity with a 66-67 loss at home to Texas A&M, the exact result predicted by Forecast RPI, but a golden opportunity missed
10. Nebraska – A – stunned Texas 70-67 after being 6-point underdog
11. Colorado State – F – lost what could prove to be a play-in game at home to UNLV 68-61
12. Boston College = B – despite losing 46-48 at UNC, certainly passed the eyeball test after being a 12-point underdog (based on Sagarin all 12 teams including BC would have to pass MU to knock MU out, BUT tourney upsets could lower that number)

MUs dominant bigs one step closer to NCAA
As usual, Marquette’s dominant centers pushed around a weaker team as starter Chris Otule and reserves Davante Gardner and Jae Crowder combined for 23 rebounds in 63 minutes. Seton Hall’s entire team grabbed 21 rebounds in 400 minutes. Otule also went 5-5 from the floor, while Gardner and Crowder combined for 9-12 from the line to overcome terrible first half free throws.

Like most foes who find themselves too small to content with MUs big men, Seton Hall’s only chance was to go for steals and throw up 3-pointers, especially star Jeremy Hazell who hit 4 of 12 to break the all-time Big East record of 189 threes. Two Pirates frontline players fouled out in a feeble attempt against the giant MU Warriors.

1970s squad?
What was this, a 1970s game? I thought our problem was no bigs.

But tonight Buzz seemed intent on getting the ball inside to Otule early and often, even starting the better passer Junior Cadougan to insist on working the ball in time and time again. When Otule got in foul trouble after a blistering start, the inside dominance continued and MU one a very nice 73-64 win to help their NCAA bid.

MU gets "B" to improve NCAA chances vs. 12 teams chasing them
If I had to grade MU and the 12 teams that are chasing them for the NCAA bid, I’d give MU a “B” for a better than expected performance. Forecast RPI favored MU by 9 based on Sagarin’s ratings, but as I noted, Seton Hall has actually been at least 5 points better than their average since Jeremy Hazell returned, so really a 4-point win would have been closer to expectation – and MU took care of business.

In grading the 12 teams chasing MU, Baylor and Colorado had crushing performance that will drop them well behind MU. MU also put some distance between themselves and Xavier, Washington State and Oklahoma State, who fell below Forecast’s RPI expection. (Grade D for each).

However, Georgia and Nebraska were the huge winners today, so both likely caught MU today with Grade-A performances. Michigan State, UNLV and Boston College all kept pace with MU with similar B-Grade performances.

However, the MU win is significant not because it was an upset, but because of what it says about the rest of the season. First, since Hazell returned Seton Hall has been exactly as good as Cincy, so tonight’s performance gives strong hope that MU shook off the 3-game slide and can protect home court against Cincy. Also, teams average doing 8-points better on their home court then when they play teams on the road, so the 9-point win could translate to a 1-point win at Seton Hall to close the season, and MU could finish 10-8.

Which is not to say MU doesn’t have a chance in all the rest of their games – as UConn’s recent slide has them as only a 5-point favorite when MU travels there.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Go Warriors! Will need to raise it a notch against UCONN, Cincinnati and Seton Hall and don't look past Providence.