"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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Explosions by Blue (21.7% Value Add) and Cadougan (14.3%) offset by poor inside defense, last second shot by Butler

Vander Blue, G7 (3) 14 4 5 2121130021.72
Junior Cadougan, G5 (1) 9 3 4 0114330114.32
Juan Anderson, F2 3 1 4 24521138.00
Trent Lockett, G3 6 3 5 05903017.57
Davante Gardner, F4 7 4 6 521202106.70
Jake Thomas, G1 2 1 1 14301002.35
Steve Taylor Jr.1 3 - - 11200012.01
Derrick Wilson, G- - 2 2 02200011.83
Chris Otule, C1 1 1 1 01300101.26
Jamil Wilson, F- 4 - - 03011000.71
Jamal Ferguson- - - - 00000000.00

Yes, Rotnei Clarke hit a ridiculous half-hook 3-pointer despite a nearly perfect double team by Marquette to send Butler into the 2nd round in Maui against UNC. MUs 72-71 loss sends us into the consolation round against Mississippi State tomorrow. You can see that on ESPN.

However, the real news in why it came down to the last second was this:

1. Marquette forced turnovers on 5 of Butler’s first 10 possessions to take a 14-4 lead.

2. Marquette forced turnovers on 2 of Butler’s next 56 possessions, and Butler got to the rim with ease to average more than 1.2 points per trip down the court (better than anyone in the country averaged last year).

Let’s just leave it that the interior defense will have to improve a lot or MU will be a bubble team. However, there were good signs on the offensive side of the ball.

Blue, Cadougan shine as balance continues

 The balance continued to show as today Vander Blue was the big star, but with an excellent game by Junior Cadougan. Blue di . With 3 minutes to play in the game, Blue was scoreless on 0 for 4 shooting with a turnover. He dominated the last 23 minutes of the game. Blue hit 7 of his last 10 shots including three treys to finish with a spectacular 21.7% Value Add.

For perspective, in the final 23 minutes of the game he took 10 shots and scored 21 points while grabbing a huge offensive rebound. His spectacular line gives great hope that the only 5-star recruit in MU history may finally be ready to explode and complement his drives for traditional 3-point plays with 3-point shooting.

Junior Cadougan was almost as good. He showed a great pull up on several occasions after driving into the lane, and hit a three on his own en route to scoring a very efficient 14 points on just 9 shots. He added three assists to finish with a 14.3% Value Add (for a whole season, more than a 9% Value Add is All-American level, though obviously great players hit these levels a few times a year.)

While skeptics will point out both turned the ball over three times, that is factored into Value Add. Basically Blue’s Value Add for the game indicates Marquette would have lost about 58-72 if Blue were replaced by a borderline BCS player for his 37 minutes, while Marquette would have lost 60-72 if Cadougan was replaced. Junior had his only miss from the line at the end of 32 grueling minutes (Blue played 37 minutes), but was part of the near perfect defense at the other end which earned a win – only to have the crazy shot go in.

The other great performances according to Value Add were turned in by Juan Anderson (8%), Trent Lockett (7.6%) and Davante Gardner (6.7%), while Steve Taylor’s strength seems to give MU a 3rd option at center if Gardner and Chris Otule get in foul trouble, and Jake Thomas’ incredible offensive rebound and stick-back-and-one would have been the highlight of the night if not for the late heave.

With different players stepping up each night to be a star it looks like there is enough firepower to replace Jae Crowder and DJO by Committee on the offensive end, so let’s see if Buzz can make the adjustments in the interior defense to get stops when MU does not force a turnover. MU must handle a Mississippi State team who is truly rebuilding, and that would leave a chance to finish the tournament with an upset of Texas, which was ranked 22nd by Pomeroy before being stunned by Chaminade tonight.

Last season the top two players in virtually every game were Jae Crowder and DJO.  This year there has been a different top player in each game.  Cadougan and Gardner are the only two players who have been one of the top five MU players in every game, and even between them Junior has not been the top player yet and Gardner was only one of the top three players in the one game in which he was the top player.  J. Wilson is the only player who has been one of the best two players in each of the first two games, and today he was held scoreless on 0 of 4 shooting.

When you add the defense of Derrick Wilson and Chris Otule, and the great minutes put in by Steve Taylor and Jake Thomas so far, and it still looks like a lot of balance but so far no Top 100 player who would get All-Conference votes as of yet.

Otto Porter, my preseason pick for surprise Big East Player of the year, had 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 5 blocked shots – and did it hitting two treys en route to 6 of 10 from the floor and 4 of 5 from the line.  It was his first action after getting a concussion a few minutes into the opener, as Georgetown stunned UCLA.

Value AddGame 1Game 2Game 3
1stJ. WilsonGardnerBlue
2ndLockettJ. WilsonCadougan

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