"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 22, 2014

Value Add: What Combo Gives MU Best Shot?

Marquette survived to keep a March Madness pulse alive with a 96-94 overtime win at DePaul, meaning winning three of the last four might be enough. Who should be on the court to give MU the best chance with so little margin of error?

Derrick Wilson has vastly improved, so assume he is the point guard. Based on www.valueaddbasketball.com I would go with Todd Mayo and Davante Gardner to combine with Jamil Wilson to give us enough offense to beat elite teams (those three are adding 6-7 points a game over what we would expect from replacements, so more minutes for Gardner and Mayo would be key).

But the defensive rankings in Value Add convince me Buzz should continue to start Juan Anderson, who is taking 1.26 points off the board for opponents even playing only a little better than 1/3rd of the minutes.

Value Add calculates that if Anderson played about 28 minutes a game and could maintain the same defensive pace, he would be one of only 12 players in the country to take away more than 2.5 points per game. If he had just a few more minutes played, he would rank 17th in the country in steals at www.kenpom.com (4.5% of all opponents trips) - which is 7th among players in a High Major conference. He is also just behind Jamil for tops on the team in defensive rebounds (17.8% of missed shots).

I realize it is not that simple. Marquette could not have won today without Jake Thomas' three treys in the first half, and Chris Otule's 6 of 7 game from the floor and 12 second half points. He has moved into the top 2% of all offensive rebounders in the country.

Ironically Marquette is one of 47 teams with five players in the Top 750, but three of the first four do not start.

114. Davante Gardner (could be threatening top 100 after today's outing)
497. Jamil Wilson (started season out of top 1000)
576. Todd Mayo
685. Deonte Burton
724. Juan Anderson

A tough call with everyone on the roster showing the ability to contribute, but that would be my statistical advice for maximizing the points added by Jamil, Davante and Todd and maximizing the points taken away from opponents by Juan and Derrick to pull out the close wins we will likely need in three of the next four games to hope for a tournament bid.

No comments: