"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, December 30, 2015

Non-Con formalities are over, it's time to start the Big East

We're not going to spend much time talking about the last game of the non-conference season because there are so many more interesting things to talk about. First, unexpectedly, Coach Wojciechowski got a contract extension from Marquette to put him under contract through the 2021-22 season. We do a little light speculating about that and general come away ambivalent about the whole thing. We move on to much more pressing matters, the Big East season. We spend a lot of time going through Marquette's schedule, predicting results and talking about what it's going to take for Marquette to make the NCAA tournament (hint: a lot). We go in depth on the opening game against Seton Hall and what that match up looks like for Marquette. Welcome to the 2015-16 Big East season and have a Happy New Year! Download this episode (right click and save)

MU 1- to 3-pt favorite in FS, KenPom, Sagarin, Massey, Value Add; Fischer Breaks top 100 & MSU was 7-point dog in Value Add 3.0

Denzel Valentine's absence cost Michigan State 6 points of offense and gave Iowa an extra 2 points - enough to change Michigan State from a 73-72 favorite last night at Iowa on KenPom to a 67-74 underdog. In fact, they lost to the Iowa team that looked so good at Marquette by a 70-83 margin.

We just completed the first true run of Value Add Basketball 3.0 (click here if you want detailed explanation of the result of the 1000 plus lines of code programmers completed this break as we calibrated much more advanced calculations). The new data projects a healthy Marquette to beat a healthy Seton Hall 70-69 tonight in the Big East opener - and KenPom, Massey, Sagarin and the Fox Sports projection also all project a one to three point MU win tonight on Fox Sports 1 in what KenPom ranks as the most exciting game of the day.

Value Add 3.0 Adjustment to kenpomMichigan St.Iowa
Valentine's Value Add 12 of 13 games8.9-2.6
Valentine Per Game9.6-2.8
71 trips in Iowa Game / 1000.710.71
Impact of losing Valentine-6.41.8
Pomeroy Projection - Valentine Loss66.673.8
Actual Final70.083.0

To go over the math using last night's game as an example, Pomeroy calculated a 73-72 MSU win based on all results to date. Valentine's current Offensive Value Add is 8.9 and Defense is -2.6 - meaning that is how many points he impacts each team's points per 100 possessions. However, that includes the ZERO rating for the game Valentine already missed to injury, so his per game is actually 9.6 and -2.8 - the fourth best total in the country. Since there were 71 possessions each in last night's game, losing Valentine cost Michigan State 6.4 points total and added 1.8 points to Iowa's score.

When you add those figures to Pomeroy's projection it yields the 67-74 projected loss for the No. 1 ranked Spartans. And lose they did.

SourceSeton Hallat Marquette
SagarinUDby 0.6
Fox Sports ProjectionUDby 3
Value Add Offense24.621.2
Value Add Defense-6.0-5.9
Cross add previous two +82100.797.3
KenPom Tempo/1000.70.7
Neutral Court Score70.568.1
VA Home +2, Away -268.570.1

Because Seton Hall and Marquette are healthy for tonight as far as I know, no adjustment is made. You can go with your favorite projection - Fox Sports' listed spread is a 3-point MU win, Massey Ratings and Value Add (with rounding) says MU by 2, and Pomeroy and Sagarin have MU by 1.

Value Add 3.0 continues to be focused on individual player values, but to give a better understanding of how the sum of values add up to a total team performance, I ran the math above. The sum of the Offensive Ratings for Seton Hall players is 24.6, over three points better than Marquette's 21.2. The defenses are virtually even at -6.0 and -5.9. The assumption behind Version 3.0 is that a team of replacement players would score about 82 points per 100 trips going up against an AVERAGE D1 defense (this total will always be 20 points less than the national average moving forward).

Therefore both teams "start" with 82 points per 100 trips, and Seton Hall has enough offense to add 24.6 points per 100 trips when healthy, while Marquette has enough defense to take 5.9 back away - leaving Seton Hall projected to score 100.7 points in 100 trips against Marquette and Marquette scoring 97.3. Of course, neither team will get 100 possessions - Pomeroy projects 70 possession each, so we multiply by .7 and get a 71-68 Seton Hall win on a neutral court. However, teams average scoring 2 points better than average at home and 2 points less on the road, so with the game being played at Marquette the projected final is 70-69 Marquette (actually a 2-point favorite due to rounding of 70.1 - 68.5).

SourceSeton Hallat Marquette
Without Desi Rodriguez would lose6.4-1.8
Value Add Offense18.321.2
Value Add Defense-4.2-5.9
Cross add previous two +8294.499.0
KenPom Proj 70 Tempo/1000.70.7
Neutral Court Score66.169.3
VA Home +2, Away -264.171.3

Where Value Add 3.0 is more versatile is in quickly adjusting if a player misses a game from either team. Pirates small forward Desi Rodriguez is among the leaders in steals, 2-point shooting and 3-point shooting to rank as the 87th est player in the country with a 6.35 Offensive Rating and a -1.77 Defensive Rating. (other adjustments for position and another factor make the total slightly different than the basic Offense - Defense total).

If Rodriguez did not play (just for illustration, I do not know of any player expected to miss the game) then you would rerun the math with his contributions out, and Marquette would be a 71-64 favorite against a Seton Hall team without Rodriguez.

LSU's Ben Simmons is easily the top player in the country in the first run of the new system with a 15.31 rating, with Oklahoma's Buddy Hield in second. Luke Fischer breaks into the top 100 at 98th to be just behind Rodriguez for best player on the court tonight, while Henry Ellenson keeps skyrocketing as the third best player on the court tonight despite ranking outside the top 2000 after his first few games.

RnkPlayerTeamHtYrOffenseDefenseTotal ValuePGPerNBA?
1Simmons, Ben 25LSU6'10"Fr11gms9.99-4.1015.31SF*1.01596%
2Hield, Buddy 24Oklahoma6'4"Sr11gms10.87-2.0513.92SG*157%
87Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall6'6"So12gms6.35-1.779.25SF*1.015
98Fischer, Luke 40Marquette6'11"Jr12gms7.17-0.799.07C*1.015
258Ellenson, Henry 13Marquette6'10"Fr12gms4.28-1.747.11C*1.01592%
304Carrington, Khadeen 0Seton Hall6'3"So12gms4.77-0.846.61SG*1
350Delgado, Angel 31Seton Hall6'9"So12gms3.18-2.066.32C*1.015
398Cohen, Sandy 5Marquette6'6"So12gms4.07-0.916.05SF*1.015
423Nzei, Michael 1Seton Hall6'7"Fr12gms4.22-0.635.93PF*1.015
470Sanogo, Ismael 14Seton Hall6'8"So11gms1.97-2.565.60C*1.015
640Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton Hall6'4"So12gms2.30-1.364.65PG*1
867Johnson, JaJuan 23Marquette6'5"Jr12gms1.59-1.123.75SF*1.015
895Wilson, Duane 1Marquette6'2"So12gms2.12-0.513.63SG*1
1113Cheatham, Haanif 25Marquette6'5"Fr12gms1.77-0.132.90SG*1
1398Carter, Traci 21Marquette6'0Fr12gms0.21-0.872.08PG*1
1450Gordon, Derrick 32Seton Hall6'3"Sr12gms0.49-0.481.97SG*1
1672Ellenson, Wally 22Marquette6'6"Jr10gms0.00-0.451.46C*1.015
1798Singh, Veer 33Seton Hall6'7"Fr11gms0.450.361.23PF*1.015
1812Anthony, Rashed 25Seton Hall6'9"So8gms0.410.861.21PF*1.015
1825Soffer, Dalton 21Seton Hall6'5"Fr5gms0.390.231.20SF*1.015
1879Anderson, Braeden 4Seton Hall6'9"Jr10gms0.00-0.131.13PF*1.015
1952Carter, Myles 23Seton Hall6'9"Fr3gms0.072.431.04PF*1.015
1981Anim, Sacar 2Marquette6'5"Fr8gms0.010.291.01SF*1.015
1988Heldt, Matt 12Marquette6'10"Fr8gms0.000.341.00PF*1.015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wally and the Replacements

Writers rarely define the "Replacement Player," simply explaining that "Wins over Replacement (WAR)" and "Value Add Basketball" indicate how many more wins or points, respectively, a player is worth to his team.

Wally Ellenson and 350 other players form the composite "Replacement Player" against which all other players are judged based on the fact that these are the players averaging between 7 minutes, 31 seconds and 11 minutes, 3 seconds per game and not being NBA prospects. (e.g. when we ran the replacement player composite December 16 Marcus Paige of UNC was actually within that range due to games missed to injury, but is was not included).

The average performance by a replacement player this year is to hit 1 shot out of either 2 or 3 shots taken with an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 44%.  This year there are more big men in the replacement spot - so the blocked shots and offensive rebounds are close to average, but there are very few steals or assists and only about one three-pointer made every five games.

So a player's value add indicates how many points his team would be hurt if he could not play and the composite 9th man below stepped into an 8-man rotation in his place.

The first column below summarizes the stats of the composite replacement player, who has an 89.7 offensive rating playing against a defense averaging the 176th best defense in the country. The next columns show the average stats for each of the eight players per team averaging at least 11 minutes 4 seconds per game. Finally, the last column lists the average stats for each of Marquette's scholarship players.

Average StatAve. of 351 9th MenAve in 8-man rotationMarquette 10
YrSO (1.2 yrs)JR (1.7 yrs)SO (0.9)
%Min9 min, 19 sec22 min, 41 sec20 min
Def Rtg (Pts All/Poss)114.00101.3096.7
Ave. Off Faced176th176th336th
Offensive Rating89.7103.3103.8
Ave Def Rnk176th176th301st
Field Goals Per Game1 of 2.4 (40%)3.4 of 7.3 (46%)2.8 of 5.9 (48%)
Free Throw Per Game0.5 of 0.8 (61%)1.8 of 2.5 (70%)1.6 of 2.3 (69%)
2-pointers only0.7 of 1.6 (46%)2.4 of 4.9 (49%)2.1 of 3.9 (55%)
3-pointers only0.2 of 0.8 (29%)0.9 of 2.4 (39%)0.7 of 2.0 (35%)

Marquette's 107.1 points scored per 100 trips is pretty good (99th of 351 teams), but factor the adjustment for facing the 301st toughest defenses in the country and MUs offense rates barely above average - and likewise every Marquette players Offensive Value Add is held down.

The issue regarding weak opponents is tougher yet in defensive ratings. MU's outstanding steals, defensive rebounding, blocked shots, low fouls committed and 93.3 points allowed per 100 trips less in value a little because MU faces the 336th weakest opposing offenses in the country. While Henry Elleson, Cohen, Carter, Wilson and Fischer each take about two points off the board (Defensive Value Add) from if a Replacement Player took their place - but if they had the same numbers against tougher competition the defensive numbers would be outstanding.

While Presbyterian boasts one very strong Value Add player in DeSean Murray (top 10% of all players with a 3.61 Value Add) for Sunday's 1 p.m. game at the Bradley Center, the frustration for stat nerds like me is that it is a game against the 344th best offense in the country - so it kills MU's Value Add ratings just as the game itself kills MU's RPI.

Presbyterian's defense is a little better at 263rd in the country, but it still takes a very good offensive performance by any player with few turnovers or missed shots against a weak defense to keep a decent Value Add.

Luckily Big East season, with very tough opponents, offers all MU players a chance to prove they are ready for prime time and move up the Value Add Rankings.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Grinch Sagarin Gives MU 3.2% chance at NCAA Appearance

Christmas gifts include dominant twin towers, a 8-game winning streak, and three top 10 teams from the Big East to give MU's improving young team many chances for signature wins. In addition, MU is the top team in the nation at keeping teams off the foul line DESPITE putting up great steal and blocked shots numbers - and MU is one of only 15 teams to be both one of the 50 best shooting teams AND the 50 best at shooting defense (eFG%).

The bad news is that analytics give MU only a 3.2% chance of making it to the tournament, based on current Sagarin ratings and the schedule ahead (virtually the same percentage as if we used www.kenpom.com ratings).

ScenarioScenario Resulting in March Madness AppearanceSagarin%RPI, SOS, Over, BE
I20 wins or fewer but win Big East Tournament (e.g. beat SJU, Providence, Xavier, Villanova)0.8%55, 80, 24-11, 9-9 (or worse)

II21 wins plus two tournament wins (e.g. beat Providence, Xavier, lose to Villanova)0.4%55, 75, 23-11, 10-8

III22 wins plus one Big East tourney win (e.g. beat Providence, lose to Xavier)1.0%55, 83, 23-10, 11-5

IV23-8 or better regular season (12-6 Big East even if 1st round loss in BE tourney)0.9%52, 96, 23-9, 12-6 (or better)

BID: Chance of either 23 wins for at-large bid, or BE title (rounding of above reason for 3.2% rather than 3.1%)3.2%any of above

VNO BID: Chance of anything else happening96.8%22 wins or fewer, no BE title

The premise of my calculations is that MU needs 23 total wins for an at-large bid, because anything less leaves MU so far from the top 50 in RPI and potentially outside the top 100 in Strength of Schedule after a "play-in" game in the Big East tournament.

Both Sagarin and Pomeroy project Marquette to finish the regular season 18-13. Using the tool at RPI Forecast, there is an 89.8 percent chance MU finishes the regular season with 20 or fewer wins, and if that is the case MU simply must win the Big East tournament to get a bid.

SCENARIO I - BIG EAST TITLE DESPITE 20 or FEWER WINS - That path would most likely entail winning four games such as St. John's (80% chance of win on neutral court), Providence (39%), Xavier (15%) and Villanova (21%). Multiply those chances together and Marquette would have a 0.94% chance of winning those four to take the title. So under the 89.6% chance of 20 or fewer wins, multiplied by the 0.94% chance of following that effort with a Big East title, there is a 0.8% chance of a bid under this scenario.

SCENARIO II - 21-10 PLUS 2 TOURNAMENT WINS (Providence and Xavier) - If MU wins 21 or more games, the 10-8 or better Big East record should result in a 5th seed or better. There is a 6.8% chance of 21 regular season wins, and a 5.58% chance of then winning at least two tournament games - so a 0.4% of this scenario (add to above and we are up to a 1.2% chance of playing in the tournament.  I always assume getting upset once in six "easy" games, so even hitting 21-10 would entail two wins over currently ranked teams and going 5-1 against Seton Hall, Creighton and Georgetown - then having to won two more at the Big East tournament.

SCENARIO III - 22-9 WIN PLUS 1 TOURNAMENT WIN (Providence) - If MU wins 22 games (11-7 in Big East play), then a win over someone like Providence should be enough for a bid.

SCENARIO IV - 23-8 REGULAR SEASON EVEN IF NO TOURNAMENT WINS - Even a 12-6 Big East season and 23-8 mark coming into the tournament would leave Marquette outside of the RPI Top 50 in addition to being outside the top 100 in strength of schedule going into the Big East Tournament. However, I can't see MU being left out with a record that good in a conference that has played this well out of conference. Even a first round tournament loss against a team like Providence would give MU an RPI of 52 and push MU to a SOS of 96.

The fact is I do believe MU is much better than the current ratings reflect. But the six games against teams outside the RPI 300 leave MU with virtually no margin of error. Even assuming no problems with the final cupcakes (Presbyterian Sunday and Stetson later in the year), games like the Big East opener at home against Seton Hall become must-win games.

I believe MU passes the eye test as a tournament team. The way Wojo has them trained to block shots without fouling are building the base for continued improvement, and experience could cure the turnover issue that is holding the team back. The analytical Grinch says MU has almost no chance, but Santa could have the last laugh again with a strong finish and return to March Madness.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fischer 3rd in Big East "Net Points:" Ellenson near All-American last 6 games after TERRIBLE 1st 4 games

NC State's Cat Barber is averaging 20.6 points per game - but so far Luke Fischer is better. Barber is the only player in a major conference missing more than 11 shots per game (free throws and field goals) while Fischer misses only 4.3 shots per game (a 66.3% field goal percentage for Fischer to below 40% for Barber).

The explanation of "Net Points" (Points minus mistakes) and top 1000 players can be found here, and the more advanced Value Add Ratings are here.

Fischer has 7.5 net points per game (14.3 - 4.3 - 2.5) and Cat has 7.3 (20.6 - 11.1 - 2.2). Once Value Add factors in level of opponents faced, rebounds, steals, assists, defense etc., Fischer's overall Value Add 5.29 and Barber's is 5.08.

As for Henry Ellenson, the last six games he has scored 17.8 points per game with just 7.3 misses per game and 1.3 turnovers which adjusts to 2.0. That would put him in the top 1% of all players with 8.5 net points per game. However, his first four games Ellenson played like a freshman. He scored 14.5 per game, but that was missing 9.5 shots per game and turning the ball over 3.8 times a game (adjusted for 5.7 in the formula) so he actually had a net negative. So it basically took him just until his 5th game to look like an All-American sophomore after four games of looking like a freshman. The future is bright.

PointsMisses Adj TO Net
Ellenson 1st 414.5 9.5 5.7 (0.7)
Ellenson last 617.8 7.3 2.0 8.5

Yet for some reason some critics do not seem to grasp that players who make a lot of mistakes hurt their team - and I constantly get criticism for a player who turns the ball over a lot and hits less than 40% of his shots is not in my top 100 for putting up a lot of positive stats.

The best total in the country is Grayson Allen, Duke's point guard who is averaging 21.4 points per game, minus just 7.3 missed shots per game and 1.7 adjusted turnovers per game. He has totaled 124 "Points minus Mistakes: or 12.4 per game.

The following starts with the top 10 players nationally, then the top 20 Big East players, the top 10 players in the other seven best conferences and finally the 10 best of the rest from other conferences.

RnkNamePosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
NAAverage PlayerAllAll6.
RnkTop 10 National PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Allen, Grayson 3PGDuke21.47.31.712.412410.5
2Walker, David 4SGNortheastern23.17.13.312.71149.6
3Bradds, Evan 35CBelmont19.44.53.711.21127.7
4Uthoff, Jarrod 20PFIowa19.67.41.510.71079.2
5Robinson, Justin 12PGMonmouth20.47.91.910.61069.2
6Gibbs, Jack 12PGDavidson27.
7Moody, Stefan 42PGMississippi24.
8Ware, Gavin 20PFMississippi St.
9Poeltl, Jakob 42CUtah20.
10Emegano, Obi 15SGOral Roberts25.310.83.710.9986.1
RnkBig East Top 20 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Dunham, Kellen 24SFButler19.
2Bentil, Ben 0CProvidence17.
3Fischer, Luke 40CMarquette14.
4Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4PGGeorgetown16.
5Groselle, Geoffrey 41CCreighton10.
6Chrabascz, Andrew 45PFButler12.
7Davis, Myles 15PGXavier11.
8Zierden, Isaiah 21SGCreighton12.
9Arcidiacono, Ryan 15PGVillanova12.
10Hart, Josh 3CVillanova15.
11Martin, Kelan 30CButler14.
12Henry, Myke 4CDePaul13.
13Garrett, Billy 5PGDePaul14.
14Dunn, Kris 3PGProvidence16.
15Thomas, Khyri 2SGCreighton10.
16Farr, James 2CXavier10.
17Ellenson, Henry 13CMarquette16.
18Bullock, Rodney 5CProvidence13.
19Bluiett, Trevon 5PFXavier14.
20Wideman, Tyler 4PFButler10.
RnkA10 Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Allen, Terry 15CRichmond20.
2Colter, Derrick 1PGDuquesne19.
3Johnson, Melvin 32SGVCU19.
4Thomas, Mandell 23SGFordham19.
5Price, Jordan 21SFLa Salle25.410.14.910.4735.6
6Mason, Micah 22PGDuquesne16.
7Cavanaugh, Tyler 34CGeorge Washington16.
8Hinds, Jabarie 5PGMassachusetts16.
9Cline, TJ 10PGRichmond15.
10Rhoomes, Ryan 30PFFordham14.
RnkACC Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1McClellan, Sheldon 10SFMiami FL16.84.31.810.7967.6
2Gbinije, Michael 0PGSyracuse19.
3Blossomgame, Jaron 5CClemson16.
4Jackson, Demetrius 11PGNotre Dame17.
5Lee, Damion 0SFLouisville18.
6Beasley, Malik 5SGFlorida St.
7Artis, Jamel 1PGPittsburgh16.
8Young, Michael 2SGPittsburgh17.
9Brogdon, Malcolm 15PGVirginia16.
10Johnson, Brice 11CNorth Carolina13.
RnkAmerican Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Miller, Shonn 32PFConnecticut12.
2Woodard, James 10SGTulsa16.
3Gray, Rob 2SGHouston19.
4Clark, Gary 11CCincinnati9.
5Cobb, Farad 21SGCincinnati11.
6Harrison, Shaquille 3SFTulsa18.810.63.25.0504.8
7Pollard, Devonta 24CHouston14.
8Johnson, Ronnie 3PGHouston12.
9Tyson, BJ 21CEast Carolina14.
10Enechionyia, Obi 0PFTemple11.
RnkBig Ten Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Robinson, Duncan 22PFMichigan13.
2Ferrell, Yogi 11PGIndiana16.
3King, Joey 24PFMinnesota14.
4Haas, Isaac 44CPurdue13.
5Trimble, Melo 2PGMaryland15.
6LeVert, Caris 23PGMichigan16.
7White, Andrew 3PFNebraska16.
8Valentine, Denzel 45SGMichigan St.
9Blackmon, James 1SFIndiana16.
10Forbes, Bryn 5SGMichigan St.
RnkBig 12 Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Hield, Buddy 24SGOklahoma22.18.42.311.4809.6
2Niang, Georges 31PFIowa St.
3Brodziansky, Vladimir 10CTCU14.
4Selden, Wayne 1SGKansas16.
5Morris, Monte 11PGIowa St.
6Felix, Javan 3PGTexas11.
7Gathers, Rico 2CBaylor15.
8Williams, Devin 41CWest Virginia17.
9McKay, Jameel 1CIowa St.
10Ellis, Perry 34PFKansas14.
RnkPac 12 Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Scott, Josh 40CColorado18.
2Andrews, Andrew 12PGWashington21.
3Welsh, Thomas 40PFUCLA12.
4Alford, Bryce 20PGUCLA16.
5Rabb, Ivan 1PFCalifornia12.
6Loveridge, Jordan 21SFUtah15.
7Trier, Allonzo 11SGArizona13.
8King, George 24SFColorado17.
9Hawkinson, Josh 24CWashington St.
10Anderson, Ryan 12CArizona15.
RnkPac 12 Top 10 PlayersPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Punter, Kevin 0PGTennessee22.98.82.511.6938.3
2Hannahs, Dusty 3SGArkansas18.
3Bell, Anthlon 5SGArkansas16.
4Baldwin, Wade 4PGVanderbilt15.
5Kacinas, Mindaugas 25PFSouth Carolina13.
6Canty, Kareem 1PGAuburn19.
7Simmons, Ben 25SFLSU19.
8Chatkevicius, Laimonas 14CSouth Carolina13.
9Davis, Tyler 34CTexas A&M11.
10Kingsley, Moses 33CArkansas15.
RnkTop 10 Players All Other ConferencesPosTeamPtsMissesAdj TOPPG-MistPts-MistVA
1Felder, Kahlil 20PGOakland24.610.43.410.7967.7
2Daniel, James 11PGHoward29.413.83.711.9956.2
3Beane, Anthony 25SGSouthern Illinois20.
4Timmer, Reed 12PGDrake19.
5Balentine, DJ 31PGEvansville21.
6Adams, Josh 14PGWyoming24.
7Reischel, Jarelle 30CEastern Kentucky19.
8Engesser, Nate 33SGDenver15.
9Evans, Mo 0PGIPFW17.
10White, Jake 43PFNebraska Omaha16.

Monday, December 14, 2015

All your #BadgerHateWeek efforts have paid off

If that wasn't satisfying, I don't know what is! Welcome to the Wisconsin sucks and we're overly happy that Marquette won in Madison Scrambled Eggs podcast. Not much summary to go through here. First no red of Owen next year, which is awesome. Lastly, we break down the game, what we liked, what we didn't like(spoiler alert, we liked a lot) and what short and long term ramifications there are from this game. So grab a warm mug of hate, snuggle up by the burning badger fire and listen to the tale of the latest Marquette triumph over the hated team from Madison. PS. included is a photo of Owen trying to escape his Badger tormentors during the game. Enjoy Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

MU 3 of top 6 Shooters in BE; Wisconsin Performance Projects 23-10, RPI of 46

The season-changing win at Wisconsin gives hope of March Madness and leaves MU players among the leaders in Value Add and all of the key stat categories except protecting the ball. Here are the four updates in this edition:

1. Fischer, Cheatham, Cohen in Top 6 Big East Shooters
2. Big East Gets Even Stronger
3. Repeating Badger Performance Just Enough for Bid
4. Updated top 25 Big East Players in Value Add

1. Fischer, Cheatham, Cohen among Top 6 Big East Shooters

Luke Fischer hit five of 10 shots against Wisconsin to fall slightly to a 66.3% field goal percentage - still the top figure of any Big East player to play at least 60% of the team's minutes. Haanif Cheatham's driving four of six against the Badgers leaves him 3rd (63.7%) and Sandy Cohen's two of three including a three-pointer (making his effective Field Goal record as 2.5 of 3) left him in sixth at 60.2%).

If you include all players no matter how much they have played, Fischer drops to 11th as Sacar Anim comes in as the fourth best shooter.

Marquette's weakness this season is turnovers, and therefore Henry Ellenson's rate of turning the ball over 15.2% of his possessions is actually the best on the team but just below average. Just for fun I ran the big eight tempo free categories for all players regardless of minutes played mainly so I could note that Michael Mache is easily the top offensive rebounder in the country - getting 30.4% of all of MU's missed shots while in the game. Here are the MU players in the top 20 in each of the eight big categories.

  • Effective FG% Leader: Darryl Reynolds, Villanova, 77.8%; MU - Anim 4th, 72.2%; Fischer 11th, 66.3%; Cheatham 14th, 66.2%; Cohen 19th, 60.2%.
  • Offensive Reb% Leader: Mache 30.4% (top qualifier James Farr, Xavier, 19.3%), MU - Fischer 12th, 14.2%, 
  • Defensive Reb % Leader: Frederick Scott, DePaul, 40%,(top qualifier James Farr, Xavier, 28.3%), MU - Wally Ellenson 12th,  22.9%; Henry Ellenson, 15th, 21.6%, 
  • Assist Rate Leader: Kris Dunn, Providence, 47.1%, MU - Carter 4th, 31.4%.
  • Turnover Leader: Drew Edwards, Providence, 0% (top qualifier, Ryan Fazekas, Providence, 4.7%), MU- Mache 0%, (top MU qualifier Henry Ellenson 48th, 15.2%).
  • Block% Leader: Kassoum Yakwe, St. John's, 15.2% (top qualifier Yankuba Sima, St. John's 13.1%), MU - Fischer 9th, 7.1%.
  • Steal% Leader: Riyan Williams, Georgetown, 14.6% (top qualifier Kris Dunn 6.4%); MU Anim 4th, 5.1%; Carter 12th 3.3%; Johnson 14th, 3.1%; Heldt 15th, 3.0%; Wilson 20th, 2.8%.
  • Fouls Drawn/40 minutes Leader: Develle Phillips, DePaul, 14.9 (top qualifier, Billy Garrett DePaul 7.2): MU - Mache 7th, 6.8 (top MU qualifier Henry Ellenson, 5.3).

2. Big East Gets Even Stronger

Only the ACC and Big 12 can match the Big East's four teams in the Top 25, and Georgetown is also getting votes and 31st at www.kenpom. Creighton (57 at kenpom), Seton Hall (60) and Marquette (71) give the conference eight teams in contention. MU's upset win at Wisconsin was part of a 3-0 day against other major conferences, with Butler beating Tennessee, and Xavier winning by double digits against Cincinnati in the only match-up of ranked teams.

3. Repeating Badger Performance Just Enough for Bid

RPI Forecast showed MU as a 5-point underdog going into the Wisconsin game, and finishing the season with a 17-14 record and RPI of 127. If MU were to outperform the rest of the projections by the same seven points they did on Saturday (2 point win vs. 5-point underdog), that would play out to a 23-10 record after a 11-7 mark in conference for the 4th seed, win over 5th seeded Providence and loss to the No. 1 seed.

All that would leave MU with an RPI of 46, enough to make the tournament. However, the margin of error is still small as that is about the last spot to get an automatic bid, so even 22 wins may not be enough for a bid. Here is how the season plays out assuming MU outperforming current projections by seven points each:

 And the resulting numbers:

 4. Updated top 25 Big East Players in Value Add

MU players continue to recover from truly dreadful starts in the early Value Add meetings, and are moving up quickly.

Fischer is now all the way up to No. 7 - a second team All-Big East selection at that rate. Henry Ellenson surged into the top 25 after rating near the bottom when he was averaging four turnovers a game through four games and hitting 4 of his first 20 three-pointers. He now has hit 5 of his last 13 three-pointers and in the last six games dropped from 4 turnovers a game to 1 turnover a game.

The entire 7-man rotation is now in the top half of the 130 Big east players to date. Kris Dunn is still first in the conference but dropped with a 0.0 Value Add Saturday for a missed game and almost the same the previous game when he left early with a stomach virus. Here are the top 25 and the other MU players in the top half.

RnkPlayerTeamHtYrOffDefValue Add
1Dunn, Kris 3Providence6'4"Jr3.26-4.998.25
2Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown6'3"Sr5.67-1.577.24
3Hart, Josh 3Villanova6'5"Jr3.88-3.317.19
4Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall6'6"So4.73-2.196.92
5Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova6'3"Sr4.65-2.146.79
6Farr, James 2Xavier6'10"Sr3.44-3.216.65
7Fischer, Luke 40Marquette6'11"Jr4.85-1.516.36
8Ochefu, Daniel 23Villanova6'11"Sr3.06-3.206.26
9Bentil, Ben 0Providence6'9"So4.20-1.725.92
10Henry, Myke 4DePaul6'6"Sr4.32-1.505.82
11Bluiett, Trevon 5Xavier6'6"So3.53-2.155.68
12Reynolds, Jalen 1Xavier6'10"Jr2.19-3.335.52
13Davis, Myles 15Xavier6'2"Jr4.66-0.815.47
14Zierden, Isaiah 21Creighton6'3"Jr4.08-1.315.39
15Garrett, Billy 5DePaul6'6"Jr5.430.135.30
16Wideman, Tyler 4Butler6'8"So2.98-2.125.10
17Chrabascz, Andrew 45Butler6'7"Jr4.35-0.544.89
18Bullock, Rodney 5Providence6'8"So2.72-2.124.84
19Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler6'4"Sr3.50-1.324.82
20Macura, JP 55Xavier6'5"So3.84-0.934.77
21Groselle, Geoffrey 41Creighton7'0Sr3.32-1.424.74
22Nzei, Michael 1Seton Hall6'7"So3.82-0.674.49
23Jenkins, Kris 2Villanova6'6"Jr2.53-1.944.47
24Sima, Yankuba 35St. John's6'11"Fr1.18-3.154.33
25Ellenson, Henry 13Marquette6'10"Fr2.12-2.134.25
29Cohen, Sandy 5Marquette6'6"So2.34-1.653.98
44Johnson, JaJuan 23Marquette6'5"Jr0.73-1.282.01
51Cheatham, Haanif 25Marquette6'5"Fr0.92-0.841.76
54Carter, Traci 21Marquette6'0Fr0.00-1.601.60
55Wilson, Duane 1Marquette6'2"So0.00-1.561.56

Monday, December 07, 2015

Finish up those cupcakes, it's Badger Hate Week

It's one of our favorite times of year at the Scrambled Eggs podcast, Badger Hate Week. Before we hit that though, we need to spend a little time talking about the cupcakes Marquette has played and what those performances mean. We also took several questions from MUScoop.com regarding the season so far and answer them. We spend a lot of time talking about player minute philosophy and if the team is getting better. Once we get all of that out of the way, we immerse ourselves into Badger Hate Week. We talk about all the reasons this game is important including why Phil is starting the hashtag #noredforowen. We then talk about the game and what might happen including fanboy predictions. So enjoy the podcast and reveal in Badger Hate Week. Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, November 30, 2015

What a difference a week makes

Just a week ago, we podded about how we were really disappointed in the team's performance to date and were hoping the Iowa result was rock bottom. A week later and we think that may have been rock bottom as Marquette went retro 1950s basketball and came away with two critical wins in New York City and a solid buy win at home. As opposed to walking through each of the wins, we decided to revisit the areas of concern from last weeks podcast and assess if there was improvement or not. We started with the 3 point shooting situation and whether Wojo has shown coaching chops. We transition into how the defense has performed and what the point guard play looks like now and going forward. We also talk about the rest of the non-conference season and what we should be looking to get out of it. Lastly, we talk about the Big East overall performance and how the impacts (hint: it helps) Marquette going forward. Overall much better circumstances then a week ago to pod about. Download this episode (right click and save)

Value Add 3.0 Introduction; 4 1/2 Years After Value Add Introduction

It is amazing how much has changed in college basketball since I introduced Value Add basketball in May 2011. Kris Dunn's was really hoping Marquette would sign him, nine other teams were in the Big East, and teams were scoring under 67 points a game (this year 72 a game).

Value Add 2.0 was necessitated three years later due to some peer criticisms and scoring exploding from 1.004 to 1.043 points per trip due to freedom of movement rules. Today Value Add 3.0 is introduced to pinpoint even more accurately each players offensive and defensive value to his team.

I realize the exhaustive detail of how every action a player takes impacts the team's score is too technical to be of interest to most readers, so the rest of you may want to scroll to the bottom for the rankings of all Big East players through Providence hard-fought loss against Michigan State the evening of November 29, 2015. The database will updated soon with the new system once the programmers are done, but as of this writing the only current Value Add 3.0 valuations are for the Big East players below.


Value Add 1.0 Overview: Anthony Davis added 7.29% to Kentucky’s scoring with his offense, and took away -5.06% from opponent’s scoring in the first season after the introduction of the system, so his total impact on the score was 12.35%, the highest Value Add in the country. Value Add 1.0 therefore calculated that if Kentucky would have lost a game 69-70 with a typical fourth or fifth man off the bench playing instead of Davis, then with Davis they win 74-66.
Version 2.0 Overview: As we tested the system we found we were under valuing players and it appeared the actual figure was close to the POINTS rather than the PERCENT OF POINTS added by a player.
Version 3.0 Overview: For various reasons, it became important to set the level of the "replacement player" lower - thus meaning we assumed a player further down the bench. Therefore a solid mid-major/high-major starter (pegged as the 100th best player at either SG, SF, PF or C) is now likely worth about 4.0 rather than 3.0 points per game and a player would need to be higher than 10.0 Value Add to be a candidate for an All-American team. The fact that the best teams in the country now calculate as close to 50 points better than the worst teams is consistent with other team calculations.

1st of 3 Components - Offense
Value Add 1.0 Offense. The Offensive component was first explained in this post, as we can measure with great precision how many points a player ad to his team’s score. Perhaps the most important breakthrough of this system was that the level of every defense faced is measured, so a player must put up much better stats against a mediocre team than a top-level team to get the same stats. 
Value Add 2.0 Offense. This was thThe other benefit of this system is that it led to a pretty reliable projection tool as players' main improvement came between their freshman and sophomore seasons.
Value Add 3.0 Offense. The main offensive adjustment increases the value rating, but as we continue to look for small tweaks in measuring the value of each stat in an era of increased freedom of movement and a 30-second shot clock Value Add 3.0 also added a control factor so that if the sum of a team's players is dramatically above or below the team value at www.kenpom.com, then each players offensive value add is scaled to correct the discrepancy. 

2nd of 3 Components - Defense
Value Add 1.0 Defense. The Defensive component is not quite as precise, but even some in the analytics arena admit to me that noone else matches the measurement of the impact of a college player's defense better than Value Add. This system measures a player’s ability to block shots, steal the ball, grab defensive rebounds - all of which goes into other systems. HOWEVER, the key component is it measures every trip down the court and what percent of the trips result in a basket or miss when there is no blocked shot or steal.
Value Add 2.0 Defense. Two adjustments were necessary to the defensive rating. First, I had assumed a player who had a lot of steals also tended to force more turnovers in addition to those steals, and in studying the last few years this does NOT appear to be the case. Secondly, the system was built assuming scoring would always be very close to 1.00 points per trip, and when scoring exploded to 1.04 in 2014 as suddenly the vast majority of players with a lot of minutes looked like bad defenders. We "patched" this system in 2.0 on the fly in 2014.

Value Add 3.0 Defense. Now the defensive adjustment has been adjusted so that a decent defensive player in any season will be 1.5 points a game better on defense than a replacement player no matter how many points are being score per trip or in the average game.

3rd of 3 Components - Position Adjustment
Value Add 1.0 Position. The original Point Guard/Perimeter Defensive Rating (PG/Per) redistributed a small percent of the credit from post players who do not turn the ball over as much because they do not have to dribble as often and who grab more defensive rebounds because they do not have to play defense on the perimeter.  I wrote that after extensive study, this figure was determined the most accurate way to fairly adjust ratings based on position, as explained in this post.

Value Add 2.0 Position. And the bottom line is that the peer review on this system was terrible. Others in the analytical arena hated this approach as a way to throw subjective evaluations into what was otherwise an objective system worthy of serious consideration. While I would still like to reward a player like UVa's Malcolm Brogdon extra credit for the subjective evaluations of him running the team on offense and defense, it was just a non-starter. Therefore we changed the system to simply adjust the final rating so that the 100th best player at each position would be worth 3.0 points per game and the average point guard 3.5.

Value Add 3.0 Position. We did modify further - still based on the top 100 players at each of the five positions - so that the 100th best at each position will usually be around a 4.0 Value Add and the average point guard at 4.5 Value Add. Point guards usually are more valuable - and it is because they must run the show. However, as rules were changed to allow more and more freedom of movement, the overall stat productivity moved from the front line (you needed to lob it inside once physically manhandled at the perimeter a few years ago but now you can drive by them). But this is all relative - if your opponents are now getting a lot more from their guards and you are only getting a little more, then your guards are far less valuable.

Critics of 1.0 Please Take a Look at 3.0; Thanks to Existing Fans
First and foremost, I hope those who really liked the system except for the PG/Per factor or some other specific criticism - thank you for the constructive criticism and I hope you will look at the new ratings as we update them.
I want to thank those NBA officials who met with me to talk about the NBA Indicators developed in conjunction with Rob Lowe, particularly those who asked me to explain why the numbers showed Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder would be so good at the NBA-level prior to those drafts. 
I must thank Sports IllustratedESPNNBC Sports and especially Fox Sports for their praise of the system as well as all of the other outlets who have covered Value Add.  
In addition, thanks to school sites (e.g. Kentucky,ArizonaNC StateBaylor) and League sites for the Big Ten, Summit, Horizon and Patriot Leagues for their coverage, and the many Sports Athletic Departments who email and offer corrections on rosters. It is hard to track 4,000+ players a year!

Top 100 Big East Players through Sunday

For those of you who skipped the technical stuff to skip to here ...

Kris Dunn easily tops the list in the Big East with a value of 12.70 points per game over a borderline substitute, but you can also see why Villanova is the favorite with the next three spots. One apology I may owe - Ryan Arcidiacano. I scoffed at him being named co-Big East Player of the Year with Dunn last year. While I stand by Dunn being clearly the best player in the conference, Arcidiacono does rank well ahead of Georgetown's D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera so far - partly due to Smith-Rivera's three-point shooting and offensive rating being much lower than the last two years in early going but partly due to the new system showing Ryan was better than I thought.

RnkBE Players through SunTeamHtYrOffDefPosVANBA?
1Dunn, Kris 3Providence6'4"Jr4.75-6.3212.7084%
2Ochefu, Daniel 23Villanova6'11"Sr3.82-3.810.39.857%
3Arcidiacono, Ryan 15Villanova6'3"Sr4.34-3.059.646%
4Hart, Josh 3Villanova6'5"Jr3.26-4.199.0417%
5Copeland, Isaac 11Georgetown6'9"So4.43-1.608.9213%
6Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton Hall6'6"So3.99-2.188.861%
7Farr, James 2Xavier6'10"Sr2.92-
8Bullock, Rodney 5Providence6'8"So3.68-2.34-0.36.98
9Groselle, Geoffrey 41Creighton7'0Sr3.75-1.870.36.92
10Reynolds, Jalen 1Xavier6'10"Jr2.11-
11Macura, JP 55Xavier6'5"So4.150.856.59
12Chrabascz, Andrew 45Butler6'7"Jr4.80-2.07-0.36.27
13Peak, LJ 0Georgetown6'5"So2.49-1.780.26.162%
14Fischer, Luke 40Marquette6'11"Jr3.65-
15Mvouika, Ron 24St. John's6'6"Sr2.13-0.996.05
16Dunham, Kellen 24Butler6'6"Sr6.14-0.095.805%
17Wideman, Tyler 4Butler6'8"So4.73-1.50-0.35.63
18Brunson, Jalen 1Villanova6'2"Fr2.83-1.415.5930%
19Zierden, Isaiah 21Creighton6'3"Jr3.81-0.540.25.57
20Bluiett, Trevon 5Xavier6'6"So2.68-0.75-0.35.5417%
21Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4Georgetown6'3"Sr2.11-1.805.3610%
22Davis, Myles 15Xavier6'2"Jr2.810.155.16
23Sanogo, Ismael 14Seton Hall6'8"So1.29-3.29-0.35.14
24Jones, Roosevelt 21Butler6'4"Sr3.17-1.910.25.12
25Cameron, Reggie 5Georgetown6'7"Jr3.07-0.28-0.35.091%
26Jenkins, Kris 2Villanova6'6"Jr2.06-2.115.05
27Lewis, Tyler 1Butler5'11"Jr4.48-0.784.98
28Garrett, Billy 5DePaul6'6"Jr3.760.230.24.93
29Bentil, Ben 0Providence6'9"So1.97-2.174.81
30Govan, Jessie 15Georgetown6'10"Fr1.68-
31Sima, Yankuba 35St. John's6'11"Fr1.29-2.820.34.34
32Henry, Myke 4DePaul6'6"Sr2.44-1.094.32
33Fazekas, Ryan 35Providence6'8"Fr2.72-0.310.34.25
34Huff, Cole 13Creighton6'8"Jr2.00-0.98-0.33.29
35Simpson, Aaron 15DePaul5'11"Sr2.470.043.22
36Nzei, Michael 1Seton Hall6'7"So1.55-
37Milliken, James 23Creighton6'3"Sr2.330.260.22.96
38Bridges, Mikal 25Villanova6'7"Fr0.49-2.84-0.32.95
39Derrickson, Marcus 24Georgetown6'7"Fr1.20-0.872.95
40Booth, Phil 5Villanova6'3"So0.66-1.850.22.73
41Davis, Jackson 13Butler6'8"So1.63-0.710.32.64
42Lomomba, Junior 32Providence6'5"Jr2.440.870.22.60
43Carrington, Khadeen 0Seton Hall6'3"So1.550.190.22.591%
44Ellenson, Henry 13Marquette6'10"Fr0.43-2.17-0.32.4291%
45Thomas, Khyri 2Creighton6'3"Fr1.45-0.472.41
46Hayes, Bradley 42Georgetown7'0Sr0.17-1.680.32.41
47Sumner, Edmond 4Xavier6'6"Fr1.110.390.22.40
48Delgado, Angel 31Seton Hall6'9"So0.00-
49Johnson, Kaleb 32Georgetown6'6"Fr1.04-
50Wood, Darrick 1DePaul6'5"Jr1.07-0.792.20
51Watson, Maurice 10Creighton5'10"Jr2.260.782.15
52Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton Hall6'4"So0.91-0.512.0318%
53Cohen, Sandy 5Marquette6'6"So0.25-1.671.99
54Reynolds, Darryl 45Villanova6'8"Jr0.37-2.06-0.31.99
55Hegner, Toby 32Creighton6'10"So0.80-0.540.31.97
56Cheatham, Haanif 25Marquette6'5"Fr0.78-0.981.96
57Gordon, Derrick 32Seton Hall6'3"Sr0.63-0.871.91
58O'Mara, Sean 54Xavier6'10"So0.16-0.450.31.83
59Abell, Remy 10Xavier6'4"Sr0.950.561.78
60Hanson, Zach 40Creighton6'9"Jr1.18-0.42-0.31.73
61Wilson, Duane 1Marquette6'2"So0.00-1.500.21.705%
62London, Makinde 13Xavier6'10"So0.00-0.550.31.67
63Lindsey, Jalen 21Providence6'7"So0.960.030.31.54
64Mussini, Federico 4St. John's6'1"Fr0.00-1.531.46
65Krampelj, Martin 15Creighton6'9"Fr0.36-0.821.42
66Hamilton, Tommy 2DePaul6'11"Jr0.02-
67Martin, Kelan 30Butler6'6"So0.72-0.591.39
68Johnson, Durand 5St. John's6'6"Sr0.00-
69Carter, Traci 21Marquette6'0Fr0.00-1.251.25
70Johnson, JaJuan 23Marquette6'5"Jr0.00-
71Etherington, Austin 0Butler6'6"Sr0.20-0.871.19
72Gathers, Jordan 5Butler6'3"Sr0.61-
73Pettus, Trey 10Butler6'4"Jr0.900.090.21.07
74Gates, Kaiser 22Xavier6'8"Fr0.18-0.22-0.31.02
75Harrell, Ronnie 4Creighton6'7"Fr0.69-0.18-0.30.88
76Clement, Tyler 11Creighton6'1"So0.03-0.450.20.84
77Balamou, Felix 10St. John's6'4"Sr0.17-0.520.20.81
78Jones, Christian 2St. John's6'7"Jr0.00-1.17-0.30.80
79Campbell, Tre 1Georgetown6'2"So0.00-0.630.77
80Singh, Veer 33Seton Hall6'7"Fr0.400.210.30.75
81Fowler, Nate 51Butler6'10"Fr0.24-
82Bennett, Steven 25Butler6'2"Jr0.550.070.58
83Anim, Sacar 2Marquette6'5"Fr0.30-0.180.57
84DiVincenzo, Donte 10Villanova6'5"Fr0.00-1.23-0.30.56
85Ellenson, Wally 22Marquette6'6"Jr0.00-0.520.53
86Cain, Eli 11DePaul6'6"Fr0.00-0.470.47
87Ryckbosch, Peter 30DePaul6'10"Sr0.00-
88Smith, Quadree 10Providence6'8"Fr0.00-
89Barry, Oumar 25DePaul6'10"Fr0.
90Anthony, Rashed 25Seton Hall6'9"So0.
91Ellison, Malik 0St. John's6'6"Fr0.00-
92Carter, Myles 23Seton Hall6'9"Fr0.
93Holifield, Elijah 12St. John's6'2"Fr0.00-0.250.18
94Stimage, Rashaun 3DePaul6'8"Sr0.00-0.46-0.30.16
95Council, Ricky 22Providence6'5"Fr0.00-0.180.16
96Heldt, Matt 12Marquette6'10"Fr0.
97Edwards, Drew 25Providence6'3"Fr0.
98Molinari, David 10DePaul6'0Sr0.00-0.080.08
99Anderson, Braeden 4Seton Hall6'9"Jr0.00-0.39-0.30.07
100White, Paul 13Georgetown6'8"So0.00-0.19-0.30.04

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Big East's Big Week: 7 of top 8 team move up, 4-0 vs. Pac-12, 4-1 vs. SEC, 4-4 when underdog

What a week for the Big East. The week started with Georgetown falling just short of an upset of Duke, 86-84, but the Hoyas still moved up from 38th to 30th at www.kenpom.com.

That started a week in which the Big East went 4-4 in games in which the Big East team was ranked behind their opponent at www.kenpom.com (Providence over Arizona, Marquette's two wins and Seton Hall over Georgia, though in that last game the home court gave Seton Hall a slight edge).

The conference went 4-0 against the Pac-12 and 4-1 against the SEC.

Two of the losses were in a 20-4 week were by lowly St. John's against ranked teams, and DePaul was weak.

Of the top 8 teams in the conference only Butler slid (from 25th to 35th after losing to #16 Miami).

Villanova's actual rating improved to keep them in 2nd place, and the others move up. The week is important because once conference play starts Marquette's opponents must be ranked highly enough to let MU potentially get enough quality wins to earn a bid to the tournament.

The bad news is these teams are looking tougher to beat than it appeared a couple of weeks ago - the good news is there will be enough chances for quality wins that MU could earn a bid.

Big EastStarting RnkCurrent RnkResults and Rank of Opponent
Villanova2254, Akron, W, 75-56; 125, Stanford, W, 59-45 and 88, Georgia Tech, W, 69-52
Xavier2218281, Northern Kentucky, W, 78-66; 95, Alabama, W, 64-45 and 43, USC, W, 87-77
Georgetown38305, Duke, L, 86-84 and 295, Bryant, W, 77-47
Butler253516, Miami FL, L, 85-75 and 319, SIU Edwardsville, W, 89-73
Providence5946127, NJIT, W, 83-76; 75, Evansville, W, 74-64 and 19, Arizona, W, 69-65
Creighton8253221, Rutgers, W, 85-75; 123, Massachusetts, W, 97-76 and 166, Western Illinois, W97-67
Seton Hall917079, Mississippi, W, 75-63 and 59, Georgia, W, 69-62
Marquette1029964, LSU, W, 81-80 and 74, Arizona St., W, 78-73
DePaul140150264, Norfolk St., W, 82-78
St. Johns15617211, Vanderbilt, L, 92-55; 26, Indiana, L, 83-73 and NR, Chaminade, W, 100-93