"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, February 29, 2016

Duke North? Ellenson Could Put MU Behind only Duke

A couple of notes on my piece in Breitbart Sports today. First, it is amazing how efficient Duke players are year in and year out at www.valueaddbasketball.com, and I saw some of the fundamentals in non-conference play and more recently that I believe play out at a higher level as freshman turn to sophomores. So if Wojo is building "Duke North" I will take it along with all the haters who could come with it.

Second, while Duke dominates the historic database going back to 2003 including six top 5 players, note in the verbage below that Marquette is one of only four other teams with three such players. We have been spoiled by Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder - and it is quite possible that if Henry Ellenson did decide to stay for one more year he could be the fourth top five player for MU. His shot from outside the top 1000 in the early season to 270th today bodes well for the typically huge sophomore jump great players have.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Good effort, but Villanova is just too good

Welcome to a live edition of Scrambled Eggs Podcast! With Joe McCann in town, we decided to record a live podcast, which really just means less work for us but still fun. We talk the week that was for Marquette basketball, a hard fought win over Creighton and a tough loss to a really good Villanova team. We talk about the atmosphere for the Villanova game and what we thought of the game. After some time talking about the tough loss, we talk about closing out the season strong. Marquette has two regular season games left to try and position themselves as positively as possible for the Big East tournament. There are multiple scenarios but Marquette can finish anywhere from 8th to 5th in the final standings. So we talk about what the various scenarios result in. We also talk about honoring Henry at the Georgetown game, we don't know it's his last game at home in a Marquette uniform but we aren't holding our breath. Lastly, we talk about a fun fundraiser that the Marquette social media folks put together on a whim. A t-shirt was created with social media in mind and we decided to use it to fundraise for Al's Run. Here is the link to buy a t-shirt, with all proceeds going to Children's Hospital: https://www.booster.com/mubb-support-for-als-run?ref=copy-link_misc_mobile-campaign-page-share&utm_campaign=mobile-campaign-page-share&utm_content=mubb-support-for-als-run&utm_medium=misc&utm_source=copy-link Get a t-shirt and enjoy the last week of regular season basketball! Download this episode (right click and save)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Yes, MU Can Beat a No. 1 Saturday and Make Tournament

Just before Christmas I calculated the Sagarin numbers gave MU a 3.2% chance of getting the 23 wins they needed to make the NCAA tournament. I was pretty brutal on us having no chance at Villanova despite the win at Providence.

Now MU has a chance to not only beat a No. 1 ranked team for the only time except for Wade vs. Kentucky, but to then win three more games and sneak in with a bid.

Going back to Sagarin, MU's result last night was what we would expect out of the No. 7 team in the country. To determine a Sagarin rating just for one game you take the venue (+3 for MU on the road tonight), add the opponent's Sagarin rating (83 for Creighton to get to 86), then add or subtract the victory or loss margin (+5 for the 66-61 win for Creighton) and Marquette's total 91 Sagarin Rating would make MU the seventh best team in the country.

Here is the trick - Villanova is only one better at 92, so if MU played as well as they did last night on Saturday with the three-point home court advantage and Villanova plays an average game for them- MU wins by two points.

The first rub here is the MU has to repeat it's best performance of the year, and the only other time they were close was their 89 Sagarin rating for the win at Wisconsin. The 88 for DePaul looks close, but at www.valueaddbasketball.com Billy Garrett is worth four points a game, so that is really about an "84" for the win at DePaul.

The second rub is that MU is the rare team that so far has played better away from home than at home. MU averages an 82.1 away from the Bradley Center which would make MU the 50th best team in the country. In games at the Bradley Center (throwing out the cupcakes ranked lower than St. John's) MU's averaging Sagarin Ranking is 72.4, which would make them only the 148th best team in the country. Can MU repeat tonight and do it at home. Here are the Sagarin scores from best to worst both at home and on the road. In the home losses to Iowa and Seton Hall, MU played like the 319th best team in the country.

ElsewhereResVenOppScoreAllowRank (82.1, 50th)
Arizona St.W080787385
St. John'sW369787377
Seton HallL384627970
BradleyResVenOppScoreAllowRank (72.4, 148th)
St. John'sW-369817572
Seton HallL-384638361

Now we get to the Value Add match-ups. I included the players from each Big East team that have a chance at the NBA and/or improve their team by at least two points. Obviously Villanova's overall Value Add is much better than MU's - only Michigan State with Valentine playing ranks higher.

But once again, Villanova does not have those couple of dominating players that you would normally face in a No. 1 team - the guys who can just dominate you. Josh Hart is their highest ranked player at 60th, and he has about the same chance of making the NBA as Luke Fischer does.

So while Villanova has the four highest Value Add rankings on the court, none are near All-American level and in fact the MU has the best player on the court and Fischer might be the second best.

Yes, there is one huge issue - MU's turnovers and Nova's ability to force turnovers. MU could get obliterated into 20 turnovers, but if Henry can help get the ball up there is are nice mismatches near the hoop.

So yes, Saturday history could be made for a win over a team that is No. 1 and if that is accomplished the possibility of winning vs. Georgetown, at Butler and a win as a 4-seed against Butler or Providence in the Big East tournament is real.

At that point, MU finishes 22-11 with an RPI of 71 even assuming a second round loss to a No. 1 seed Xavier or Villanova. I said at Christmas we needed 23 wins one way or the other, but 22 wins on a resume that includes winning six of the last seven including a win over a No. 1, roughly a 6-6 record against the RPI top 50 (Butler and Providence are borderline, so it could be 8-6 to 3-6) and finishing in the top four of one of the top RPI conferences would make MU a late addition on Selection Sunday.

Winning six in a row is rare in basketball, but with two down and the toughest one of the six Saturday, we have a chance.

RankNBA prosp or Value 2+TeamPosValue AddNBA%
272Fischer, Luke 40MarquetteC4.4635%
308Ellenson, Henry 13MarquettePF4.2591%
862Johnson, JaJuan 23MarquetteSF2.4621%
932Cohen, Sandy 5MarquetteSG2.3
957Wilson, Duane 1MarquettePG2.25
1099Cheatham, Haanif 25MarquetteSG1.9516%
60Hart, Josh 3VillanovaPF6.4436%
154Arcidiacono, Ryan 15VillanovaPG5.3211%
174Ochefu, Daniel 23VillanovaC5.1820%
239Jenkins, Kris 2VillanovaSG4.58
460Bridges, Mikal 25VillanovaPF3.6618%
660Brunson, Jalen 1VillanovaPG3.0133%
1011Reynolds, Darryl 45VillanovaPF2.14
1423Booth, Phil 5VillanovaPG1.3426%
153Jones, Roosevelt 21ButlerSG5.34
271Martin, Kelan 30ButlerC4.4716%
329Dunham, Kellen 24ButlerSG4.1525%
429Chrabascz, Andrew 45ButlerSG3.75
497Wideman, Tyler 4ButlerC3.54
292Groselle, Geoffrey 41CreightonC4.35
293Watson, Maurice 10CreightonPG4.3416%
319Zierden, Isaiah 21CreightonSG4.2
788Huff, Cole 13CreightonC2.62
858Hanson, Zach 40CreightonC2.47
984Thomas, Khyri 2CreightonPF2.18
231Henry, Myke 4DePaulPF4.62
383Garrett, Billy 5DePaulPG3.92
813Hamilton, Tommy 2DePaulC2.5728%
66Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes 4GeorgetownPG6.317%
554Peak, LJ 0GeorgetownSG3.3324%
823Copeland, Isaac 11GeorgetownPF2.5635%
947Hayes, Bradley 42GeorgetownC2.27
991Govan, Jessie 15GeorgetownPF2.1735%
1216Derrickson, Marcus 24GeorgetownSF1.6818%
9999White, Paul 13GeorgetownSF029%
42Bentil, Ben 0ProvidencePF6.918%
54Dunn, Kris 3ProvidencePG6.5294%
525Bullock, Rodney 5ProvidenceC3.44
137Rodriguez, Desi 20Seton HallSF5.49
270Whitehead, Isaiah 15Seton HallPG4.4732%
304Delgado, Angel 31Seton HallC4.2826%
377Carrington, Khadeen 0Seton HallSG3.94
709Sanogo, Ismael 14Seton HallPF2.89
1258Sima, Yankuba 35St. John'sPF1.6225%
158Bluiett, Trevon 5XavierSF5.2936%
267Farr, James 2XavierC4.48
335Davis, Myles 15XavierPG4.13
349Macura, JP 55XavierPG4.06
535Sumner, Edmond 4XavierPG3.3821%
691Reynolds, Jalen 1XavierC2.9435%

Friday, February 19, 2016

Marquette is still young, and still maddeningly inconsistent

Marquette had a week off so we decided to take advantage and really process the Creighton and Providence game. That's mostly an excuse for our laziness, but we are going to talk a lot about the Creighton and Providence games. One of the first things we talk about is Coach Wojchiekowski's post game presser after Creighton, you can listen here: So after listening to Wojo we're wondering, has he lost this team? How does a team just not run a play at all that a coach draws up? Is this just more youth showing? We then talk, yet again, about youthful mistakes the team is making, but point out that the total mistakes (TOs) are going down, they are just being made at very inopportune times. We then talk about the last 5 games of the season and focus on the next 3 especially. Bottom line, DON'T LOSE TO DEPAUL AGAIN! And we need to win at least one or two more to make the NIT. We wrap up with some talk about recruiting as well as Steve Novak, who has taken one elite skill and turned it into a 10 year, $20 mil career. Enjoy, and don't lose to DePaul! Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Two tough loses but not all is lost

Another week of #mubb product and another week of two loses with silver linings. In this episode of the podcast we discuss the Seton Hall and Xavier games and what we took away from them. We do spend some time on negativity island especially around turnovers and why they keep happening at such an alarming rate. We then take a ferry to things aren't too bad harbor where we talk about the offensive success of the team and Jajuan Johnson turning into good Jajuan Johnson. We then look ahead to the rest of the conference season but especially the next three games and what it'll take for Marquette to get some wins. Two home games this week including a rare night game against an unexpectedly decent Creighton, gotta come away with at least one win. Do they have it in them? Download this episode (right click and save)

Friday, February 05, 2016

Fischer, JJJ or Cheatham Could Join Ellenson in NBA to keep MU in Top 15 NBA Factories

Value Add updated the chance of players making the NBA last night, and the odds are that at least one of three players - Luke Fischer (35%), JuJuan Johnson (21%) and/or Haanif Cheatham (16%) will join Henry Ellenson in the NBA one day. Since 2003, MU has averaged having 2.5 future NBA players on each roster - the 15th best total in the country.

In the days ahead we will be updating the historic database to indicate the last year each player appeared in the NBA. One interesting note in building this database is that steals were not as big a predictor as in the past, while rebounding, blocked shots, two-point shots and the ability to get to the line all separate future NBA players from the very good college players that do NOT make the NBA:

Average Player Performance 2003-2016OR%DR%Blk%Stl%FTRate2-pt %
1500 top players who did not make NBA3.4611.100.862.2336.3547%
Possible players6.9714.833.171.8242.3751%
Future NBA average7.0814.743.082.1742.0951%
NBA Center11.6219.816.861.6151.6555%
NBA PF9.6017.953.991.8344.1153%
NBA PG2.809.570.762.7639.4248%
NBA SF7.0114.802.662.0938.9051%
NBA SG4.6811.911.362.5436.9149%

The 1500 seasons in which a player was on the court a bit more than 80% of the time but did NOT ultimately make the NBA, resulted in the average percentages on the top line.

MU is credited for 1.63 future NBA players on the current roster (adding the percent chance each player makes it), while last year's team is credited for 0.56 with Fischer and Johnson on that team as well. If Matt Carlino were to make the jump it would add a player to 2015.

As we go back earlier, we see that MU's 2011 team had FIVE future NBA players, though only Jae Crowder and Jimmy Butler played more than a few games. The first year in the database, the 2003 Final Four team, featured only three future NBA players, but all three had extended careers.

College YrNBA Last Year or %
Ellenson, Henry 13201691%
Fischer, Luke 40201635%
Johnson, JaJuan 23201621%
Cheatham, Haanif 25201616%
Total estimated 2016 team1.63
Fischer, Luke 40201535%
Johnson, JaJuan 23201521%
Total estimated 2015 team0.56
Crowder, Jae 3220122016
Butler, Jimmy 3320112016
Crowder, Jae 3220112016
Butler, Jimmy 3320102016
Butler, Jimmy 3320092016
Matthews, Wesley 2320092016
Matthews, Wesley 2320082016
Matthews, Wesley 2320072016
Novak, Steve20062016
Matthews, Wesley20062016
Novak, Steve20052016
Novak, Steve20042016
Wade, Dwyane20032016
Novak, Steve20032016
Blue, Vander 1320132015
Blue, Vander 220122015
Blue, Vander 220112015
Buycks, Dwight 2320112015
Buycks, Dwight 2320102015
McNeal, Jerel 2220092015
McNeal, Jerel 2220082015
McNeal, Jerel 2220072015
McNeal, Jerel20062015
Johnson-Odom, Darius 120122014
Johnson-Odom, Darius 120112014
Johnson-Odom, Darius 120102014
Hayward, Lazar 3220102013
Hayward, Lazar 3220092013
Hayward, Lazar 3220082013
Hayward, Lazar 3220072013
Diener, Travis20052010
Diener, Travis20042010
Diener, Travis20032010
Estimated 2.5 future NBA/season

Over those seasons MU had 33 players on the roster who made the NBA - understanding that a four-year player like Lazar Hayward counts as four. The current players add a total of 2.2 anticipated spots based on adding the percentages from last year.

While some teams have many more one-and-dones, the fact that MU has had so many players stay through their senior year and then make it to the NBA has led to a roster that averages 2.5 future NBA players each season.

The Blue Bloods are higher - led by an incredible average of 5.1 per Duke roster - but the vast majority of schools do not see the number of future NBA players on the court as we see at the Bradley Center.

RnkSchool since 2003Future NBA/YearTotal
3North Carolina4.766.4
10Michigan St.2.940.7
13Notre Dame2.535.5
21Georgia Tech1.926.8
23Oklahoma St.1.825.3
25Florida St.1.824.6
28Iowa St.1.622.0
38North Carolina St.1.419.0
40Texas A and M1.318.1
44New Mexico1.217.0
45Miami FL1.216.9
49Wake Forest1.115.4
50Ohio St.1.115.3

Monday, February 01, 2016

That week feels a whole lot better than the week before.

Well, we can all breathe just a touch easier, as we now know Marquette can put together a quality game against a quality opponent in Big East play. We spend a fair amount of time on the pod this week, discussing what the impact of the Butler win is on the season, and just what it was that allowed Marquette to put on such a good showing. We walk through some of the individual performances and discuss whether they are sustainable through the rest of the season or not. We also give a shout out to the crowd who put in yeoman's work on Saturday. We then transition to "well that's nice but can we win more?" and "OK but we still can't make the tournament, right....right?". Lastly we journey down a Marquette tangent that maybe the internet masses can answer for us. This week is a big week for Marquette's post season hopes, two tough road games that will determine if they've turned the corner or if they are still just talented freshmen. Download this episode (right click and save)