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Marquette: Know Your Boise Travel Companion

I'm not going to go down the "I expect Mizzou to win the first round game, so let's look at who they may play in the second round" route.  I'm not going to unleash the presumption jinx.  But I do think it's safe to preview the other game in Mizzou's Boise pod: 6 Marquette vs 11 Utah State.  First up, the 6 seed.

Marquette: 24-9

Marquette Opp
Points Per Minute
1.97 1.75
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.13 1.01
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.36 1.23
2-PT FG% 51.1% 50.3%
3-PT FG% 35.2% 35.2%
FT% 71.8% 67.6%
True Shooting % 56.6% 54.2%
Marquette Opp
Assists/Gm 15.1 13.9
Steals/Gm 7.9 5.8
Turnovers/Gm 11.3 15.0
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.03 1.31
Marquette Opp
Expected Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.0 12.8
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 11.6 10.2
Difference -0.4 -2.6
  • Where Marquette's good: Passing, Free Throws, Rebounding, forcing turnovers.  And for a guard-oriented offense that only shoots okay from 3-point range, they maintain pretty high FG% levels.
  • Where Marquette's not as good: FG% defense.  If they don't force a turnover, they're probably giving up a pretty good shot.
  • This is a team that recently lost its senior point guard, Dominic James, to a broken foot.  Since James got hurt and junior Maurice Acker took his place in the starting lineup, Marquette has lost five of six games.  Bad, right?  Well...maybe.  Here are the teams to whom they've lost since James' injury: Connecticut, @Louisville (by 4), @Pittsburgh, Syracuse (in OT), and vs Villanova (buzzer beater).  With James, they probably beat 'Cuse and maybe 'Nova or Louisville as well, but they still came close and are a streaky, dangerous team.
Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Jerel McNeal (6'3, 200, Sr.) 17.43 0.51 19.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.8 APG
Wesley Matthews (6'5, 220, Sr.) 17.42 0.53 17.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.5 APG
Lazar Hayward (6'6, 225, Jr.) 14.91 0.48 15.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.2 APG
Jimmy Butler (6'6, 215, So.) 7.06 0.37 5.5 PPG, 3.8 RPG
Dwight Burke (6'8, 250, Sr.) 2.75 0.15 2.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG
Maurice Acker (5'8, 165, Jr.) 2.69 0.18 2.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.8 APG
Patrick Hazel (6'7, 220, So.) 2.63 0.22 2.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG
Joseph Fulce (6'7, 205, So.) 1.75 0.36 1.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG
David Cubillan (6'0, 175, Jr.) 0.93 0.10 1.5 PPG
Chris Otule (6'10, 250, Fr.) 0.37 0.05 1.5 PPG, 1.3 RPG
Robert Frozena (6'1, 190, So.) 0.04 0.02 18 minutes

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It does the same thing my previous measure of choice did (it takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game), only the formula is more used and accepted.  The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Naturally this list doesn't include James, who averaged 12.42 AdjGS/Gm and 0.39 AdjGS/Min.  Statistically, the drop from James to Maurice Acker was relatively significant, but Acker showed a lot of potential in Marquette's last game, scoring 12 points in 30 minutes (3-for-4 from 3-point range), dishing 2 assists and grabbing 2 rebounds.  He isn't James, but he might not be too bad.
  • With James, this team revolved around four guys; without him, it's down to three.  McNeal, Matthews and Hayward will take seemingly every shot for this team, and the small bench specializes mostly in crashing the boards and briefly spelling the starters.  But beyond just shots and points, McNeal, Matthews and Hayward dominate just about every non-rebound category.  They are three very good player surrounded by non-statistical role players.
  • KenPom's ratings paint the picture of a Marquette team that is extremely efficient offensively (maybe just above average without James) and a defense that is solid but not amazing.  They are short but very experienced (Butler and Hazel are the only underclassmen in the rotation) and rebound well for their size.

    We'll see what Utah State has to offer tomorrow, but comparing Marquette to Mizzou, one of the biggest factors could be the bench.  Marquette was #292 in the country in depth (measured by bench minutes), and that doesn't not really account for the fact that they are now that much thinner without James.  If Mizzou and Marquette play, depth could play a major role in the outcome.

Tomorrow, we'll look at Utah State's roster, the keys to the Eagles-Aggies game, and a prediction.