clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pre-Duel Pleasantries: Marquette

Talking to our good friends over at Anonymous Eagle

How much caffeine does this man drink???
How much caffeine does this man drink???
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow, your Xavier Musketeers take on Marquette in a tough Big East road matchup. To get you ready for the game, we talked to our good friend, Brewtown Andy over at Anonymous Eagle. Let's see what he has to say.

1.) Marquette took down Providence on the road in a dramatic game, but lost to G'town. What's going well and what's not working for this team?

We'll take the second part first. OH GOD, THE TURNOVERS.  
If you look at Marquette's national rank in the KenPom Four Factors, seven of the eight categories are either good or at least a notable improvement over last year.  And then there'sMU's turnover rate.  They're throwing the ball away more than 20% of the time and ranked in the bottom 75 teams in the country.  That's bad.  The turnovers are actually slightly worse than that in league play at nearly 22% of the time, ranking eighth in the Big East.  Just no good.  This, combined with some really bad offensive rebounding against Big East opponents, is why Marquette has the least efficient offense in the league.
The good news is that Marquette's turnover issues can largely be isolated completely in the fact that they're playing three freshmen for 24+ minutes a night.  If those three - HenryEllensonHaanif Cheatham, and Traci Carter - can work through an issue or seven as far as dealing with the speed of the game in conference games, then all of a sudden, the turnover rate drops maybe three percentage points to an acceptable level.

As far as things that are going well, you have to like Marquette's fight.  Statistically speaking, they really didn't have any business pulling off that win against Providence and yet, they were in the game the whole way and just needed to make a few plays at the end to pull it off.  They had one half each that was really good against both Georgetown and Seton Hall, and for about 15 minutes, they were blowing the doors off of Villanova.  It's a really young and inexperienced team, but you can see things starting to click into place.

2.) Your team this year is wicked young and talented. What's a realistic ceiling for this team?

Yeah, that's the issue.  I think the ceiling is "make the NCAA tournament" at this point.  Flubbing their way into losses against Seton Hall and Georgetown means that chances for quality wins are slipping through their fingers.  They're 1-3 against top 50 KenPom teams right now, and that's not a way to make it into the NCAA tournament. Remember that "clicking into place" I just mentioned?  Marquette needs that to start happening fast enough to start scoring wins against the top half of the Big East before we get to March to have a chance to go dancing.

It's entirely possible that Marquette could end up clearly and obviously missing the NCAA tournament because things just came together too late and then just destroying people on their way to an NIT title.

3.) Thoughts on Making a Murderer?

Haven't watched it and not planning on watching it.

The first one is more an issue of timing.  When you have two kids in the house under the age of 12, you tend to want to avoid watching the documentary about incredibly violent crime trials during family time, y'know?  The other side of it is that while I was very clearly not aware of what was going on in 1985 when Steven Avery was first convicted, I was very aware of the movement to clear him and then the second trial involving him.  Since I remember the general tenor of everything that was going on, so I don't really feel a need to watch it.

I'm really into the third season of Arrow, though.  Laurel Lance is the friggin' worst.

4.) Now that he's in his second year in Wisconsin, what are your thoughts on Coach Woj?

You guys are probably familiar with his fiery sideline demeanor.  Running up and down, clapping his hands, waving his arms, fist pumping, slapping the floor, etc.  It is SO FUNNY to see him do all of this and then be the least interesting person alive during media appearances.  Wojo's 20 years spent sitting next to Mike Krzyzewski has gotten him to nail down the PR aspects of his job.  Look at this video.  This is Wojo cutting a promo trying to convince students to come back from winter break a couple of days early to be in the Bradley Center for Saturday's game.

[side note: I do not believe that man is the same man we see on the court. No way someone that energetic can ever be that boring]

HE'S SO BORING!  Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation would have been more lively.  To be clear: Not bagging on Wojo here, because I find this kind of thing hilarious.

He's got recruiting on lockdown, pulling in top 100 recruits like he picks up his socks off the bedroom floor.  Even the dudes he signs up that aren't tippy top guys still end up doing stuff like being named AP Player of the Year in their home state during their senior year of high school.  I think he's still working through a few things as far as speed of in game adjustments, but it's hard to get a feel of the difference between "slow to adjust" and "trying to let his guys to figure out what the hell they're supposed to be doing on their own."

All in all, I'm quite pleased with how things are going under Steve Wojciechowski.  I take comfort in the fact that I'm not a crazy person who flipped out about Wojo getting an extension days before losing to Seton Hall in the league opener.

5.) I say it every year, but I love Marquette's unis. Who has the second best uniforms in the Big East?

Well, it's definitely not DePaul.  They wore their reds with white numbers against Georgetown, which was nice, because the blues with black numbers that they wore against you guys ARE THE WORST UNIFORMS IN THE LEAGUE, POSSIBLY THE COUNTRY.  They've been wearing them for years and I'm amazed that first ESPN and now Fox Sports hasn't gone to them and said "look, you can't read those numbers on TV, you have to get new damn uniforms."  The worst part about them?  You can't read the numbers in the arena, either!

I think Providence's are the second best in the league.  Sometimes, when I'm at a volleyball game or a women's basketball game at the Al McGuire Center, I'll look up at the team banners in the rafters and think, "There's just too much blue in this conference."  PC's got the black and white look, though, and they've got some nifty gray alternates that they wore against Marquette this season.

By the way, Marquette played their first season of basketball in 1916-17, which means next season is the 100 year anniversary.  No inside info here, but given MU's history with fantastic uniforms, it would seem to be a good time to do something interesting, wouldn't it?

6.) Who's going to win?

I actually think Marquette's going to figure this out and get the win.  They pulled out the upset over Providence, and then got swatted in the nose a bit against Villanova.  Now it's another top 10 team, but this time it's at home, and they've already learned how to pull off the stunner against a team like that.  The Bradley Center should be bouncing, building off of the season high crowd against St. John's for the last home game, and that should help things, too.  I'll say Marquette 80, Xavier 72.

There you have it. Thanks again to Andy for answering our questions. Big East basketball is fun, and having quality blogs writing about the other teams makes it even more fun. If you have the time, hop on over to AE to read my answers to his questions. Spoiler though, I picked Xavier to win.