2009 Schedule / 2009 Stats
Marquette Offense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%50.6141Turnover Rate18.437Off Reb Rate37.823FTM/FGA26.5126Marquette Offense 08-09Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%51.586Turnover Rate19.070Off Reb Rate40.025FTM/FGA38.16
This one sets up as surprisingly winnable for the Wolfpack, as Marquette has not been particularly impressive against a weak early-season slate; in fact, the Pomeroy Predictor likes State by three, meaning the teams have been even in terms of performance this season and home court provides the difference. But I'm not feeling optimistic--the backcourt matchup is so lopsided in Marquette's favor (true even if we were completely healthy, which we are not), I have a hard time seeing the Pack making up the difference in other places.
With so many returning contributors, it's not surprising that the Eagles' offense looks just like it did last season--this is not a great shooting club, and it isn't going to be, but their experienced guards take care of the ball, and the team is very good on the offensive boards despite a lack of height.
On an individual level, though, the 2009 Eagles do offer some unexpected differences. Dominic James's level of involvement is the lowest its been at any point in his career, which is not necessarily a bad thing, because the three guys taking more shots than him are all scoring more efficiently. So far, he seems content to be more of a distributor than a scorer--his assist rate this season is a career-best 34.4%.
ORtg %Shots eFG% ORtg %Shots eFG%
McNeal 104.4 27.8 49.7 113.8 29.6 56.2
Matthews 111.2 18.7 47.1 124.7 25.3 54.0
James 104.7 25.5 45.5 106.7 21.1 48.0
Hayward 109.8 25.4 53.6 110.7 29.4 52.6
Those guys don't leave much for Dwight Burke, the fifth starter, whose job, as far as I can tell, is to be tall, take up space, and shoot once a fortnight (he's taking 3.5% of the shots). His line is among the more interesting you'll see.
Whether its reflective of new coach Buzz Williams's philosophical differences from Tom Crean or whether this is simply how the chips have fallen, I don't know, but for sure, a year-to-year increase in offensive presence like Wesley Matthews's is a rare thing.
%Shots eFG% 2FG% 3FG%
2006 19.5 44.2 38.9 43.8
2007 20.1 47.5 49.1 28.8
2008 18.7 47.1 47.2 31.3
2009 25.3 54.0 53.8 36.4
As the schedule gets tougher, it's reasonable to expect his shooting to regress back toward his career numbers, but will his usage go with it?
Marquette Defense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%46.330Turnover Rate23.449Off Reb Rate33.4197FTA/FGA41.0262Marquette Defense 08-09Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%48.1143Turnover Rate22.2123Off Reb Rate30.176FTA/FGA37.2189
An excerpt from College Basketball Prospectus 2008-2009:
The Golden Eagles' conference opponents turned the ball over on 24 percent of their possessions in 2008, a high figure that, along with outstanding perimeter field-goal defense, keyed the Marquette defense as a whole. No other Big East defense came close to Crean's team in terms of forcing opponent turnovers. So the scout on the Golden Eagles for opposing offenses is easy to state, but hard to execute: Take care of the ball and shoot twos. If you're not turning the ball over and you're not firing up threes, you're hitting this team where it hurts.
Not that any encouragement is needed for this inside/inside again/okay Fergie three Wolfpack offense; our forwards will be a challenge for an undersized and foul-prone Eagles defense, which, duh. That NC State's guards protect the ball, then, is more important than usual. Cut out the turnovers and you expose an otherwise-flimsy Marquette D that allowed Big East opponents to hit almost 50% of their twos. And with a FT rate also approaching 50%, they sent conference foes to the line 25 times per game.
Of the nine guys who logged 30% or more of the minutes in 2008, six averaged over 4 fouls per 40 minutes, including Jerel McNeal. Such an active defense tends to come at this sort of cost.