It was the week before Christmas, and all through Milwaukee, not a creature was stirring, not a fan could rest easy.
It’s certainly been a start to Marquette’s year, with some decent wins (Vanderbilt, Georgia) being matched by some weird losses (blowing a huge lead versus Pitt, forgetting how to play basketball against Michigan and the second half of Wisconsin).
With Big East play looming, starting at home against Georgetown on December 28th, here’s what the Golden Eagles (and their fans) need in order to succeed in conference play.
All I Want For Christmas Is:
Two Good Halves
Back to back. Correct me if I’m wrong, but even against lower-rated teams, Marquette really hasn’t strung two halves of their best basketball together in one game. At the start of the year, Marquette played really well in the 2nd half of games, and now Marquette comes out after the break looking lost and confused at times. Being able to string together two great halves of basketball back to back will surely lead to more success.
At times, the defense has looked okay, even good. And at other times, the defense has looked like they just got done with a 6th grade practice and got told they were playing the Golden State Warriors the next day. There’s been a lot of mental lapses all around, from poor displays of screen and roll defense to not boxing out to losing shooters to (insert defensive failing here). It’s been hard to watch at times. The offense has been good, but it can’t win you every game all year. At some point Marquette’s going to need defensive stands to win games, and right now, it doesn’t look like they’d be able to pull it off. Here’s to hoping.
According to KenPom, Marquette ranks as the 260th best offensive rebounding team in the nation. That’s not good. It’s understandable considering that there are only two true bigs on the team in Luke Fischer and Matt Heldt, but at a clip of 26.7%, Marquette is giving themselves one shot possessions a lot, and not creating a lot of second chances for points. Right now, the FG% is decent enough (eFG% of 57.7, good for 12th in the country), but this could always regress to the mean and Marquette isn’t doing enough for itself to account for games where they struggle to make their shots on the first go-round.