Breaking down Marquette’s advanced statistics

Ken Pomeroy ( is a website that looks at advanced statistics in college basketball and can be a solid indicator of efficiency, both by team and individually.

Pomeroy predicts Marquette will win each of its next six contests, with South Florida (85 percent chance of winning) being the easiest opponent and Notre Dame (62 percent) the toughest in that stretch. Pomeroy also predicts a 12-6 finish for Marquette, with losses coming on the road to Connecticut, West Virginia and Cincinnati.

NOTE: **When looking at individual numbers, assume roughly 11.5 players on 345 teams. This mean each player’s rank is out of 3,967 players.**

Assists per field goals made: 65.8 percent (4th in the nation)

Marquette continues to be one of the best passing teams in the nation, led by Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue. But as good as the Golden Eagles’ top two distributors have been, the Marquette “bigs” average a combined 3.5 assists per game, led by Jae Crowder (1.9). It sounds easy, but passing is a major reason Marquette touts one of the most efficient offenses in the country.

Turnover percentage defense: 24.2 percent (22nd in the nation)

Buzz Williams preaches defense and focuses much of his allotted practice time on that side of the ball, and it’s showing. Led by Jae Crowder (see below), the Golden Eagles are finding passing lanes and the 1-2-2 press has forced teams into  hectic situations, leading to turnovers. Marquette has improved its half court sets, but transition offense is still vital to its success and, for the most part, the Golden Eagles have been able to get out and run thanks to forced turnovers.

Darius Johnson-Odom has helped Marquette become one of the most efficient offenses in the country. (Marquette Tribune Photo)

Effective field goal percentage: 52.3 percent (1st in Big East play)

Through seven Big East games, Marquette has faced three of the nation’s best defenses in Georgetown, Syracuse and Louisville. Through that, the Golden Eagles have managed to lead the conference in effective field goal percentage. Gardner’s efficiency in the post and Jamil Wilson’s sudden impact have helped but, more importantly, Marquette is shooting a Big East-best 38.7 percent from beyond the arc, leading to this number.

Adjusted tempo: 70.2 possessions (34rd fastest in the nation)

Marquette will be tested in its upcoming contests over the next two weeks, facing three slow-paced teams in South Florida, Seton Hall and Notre Dame. This is the fastest a Buzz Williams team has played since he took over and, post-Otule, the quick, athletic Golden Eagles have made the most of their situation and ran for 40 minutes.Their pace in Big East play has slowed some (68.5 possessions) but is still third-fastest during conference play.

Off. rebounding percentage defense: 35.6 percent (282nd in the nation)

Otule isn’t coming back and sudden growth spurts from Marquette’s interior seem unlikely, meaning this is an area the Golden Eagles will struggle all year long. In Big East play, this percentage has risen to 38.2 percent (13th worst) but Wilson’s improved play and continuing efforts on the glass from Vander Blue and potentially Juan Anderson will help weather the storm on the glass.

Jamil Wilson’s block percentage: 5.6 percent (155th in the nation)

Now this is more like it. After a unexciting month and a half of play, Wilson has quietly put things together on the defensive end. He has a block in four straight games, including three against Providence, and has used his athleticism to position him well against defenders. He is also getting better at filling the “channel” and contesting drives to the basket from guards. Wilson’s defensive impact has been as big as any player since Otule’s injury and his continued improvement on both ends could determine how far Marquette goes in March.

Davante Gardner’s off. rebounding percentage: 15.8 percent (19th  in the nation)

What more can one say about The “Ox in the Box” on the offensive end? He had one offensive rebound against Providence, which marked the first time since Vanderbilt that Gardner did not have more than one offensive rebound. His ability to position well when shots go up combined with his soft hands have helped him to this number, which should only improve as he does. There are a handful of advanced stats proving Gardner’s offensive prowess, but none a better indicator as this one.

Junior Cadougan’s assist rate: 35.3 percent (35th in the nation)

Cadougan has quietly improved on the defensive end but his worth is still in the passing department. The aforementioned assist rate is thanks to Cadougan, who is 32nd in the nation with 5.6 assists per game and is fifth in the Big East with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover rate. His 6.4 assists per game in Big East play is fourth in the Big East and, on the season, Cadougan is averaging an assist every 4.8 minutes he is on the court.

Jae Crowder is putting together one of the most efficient seasons in the country. (Marquette Tribune Photo)

Jae Crowder’s steal percentage: 4.0 percent (65th in the nation)

Of the 15 advanced statistics Pomeroy uses, Crowder leads Marquette in eight of them. A whole column could be written on Crowder’s efficiency, but the most surprising is his steal rate. He has a steal in 12 straight games and, in that stretch, is averaging 2.6 steals per game. In eight of those games, he has more than one steal and has single-game totals of three (three times), four, five, and six steals. Simply put, Crowder has been phenomenal on the defensive end…

Jae Crowder’s effective field goal percentage: 59.2 percent (119th in the nation)

…But that shouldn’t take away the fact that he has excelled offensively. While shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc, Crowder’s 51.1 percent mark from inside is equally impressive. Playing undersized, the 6-foot-6 forward has shown great touch around the rim and has improved on his 15-foot jumper. Johnson-Odom may get most of the spotlight and headlines, but Crowder is quietly putting together one of the most complete seasons in recent Marquette history. It’s Jimmy Butler-esque.


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