The panic button getting worn out by December. A tradition unlike any other.
If you read any of the Marquette forums or follow the #mubb hashtag on Twitter, you would think this was a lost season for the blue and gold with the amount of negativity and shade being thrown around.
The point guard sucks. The shooting guard sucks. No one can shoot.
It’s true that Marquette has looked like doo doo on the offensive end of the floor for a large part of the season, but the way people laud last year’s team makes it seem as if it was some offensive juggernaut. They fail to remember that on December 19 of last season, the sky was falling after failing to break the 50-point threshold in a road loss to Green Bay.
Here are some calm posts from a thread at muscoop.com after that game:
That is not to say all is fine and there’s nothing to worry about ever, but simply a reminder to chicken littles everywhere that it does take some for Buzz’ teams to click offensively. Here are the stats through Dec. 20 last year and this year.
It looks like Marquette’s offense is actually better through this point in the season, and you also have to take into account that the 2012 numbers don’t include a game on a ship against Ohio State, as that might have been as ugly as it was this year.
What about the overall record compared to last year, you ask? It was 7-3 last year and it’s 7-4 this year. Add in a probable loss to the Buckeyes and the resemblance is uncanny.
All in all, Marquette had one top-100 kenpom rated win in the non-conference last season (Wisconsin) compared to one this year (George Washington) through this point and finished with two. Should MU take down New Mexico, another top-100 team, on Saturday, the comparison will be perfectly symmetrical.
— Buzz Williams (@TeamCoachBuzz) December 7, 2013
Leads to this.
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) December 19, 2013
The relationship specialist strikes again.
Not so woooo
We wrote at length during the summer about the ratings last season and the potential struggles on a brand new channel this season. It turns out those concerns have been valid, though it’s obviously early in the season.
Marquette has played four games on FOX Sports 1 this season, with the ratings available for three of the four. It’s maiden voyage on the channel against Grambling drew 134,000 viewers and a 0.0 rating on a Tuesday night. The Arizona State matchup then drew 165,000 and a 0.0 rating on a Monday night. Most recently, the Saturday afternoon tilt against IUPUI drew 50,000 viewers and another 0.0 rating for a total of 349,000 viewers.
By comparison, Marquette’s lowest number of viewers on the ESPN family was 400,000 viewers. It drew 413,000 against Cal State Fullerton on ESPN 2, 689,000 against George Washington on ESPN and 400,000 against San Diego State on ESPN 2.
Obviously it’s too early to worry about potential impact, but it does help contextualize how big of a challenge the Big East faces in maintaining national relevance without the worldwide leader.
We will have a more detailed post in the new year once there is more data available.
On the run
It’s common knowledge that Marquette is playing at a slower tempo than it did last season, stinks against zone defenses and is getting in transition much less often. It is also false.
According to KenPom, Marquette’s adjusted tempo is almost a full four points higher this season than last, 68.0 compared to 64.4. The average possession length is down as well with Marquette averaging 16.8 seconds per offensive possession this year compared to 18.6 last season. This doesn’t make them a run and gun team by any stretch, just helping to dispel the notion that the team is even more sedentary.
And everyone knows zones are the bane (not Deonte) of Buzz’ existence, but so far, Marquette has excelled against it. According to Synergy, MU is scoring 0.968 points per possession against zone defenses, a very good number compared to the national average. As a reference, it is only scoring 0.829 ppp against man defense. The biggest caveat would have to be that Grambling played mostly “zone,” skewing the numbers for the rest of the season.
As for getting out on the run, according to Synergy, 13.8 percent of Marquette’s offensive possessions have been in transition, a fraction more than last season’s 13.7 percent. It just seems like Marquette isn’t pushing it as often because the effectiveness has gone down a tad. Last year MU scored 1.18 points per possessions in transition compared to 1.09 this one.
Next time you hear these tired tropes, remember that facts are your friends.