Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy likes to say that statistics are for losers. Pick that or any similar adjective and it would adequately describe what Marquette did against Iowa for 36 minutes Thursday night.
Believe it or not, the final score, 89-61, makes the game seem closer than what it was.
The stats — much to McCarthy’s chagrin — don’t begin to tell the whole story, but we have to start somewhere.
The Golden Eagles trailed 14-6 five minutes into the game and were down 27 points at halftime. One of the many problems for this team, as it has been for three games now, is their inability to shoot the three.
A 2-19 first half performance, including an 0-11 start from behind the arc put Marquette at 11-61 (18 percent) from deep through 2-1/2 games. The Golden Eagles followed that up with a 5-11 showing in the second half with the game well in hand.
Marquette’s zone defense, which stifled IUPUI at times on Monday, was ineffective. The Hawkeyes shot 54.5 percent for the game, including 12-22 from three.
Add that to 19 turnovers and 30 three-point attempts and you have a recipe for a blow out.
“Tonight was unacceptable,” coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I think we got exposed in every facet of the game.
“That’s not the way a Marquette team should play. I take full responsibility for it. I didn’t have my team ready to play.”
Outside of an 8-0 run to start the second half, it’s hard to take any positives.
It was an unsightly performance from a team that showed promise in a three-point loss to Belmont in the season opener and toughness in an overtime win against IUPUI Monday night.
“We executed our game plan to perfection on the defensive end, there’s no question,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said.
No doubt. But Marquette didn’t do itself any favors by taking quick outside shots, turning the ball over and playing awful defense.
Things won’t get any easier with nationally-ranked LSU and Ben Simmons on the horizon Monday in Brooklyn.
The Golden Eagles are running out of chances in the nonconference portion of the schedule to make an impression on whatever postseason committee they have their sights set on.
McCaffrey said he believes this is a talented yet inexperienced Marquette team.
“Steve has a talented team that’s going to be really good,” he said. “Early in the season, experience is a great advantage.”
Potential can only take a team so far. Is it too early to hit the panic button just three games in? Maybe.
But what inspired anybody to think otherwise in what was supposed to be Marquette’s coming out party against a team from arguably the deepest conference in the country?
What positives could be taken from this game?
“None. Not one positive thing,” Wojciechowski said.