Well that was enjoyable. For the first time in the Wojo era, Marquette won its Big East opener and in convincing fashion. Though there was a tie at 26 all, Marquette never let Georgetown take the lead. A coast to coast victory over a high major team, something that hasn’t been seen often in the past few years. Marquette will get a much stiffer test in their second game as they go on the road to Newark to take on the Pirates of Seton Hall.
1: Madison Jones: 6-2 160 lb RSSR PG: 25.8 mpg, 6.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.7 tpg, .443 FG%, .759 FT%, .308 3P%
2: Khadeen Carrington: 6-4 195 lb JR SG: 33.5 mpg, 19.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.3 bpg, 2.5 tpg, .500 FG%, .642 FT%, .508 3P%
3: Desi Rodriguez: 6-6 215 lb JR SF: 29.0 mpg, 15.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.2 tpg, .474 FG%, .639 FT%, .314 3P%
4: Ish Sanogo: 6-8 215 lb JR PF: 24.0 mpg, 3.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.7 bpg, 1.4 tpg, .387 FG%, .550 FT%, .000 3P%
5: Angel Delgado: 6-10 240 lb JR PF: 29.4 mpg, 14.3 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.5 tpg, .549 FG%, .500 FT%, .000 3P%
Myles Powell: 6-2 195 lb FR SG: 22.8 minutes per game
Michael Nzei: 6-8 205 lb RSSO PF: 19.2 minutes per game
Jevon Thomas: 6-1 185 lb RSJR PG: 10.5 minutes per game
Rashed Anthony: 6-9 235 lb RSJR PF: 6.2 minutes per game
Eron Gordon: 6-3 190 lb FR SG
Dalton Soffer: 6-6 195 lb SO SG
Michael Dowdy Jr: 6-0 190 lb SR PG
Manny Anderson: 6-4 190 lb FR SG
• Marquette owns a commanding lead in the series 15-5 though Seton Hall has won three of the last four regular season meetings. The two matchups last season were of the one sided variety, with Seton Hall claiming a 20 point win at the Bradley Center and a 17 point win in Newark. Fortunately, the main culprit in those dominations, Isaiah Whitehead, is now earning a paycheck from the Brooklyn Nets.
• Seton Hall makes its living on the boards. They are top in conference in both offensive and total rebounds and are second in rebounding margin. Their total rebounding numbers are top 50 in the country.
• The Pirates find themselves ranked at the bottom of the conference in several statistical categories. They are dead last in 3PAs, assists, blocks, FT%, and turnover margin. The TO margin will be the interesting one to watch as Marquette forces more steals than any other team in conference.
• Seton Hall is a team defined by physicality and aggression and no one epitomizes that more than Angel Delgado. After two seasons of averaging near a double double, Delgado has stepped up his game to whole new level, averaging 14 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. He has added a consistent 15 foot jumper to his arsenal in addition to his impressive set of post moves. He grabs about 4 offensive boards a game and usually manages to turn those into second chance points. Despite his size, he is not as intimidating on the defensive side of the ball. He is an elite level defensive rebounder but often finds himself on the wrong side of opponents’ post moves.
• The best player on the floor will be the Pirates’ Khadeen Carrington. The Brooklyn native has played the role of second fiddle for two seasons behind Isaiah Whitehead, but is now ready to lead the Hall. Carrington has been averaging near 20 points a game, third best in the conference. He got there by increasing his 3P% by nearly 20% from last season. He’s made 31 treys with over 50% accuracy, making him one of the deadliest sharpshooters in the country. His better outside shooting has made his driving even deadlier. His 58.4 eFG% is one of the best in conference. He has great size for a 2 guard and superior strength to finish strong in traffic.
• The last head of the monster in Newark is Desi Rodriguez. Over the summer, Paint Touches picked Rodriguez as one of the top 10 players in the Big East and the best player on Seton Hall. He hasn’t quite lived up to that billing, but he might get there by the end of the season. His three point shot has been holding him back, only making 6 out of 29 in the non-conference season. But if his 5/6 performance in the conference opener at Creighton is a new trend, that won’t be an issue. Last season he led the Big East in steal%. He hasn’t been quite as good in this area but he is still plenty disruptive.
• The Pirates’ starting lineup rounds out with two players that don’t look to score but play valuable roles. Madison Jones is a graduate transfer from Wake Forest. He was a backup for the Demon Deacons but earned the starting role with his distribution ability and defense. His 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game lead the team. Ish Sanago is the other big in the post. His scoring is limited to dump offs and putbacks, only netting about 3 points a game. But he more than makes up for it on the boards (7.2 per game) and on defense. He is the best on ball defender for the Pirates and often draws the toughest assignment.
• Seton Hall features possibly the best sixth man in the conference in shooting guard Myles Powell. The true freshman arrived as an already proven 3P sniper. He’s lived up to the hype, making 26 treys with 36% accuracy. His Big East debut didn’t go quite to plan however, going 2/8 from the floor including 0/3 from three.
• Seton Hall’s bench has gotten two players shorter in the last few games. First backup forward Veer Singh opted to transfer. Then backup guard Myles Carter was dismissed from the team for “academic reasons.” Neither player was a major contributor but their departure makes an already short Pirate bench shorter. However, they got some relief when Jevon Thomas, a midseason transfer from Kansas state, became eligible. He’s a pass first guard who can give Madison Jones some rest.
Sunday’s game will be a battle of two distinctive styles. Marquette is a team that relies on finesse, speed, and hot shooting. The Hall relies on strength, aggressiveness, and getting as close to the hoop as possible. With as few of shooters as Seton Hall has, it could be tempting for Wojo to throw out a zone for a few possessions. That could slow down the drives of Carrington and neutralize Delgado in the post. However, it is hard to rebound out of a zone and that could result in Marquette being demolished on the glass. Zone should only be used if Fischer picks up some early fouls or Delgado is on an unstoppable run. Carrington is the type of guard that Marquette has no answer for. None of the Golden Eagles have the speed or on ball skills to contain someone with his scoring ability. With two non-scorers in Jones and Sanogo on the floor, a quick double team might be warranted whenever Carrington touches the ball. The matchup to watch is Jajuan Johnson going against Desi Rodriguez. It is a matchup of two of the best thieves in the Big East. Rodriguez was on fire against Creighton, but his loose handle could get him in trouble against Johnson. Johnson has been electric the last two games. Stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 34 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 6 steals, 1 block on 13-20 shooting. If Johnson can continue this pace, we could see a lot of easy run outs. On offense, Marquette will be facing some good individual defenders, but a poor team defense. Seton Hall has allowed opponents to score an absurdly high percentage of their 2P FGs. Their 3P defense has been better, only allowing about 30%. Of course, they have played some very poor three-point shooting teams, only three of their opponents have shot above 35% from deep on the season. The weak point in the defense is Angel Delgado. He is slow footed and prone to fouls. Expect a healthy bit of JJJ and Haanif Cheatham driving right at the hoop. Markus Howard could help the cause by continuing his absurd three point shooting. Last game out he posted an unbelievable eFG% of 95%. Though there are a lot of reasons to like this matchup, Seton Hall will be a tough out and have a chance to bully their way to victory. A little home court advantage could shift the scales towards Seton Hall.
Seton Hall: 81