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LINKS: Marquette Visits Georgetown to Start 2021

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Two mercurial teams, neither great with turnovers or perimeter defense, hope to fight off a fourth BE loss

Marquette v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

On Saturday, January 2, 2021, the Georgetown Hoyas (3-5, 1-3) will host the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-5, 1-3) for their first game of 2021. The Saturday-night (7:30pm) game will be featured on CBS Sports Network, so check availability on your cable platform.

Marquette has some new faces getting buckets with former scoring champ Markus Howard (finally) moving on after last year, and the team still has some early quality wins against top-10 teams. Each standing at 1-3 in the BIG EAST, tied for seventh with Xavier and St. John’s, neither team wants that fourth loss to make climbing up from the cellar that much tougher.

As it turns out, based on data analyzed by our colleagues at Anonymous Eagle, Marquette may have some issues that Hoyas fans will find very familiar: turnovers and (three-point) defense.

It seems as if coach Steve Wojciechowski is having similar issues as Patrick Ewing in this early covid-impacted season—despite each team shedding a presumably undersized-not-necessarily-great-defending scoring guard and the respective fan bases expecting personnel upgrades to boost the defense. With about 16 games left in the conference season, each coach must be looking for any sign of improvement in those disciplines right out of the 2021 gates.

So, with two mercurial teams with decent size, this one may come down to whomever wins the turnover battle.

But will there be holiday rust? Can a Christmas break ever really help improve team perimeter defense or unforced turnovers? We’ll see.

Here are the links:

Marquette hosts Villanova Wednesday night | BIGEASTCOASTBIAS

The Marquette Golden Eagles have been one of the most confusing teams in all of college basketball this year. They have wins over Wisconsin and Creighton, making Marquette the only team in the nation to have two wins over teams ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll, but the Golden Eagles have also taken four losses, and while none of the losses are bad (Oklahoma State, UCLA, Seton Hall, Xavier) it has been tough for Marquette to build and sustain momentum this season.

The Golden Eagles [came] into [last week’s] game at 5-4, and 1-2 in Big East play. Koby McEwen, Dawson Garcia, and DJ Carton have been very helpful in replacing Markus Howard’s offensive production, but as previously noted, consistency has been the biggest issue for Marquette.

Villanova Basketball Game Preview: Marquette Golden Eagles | VUHOOPS

Without [Howard and Sacar Anim], senior guard Koby McEwen and sophomore guard D.J. Carton have stepped up. McEwen averages 15.2 PPG and 44% from beyond the arc, while Carton, an Ohio State transfer, has added 12 points per game. Additionally, senior forward Theo John fights hard at the glass with 6.7 rebounds. At 6’9” and 255 pounds, John poses a threat under the basket and will test [an opponent’s] biggest rebounder... Lastly, keep an eye out for freshman Dawson Garcia, who’s playing at a level beyond his years early. He’s averaging 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds, and is one of the Golden Eagles’ best in both categories

Jockey ‘T’ It Up Brief: No. 5/3 Villanova 85, #mubb 68 - Marquette University Athletics | GOMARQUETTE

Marquette (5-5, 1-3 Big East) was seeking to beat a top-10 team for the third time this season. The Golden Eagles had beaten then-No. 4 Wisconsin 67-65 on Dec. 4 and topped then-No.9 Creighton 89-84 on Dec. 14. Wisconsin is now ninth and Creighton is 13th.

They didn’t have nearly as much success against Villanova (8-1, 3-0), though they did keep things interesting until halftime. The game went back and forth early on...

Marquette’s Jamal Cain opened the second half with a 3-pointer that cut Villanova’s lead to 36-33, but the Wildcats answered with a 10-1 spurt... Villanova was never threatened again and led by as much as 23.

Jamal Cain scored 15 to lead Marquette. D.J. Carton and Theo John added 10 points each.

Is Marquette’s Defense Bad Or Unlucky? | ANONYMOUSEAGLE

Marquette has allowed each of their last six opponents to score at least 102 points per 100 possessions. Each of the last four have scored at least 104 points per possession, and Xavier and Creighton both cranked that number up north of 125. Sunday’s effort against Xavier — 132.4 points/100 possessions — would have been the worst defensive performance of last season, beating out a 130.6 posted by Seton Hall on Senior Day while the Golden Eagles were in the middle of their second straight end of season collapse...

One thing that stood out to me recently, particularly in the three games this past week, was the three-point shooting defense. Up through the road game against UCLA, Marquette had yet to surrender a game where their opponent made at least 30% of their long range attempts. Generally speaking, that’s pretty good. When you convert three-point shooting percentage to effective field goal percentage, 33.3% is the same as shooting 50% inside the arc in terms of the points that you’re scoring. If you’re under 33.3%, then that’s good. Keeping teams in the 20s is definitely good. In the past week, aka the three games since visiting Pauley Pavilion, Marquette’s three opponents hit 44%, 43%, and 54% of their three-pointers.

What Is Marquette’s Deal With Turnovers, Anyway? | ANONYMOUSEAGLE

They’re turning it over more than ever before while playing at the slowest relative pace they’ve ever played at. That’s a recipe for disaster. You turn it over 20% of the time in an 80 possession game, you’ve still got 64 good possessions to work with. 20% in a 70 possession game? You’re down to 56 trips down the court where you got a shot up, and now you’re just actively handcuffing yourself for no good reason. To make matters worse, Marquette doesn’t give a damn at all about taking the ball away from their opponents. They are currently creating turnovers at a 14.8% clip. That is the lowest rate that Wojciechowski has ever supervised, beating out last year’s previous all-time low of 15.1%. Each year, the turnover rate on defense has dropped. 21% to 19.1% to 18.3% to 18.1% to 16.6% to 15.1% to this year’s 14.8%.

I’m left with no other conclusion that Wojciechowski is actively coaching his teams to stay at home, mind their P’s and Q’s, and never attempt anything resembling putting their hand in a passing lane. Marquette ranked #345 out of 353 teams in Division 1 last season in defensive turnover rate, and you don’t rank that low in that category unless you’re actively trying to rank there.

Per Game Table
Rk Player G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT% TRB AST TOV PTS
1 Koby McEwen 10 10 32.2 4.6 10.1 .455 2.1 4.8 .438 .806 3.7 2.8 2.0 14.2
2 Dawson Garcia 10 10 29.1 4.5 10.0 .450 1.0 2.6 .385 .730 6.7 1.0 1.8 12.7
3 D.J. Carton 10 7 28.5 4.0 9.2 .435 1.7 4.5 .378 .778 3.4 3.6 2.8 11.8
4 Jamal Cain 10 10 28.5 3.8 8.5 .447 1.4 3.5 .400 .688 6.6 1.4 0.9 10.1
5 Theo John 10 10 26.8 3.0 4.7 .638 0.3 0.4 .750 .710 6.2 1.3 2.3 8.5
6 Justin Lewis 10 0 21.3 2.9 6.4 .453 0.5 1.4 .357 .588 6.2 1.2 1.5 8.3
7 Greg Elliott 10 0 14.6 1.6 3.0 .533 0.9 1.7 .529 .813 1.2 1.3 0.7 5.4
8 Jose Perez 2 0 7.0 1.0 1.5 .667 0.5 0.5 1.000 .500 0.0 0.5 0.5 3.5
9 Symir Torrence 7 3 17.4 0.9 3.1 .273 0.3 2.0 .143 .714 2.3 2.6 1.4 3.4
10 Dexter Akanno 5 0 5.2 0.4 1.2 .333 0.0 0.6 .000 .800 0.6 0.0 0.8 1.6
11 Oso Ighodaro 4 0 7.0 0.5 0.8 .667 0.0 0.0 1.5 0.5 0.3 1.0
Provided by CBB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 12/31/2020.

Pregame Primer: #9 Creighton Opens Defense of Big East Title Against Marquette | WHITEANDBLUEREVIEW

Big East preseason freshman of the year Dawson Garcia has lived up to that billing so far. The 6’11”, 235-pound Garcia does a little of everything — he averages 12.7 points and 5.5 rebounds, shoots 40.3% overall and 82% from the line, has a nice post-up game (making 57.1% of his shots at the rim) and can also hit the three (he’s made 43.8% of them so far). As a stretch-four he seems to be a matchup problem for the Bluejays especially when playing alongside starters Jamal Cain and Theo John. Cain averages 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds a game, and ranks 12th in the Big East in boards. Through six games he already has 17 offensive rebounds, though its interesting that he’s not been terribly effective at scoring off those offensive boards — he’s made four field goals on the 17 offensive rebounds, with just a 25.0% shooting percentage when he shoots a putback. Something to keep an eye on.

#MUBB Returns To Action At Georgetown Jan. 2 - Marquette University Athletics | GOMARQUETTE

The Marquette University men’s basketball team (5-5, 1-3 BIG EAST) hits the road this weekend for a 6:30 p.m. CT matchup at Georgetown (3-5, 1-3 BIG EAST) on Saturday, Jan. 2 in McDonough Arena. CBS Sports Network features the television broadcast, with Chick Hernandez (play-by-play) and Pete Gillen (analyst) calling the action...

Narrow Margin Separates All-Time Series: Marquette owns a slim 16-13 advantage in the all-time series, with the Golden Eagles claiming wins in seven of the last 10 outings.