The Blue Demons Meet the Golden Eagles At Madison Square Garden With The Season On the Line
DePaul plays the Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday, 3/7/2018 at 8:30 pm Central at Madison Square Garden. It will be carried on FS1 (Channel 237 on Comcast) and on the Score (Radio 670).
Marquette comes into the game with 18 wins and 12 losses overall, with a 9-9 record in Big East games after beating Creighton in a must win game. This will also be a must win game for the Golden Eagles if they would like to keep their chances for an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
DePaul is coming off their 7th excruciating loss of the season with a 3 point loss to Xavier. . In games decided by 5 points or less, the Demons are 1-7. Not optimal.
Vegas currently favors Marquette by 5.5. Kenpom.com favors Marquette by 5.
On February 24, 2018, DePaul put on a strong defensive performance in winning their first and only home conference game of the season. Max Strus lead all scorers with 20 points; Strus also lead all by having 6 turnovers. A huge factor in the game was that the Blue Demons held Marquette to their worst point per possession game of the season. Strange game, but the Blue Demons evened the season series.
Marquette swept DePaul last season. The prior 2 years the teams split. Since the forming of the new Big East in 2014, the Golden Eagles hold a 7-3 series lead.
Big East Tournament Chances (Slim)
The Demon’s Side of the Bracket is the Hard Side of the Bracket
Before we jump into the details about this specific game, the writer wanted to point out the golden opportunity that DePaul missed out on by losing to Xavier.
If DePaul was the 8th or 9th seed, they would get to play against either Georgetown or St. John’s, who are both teams that the Demons beat this year.
The winner would play Xavier, a team that does not scare DePaul.
If by freak occurrence, the Blue Demons would have pulled the upset, they would then get to go against either Providence, who were blown out by DePaul (and barely beat the Demons earlier in the season) or Creighton, who DePaul should’ve beaten in the first meeting.
Of the group, Only Creighton had a blow out win against DePaul.
Collectively, the Demons were 2-6 against the 4 possible teams, including 5 of the 6 losses being close losses. Long Shot Odds, but I would be able to dream.
With each of the teams, the pieces fit for DePaul. Unfortunately, DePaul fell to the other side of the bracket, where the pieces do not fit.
The Hard Side of the Bracket
As can be seen in the Ken Pomeroy odds chart below, 3 of the teams on DePaul’s side of the bracket have 5 of the best odds to win the whole thing.
If DePaul would’ve finished 9th, they would’ve slid into basically where St. John’s is on this chart. Their odds of making it to the Semi-Finals would have increase by 14% or so.
What makes the other side of the bracket so difficult, is that the vast majority of offensive efficient teams are in it.
The chart below, created using barttorvik.com’s Player Charts Tools , shows a matrix of most of the Big East starters with their offensive rating on the Y axis, and their level above replacements on the X axis. The best players will be concentrated on the upper right side of the chart. As you can see, 11 of the 16 most efficient/least replaceable players are in the Demon’s bracket.
That is not good news, since that means that DePaul will have to score efficiently, which as you can see in the bottom left side of the chart, they are clearly not built to do.
Additionally, in the 8 head to head games that DePaul played against Marquette, Villanova, Butler and Seton Hall, they were blown out in 6 of them. The Demons were not even remotely in the games against Butler and Villanova, all four games were end to end ass kickings.
The Demons beat Marquette the 2nd time around holding Golden Eagles’ 3 headed monster of Hauser, Howard and Rowsey to their worst offensive game of the year.
The 2nd game against Seton Hall was touch and go through out the second half of the game.
The teams that have killed the Demons are those that have highly efficient offenses and highly efficient defenses. There are Only 3 Teams in the Big East who are top 4 in both classifications, and 2 of them are Villanova and Butler.
The other thing that these 2 teams have in common is that they do not turn the ball over, finishing 1st and 2nd. DePaul has caused a lot of turnovers, which has allowed the Demons to stay in games. These teams do not fall for that trick.
According to kenpom.com the Demons have a 31% chance of winning against Marquette, and if they do that, their season will probably be over once they play Villanova.
Big East Matrix
Below is a head to head matrix of all Big East Teams. It is fun seeing how teams match up and do not match up. Rock, Paper, Scissors all over the place.
Marquette Swept Creighton and Seton Hall, but were swept by Butler.
Seton Hall swept Providence and Butler, but were swept by Marquette.
Butler Swept Marquette, but were swept by Seton Hall
So Marquette is Rock, Butler is Paper, and Seton Hall is Scissors
Then you have Providence, who split with most of the conference, but were swept by Seton Hall.
The Current Flavor of Golden Eagles
These guys are an offensive machine. The sport the 13th most efficient offense in D1 basketball. The Golden Eagles can really, really shoot. They shoot 41.6% from 3pt. land which is 3rd best in the land, and they shoot 79.4% from the free throw line, which is 4th best in the country. As could be expected, they do not get to the line that often, because they are comfortable chucking it from the cheap seats. Of course, their defense is slightly above average and the worst in the Big East. They score and get scored on.
They have high volatility, meaning, since they shoot a lot of 3 pointers, some games they kill opponents and other games, they miss some shots. Live by the 3; die by the 3.
@MUPfeif a Marquette Blogger Made this awesome graphic explaining the volatility of the Golden Eagles:
Who Should Scare the Blue out of Us?
Markus Howard, 5′ 11″ Sophomore. Went to Findlay Prep High School, in Henderson, NV just like DePaul’s Justin Roberts. Howard scored 52 against Providence on 11-19 shooting from 3 point land. He followed that up with 37 against Villanova. Whoever guards him is going to have their hands full. Last year, he only shot 54.7% from 3pt. range, which is absolutely amazing. He was only 1 of 6 freshmen in history who shot better than 50% with at least 100 attempt from 3 pt. land.
He went for 25 against Creighton in the last game. He has gotten rid of the rust that he had the last time he played the Demons, when he was coming off a hip injury.
Rowsey shoots roughtly 40% from 3 point land and 90.1% from the free-throw line.
Sam Hauser (Most Underrated Player in the Big East)
It could be argued that Sam Hauser is the most underrated player in the Big East. He did not even get an honorable mention in the Big East All-Conference Team while he is virtually irreplaceable. The only thing keeping him down is his low usage rate, which is hard to increase when Rowsey and Howard are shooting all of the time.
If you go back to the the Offensive Rating/Above Replacement picture, guess who is in the most upper right quarter, the place you want your player to show up? Sam Hauser.
Hauser shoots 51.7% from 3 point land and 81.1% from the free-throw line. Not good times for the Demons.
How does DePaul Matchup?
Let’s go to the tail of the tape.
The Golden Eagles shoot the 3 real well (41.6%). The Demons do not (31.0%). Neither teams gets to the line much, so hopefully the zebras let the kids play. DePaul (245th) turns the ball over much more than Marquette (67th best). DePaul rebounds on the offensive end better (55th best) versus the Brew Boys (214th). However, the Milwaukee team shoots better from 2 point area and the free throw line, it’s not even close.
This is the 14th most efficient team going against the 184th most efficient team.
Advantage: Huge Advantage Marquette
Marquette is the 187th best at stopping 3 pointers allowing a 35.3% rate, while the Demons are still crap allowing 37.1% of all 3 pointers to go in. This is marginally better, and the Demons have shown improvement on this side of the ball. Conversely, DePaul is 140th at stopping the 2 point shot, while the G’ Eagles give up a lay up line (303rd). Holy crap they are terrible inside. Marquette has allowed opponents to shoot 53.7% from inside the arc. That is dumpster fire awful. Marquette blocks some shots and steals, but jeez, look at that horrific inside defense.
Advantage: DePaul (until you realize that 3 point shots are worth more than 2 point shots.)
Marquette is an elite offense. Of the teams that the Demons have faced this year, only Villanova. Michigan State, and Xavier are more efficient. DePaul’s 3pt. defense is God-awful but improving by forcing the opponent to shoot them less, and Marquette’s 3 pt. shooting is incredible.
DePaul’s defense has steadily gotten better over the year. The Demons are currently rated as the 42nd best in the country. They have accomplished this by fouling less, and contesting 3 point shooting better. The point distribution against the Demons have swung towards giving up less 3 pointers and Free-throws and allowing slightly more 2 pointers.
The season is on the line, along with bragging rights for another season. Most importantly, DePaul can ruin Marquette’s Season.