Marquette (4-2-0) vs Grambling State (0-5-0)
7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 2
BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
Radio: 540 ESPN
Let us start out by saying, we know it’s early. There have only been six games, well five if we’re honest about what happened against Iowa. The team is young, still learning to play as a team and learning to play Division I college basketball. That said, we decided to take a look at how our frontcourt is doing thus far. We broke down the numbers by how the team plays when:
- Luke and Henry are on the floor at the same time. (53.6% of possessions)
- Just Henry is on the floor. (22.4% of possessions)
- Just Luke is on the floor. (23.9% of possessions)
As we foreshadowed with the opening paragraph, fortune tends to favor an experienced lineup. However, there are some areas where having both Henry and Luke on the floor has produced the team’s best results.
Henry & Luke - Together is Best
|Metric||Henry & Luke||Just Henry||Just Luke|
|% of Field Goal Attempts that are 3's||33.9%||43.0%||37.7%|
|Offensive Rebound %||35.3%||23.6%||19.0%|
|Opponent % of Field Goal Attempts that are Dunks, Layups or Tip Ins||31.0%||34.4%||40.2%|
|Opponent Free Throw Attempts/Field Goal Attempts||18.2%||25.6%||25.0%|
None of these are particularly surprising. With two 6’-11” players on the floor at the same time one would anticipate that a lower percentage of Marquette’s field goal attempts would be three-pointers and offensive rebounding would improve. On the defensive end, having both bigs on the floor at the same time improves Marquette’s blocking percentage and alters opponent shot selection away from the interior. The rate at which opponents are getting to the line also is at its lowest when both Henry and Luke are on the floor.
There are, however, a few areas where the team appears to benefit when having the seasoned veteran on the floor in some capacity: offensive and defensive efficiency.
Henry & Luke - Room for Improvement
|Metric||Henry & Luke||Just Henry||Just Luke|
|Points Per Possession Margin (+/-)||0.07||-0.21||0.17|
|Effective Field Goal %||50.5%||42.4%||55.1%|
|Free Throw Attempts/Field Goal Attemps||40.9%||40.5%||47.8%|
|Opponent Offensive Rebound %||29.1%||20.0%||40.0%|
|Opponent Assist/Turnover Ratio||1.26||1.92||0.74|
|Opponent Effective Field Goal %||45.1%||55.6%||41.8%|
Let’s first look at offensive efficiency. Marquette’s average points per possession (PPP) margin and eFG% are both highest when just Luke is on the floor and lowest when just Henry is on the floor. This may be because Luke is a traditional big man and provides a legitimate post presence when he is on the floor while Henry is a non-traditional big and tends to take more difficult shots. This could also explain the difference in the rate at which Marquette gets to the free-throw line when Henry is on the floor.
It should be noted that the Golden Eagles’ assist/turnover (A/T) ratio is best when it’s just Henry on the floor. This may be a result of Henry’s ability to distribute the ball compared with Luke’s. Henry currently has a 17.0% assist percentage while Luke only has a 7.2% assist percentage.
On the defensive side of the ball, the team’s performance is very different when Luke’s leadership is missing. Outside of limiting the opponent’s offensive rebounding, where the team performs much better with Henry on the floor, Marquette is much stronger with Luke playing. When Henry is without Luke, average opponent A/T ratio is more than double and average opponent eFG% is 13.8 percentage points higher than when Luke is without Henry.
Again, we feel these numbers will change as the team gets experience playing against elite competition as well as when they get experience playing as a team. We will revisit this comparison later in the season to see if we are correct.
Let’s look ahead to Marquette’s next contest against Grambling State. The Tigers will be coming to the BMO Harris Bradley Center having yet to win a Division I contest this year. The numbers indicate why the Tigers have struggled so far this season.
Grambling State Offensive and Defensive Efficiencies
|eFG%||TO%||ORB%||FTR||Opp eFG%||Opp TO%||Opp ORB%||Opp FTR|
As with Jackson State, it appears that Grambling State struggles on both ends of the floor. The Tigers are currently averaging the lowest offensive PPP in Division I, 0.767, and the 245th ranked defensive PPP at 1.055. The player to watch from Grambling State will be freshman guard Nigel Ribeiro. He is averaging 13.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. If Marquette plays to the level they’re capable of, they should able to win comfortably.
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