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Putting the Pieces Together

November 25, 2015

Marquette (3-2-0) vs Jackson State (1-4-0)
12:30 p.m. Sunday, November 29
BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI
TV: FS1
Radio: 540 ESPN

 

Well. That was unexpected.

Going into the nationally televised semi-final of the Legends Classic on Monday evening, Marquette was coming off a less-than-promising 1-2 start. Our last post broke down the numbers for these contests, so rather than beat that dead horse we will focus on what transpired at the Barclays Center the past two evenings.

The Golden Eagles team that showed up in Brooklyn was not the same team that left Milwaukee. They appeared more focused, more organized and more determined on both ends of the floor. What happened to cause such a remarkable turnaround? Two things: Coach Woj and Traci Carter.

In case you missed the story written by our friend Matt Velazquez, Coach Woj took away practice gear from the players and coaches, forcing them to wear plain white t-shirts and regular shorts. He also moved practice from the very comfortable Al McGuire Center to the older, “historic” Marquette gymnasium, noting that the team had to earn the right to wear the name Marquette across their chest and the privileges that come with it.

The second, less-heralded adjustment, was inserting Traci Carter into the starting lineup. There was a sizeable contingent that felt Coach Woj was “shaking up” the team to try and find pieces that work. That mentality does not give Coach enough credit. While Traci’s individual performances may not have indicated the move was warranted, how the overall team performed when he was on the floor did. Because we’re us, we’ll show you the numbers.

In the Belmont game, points per minute (PPM) were the same with and without Traci and while the team’s assist/turnover (A/T) ratio was lower when Traci was in, it was not a result of his play. Marquette’s shooting was much more efficient in the 14 minutes Traci was on the floor.

 

Belmont

StatsWith TraciWithout TraciTraci's stats
PPM2.002.000.36
A/T1.332.202.50
FG%52.6%37.5%25.0%
eFG%60.5%40.6%37.5%
Stl/TO0.331.000.00

 

The game against IUPUI was not a strong game for Traci and the team didn’t play terribly well with or without him in the lineup.

 

IUPUI

StatsWith TraciWithout TraciTraci's stats
PPM1.501.850.00
A/T0.330.770.33
FG%41.2%48.4%0.0%
eFG%41.2%53.2%0.0%
Stl/TO0.330.380.00

 

The game against Iowa was really where Traci’s difference started to show. In a game that, on the surface, had no positives for Marquette to take away, the Golden Eagles’ performance for the 13 minutes Traci was on the floor was dramatically better than when he was on the bench.

 

Iowa

StatsWith TraciWithout TraciTraci's stats
PPM2.231.190.38
A/T2.000.501.00
FG%47.4%34.2%20.0%
eFG%60.5%36.8%30.0%
Stl/TO1.000.191.00

 

When Coach inserted Traci into the starting lineup and gave “The Engine” more minutes (32 against LSU and 42 against Arizona State), the overall play for Marquette remained at that high level, allowing the Golden Eagles to beat a nationally ranked team in LSU and a tough Arizona State squad.

 

LSU

StatsWith TraciWithout TraciTraci's stats
PPM2.161.500.09
A/T1.290.383.00
FG%52.1%50.0%20.0%
eFG%57.3%60.0%20.0%
Stl/TO0.430.130.33

Arizona State

StatsWith TraciWithout TraciTraci's stats
PPM1.810.670.31
A/T1.000.004.00
FG%44.2%20.0%30.0%
eFG%47.1%20.0%35.0%
Stl/TO0.600.003.00

 

Let’s look ahead to Marquette’s next contest against Jackson State. The Tigers will be coming to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on a three-game losing streak with the last loss coming in overtime against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles. The numbers indicate why the Tigers have struggled so far this season.We realize this is a small sample size and time will tell if giving Traci more time on the floor will translate into continued success, but looking at how Marquette plays when he is running the team, the numbers indicate that the Golden Eagles are a different, more efficient group with their engine on the floor.

 

Jackson State Offensive & Defensive Efficiencies

eFG%TO%ORB%FTROpp eFG%Opp TO%Opp ORB%Opp FTR
43.70%17.30%30.10%21.00%49.40%20.00%30.10%61.30%
283rd147th128th342nd181st93rd209th340th

Two players to watch for with Jackson State are guards Paris Collins (Soph.) and Chase Franklin (Jr.). They are both relatively tall; Collins is 6’-4” and Franklin is 6’-5”. Combined they have supplied 42.5% of the Tigers’ points this year and taken 40.6% of the team’s field goal attempts. If Marquette’s backcourt can continue to defend the way it did in Brooklyn, Marquette should be able to come away with a win.It appears they are struggling on both ends of the floor with their defense slightly outplaying their offense.

 

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