Marquette (1-2-0) vs LSU (3-0-0)
6 p.m. Monday, November 23
Barclays Center | New York, N.Y.
After two disappointing games against Belmont and IUPUI, things managed to get even worse when Marquette faced off against a solid Iowa team. We knew it would be a tough game against a veteran team, but we doubt anyone expected the dismantling that took place Thursday night.
In our last post we discussed a number of statistics that would have to improve for Marquette to be competitive moving forward. Unfortunately, things got worse. In fact, Marquette posted the worst stats of the season in a number of areas:
|Games 1 and 2 Avg.||77.5||12.5||25||37.5||8||47.5%||36.1%||36.9%|
|Games 1 and 2 Avg.||77||31.7%||31||19||7||50.4%|
The most troublesome stats above are offensive and defensive effective field goal percentage (Effg%). According to our game prediction model, and any other prediction model of any worth, Effg% percentage is the most important determinant of a game’s outcome. Taking that into account, it’s tough to win when you allow your opponent to post 63.6% when you only hit 44.7%. Marquette posted a lower Effg% eight times last year and lost seven of those eight. Teams posted an Effg% higher than 63.6% just three times last year (Ohio State, Michigan State and Villanova), and needless to say, Marquette lost all three games.
We could go on about how committing 18 turnovers, taking 30 three-point shots while only making 23.3% and getting only three points from your star player is simply not good enough, but we are going to take the same approach we hope the team is taking and put that game behind us. The only problem with this strategy is it results in looking ahead and seeing #23/#19 LSU as the next opponent.
The LSU Tigers
When you hear LSU basketball, you probably immediately think of the number one recruit in the nation, player of the year candidate and one of the names on a short list of players expected to be drafted before Henry Ellenson in Ben Simmons. He has certainly been living up to the hype. Here is a look at some of the key stats for Ben Simmons in his first three games:
Ben Simmons Statistics Per Game
Simmons is averaging a double-double, and doing so quite efficiently. However, let’s not forget that basketball is a team sport and while Ben Simmons might be able to do it on his own in many circumstances, he doesn’t have to. That’s because LSU has another star freshman in Antonio Blakeney, the 15th best recruit in the nation according to ESPN. Let’s take a look at some of his top stats so far this year:
Antonio Blakeney Statistics Per Game
One player as good as either of these two star youngsters would pose a tough task for Marquette, and LSU has two of them. Where Ben Simmons is not a threat with his three-point shot, Antonio Blakeney is. It will be interesting to see how Marquette approaches this tough task and who will be given the responsibility of guarding these two incredibly efficient scorers.
Beyond Antonio Blakeney and Ben Simmons, LSU has two other players averaging double-digit points per game, with freshman Brandon Sampson and senior Josh Gray. Now that we are aware of the offensive threats Marquette will face, let’s take a look at how team efficiency stats compare.
These top four efficiency stats are ordered from most important to least, meaning Effg% is the most important of the four and FTR is the least. Keep that in mind as you notice LSU has a strong advantage in Effg%, opponent Effg% and TOV%. However, to end this post on a positive note, we will note that LSU achieved these numbers against three teams that are of questionable quality according to our final rankings from last season:
Final 2014 - 2015 Misix Ranking
|McNeese State||South Alabama||Kennesaw State|
To add to the positivity that seems to be presenting itself sparingly so far this year, you might have noticed that Marquette has averaged a better ORB%, FTR, DRB%, opponent TO% and Opponent FTR than LSU so far this year, and against much better competition. Furthermore, LSU will be the youngest team the Golden Eagles have faced so far this season and will likely have more freshmen on the court than Marquette for a good percentage of the night. Nonetheless, LSU is likely to be the best team Marquette has faced this year, and given recent performances, that doesn’t bode well for Marquette.
NC State or Arizona State
Before we leave you to watch what is hopefully an exciting game tonight, we would like to give you a bit of an idea of what to expect from Marquette’s next opponent, which will either be NC State or Arizona State. Both teams began their seasons with losses, Arizona State falling to Sacramento State and NC State to William and Mary. However, both teams returned to win their next two games. As a part of the Legends Classic, Arizona State was able to do what Marquette could not, and beat Belmont 83-74, and NC State was able to beat IUPUI by a much more substantial margin, winning 79–56. Finally, we will leave you with the average efficiency stats from both team’s first three games and let you decide who you hope Marquette faces.
NC State & Arizona State Offensive Efficiency
NC State & Arizona State Defensive Efficiency
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