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The Anonymous Eagle Finals Week Mailbag: Harry Froling, Greg Elliott, Christmas Movies, and more!

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Quite the nice collection of questions to get us through the end of Finals Week here.

Big East Tournament: St. John’s Red Storm v Marquette Golden Eagles Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Welcome back to the Anonymous Eagle Mailbag! We took a hiatus once the school year started what with the plethora of actual athletic activity to write about, but things are pretty quiet because of Finals Week, so WE’RE BACK, BAYBAY!

Let’s get to your questions.

From @rayjoe2: What will Harry Froling’s role be now that he is eligible?

From @sgriffin_87to98: What are realistic expectations for Harry Froling?

First off here, I’d like to point you to this article from our very own Sam Newberry, as he does a very good job breaking down how Froling can contribute to the team off the bat.

These two questions are addressing separate aspects of Froling’s inclusion in the active roster, but they are both intertwined with each other. I think, for now, we have to expect Froling’s role to be “big man off the bench.” Matt Heldt is in his third season playing for Steve Wojciechowski, so there’s no reason to think that Froling can supplant Heldt in the starting lineup right away. Think back to Luke Fischer’s first season with Marquette. Wojo had him coming off the bench for his first five games in blue and gold, and that was when Steve Taylor was playing the part of “tallest guy in the starting lineup.”

In terms of statistical expectations, Froling averaged 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in a bit more than 14 minutes per game in 10 contests for SMU before leaving Dallas. That was when he was self-admittedly out of shape, though, so maybe we can crank that up to five points and four rebounds? Maybe that’s a low bar for him, but I’m not expecting him to suddenly turn into the second coming of Andrew Bogut, either.

From @KurtInMilwaukee: Would you go to every single DePaul home game for a season if they gave you tickets and $3,000?

This is stemming from a series of tweets I made on Monday and Tuesday of this week when DePaul announced a crowd of 4,508 in their new 10,000+ seat arena for their game against Alabama A&M. It looked a little bit like this:

For the purposes of answering Kurt’s question, I’m going to presume that this takes into account that I live in the south suburbs of Milwaukee, that I have to be in my seat at tipoff and at the final horn, and that I will not get the $3,000 until the final horn of the final home game of the year.

No, I wouldn’t.

That’s a 90 mile drive in both directions, and that’s going to involve a lot of driving into downtown Chicago between 4pm and 6pm in order to arrive at Wintrust in time for the opening tipoff. I am not subjecting myself to that north of 10 times for only $3,000. Bump that up to $10K, and maybe we can talk.

From @MCISKE03: Are you a believer that St John’s will finish higher in the Big East than Marquette?

Oh hell no, I am not.

At the moment, KenPom is predicting both the Red Storm and the Golden Eagles to finish 8-10 in Big East action. This is following a season where Marquette went 10-8 in league play while St. John’s went 7-11. KenPom is also predicting a home win for each team against the other this season.

St. John’s has had a nice start to their season, but we have to point out that they have played two top 75 KenPom teams and they’ve lost both games. Their only win against a top 100 team was a neutral/kind of away game at Walt Disney World against UCF... and that was a 46-43 disaster that should never be spoken of ever again.

Marcus LoVett has missed St. John’s last three games with a sprained knee. Marvin Clark is not going to keep shooting 58% on threes. Shamorie Ponds might be one of the 10 most efficient players in the country right now, and they might have a top 25 defense right now in terms of efficiency, but they got burned badly against Oregon State, Missouri, and Arizona State. I am not a believer in St. John’s. I am a believer in Marquette.

From @sgriffin_87to98: Recruiting: Obvious need is a PG, but what about Harry Froling's younger brother, Sam? Any consideration?

Sam Froling is a 6’9”, 205 pound forward, at least according to 247 Sports. They’ve got him marked as a three-star prospect and ranked #160 in the country. Let me quote this article by Scout’s Evan Daniels, which is from back in February of 2017.

Froling, who has grown to 6-foot-9, is a skilled post player with quality hands and impressive touch. He played a confident game, went to the glass for rebounds and played hard on both ends of the floor.

“I’m a bit of a stretch four, at this camp I was playing more of a center but I can do it and I can play a bit of the three if I have to,” Froling said. “I like to play a bit on the perimeter, catch and shoot, go to the rim and rebound.”

Call me nuts if you want, but that sounds an awful lot like Joey Hauser. With backcourt depth as a massive need, there’s no reason to recruit a still developing version of the younger Hauser into the same class as Joey. I’m a big fan of the concept of “recruit the tallest, most skilled players you possibly can and then figure it out later” as an overall philosophy, but if the younger Froling isn’t going to be a ball handler at the college level, then he doesn’t have a spot on the MU roster as it currently projects for 2018 or beyond.

From @SwaggyMo33: Assuming we win the next 2 games, are you satisfied with our non conference resumé?

It’s fine. It’s about what we could/would have expected coming into the season. Losing to Georgia may come back to bite Marquette in the butt if the Bulldogs end up as a bottom half team in the SEC as they currently project, but MU did rack up a win in their lone road game of the non-con slate. As long as the Big East maintains its current state of putting at least five teams into the NCAA tournament on an annual basis, all the non-conference slate has to do is not hurt MU’s chances. This year’s version of that did not hurt MU in the slightest.

From @sgriffin_87to98: Any word on where Haanif Cheatham is going to land?

Nope. It’s Thursday of Finals Week as I type this, though, so it’s possible that the Florida native is holding off any true exploration of his basketball future until after he wraps up classes at Marquette. I also don’t expect to hear anything soon. Cheatham has already spent his third season of eligibility at Marquette, so it’s actually in his best interest to sit out all of the 2018-19 season in order to play one full final season somewhere else. Given that he has some sort of familial reason for leaving Milwaukee, it might also be in his best personal interest to take the spring semester off from college as well.

UPDATE (12/15/17): It’s Florida Gulf Coast.

From @jgling12345678: Greg Elliott is terrific. Gonna be a real nice piece the puzzle for his entire career here. But I get a little nervous about him at the point. Do you have any concerns about his ball handling ability at this stage?

I understand why you’re asking this question, and I have zero concerns about Elliott’s ball handling.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone has noticed that something looks slightly wrong when Elliott attempts to take the ball into traffic, or at the very least, he doesn’t look fluid.

Well, there’s a reason for that.

Here’s a picture of Elliott playing against VCU in Maui.

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational-Marquette at VCU Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Check out Elliott’s left wrist and thumb. It’s been taped up like that since the start of the season, as this is still the sprained thumb injury that Wojo mentioned in his press conference heading into the opener against Mount St. Mary’s. Wojo has followed that up since by mentioning that Elliott barely avoided needing surgery on his hand, and in last Thursday’s radio show with Steve “The Homer” True, Wojo said that he and Elliott and MU’s training staff are going to have to make a decision about what to do about the injury after the season.

Does he have a turnover rate of 25% at the moment? Yep, and that’s not good. But as long as Elliott is going to balance that out by being in the top 120 in block rate and top 100 in steal rate, I think we can probably just deal with an extra turnover here or there while Elliott deals with playing through the injury.

By the way: Elliott has yet to commit a turnover in MU’s three games against top 50 adjusted opponents.

From @markstrot: SCENARIO: Marquette can add one of MU senior Davante Gardner or MU senior Chris Otule for the rest of this season. Do you take Gardner (vastly superior player) or Otule (vastly superior need for MU)?

For those of you newcomers to the party: Gardner and Otule were both seniors on the 2013-14 Marquette team, aka “the team that Buzz Williams quit on with a month to go.” Gardner averaged 15 points, six rebounds, and an assist in 27 minutes a game, while Otule was good for six points, four rebounds, and a block in 18 minutes a game.

Gardner’s touch around the basket, both shooting and rebounding, was fantastic. However, Otule was able to provide a rim protection presence that no one on the current Marquette roster can seem to accomplish. Matt Heldt and Otule have a similar block rate, to be fair, but the 2014 MU team allowed just 46% shooting on two-point shots (#66 in the country), while the current squad is waaaaay down at 56%, one of the 50 worst teams in the country.

It’s generally accepted that Gardner was the less effective defender of the two. However, in the scenario here, I don’t have to give up a Marquette player to get Otule or Gardner, I just get to add one or the other. Gardner’s rebounding rates aren’t that far off from Otule’s, and Gardner would be able to vacuum up way more minutes than Otule. Gardner would also add a major post offense dimension to Marquette’s ability to score. I think I have to go with The Ox over The Doctor here.

From @ericgebby: The inverse demand curve for a firm with market power is P=60-Q, and it’s marginal cost is given by MC=2Q. If the firm decides to practice first-degree price discrimination, what is the consumer surplus?

Presuming that I operated GraphSketch correctly and presuming that I followed this explanation properly, $200. Sending me your final exam questions with no promise of when I was going to actually answer them was probably not your best decision.

From @JoeMcCann3: If the Big East coaches were characters from Christmas movies, who would they be?

Wojo is John McClane, Chris Mack is Sgt. Al Powell, Patrick Ewing is Hans Gruber, Dave Leitao is Harry Ellis, everyone else is one of Gruber’s flunkies. DIE HARD IS THE ONE TRUE CHRISTMAS MOVIE.

From @sgriffin_87to98: Current prediction for #mubb in Big East? KenPom has 8-10.

11-7. It’s going to be hard to do better than that. I’m not cutting this answer short, I’m moving on to the next one which will explain what I mean as well.....

From Charlie in the email inbox: Can Marquette be dancing without beating one of the top 4 teams in the BE as determined by the current Associated Press poll?

The four teams in question are #1 Villanova, #10 Xavier, #15 Seton Hall, and Creighton, which finished in the unofficial #26 spot on Monday afternoon.

Officially, the answer is yes. Thanks to Bart Torvik’s terrific Teamcast system, I altered MU’s schedule to show losses in all eight games against those teams. By changing nothing else and allowing the system to predict winners in Marquette’s other games, that has the Golden Eagles as the 32nd team outside the bubble.

That also has Marquette going 6-4 in their other 10 Big East games for a league record of 6-12. That will not cut it. However, the system says that Marquette is favored to win seven of those games. If you flip the remaining 10 games to all wins for Marquette, that has the Golden Eagles as — and I’m not joking — the very last at-large team into the tournament.

Now, that’s all just projections. Maybe Boise State, the team right in front of MU, crashes and burns in Mountain West play and they don’t get in as they would in that scenario. Maybe Maryland, the first team out, goes on a tear and plays their way into the field in front of the Golden Eagles. A lot of things can go left or right between now and March. The point is that yes, there is a very narrow window for a tournament berth if Marquette drops all eight games against the top of the league. If that were to happen, MU will almost assuredly need to win literally every other game on the schedule.

Think about it this way: Merely flipping the home regular season finale against Creighton to a victory — pushing the record to 11-7 — causes Marquette to jump eight spots up the rankings into “safely in” territory. Losing to Butler — T-Rank’s current #5 team — on the road, and thus dropping the record to 9-9, lands MU as the 7th team outside the bubble.