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Marquette vs Georgia: Three Things We Learned

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Welp. Let’s talk about it.

Marquette v VCU
Yeah, that feels about the right emotion here.
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

#1 : The Jekyll and Hyde of Rowsey

Man, when Andrew Rowsey is clicking, he’s an absolute force of an offensive player. But wow, when he’s playing frustrated and trying to play hero ball or even just deciding that he has to carry the team, it’s an ugly sight. He came off the bench early, immediately committed a few turnovers, and started 0-7 from the field. He also had key turnovers in the second half when Marquette could have attempted to pull away, which kept Georgia in the game and that ultimately led to the Bulldogs getting the win. He’s a natural offensive player, even laughing about his preference of offense over defense in an in game video package on Saturday, instinctual even, but when he’s trying to force his game to work, it’s not pretty. He’s the only senior on this team and has taken it upon himself to be a leader, but there’s a difference between being a leader and trying to shoulder the offensive burden single-handedly. I know that Markus Howard being in foul trouble early severely limited the Marquette offense and may have drastically altered the coaching staff’s plan for the game, but Rowsey needs to let the offense work. He can not just start going too fast and trying too hard to be a hero.

#2: Markus Howard is Still a Cheat Code Offensively

Markus Howard had 29 points in 20 minutes of action. Yes, he was only 4-12 from three. But he was 7-10 from inside the arc and showed off his ever-improving floater over good, lengthy defenders and found his way to the rim more than a few times. It’s nice to see how he’s improved his game and added new weapons to his arsenal. He hasn’t missed a free throw yet this year (knock on wood) and he’s showed that he can be an initiator of offense for himself or others, including creating his own shot on the perimeter. He is quickly becoming the fulcrum around which the offense works. I wrote earlier this week that Marquette might need a grad transfer point guard to be a distributor and primary ballhandler to facilitate for the offense in 2018-19, but maybe not? Markus Howard has all the tools to not only be a scorer but also be the facilitator of the offense. It will be interesting to see how he develops the part of his game that isn’t putting the ball through the hoop with incredible skill and ease.

#3: The Defense Is.....Okay?

Well, they kept Yante Maten in check and really didn’t allow any one player or scheme to run rampant. The story in this game isn’t the Marquette defense being bad for once, it’s the struggles of the offense. They weren’t dominated inside by big men, there wasn’t a guard that just outclassed the defending abilities of Rowsey, Howard, and Greg Elliott, and while the Bulldogs still hit on 55.6% of their two point attempts, there wasn’t really an incredibly weak point on the team (e.g., not getting picked apart by pick and roll). The freshmen make a big difference if they’re staying out of foul trouble and the relatively inexperienced Sacar Anim, for some of his offensive struggles, puts in good minutes on the defensive end of the court. Sam Hauser can defend up and down the spectrum, from athletic wings to dominant low post players. The defense is holding its own (even if it’s not incredibly good). Once Harry Froling joins the fold, there will be another big body to (hopefully?) compliment Matt Heldt and Theo John down low.

There’s not exactly reasons to be optimistic that the defense will become a dominating presence, but on the flip side of the same coin, there’s not exactly reasons to be pessimistic that the defense will be absolutely unable to stop anyone. Everything on the defensive side of the ledger was always going to hinge on the three freshmen, Anim, and Froling contributing over there, so maybe, just maybe, things are starting to come together.