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StatWatch: Marquette vs Chicago State

Ok, look. This was not actually a very good game.

Marquette men’s basketball

Welcome back to StatWatch, the best ongoing feature in the country that talks about whatever random Marquette stats that we want to talk about.

Here’s the Four Factors from the game against Chicago State.

Chicago State Four Factors

Marquette Category Chicago State
Marquette Category Chicago State
67.2% eFG% 47.4%
13.0% TO Rate 14.5%
33.3% Off. Reb. Rate 22.2%
23.4% FT Rate 29.3%
1.38 Points/possession 1.00

For the past few StatWatches of this season, we’ve been trying to identify something that went poorly for Marquette and something that went well.

Well, we’re throwing that out the window.

Yes, this is being written in the shadow of the Georgia game on Saturday having already occurred, but the idea was percolating but just didn’t come to fruition ahead of the next game. Things happen.

Here’s the deal: Relative to how flipping awful Chicago State is, Marquette played incredibly poorly in this game, especially in the first half.

As I write this on Sunday, Chicago State has added an 18 point home loss to future MU opponent Northern Illinois to their litany of nine straight Division 1 losses to start the 2017-18 season. They’re now up to 21 straight losses to Division 1 teams.

That’s just the facts of the matter of the losses. The details of their failure this season are very specific: Chicago State is sub-330 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. In other words, they’re one of the 20 worst offensive teams in the country and one of the five worst defensive teams in the country.

Marquette had an eight point lead at halftime.

Chicago State ranks below 200th in all four offensive Four Factors categories on KenPom. They are sub-300 in offensive effective field goal percentage, managing just 44.5% for the season.

Chicago State shot 64.8% eFG% against Marquette in the first half and 47.4% for the game.

One of the things that causes Chicago State to struggle with efficiency on the offensive end is their relative inability to hold onto the ball. They’re turning it over on nearly 22% of all of their possessions. That’s well over one-fifth of the time and rapidly approaching one-fourth of the time.

Marquette forced turnovers on just 14.5% of Chicago State’s possessions in the game. It was just 12.5% in the first half, and only went up to 16.2% in the second half. This, against a team that may actually be dipping their hands in baby oil before the game.

The Cougars rank in the bottom 40 teams in the country in two point shooting percentage and block rate. In short, they struggle to connect on two-point shots, and a large part of that is that they get blocked a whole hell of a lot.

Marquette let a 43% two-point shooting team shoot 47% on twos for the game and 63% in the first half. Marquette recorded just two blocks in the entire game, swatting less than half of the shots that CSU usually ends up getting blocked. Both blocks came in the second half, one with Marquette up 15 and the other with MU up 27.

I don’t have much to say about how Marquette’s offense performed against Chicago State’s defense. The Cougars are bad on that side of the ball as well, ranking below 250th in all of the Four Factors, but the fact of the matter is that MU did a number on them in pretty much every category. The offense performed exactly as well as you would expect Marquette’s offense to perform against a defense as lenient as Chicago State’s, so there’s nothing to really cover.

However, what we can say is that the spectacular offensive performance, specifically the record breaking night by Markus Howard, ended up overshadowing a particularly putrid opening 20 minutes of defense. The final 26 point margin ended up being roughly what was expected to happen in the game, with Marquette having a 27 point advantage according to KenPom heading in, and the Vegas odds opening up at -26.

It was a long, strange, and weird trip to get there, though, and I think it’s safe to say that whatever cusswords head coach Steve Wojciechowski admittedly used in his halftime speech to the team worked. There is a question as to whether or not the speech stuck into everybody’s head through to Saturday afternoon, but that’s a discussion for another StatWatch.....