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Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: vs Butler Bulldogs

The Golden Eagles are out for revenge on Wednesday night.

Utah v Butler Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Marquette Golden Eagles (13-8, 4-5) vs Butler Bulldogs (15-7, 5-4)

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Time: 8pm Central
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

Marquette Stats Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 21.7 ppg
Rebounds: Sam Hauser, 5.9 rpg
Assists: Andrew Rowsey, 4.2 apg

Butler Stats Leaders

Points: Kelan Martin, 19.6 ppg
Rebounds: Kelan Martin, 6.5 rpg
Assists: Aaron Thompson, 3.7 apg

Current KenPom Rankings

Marquette: #39
Butler: #30
KenPom Projection: Marquette has a 58% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 79-76.

Tempo Free Fun: We should probably talk a little bit about how the game at Hinkle Fieldhouse went.

There’s three important aspects to Marquette’s 94-83 loss to the Bulldogs on January 12th. First, it’s important to point out that Marquette played well enough on offense to win the game across the span of 40 minutes. 58% effective field goal percentage, 15% turnover rate, 27% offensive rebounding rate, which is right about on their season average, and they scored 1.20 points per possession. That’s all either great, good, or right within season averages, so bully for everyone involved.

Item the second: The defense was atrocious garbage for the entire game. Butler posted an effective field goal percentage of 64% and a turnover rate of 4%. It is essentially impossible to win a game when letting your opponents do that to you. Kelan Martin was nigh-unstoppable, scoring 37 points on 12-of-17 shooting. He had an effective field goal percentage of 82% and a true shooting percentage of 88%. That’s NUTS. Kamar Baldwin wasn’t exactly taking a day off either, going for 19 points on eFG% of 61% and a TS% of 68%. Butler as a team shot the ball so well, they probably made fun of Aaron Thompson in the locker room after the game for only going 1-for-3. The turnovers may have actually been the part that ended up dooming Marquette. The Golden Eagles can usually count on turning opponents over 18% of the time, and while that’s not good (#197 in the country), it would have been a massive improvement on 4%. Butler turned the ball over three times in the game, and only once in the last 33 minutes, and that kind of leads us into the third and final thing.

At the 10:40 mark of the second half, Kamar Baldwin committed Butler’s third and final turnover of the game. Four seconds later, Sam Hauser banged home a three off a dish from Markus Howard. Hauser reeled in a missed Tyler Wideman layup attempt, and eight seconds after that, Greg Elliott bombed in a three to put Marquette up 67-60. The Golden Eagles had rallied from down as many as 14 late in the first half, and eight just six minutes earlier. At this point, according to KenPom, Marquette had a better than 75% chance of winning the game.

And then the wheels just commmmmmmmmmmpletely fell off the wagon. Marquette was outscored 34-16 over the final 10:06 of the game. The Golden Eagles didn’t make a single three-pointer across that stretch while allowing Butler to drain four of their own. Essentially nothing went right for MU, getting more than doubled up on effective field goal percentage (30% to 75%), getting nearly quadrupled up on offensive rebounding rate (13% to 43%), and getting smashed in efficiency as well. Marquette managed a meager 0.80 on average on the final 20 possessions of the game, while Butler was throwing pebbles in the ocean, scoring 1.70 points per trip down the floor. All in all, a recipe for complete and total disaster.

So, it seems it’s simple: avoid 10 minutes of total disaster (or perhaps 13 minutes, depending on how you feel about Butler blowing the lead up to 14 late in the first half), and Marquette should be in a good place to secure a good home win over a quality foe. It shouldn’t be that hard. The two offenses in this game are largely the same from a Four Factors perspective, with Marquette getting an advantage by being a much better three-point shooting team. The question, as always, will be how well MU’s defense can try to keep the Golden Eagles competitive. The Bulldogs are an exceptional two-point shooting team, and that is Marquette’s primary weakness. Butler shot 68% on twos in the first meeting. Can MU keep that number around 50% the second time around? We’ll see.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with losses in three of the last four games, including a loss to Butler.

Butler Last 10 Games: 6-4, including wins in three of their last four, the first of which came against Marquette.

All Time Series: Butler has the lead, 21-17.

Current Streak: Butler has won each of the last four meetings and six of the last seven.

Greg Elliott Watch: The freshman from Detroit is already up to a three-way tie for the sixth most blocks by a freshman. His 19 so far this season ties him with teammate Sam Hauser and Charles Luter, who had his freshman campaign in 1987-88. Up next is current MU women’s basketball assistant coach Scott Merritt, who had 25 in 2000-01.

Theo John Watch: Hey, look, a new category. John recorded two blocks against the Musketeers to give him 13 on the season. That has him one short of a three-way tie for the ninth most swats by a MU freshman. Rod Grosse, Jerel McNeal, and Deonte Burton all recorded 14 blocks in their freshman season.

Sam Hauser Watch: I feel so bad for the sophomore from Stevens Point. After assembling one of the greatest freshman shooting campaigns in Marquette history, he’s doing the same thing as a sophomore and is being completely overshadowed by Markus Howard yet again. Hauser has 62 made threes, which is the 8th most by a MU sophomore, trailing Travis Diener and Robb Logterman at 69. His 125 attempts from long range are the ninth most by a soph, passing David Cubillan at 116, but it’ll be a while before he gets to Darius Johnson-Odom at 154.

Andrew Rowsey Watch: Thanks to his five made threes against Villanova, Rowsey now has 72 on the season, which is the sixth most by a Marquette senior, and one short of a tie with Anthony Pieper and Darius Johnson-Odom for the 11th most in any MU season. Next up on both lists is Robb Logterman with 75. Rowsey had nine attempts against the Wildcats to give him 171 three-point tries this season, which is the 10th most for a Marquette senior. His next one ties Jake Thomas for ninth, and four more will tie him with Jae Crowder for eighth. Rowsey still needs 21 more attempts to get to the all-time top 10 list.

Markus Howard Watch: It’s official: This is one of the 10 best sophomore scoring seasons in Marquette history. With 13 points against Villanova, Howard is up to 455, and that is the eighth most by a second year player. Howard passed Maurice Lucas (448), Lazar Hayward (449), and Tom Flynn (450) all in one fell swoop on Sunday. Next up is Russ Wittberger at 465, Mike Moran at 470, and Dean Meminger at 475. His 74 made three-pointers are the second most by a Marquette sophomore, trailing only Steve Novak’s 89, and it’s the 10th most in any season. Howard’s 194 three-point attempts are the 3rd most by a sophomore, surpassing Aaron Hutchins at 192 and trailing Anthony Pieper by just one. It’s completely within reason to think that he could break Novak’s sophomore record of 207 in Wednesday night’s game, as that’s just 14 more. 194 in a season is also the 9th most by any Marquette player, and his next one will tie Pieper and Darius Johnson-Odom for the 8th most.