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Marquette Basketball Preview Primer: vs #13 Seton Hall Pirates

I must address something first

Xavier v Seton Hall Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

Friends, family, my fellow Golden Eagle fans, a plague has beset itself upon our humble Anonymous Eagle community. What was once a stable foundation has been rocked by outside forces to dent the one thing we have been able to hang our hat on: trust. You have been lied to, cheated, swindled, bamboozled and I encourage you to take your loved ones and leave this place before this gets worse. There is no glory to be had in defeat.

This plague is me.

I will address all rumors claimed about me. Yes, I stated I would eat a shoe if Marquette lost to Villanova Saturday. No, I was not hacked. No, I was not put up to this by someone with a weird shoe-eating fetish. I was of a sober mind, but not of a right mind. I started my Friday playlist a little too early last week. My eye was on the prize of a glorious Saturday of watching the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tennessee Titans in such a way that I could convince myself they could beat the New England Patriots in Foxboro again, followed by witnessing the second straight defeat of Villanova at the hands of Marquette. It was a moment of passion unbecoming of a blogger such as myself, and it resulted in me filling the voids of my soul with shrimp tacos watching my mentions blow up asking what possibly came over me to promise something so absurd for something so unlikely. To that, I dare anyone to look me in the eye and say they would not promise to consume footwear after hearing The Boys Are Back In Town right as the work week ends.

In terms of following through, I wanted to make excuses. I would love to lie to your faces and cry “Hacked” and hope you all move on. But I am a man of my word. I couldn’t preach honestly to my future children knowing of the crimes against morality that I have committed. I will try to eat a shoe. I have looked up the process of doing so, and it seems quite complicated, but I will put effort into doing so. I owe this to you. I urge understanding, though. It is possible that I cannot accomplish this daunting task. I hope you could accept a consolation prize of knowing the shame I would feel every day if I am unable to eat a shoe. I prithee you all to allow me to continue writing over this format as I complete my pilgrimage. Let’s look at Seton Hall.

Current KenPom/T-Rank Rankings

Seton Hall: #18/#17

Marquette: #45/#52

Seton Hall Stat Leaders

Points: Desi Rodriguez, 18.6 PPG (Please, just one other person tell me everyone named Desi reminds you of the utility infielder with a career 73 OPS+)

Offensive Rebound Percentage: Angel Delgado, 18% (This is third in the country)

Defensive Rebound Percentage: Angel Delgado, 26.9% (28th in the country. I think this guy is good)

Assist Rate: Khadeen Carrington, 21.8% (338th in the country)

Marquette Stat Leaders

Points: Markus Howard, 23.5 PPG

Offensive Rebound Percentage: Harry Froling, 12.8% (He’s not qualified, but that number would be like 80th in the country if he were)

Defensive Rebound Percentage: Harry Froling, 25.3% (Same Situation, he’d be 54th if he were qualified

Assist Rate: Andrew Rowsey, 25.4% (195th in the country)

Marquette Last 10 Games: 7-3

Seton Hall Last 10 Games: 9-1 and riding a five game winning streak.

All Time Series: Marquette leads, 16-7.

Current Streak: Seton Hall has won four of the last five meetings, with last year’s game in Milwaukee coming as the outlier.

Alright Stat Monkey, Give Me Information. Gratify Me.

Well, if you remember last year’s matchups against the Pirates, you’ll know where those bald spots on your head came from. Marquette should’ve won easily in Jersey, but some offensive rebounds off missed free throws late and some timely shooting brought Seton Hall back to win. In Milwaukee later in the year, a similar meltdown happened, but Marquette pulled out a win in overtime. Then in the Big East Tournament, Seton Hall won easily. This is pretty much the same team as last year’s. Only Madison Jones graduated and there are three new freshmen who don’t play much, so I’m going to pretend they don’t exist.

Defensively, they’ve started to turn opponents over more, which hopefully shouldn’t affect the guards too much with almost all of them being above average in that category. Kind of curiously, they haven’t rebounded well as a team on the defensive end. You’d think the 25th tallest team in the country led by half man/half rhinoceros Angel Delgado would be more disciplined in that area, but maybe Matt Heldt and Harry Froling can get a few extra tipouts after misses.

In terms of shot defense, they have been very solid overall, BUT that’s not how they’re trending. Their effective field goal percentage defense rests at 48% for the season, which ranks 78th in the country. That’s good. Even better if your favorite number is 78. Over the last five games, that number is 49.7%, which would rank 130 over the course of a whole season. Even though that’s a number Cracked Sidewalks would drool at for Marquette’s defense, that’s a beneficial trend that could help the team that we like get more points.

Offensively, they rank 17th in overall efficiency, just a few ticks behind Marquette. They’re really good in pretty much every category, except one. They cough the ball up a lot. That’s another window of opportunity I think Wojo and the Condors (*quickly scribbles that down in “Possible Band Names” list*) can take advantage of. Until the Northern Illinois game, Marquette had never forced a team to turn it over on a quarter of their possessions (national average is 19%). From that game on, 3 of Marquette’s 6 opponents have done so. Wojo’s teams have forced turnovers before. Really only last year and the first half of this year were the only periods where that wasn’t something the defense was strong at. The guards are starting to get in passing lanes more. The impact of forcing more turnovers will still pale in comparison to a potential improvement on 2 point defense, but I think this is a development that could help this team win close games like this figures to be.

You’re Weirdly Optimistic. Make Me Nervous.

I think Angel Delgado came out of the womb benching 225. He’s ridiculous and plays with an insane amount of heart and passion, which he channels positively. I haven’t seen a player treat every missed shot like his mother’s murderer since Rico Gathers at Baylor, and he’s a tight end in the NFL right now. He leads a team-wide offensive rebounding effort that corrals 37% of their misses, which only 6 other teams have bested thus far.

They also live inside the arc shot-wise just as much as they did last year. The difference? There are more than three people that make more than half those shots this year. Desi Rodriguez has brought his game to another level in large part because he’s improved his shot percentage at the rim from 55% to 68%. Additionally, Ismael Sanogo has learned that you are allowed to be a decent scorer if you play good defense.

Wait, They Live Inside The Arc? Does That Mean...

Yes, they get to the line. They’re 77th in the country at free throw rate. I don’t have much faith at this point that Marquette’s players will learn to not reach in all the time. There is going to be a free throw discrepancy and I pinky promise you it will not be the refs’ fault. Luckily, getting to the line doesn’t matter that much and Seton Hall sucks at making them anyway, so the Golden Eagles can definitely overcome this if the fouls are spread out among the different players (@Howard, @Rowsey).

Enough Nerd Stuff. Do They Have Any Good Spoonerisms?

Pyles Mowell is their only good one. They have too many alliterative names to have good spoonerism depth.


I think it’ll be similar to the Xavier game in that it will end up high scoring and within two possessions. Also, let’s talk about Matt Heldt for a hot second. You may think his defense has been a tad underwhelming because of how sucky the interior defense is overall. That’s fine. Heldt has also faced five elite bigs this year in Isaac Haas, Shaquille Morris, Ethan Happ, Yante Maten and Jessie Govan. Really only Haas clearly owned Heldt and Maten just held his own. Morris, Happ and Govan all had their milk delivered to them (that’s a terrible use of his Milkman nickname, but I refuse to apologize). I don’t know if Wojo threatens to not let Heldt read for a week if he falters against these guys or what, but he always seems to take his defense to another level when facing higher competition. I think this streak continues against Delgado and The Condors get enough steals to push them over the top and Marquette wins 90-88.

Anything Else? How Are You Doing?

Pretty meh. I’m facing my first full work week in like a month and I don’t like it. The Chiefs loss against Tennessee really bummed me out. Plus the guy at the grocery store forgot to put my pork and chicken in the cart so I had to go all the way back to retrieve it. But I can’t really complain overall. Big picture I’m doing well. Thanks for asking!

Follow Along On Twitter

@MarquetteMBB - Official Marquette account
@SetonHallMBB - Official Seton Hall account
@AnonymousEagle - Hey, that’s us!
@ChrisSHUHoops - Our favorite Seton Hall site’s founder
@becb_sbn - SB Nation’s Big East site
@BenSteeleMJS - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MU beat reporter