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Marquette at St. John’s: Three Things We Learned

We’re definitely entering the “hard truths” portion of the schedule.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

#1 - Marquette is not making the NCAA tournament.

I am not a fan of long drawn out deaths, give me Ned Stark over Joffrey Baratheon any day of the week. Sorry to non-Game of Thrones fans, but I’m sure you still get the point. Also sorry to anyone who decided to start watching a seven year old TV show over the weekend and haven’t made it to episode 9 yet. It gives me no joy to say this, but Marquette will not make the NCAA tournament for the second time in the Steve Wojciechowski era. Technically, yes, I guess we could win out and make the tournament, but I am not holding out hope that a team who has struggled mightily in the last 8 or so games (omitting the game against the “real” Seton Hall) is going to somehow put it all together miraculously and slide into the tournament. I understand that people are inevitably going to convince themselves over the next week that this team has a great shot to win out and grab a 10 or 11 seed, but let’s be real. Marquette is (hopefully?) going to be a NIT team and get some good experience for the young guys playing in a win or go home situation. While I would much rather have heard Marquette’s name called on Selection Sunday, I am not crying over the fact that we are going to come up a bit short. Now that that is over let’s talk some actual hoops.

#2 - Marquette’s defense sucks and that is still not ok.

I am sick of Marquette’s defense sucking. I know that yesterday was not our worst statistical performance of the year, but I have officially hit the tipping point so I am going to smash my fingers against the keyboard loudly for the next couple minutes and hopefully say something coherent. Ready? Aaaaaaaaaand go: I understand that Andrew Rowsey and Markus Howard, when playing together, are a defensive nightmare. However, the rest of the team has failed in picking up the slack and are equally culpable in my eyes. You know, actually never mind I am not going to finish this thought. I literally won’t be able to finish writing this without becoming so exasperated that I give up and just drop out of college, so I am going to talk about something else that is less depressing. I have a theory that the Hauser brothers list themselves shorter than they really are. I came up with this theory last year while walking past Luke Fischer and Sam Hauser and getting the impression that they were nearly the same height. Last night on the way back from the library (I’m normally not that boring FYI), I saw Joey Hauser walking around next to Harry Froling. Joey, listed at 6’9” did not appear to notably shorter than Froling, who is listed at 6’11”. The younger Hauser also looked pretty well filled out, especially for someone who should technically be a high school senior. If Joey can play some center next year that would be a dream come true. Sorry/not sorry for the sidetrack, I just needed to cool down.

#3 - Eight points from the “Other Guys” is not nearly enough.

Eight. The players on Marquette not named Hauser, Howard, or Rowsey scored eight points yesterday. You don’t win games that way very often. I understand that when Markus Howard goes all Providence on a team, you let him do his thing, however, that cannot and will not ever be the norm, even from Markus. Yes, Rowsey had a pretty good game, but 6-of-15 on threes (40%) isn’t exactly an unstoppable powerhouse that needs to be fed at all times. Lack of scoring from the bench and other starters is not the root problem itself, the core problem I am talking about but a manifestation of bad ball movement. When Marquette starts to play 1v1 basketball or 2v2 when running pick and roll, the assist numbers go way down (only 12 helpers on 28 makes in this one) and so does efficiency. Guys like Matt Heldt and Sacar Anim do not create their own shots and without solid ball movement they might as well not even be there. Marquette was moving the ball well early in the year but it has stagnated recently and that seems to be one of the major reasons for the offensive funk we have found ourselves in over the past few games. Get the ball moving, like we saw Wojo talk about in the huddle against Seton Hall, get the other guys moving and involved, and reap the benefits.