Marquette Golden Eagles (18-10, 8-8 Big East) at DePaul Blue Demons (14-15, 2-14 Big East)
Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
Marquette Stats Leaders
Points: Markus Howard, 27.6 ppg
Rebounds: Brendan Bailey & Jayce Johnson, 5.4 rpg
Assists: Koby McEwen & Markus Howard, 3.3 apg
DePaul Stats Leaders
Points: Charlie Moore, 15.5 ppg
Rebounds: Paul Reed, 10.6 rpg
Assists: Charlie Moore, 6.1 apg
DePaul Injury Note: Paul Reed missed Saturday’s awful loss to Butler with a hip pointer. If we trust the first thing that pops up in a Google search, then Reed could be out for 1 to 3 weeks, which would essentially mean anything from “he’ll play against Marquette” to “his season is over.” DePaul’s official game notes don’t mention anything at all about Reed’s injury, but as a result of him not starting against Butler, he is listed as “off the bench” on the first page.
KenPom Projection: Marquette has a 61% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 75-72.
The Stakes: Don’t lose to DePaul.
Look, all I’m saying is that during Marquette’s skid where they have lost four of the last five games, they lost to the #15 team in the country, the #15 team in the country, a team that apparently just has Marquette’s number this season for whatever reason, and the #13 team in the country. Losing to ranked teams, whether at home or on the road? Not that big of a deal, things happen. Losing on the road to a team that already beat you at home? Can’t be surprising.
Losing to DePaul? Bad. Very, very bad. Don’t lose to DePaul. The Blue Demons are currently 2-14 in Big East play after coming in with a non-conference record of 12-1. They are 6-15 on the year since Pantelis Xidias — aka “that dude with the haircut on the end of the DePaul bench” — promised to shave his head if DePaul didn’t end up as a tournament team.
If we don’t end up being a tournament team this year I will shave my head. Remember this tweet, save it, and hold me to it! https://t.co/bxOxBW9FTv— Pantelis Xidias (@pantelis_xidias) November 29, 2019
Don’t lose to DePaul. The home game against the Blue Demons has already drifted back into being a Quadrant 3 game for Marquette. We’re probably not going to see the road game do the same, but still: Don’t lose to DePaul.
Last Time Out: DePaul got super DePaul-y as the second half ground on, and Marquette finished up with a come-from-behind 76-72 win at Fiserv Forum. Markus Howard played all 40 minutes just days after getting smashed in the face on the road against Xavier, and finished with 31 points on 8-21 shooting. Brendan Bailey and Sacar Anim were essentially offensive no-shows, and Koby McEwen spent most of the first half on the bench, but made some important plays after the break to finish with 13 points. I’m not going to lie to you, typing that out did not instill me with a gigantic pile of optimism.
Since Last We Met: At the time, that loss was DePaul’s fourth straight after upsetting Butler at home to fall to 1-8 in Big East play. They lost the next four after that to pretty much guarantee that they won’t be in any kind of postseason play, even after such a good non-conference performance. They snapped their eight game losing streak by getting a home W over Georgetown on February 22nd, but followed that up with road losses to Xavier and Butler in their last two games. The last of which was a 60-42 loss in Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday where the Bulldogs essentially opened the game on a 16-2 run and never had to worry about anything the rest of the way.
Tempo Free Fun: The logical place to start these previews for games against opponents that we’ve already seen before is how that first game went. I already mentioned the bare bones basics of how that game went, but after digging back into the Four Factors, I’m very much not clear on how Marquette won that game.
DePaul outshot Marquette in effective field goal percentage, 51.7% to 47.0%.
DePaul turned the ball over less than Marquette did, 14.2% of the time to 15.7% of the time.
Generally speaking, the team that gets up more shots and makes a higher percentage of those shots should be the team that wins. But DePaul did not win.
The big difference between the two teams did come at the foul line. Marquette connected on 29 of their 35 free throw attempts in the game, while DePaul hit 12 of their 23. It’s never a bad thing when you make more than the other team attempts. Markus Howard and Koby McEwen on their own made 21 of 24 attempts, nearly outpacing the Blue Demons in that “make more than they take” department on their own.
This wasn’t a case of DePaul fouling a lot to extend the game and Marquette just racking up free throw attempts late. The Golden Eagles attempted ten free throws in the final four minutes of the game. Six of them were attempted while either DePaul had a lead or the game was tied. Those aren’t tactical fouls, not when it was Howard and McEwen shooting all ten of them. DePaul’s fouls essentially took the game away from them, not only as a byproduct of the entire game, but literally in the fading moments when the game was on the line.
I would like to believe that we will see better outside shooting from Marquette in this game. At Fiserv, the Golden Eagles connected on just 22.6% of their long range shots. Howard shot 5-for-15, which is technically okay since it’s 33.3%, right at that effective field goal percentage cut off of 50%. On the other side, 10 misses when the rest of the team is shooting 2-for-16 is kind of bad. Marquette is the 11th most accurate three-point shooting team in the country this season, and the second best three-point shooting team during league play. I feel like the law of averages will help out here.
On the other end of the court, DePaul is not a good long range shooting team, and Marquette let them look like it in the first meeting. They only attempted 10 outside shots, probably because they know they’re not good at it, and only connected twice. Jalen Coleman-Lands (32% on the year) and Paul Reed (30% on the year) were the only two Blue Demons to get one to fall. Romeo Weems (39.7%) is the only player in DePaul’s rotation that Marquette needs to worry about, but he’s only attempting about two three-pointers per contest.
The two-point shooting going both ways was just bonkers. DePaul wanted to shoot twos, mostly because they’re a lousy outside shooting team, and they hit 56.2% against Marquette. Charlie Moore (8-for-14) and Paul Reed (5-for-11) were the primary guys taking shots, but everyone who played more than 10 minutes sank at least two shots. This was a particularly bad two-point defensive performance for the Golden Eagles, their fifth worst of the season. On the whole this year, Marquette has been a good interior defense team, but the defense has essentially gone bye-bye on the Golden Eagles over the last few games. We’ll see what new wrinkles they can throw at the Blue Demons to slow them down.
Generally speaking, Marquette is one of the worst two point offenses in the country, ranking #269 on those shots. However, against DePaul, the Golden Eagles rained in over 68% of their twos. At the time, it was Marquette’s best interior offense game of the season, and it’s only been topped by the outing that the Golden Eagles had against the incredibly decimated Georgetown team recently. Given the rate at which Marquette was getting fouls to rack up against DePaul, going inside as much as possible was the right strategy. Can the Golden Eagles do it again, and more importantly, will they be able to get to the rim as much even if they aren’t getting whistles? Or will the three-point shooting show up and help Marquette carry the day?
Marquette Last 10 Games: 5-5, with losses in four of the last five games.
DePaul Last 10 Games: 1-9, with the win coming against a horribly decimated Georgetown team.
All Time Series: Marquette leads, 79-47.
Current Streak: Marquette has won eight out of the last nine games against DePaul, and are currently on a four game winning streak. If we dive a bit deeper, Marquette has won nine of the last 11 and 15 of the last 18.
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@WeAreDePaul - 247 Sports’ DePaul site
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