RV Marquette Golden Eagles (9-4, 1-1 Big East) vs Seton Hall Pirates (7-6, 0-2 Big East)
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Time: 7:00pm Central
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marquette Stats Leaders
Points: Kam Jones, 16.4 ppg
Rebounds: Oso Ighodaro, 6.8 rpg
Assists: Tyler Kolek, 7.5 apg
Seton Hall Stats Leaders
Points: Al-Amir Dawes, 10.9 ppg
Rebounds: Tyrese Samuel, 6.2 rpg
Assists: Kadary Richmond, 3.5 apg
Seton Hall: #64
Game Projection: Marquette has a 75% chance of victory with a predicted score of 75-67.
This Season So Far: Can we call it a mixed bag for the Pirates? Is that the most fair way to read things? They have a pair of Quadrant 1 NET wins in a road (albeit horribly ugly) win over #39 Rutgers in their in-state rivalry game, and they came away from the Disney World tournament with a 70-69 over #44 Memphis. That’s good!
They also lost to Siena in that Disney World tournament, and that’s a Quadrant 3 loss at the moment with the Saints at #187.... and it’s only not Quadrant 4 because Siena just beat American on Thursday to go from #212 to #187. Nothing against Siena, but something tells me that this loss is drifting back to Q4 eventually. Seton Hall has also lost every single other Quadrant 1, Quadrant 2, and Quadrant 3 game that they’ve played so far this season, including opening up Big East play 0-2 after giving up a late 10-1 to Providence at home to lose by four and keeping it close but ultimately falling 73-70 on the road to Xavier.
If you want to think if in more simple terms than the NET quadrants? Seton Hall is 2-5 against top 70 KenPom teams and 4-1 against sub-190 KenPom teams. They also have an 82-55 win over Division 2 Lincoln University that they’re counting as a regular season game, which sounds okay.... but that was a single digit lead with 11 minutes to play before the Pirates closed on a 31-11 run.
Mixed bag, right?
Tempo Free Fun: There’s no other way around this, so let’s just say it. Seton Hall stinks on offense. KenPom has them at #155 in the country in overall offensive efficiency. That is the worst number in the Big East, easily surpassing DePaul at #105 and the Blue Demons have been playing with a hand tied behind their back due to injuries. The Pirates can not shoot the ball, connecting on just 30% of their threes and 49% of their twos. Those shooting percentages rank #306 and #200 in the country. Those are bad enough to drag your offensive efficiency straight to hell even if Seton Hall doesn’t like shooting threes, but that’s not even their real problem.
22% of their possessions end up with the ball going the other direction without a shot going up. That is bottom 40 of the country level stuff. That’s how you end up as the worst offense in the league by a wide margin: One-fifth of your possessions are empty. There are six guys in the lineup that have a turnover rate north of 21% on a personal level. Three of them — KC Ndefo, Al-Amir Dawes, and Kadary Richmond — are in the starting lineup for Seton Hall, and all three of those guys have a turnover rate north of 24%. Ndefo, who is on this roster because he followed head coach Shadeen Holloway from Saint Peter’s to South Orange, is turning the ball over on nearly 30% of the possessions when he’s on the floor. And he plays 60% of their minutes. If Marquette cranks up the defensive pressure far enough — and honestly, they might not have to crank it that far — Seton Hall will literally hand this game to the Golden Eagles.
This isn’t to say that SHU’s offense is a complete joke. They have two things that MU is going to have to watch out for. They’re a good offensive rebounding team, coming in at #106 in the country at getting a second chance. Marquette has been particularly vulnerable to good offensive rebounding teams, but then again, by “vulnerable,” I mean MU has had the unfortunate luck to play three of the 10 best OR teams in the country — Purdue, Mississippi State, and Providence — and has taken a loss to all three of them. Seton Hall isn’t quite that good, but it’s still a flaw in MU’s armor that can be exploited. 6’10” big man Tyrese Samuel is the best offensive rebounder on the team, but Ndefo and Tae Davis chip in very well on that end, too.
The Pirates also get to the line with brutal efficiency. They taken nearly half as many free throw attempts as they do field goal attempts, and they rank #6 in the country per KenPom in that ratio. Richmond is the primary source of those chances, ranking #52 individually. If Marquette can get Richmond to cough it up before they foul him, things will be going very well for them. Ndefo, Tae Davis, and Femi Odukale are all north of 80% in Free Throw Rate, and at 33 free throw attempts this season, Davis has actually had more charity throws than live run of play scoring attempts so far this year.
If you’re thinking “ah yes, avoid fouls, make turnovers, coast to victory,” I don’t blame you, but it’s not going to be that easy. Seton Hall is one of the best defensive teams in the country, coming in at #20 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency measurements. That’s not best in the Big East, but it is second behind Connecticut at the moment. They’re a very weird defensive team, though. Looking at the Four Factors, SHU’s defense is great at the things that their offense is bad at, and vice versa. They’re catching maybe a little bit of luck because teams are shooting just 27% from long range against them, but their two point shooting defense is very strong and they’re pretty good at forcing you off the three-point line, too. They come in at #60 in the country in turnover rate, coming in just short of matching their offensive turnover rate, so if you wanted to think about their turnovers on both ends washing each other out, you could.
They are not grabbing up defensive rebounds, and they’re fouling way too much. You can tell how much the shooting and turnovers are carrying them, because they’re objectively bad at rebounds and free throws but they’re still top 25 on the defensive end. If Marquette can solve the puzzle for clean looks — and Seton Hall is kind of lousy at letting you hit the open man for an open shot and an assist — they should be able to counter the Pirates’ defense.
To put it another way: If you can be reasonably effective on offense, you can beat them because they can’t score with anything resembling regularity. They have allowed more than 75 points per 100 possessions seven times this season.... and they’re 1-6 in those games. The win was the Memphis game, and that win was because SHU scored five points in the final 50 seconds, all from Tyrese Samuel, and the final three were at the buzzer. Tyrese Samuel is 2-for-6 from behind the arc this season, so yes, that was literally half of his makes....and he went 2-for-2 against the Tigers.
Marquette Last 10 Games: 7-3, with the loss to Providence breaking up six wins in the previous seven games.
Seton Hall Last 10 Games: 5-5, but that’s actually 4-6 if you only count games against Division 1 opponents.
All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 21-13
Current Streak: Marquette snapped a six game Seton Hall winning streak at home last season in the first meeting then took the season series by winning at The Rock 11 days later.