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#14 Marquette Men’s Basketball Big East Preview Primer: vs RV Seton Hall

The Golden Eagles look for home court revenge for their loss to the Pirates at The Rock earlier this season.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Connecticut vs Seton Hall Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

#14 Marquette Golden Eagles (14-5, 5-3 Big East) vs RV Seton Hall Pirates (12-8, 6-3 Big East)

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2024
Time: Noon Central
Location: A sold out Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Marquette Stat Leaders

Points: Tyler Kolek, 14.7 ppg
Rebounds: Oso Ighodaro, 7.1 rpg
Assists: Tyler Kolek, 6.9 apg

Seton Hall Stat Leaders

Points: Kadary Richmond, 16.4 ppg
Rebounds: Jaden Bediako, 7.7 rpg
Assists: Kadary Richmond, 4.9 apg

Seton Hall Injury Note: Kadary Richmond missed SHU’s last game, a 67-63 home loss to Providence. All head coach Shaheen Holloway said about it after the game was it was soreness, and that’s the extent of the detail. Richmond did play 51 minutes in their previous game, a triple-overtime loss at home to Creighton.

KenPom.com Rankings

Marquette: #17
Seton Hall: #59
Game Projection: Marquette has a 78% chance of victory, with a predicted score of 77-69.

Last Time Out: These two teams met for the first time this season back on January 6th in Newark, and it ended in a 78-75 Seton Hall victory. That game was a case of Seton Hall continuously answering whatever Marquette did with a run of their own. The game tilted late when Seton Hall was able to rip down two defensive rebounds and throw them deep for two straight cherry picking layups to cap a 10-0 run and a 76-66 lead. MU did figure out how to answer and pulled within one with 40 seconds to go, but they couldn’t get the stop they needed, and Oso Ighodaro’s tap of an inbounds pass went through the hands of an unprepared David Joplin with a chance to tie on the table, and that’s a Seton Hall win.

Since Last We Met: At the time, the win moved Seton Hall to 3-1 in the league and 10-5 overall. They backed that quality start to league play up with three more wins, going to Georgetown and Butler to pull out tight affairs, and then cracking St. John’s by 15 at home on January 16th. That moved them to 13-5 overall and 6-1 in Big East action, as well as into NCAA tournament contention after a non-conference slate that handed them four losses in their four games against KenPom.com top 100 opponents.

However, you already read the Injury Note above so you know how the last two games went for them. A 12-2 Creighton run that ended with six minutes to go sent them from up four to down six, but Seton Hall responded to tie and then take the lead with 21 seconds to go before the Bluejays forced overtime on a Steven Ashworth layup. SHU wiped away a four point deficit with 30 seconds to go in the first overtime session, and then they did it again after Ashworth put the Jays up four with 26 seconds left in the second. They could have won it there, but Kadary Richmond missed the back end of some freebies with 12 seconds left. The Pirates led by five quickly in the third session but handed that lead back, and only a pointless three at the horn made it look closer than it was at the end.

Without Richmond on Wednesday night, it looked like the Pirates were going to be able to solve the Friars at home. They put up a 13-2 run bridging halftime to lead by four, and with 10 minutes to go, it was a seven point advantage. Not a runaway, but after that run tilted it in their favor, trending right. That’s when PC threw a 14-2 run at them to take a 60-55 lead with five minutes to go. SHU wasn’t able to get it closer than three points the rest of the way, not until Al-Amir Dawes hit two free throws with 21 seconds to go, but that meant that the Pirates had to foul to extend the game, and that was that.

Tempo Free Fun: The first thing we have to do here is identify exactly what Marquette’s biggest problems were against Seton Hall last time around. One of them is something that everyone and their pet goat knew was going to be a problem going into that game, the other was something that had a red flag on it but wasn’t a huge problem until it was. The first thing is Seton Hall’s offensive rebounding. We know Marquette has a problem rebounding the ball on both ends of the court, ranking somewhere around the middle of the country on the defensive end of the floor. Seton Hall, on the other hand, is an elite offensive rebounding team. They’re #7 in the country right now, and they tuned Marquette up in a big way three weeks ago. Led by three second chances pulled in by Jaden Bediako, the Pirates hauled in 50% of their missed shots. They average just 38.7% overall and 40.5% in Big East action, so letting them get to 50% is a major problem. But that was a known problem, and while it’s really bad and clearly played a part in a three point loss, it was something that Marquette knew was going to be a problem. It’s not fun when it ends up being a huge problem, but at least it wasn’t a mediocre team tuning MU up in the paint.

The point where the Golden Eagles really felt the pain of those 14 offensive rebounds is the second thing. Seton Hall’s not a great shooting team. Right now, they’re hitting less than 33% of their three-pointers, just barely, and when 33.3% is that cutoff that works out to shooting 50% at the rim from an efficiency perspective, it’s not great to be under it. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone wearing blue and white stinks at it. Al-Amir Dawes is firing off over six long range attempts per game this season, and against Marquette earlier in the year, Dawes connected on four of his five attempts. That’s a full third of SHU’s attempts in the game, and two-thirds of their makes. You can’t let the notable guy on the scouting report beat you over the head with what he’s good at, and Marquette failed in this department at The Rock in early January.

In general, Marquette’s shooting defense wasn’t good enough to win the game. Perhaps part of that is losing Chase Ross to a shoulder injury about a minute after he entered the game, but that was early on enough where the Golden Eagles should have felt an impetus to step up their game. In any case, Seton Hall connected on 58% of their two-pointers in the game, and when you tack that on to 40% from long range because Dawes is running wild, it’s bad time. It was the fourth worst defensive effective field goal percentage performance of the season for MU, and fourth worst on two-pointers alone on top of fifth worst on three-pointers.

That swings us around to “wait, why did Marquette have a chance to win this game?” Simple: Seton Hall couldn’t hold onto the basketball if you glued it to their hand. Marquette forced a turnover on a season high for them and a season low for Seton Hall 31.3% of possessions. Now, weirdly, Seton Hall seems to be just fine turning the ball over, because all but one of their losses have come when they’ve turned it over less than 19% of the time. I’m not sure how that works, but it does work for them. As far as Marquette goes, ending possessions before a shot goes up is crucial against the Pirates, seeing as we can kind of count on SHU getting a bunch of second chances. Can’t get those second chances if the first chance never happens, y’know?

Live ball turnovers lead to easy opportunities on the other end, and that’s something that Marquette has to focus on here. Shooting just under 49% on two-pointers isn’t a problem, not really, and that’s where MU was last time out against Seton Hall. They also connected on 36% of their three-pointers, and as we know, MU has kind of been in a shooting funk for a while here. The last few games, they’ve been able to solve that, or at least counter it, by getting into the lane a ton. That’s a little bit of a risk with a rim protector like Jaden Bediako — top 40 in the country in block rate per KenPom.com — but he only had one block against Marquette last time around. Oso Ighodaro was able to torture Bediako, going 9-for-14 from the field, but MU is going to need more from Tyler Kolek. He went just 0-for-3 on twos at The Rock, and that’s not the kind of outing that Marquette needs from their point guard in order to win. We’re also going to need to see more from Kam Jones. He just went 1-for-5 from the field, all from the arc, against DePaul on Wednesday night, and that’s not good enough to beat Seton Hall. Neither is his 5-for-15 outing in Newark three weeks ago. He was fighting foul trouble on Wednesday, so we’ll have to see if getting him back in the friendly confines of Fiserv Forum helps.

Last thing I want to touch on is Kadary Richmond. If his only problem is soreness, that is to say fatigue after a triple overtime game, then he’s probably going to be back on Saturday. The fact of the matter is that Seton Hall gets real bad on both ends of the floor when he doesn’t play. Hoop Explorer has SHU’s offense dipping by more than six points per 100 possessions when the 6’6” Brooklyn native is out of the game, but they’re still on the positive end of things in that regard, 109.4 points per 100 trips. The real problem is their defense, which just craters without Richmond. With him, they’re giving up only 96.4 points per 100 possessions. When he’s on the bench, like he was for all 40 minutes on Wednesday? That season long average is 112 points per 100 possessions. That’s nearly a full 16 point change, and that’s a huge swing. If you like it as points per possession, that’s 0.96 to 1.12. Gigantic stuff, and if he can’t go on Saturday in Milwaukee, that’s a huge advantage for Marquette.

Stat Watch: Oso Ighodaro needs four blocks to tie and five blocks to pass Trevor Powell for the 9th most blocks in Marquette history.

Stat Watch #2: Kam Jones needs two three-pointers to tie and three to pass Brian Wardle for the 10th most three-pointers in Marquette history.

Stat Watch #3: Kam Jones needs three points to tie and four points to pass Chris Crawford for the 43rd most points in Marquette history. He also needs four points to tie and five points to pass Scott Merritt and Jae Crowder in a tie for #41 all-time.

Stat Watch #4: If Tyler Kolek has his third 11 assist game in the last four contests, he will become the fourth Marquette player with 600 career assists.

Marquette Last 10 Games: 7-3 with wins in their last three.

Seton Hall Last 10 Games: 7-3 with losses in their last two.

All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 23-14

Current Streak: The loss at the Prudential Center snapped a four game Marquette winning streak against Seton Hall.