MubbCap: Marquette Opens Big East Season on Sour Note
Marquette Golden Eagles and New Year’s Day road games do not mix. For the third straight year, Marquette played on New Year’s Day. They have lost all three games. In 2017, they lost a heartbreaker to Seton Hall. In 2018, Marquette received an ass-kicking from St. John’s. In 2019, the Golden Eagles received another beatdown as Creighton annihilated Marquette. The score only looks better because Gregg McDermott, Creighton’s coach, called off the dogs with almost three minutes left. Marquette’s defense that looked great in the last month went to complete shit giving up 92 points.
Player of the Game: Ty-Shon Alexander – Marquette versus high-level point guards, name a more iconic duo. Marquette struggled all last conference year defending top-notch point guards, and the trend continued with a big night from Ty-Shon Alexander. He dominated this basketball game with 21 points, eight rebounds, and six steals. Marquette could not hold him on offense plus struggled to score with his defense. Alexander is an All-Big East type player, but Marquette’s defense of him was porous and inexcusable. They need to be better versus point guards. Period.
Honorable Mention: Brendan Bailey – No one from Marquette played well, but I’ll say this about Brendan Bailey. He is starting to find his role with this Marquette offense. This is the third game in four where he scored over 15 points. In his last three games, he had an offensive rating of over 140 per KenPom. Bailey is starting to develop into a reliable scoring threat for Marquette. If Golden Eagles can get anywhere from 8-20 points from him with a high offensive rating, the Golden Eagles will be okay.
The curious case of Theo John
Steve Wojciechowski only played Theo John for eight minutes. Many people wondered why Theo received so few minutes against a Creighton team that got whatever they wanted to at the basket. Wojo claimed that Ed Morrow played better than he did and rode the hot hand. This is puzzling, to say the least. John is their best interior defender, and Marquette refused to put him out there. Why?
Well, Marquette does not have a small ball defensive lineup. They can play small ball, but there’s no guarantee they’re going to stop a soul. When Jamal Cain tried, he was shredded. They likely needed to play zone with John, but the shooting of Creighton scared the shit out of them. Wojo’s lack of confidence in his team might frustrate me the most when watching Marquette in a blowout. They’re already getting the brakes beaten off them, why not try something else?
Next up: Things do not get easier as Marquette takes on Villanova. KenPom has it as a two-point Marquette win. While confidence is low, here’s what I see when looking at the matchup. Villanova does not take advantage of Marquette’s weaknesses. They do not turn teams over, and they struggle defending two-pointers. Nova is also wildly inexperienced. They rank 331st in experience as a team. They only played two true road games in non-conference. Ohio State blew them out by 25 and played St. Joes which meant they didn’t leave Philadelphia. It’s not unreasonable to think Marquette wins on Saturday.