Saturday, February 20, 2010

Know Your Opponent: Marquette Golden Eagles edition

The Bearcats are on their last homestand of the season, and host the Marquette Golden Eagles Sunday at 2. The game is on FSN Ohio and ESPN full court and probably 360. UC is coming off a bad loss against South Florida, and Marquette is coming off a tough loss against Pittsburgh. UC is 15-10, 6-7, and the Eagles are 16-9, 7-6. This is the only time the former Conference USA rivals meet in the regular season, and it could not come at a more pivotal time for both. Both teams are fighting for their NCAA tournament lives, and also fighting to get a bye in the Big East tournament. Cincinnati really needs this game to get some momentum as they roll down the stretch. Marquette is trying to make their case after they got off to a slow start to the conference season. We know how big this one is, so let's jump into the breakdown. For your Marquette needs, visit our good friends Cracked Sidewalks. They do a great job.

All stats taken from, the Polls, and the school's sites. RPI from
For reference, there are 347 teams in the NCAA
Record: 15-10, 6-7
KenPom Rank: 66
RPI: 50
AP/USA Today Rank: NR
Strength of Schedule (KenPom/RealTime): 20/16
Tempo: 66.1 (238)
Offensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 69.6
Efficiency: 105.5 (112)
Effective FG%: 49 (160)
Turnover %: 20.4 (163)
Off. Rebound %: 38.1 (23)
FTA/FGA: 32.3 (299)
3%: 29.2 (326)
2%: 51.6 (47)
FT%: 62.9 (322)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 24.5 (231)
2: 58.3 (32)
FT: 17.2 (321)

Defensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 64.9
Efficiency: 91.6 (37)
Effective FG%: 45.7 (48)
Turnover %: 17.8 (314)
Off. Rebound %: 28.5 (28)
FTA/FGA: 36 (144)
3%: 32.5 (104)
2%: 44.2 (47)
Block %: 8.7 (181)
Steal %: 8.3 (284)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 27.7 (146)
2: 51.4 (189)
FT: 20.9 (184)
Statistical Leaders
Points (top 3): Lance Stephenson 11.6 Deonta Vaughn 11.6 Yancy Gates 10
Rebounds (top 3): Yancy Gates 6.4 Lance Stephenson 5 Rashad Bishop 4.7
Assists (top 2): Deonta Vaughn 3.5 Lance Stephenson 2.4
Blocks: Yancy Gates 1

Record: 16-9, 7-6
KenPom Rank: 22
RPI: 70
AP/USA Today Rank: NR
Strength of Schedule (KenPom/RealTime): 60/53
Tempo: 65 (280)
Offensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 74.3
Efficiency: 115.2 (18)
Effective FG%: 52.8 (40)
Turnover %: 15.9 (6)
Off. Rebound %: 33.8 (134)
FTA/FGA: 34.9 (243)
3%: 41.6 (4)
2%: 47.9 (165)
FT%: 73.1 (45)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 32.1 (51)
2: 48.4 (273)
FT: 19.4 (258)

Defensive Ratings (Rank)
Points Per Game: 63
Efficiency: 92.8 (52)
Effective FG%: 48.6 (163)
Turnover %: 22.9 (53)
Off. Rebound %: 32.1 (147)
FTA/FGA: 31 (46)
3%: 30.5 (36)
2%: 49.8 (258)
Block %: 5.9 (309)
Steal %: 12.4 (26)
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3: 22.1 (313)
2: 60.2 (11)
FT: 17.8 (298)
Statistical Leaders
Points (top 3): Lazar Hayward 18.3 Jimmy Butler 15.3 Darius Johnson-Odom 12.4 
Rebounds (top 3): Lazar Hayward 8 Jimmy Butler 6.6 Jeronne Maymon 4.2
Assists (top 2): Maurice Acker 3.6 David Cubillan 2.8 Dwight Buycks 2.6 Darius Johnson-Odom 2.3 Jimmy Butler 2
Blocks: Jimmy Butler 0.7

As you can see, Marquette are the anti-Bearcats. They make 3s, make free throws, pass great and play highly efficient offense. They also don't rebound well, don't guard the 2 well, and aren't big. The Bearcats should be able to crash the glass against the Eagles. This is the type of game where we need Yancy Gates to be a star. Hayward will probably draw Thomas or maybe Bishop, and it's going to be a tough challenge because the big man is one of the best players in the Big East. He also averages 1.5 assists, but listing the 5 guys who average at least 2 was enough of a list. UC is going to have to do what Pitt did to Marquette, and get on them on the perimeter and hope the Eagles are missing shots. Last season, Cincinnati did not do this, and Marquette made 15 3s, which I think is a school record, and humiliated UC. They had a 50 point lead at one point. To say that will happen tomorrow is extreme, but it shows that Marquette is a match up nightmare for Cincinnati. 

The most memorable UC-Marquette game I remember was obviously the Donald Little game, because I was there and jumped roughly 4 feet in the air when Little sunk his jumper. I was standing at the basket Marquette was shooting at the second half, and when Dwyane Wade put up his half court shot, I held my breath for a second because it was right on line. That game was a long time ago, but the crowd was passionate and hot that Friday night I believe. The crowd needs to bring something like that Sunday. UC needs a big boost after the stinkbomb that was put up Tuesday. 

I'm very worried that the Eagles are too big a mismatch. I don't know who guards Butler and Hayward. Maybe UC goes zone against them. I don't know if Lance Stephenson is good enough on defense to stop Butler. I fully expect Rashad Bishop to be on one of them. Whoever has to guard Hayward is the most important Cat on the floor. UC has played a couple of good passing teams, Syracuse and Louisville, and both shredded the defense. Especially Syracuse. Marquette has a great offense along those lines. Getting offensive execution is going to be crucial because Marquette is going to score. 

To win this game, we need 4 things to happen.
  1. Yancy Gates, Steve Toyloy, and Ibrahima Thomas have to take over inside. They need to score, they need to guard, and more importantly, they need to rebound. 1 shot every Eagle possesion.
  2. Lance Stephenson has to get it going. He was invisible against South Florida, and as our best player, he can't be invisible again. He plays better at home, and we really need it. We need him on offense, and need him on defense.
  3. Deonta Vaughn has to make jump shots. We all know Deonta is 30-23083 the past 5 games. We all know if he's making shots, UC is good. We all know if he's missing shots, UC is bad. You only have 3 home games left #5, bring it.
  4. UC can't get caught up in a 3 point shootout with the Eagles. The Eagles love shooting the 3. The Bearcats love shooting the 3. The Golden Eagles make a lot of threes. The Bearcats miss a lot of threes. It's important to not race down and jack up threes after Marquette does. It's big.
This is one of the most important games of the season. The Bearcats and Eagles are trying to reach the same destination, and Sunday is the turning point. I don't know about you, but I haven't looked forward to a UC this much in a few years. This is why we are fans. If you can't get up for this one, you need to check out. I think the Bearcats feel the same way, and will play like it.

Prediction: Cincinnati 75 Marquette 70

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