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West semi No. 2: Marquette vs Florida

 

How they got here: Marquette (27-7) rolled BYU in the opening round, and then stifled Murray State’s offense in the round of 32 which enabled them to comeback late.

Florida (25-10) hasn’t been tested yet and has two easy wins vs Virginia and Norfolk State.

Three things Florida fans should know about Marquette:

  • Marquette’s defense is peaking at the right time. In the opening round they held BYU to 68 points in a 79 possession game. On a per-possession basis, that matched BYU’s 2nd worst offensive game of the season. If you only pay attention to the final scores, 68 points seems like a reasonable amount. But keep in mind that the BYU vs Marquette game featured 20% more possessions than the typical college game. Of course they’re going to score more points. Since each team gets the ball the same number of times, what matters is how much each team scores per possession. In this case, it was 0.86 points for BYU. Then in the round of 32 Marquette completely smothered Murray State, giving up only 53 points in 72 possessions. Not only was this Murray State’s worst offensive game since December, 2008, but it was the 3rd most dominating performance by any Marquette defense against a decent team in the past decade.
  • Marquette’s overall strength of schedule is 24th. But only looking at the offenses the’ve played, that strength of schedule is 3rd. They’re used to defending really good teams.
  • The Golden Eagles generate the 10th most assists in the nation. They are a very unselfish team, and they love to push the ball in transition after misses. Florida takes a lot of threes, and threes make for long rebounds. Someone needs to get back.

Three things Marquette fans should know about Florida:

  • The Gators recent National Championships teams attempted about 35% of their shots from beyond the arc, which was slightly above the NCAA average. This team attempts 45% of their shots from beyond the arc, which is the 5th most in the nation. Is that a problem? Looking back over the past decade not a single team which relied so heavily on the three has made the Final Four. Not one. The closest was the 2005 Louisville team, which attempted the 15th most in the country.
  • Marquette isn’t a very deep team. But Florida is not good at putting players in foul trouble (249th at drawing fouls) and they don’t push the tempo (220th).
  • The Gators interior defense can be a bit soft. They allow opponents to make 46.6% of their 2s, which is 112th in the nation. Marquette shoots 53%, which is 19th.

Key players:

Jae Crowder, 6-6, SR, Marquette: The leading scorer for Marquette is Darius Johnson-Odom, but Jae Crowder is a beast. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 8.5 rebound and 2.5 steals a game. And he’s finishing his college career playing his best. In two tournament games he’s averaging 21 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3 assists. The Gators have to find a way to slow him down.

Bradley Beal, 6-3, FR, Florida: Beal has averaged a double-double in the tournament with 14 points and 10 rebounds. More importantly, he’s finally become comfortable taking over in important spots. He still makes freshman mistakes, but Florida’s offense is going to need to hitch their wagon to someone, and against this defense Beal is the most likely candidate.

Most googled phrases during out of conference play:

  • Marquette: what state is marquette from
  • Florida: did tim tebow play basketball florida

Last Elite-8 appearance:

  • Marquette: 2003
  • Florida: 2011
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