MSU 77, Rider 45
After drubbings of Loyola, Santa Clara, and Rider, I believe we can dismiss the close call at Navy as an aberration. The big win was encouraging.
The Defense held Rider to just 30.6% from two and 7.7% from three. The rotations were largely there (I remember just one major lapse). Considering that Rider shot 46.2% from two and 28.6% from three against Kansas, this is excellent. Also, 0.68 points per possession is just dominant, even given the competition level.
Denzel Valentine looked more comfortable shooting the ball, especially from three. He also had just two turnovers despite using 27% of possessions. I'm hoping this means he is settling into his role a little bit better; given the competition I'm very suspicious.
- Three point shooting was excellent, at 48%, even though Matt Costello took a comical one. That's a good sign for future games in this gym.
The Mildly Concerning
Turnovers are such a trope, but have to be put here when a 21.2% turnover rate is posted against Rider. Gavin Schilling and Travis Trice both posted a sneaky-bad 3 turnovers each. This team is really whipping the ball around the court and that is resulting in open shots, but I think there needs to be a little more care taken with possession.
Rebounding was also an issue, with Rider getting 34% of it's misses and MSU collecting just 30%. I'm not totally sure how much of this has to do with Branden Dawson being limited, but it's concerning considering that Rider is 219th in the country in offensive rebounding (per KenPom). I'm guessing just a blip, but worth monitoring.
9:00 PM EST, ESPN2
Marquette has advanced to the semi-finals of the Orlando Classic based largely upon the yeoman's work of Senior Matt Carlino. Carlino put up one of the most interesting lines I've seen so far this season: 0-4 from 2-point land, 8-14 from 3(!), and 14-16 from the free throw line. This was good for 38 of Marquette's 72 points. Also odd is that he used a Kobe Bryant-like 39 percent of possessions despite zero assists and just one turnover. Carlino is #13 and is worth keeping an eye on. Perimeter defensive rotations will be important.
This is not a vintage Marquette team. They are ranked 118th by KenPom, and lost to Nebraska-Omaha 97-89 at home. They beat bottom of the barrel NJIT (#318 KenPom) by just 5 at home. They are both thin and small up front; 6-7 Steve Taylor is the starting center, and there are just 3 players on the roster taller than 6-5. If Dawson is fully recovered, he should have a big day.
Marquette does force turnovers on 26.1% of opponent's possessions, so there's the possibility of the MSU offense experiencing some disruption. On the flipside, Marquette ranks 307th in the country in effective field goal percentage defense, and that's likely going to be exploited by the MSU shooting brigade. Personally, I'm rooting for a Costello made three-pointer.
Offensively, Marquette is sort of the anti-MSU: they don't turn the ball over much (just 17% of possessions) and they get to the line frequently (45.5% FTR). A lazy defensive performance from MSU could be a problem if the bigs get in foul trouble and aren't able to exploit the Marquette frontline on the glass. Especially important is Dawson's status. Aren't you glad Colby SWOLLenman and Marvin Clark appear to be competent basketball players?
KenPom predicts MSU by 10 and the Vegas line is MSU -12, so I'll guess the offense has a good day, while Matt Carlino stays hot: MSU 82 - Marquette 69