Marquette Basketball: 4 Reasons the Golden Eagles Miss the National Tournament
Seeds of doubt began to creep into minds of voters and fans about the Marquette Golden Eagles after their dismal performance against Vanderbilt on Thursday night.
Vanderbilt went up 35-8 early in first half and the game was never in doubt. They led nearly every statistical category, including fouls and turnovers, and still mopped up the Golden Eagles on their own floor.
Looking back over Marquette's season thus far, it's not implausible to say that they have been overrated for much of the early part of the schedule. They have now lost two of their last three games and begin a tough Big East schedule beginning on New Year's Day against Villanova.
Here are four reasons I believe the now-No. 13 Marquette Golden Eagles could end up missing the National Tournament in March.
While Marquette has a ton of guys that can score, there is very little consistency in production out of any one player.
Here are the four players have taken at least 100 field goal attempts this season:
Darius Johnson-Odom: 17.4 PPG, but after averaging nearly 20 PPG in November, has only averaged 15 this month.
Jae Crowder: 17.2 PPG, but has scored less than 15 in five games, including a two-point performance in the game against Wisconsin.
Todd Mayo: 9.7 PPG, but has scored six or less in five games, including scoring a total of only 16 points in the Golden Eagles' last three games.
Vander Blue: 9.6 PPG, but has scored four or less in five games, including scoring a total of only nine points in the last three games and goose egg against Norfolk State in November.
Not knowing where the production will consistently come from could be a scary thing for Marquette.
Marquette allows opponents to grab 13.3 offensive rebounds against them per game.
The Washington Huskies absolutely hammered the Golden Eagles on the boards (41-28) and pulled down 17 offensive rebounds. Granted, they lost the game by two, but that was due to more turnovers and fouls than Marquette gave up.
Against good offensive rebounding teams like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and West Virginia, this could be a big problem.
They Don't Draw Fouls
Against Vanderbilt, Marquette drew 23 fouls and shot 30 free throws, but it was way too late by the time they got around to doing it.
The Golden Eagles lost against LSU because they drew only 15 fouls and shot only 14 free throws. They were forced to play around the perimeter and attempted 23 3-pointers, making only eight.
In Marquette's close win against Norfolk State, they only drew 15 fouls and never stretched their lead into double-digits.
The Big East schedule isn't quite as much of a death-trap as it sometimes can be, but traveling to Syracuse, UConn, Georgetown, West Virginia and Villanova cannot be fun.
If Marquette puts out another first-half performance like they did against Vanderbilt, they may even drop a game to Seton Hall at home.
All this said, the Golden Eagles would have to be disgustingly bad for the rest of the season to miss the tournament, and it probably will not happen. However, their season may become completely unimportant if they do not turn things around in a hurry.