Marquette has four games left to determine whether or not they get into the NCAA tournament. A big key for them in these next four games will be the 3 point shot. In the past three games Marquette has been outscored from three point land 31 to 15 and in the last two games. They have given up 26 and only have made 6. Granted in the past two games they played Creighton, who is the number 1 three point scoring team in the Big East averaging over 10 per game. The biggest stat that is alarming to me is their overall 3 point defense. Marquette’s offensive three point percentage is dead last in the conference, but their 3 point defense is ranked 2nd to last.
With defense being Marquette’s strengths this year, it is really strange to see them that low in three point defense. Teams have put up more three point attempts against Marquette than any other team in the Big East (559) and they have given up the most three pointers (203). It is hard to say if these numbers are from missed defensive assignments or teams just hitting shots, but in both cases these numbers are a little bit alarming.
For a team that only makes about four three-pointers a game, they are giving up around eight. If this team has any chance of making the tournament they will need to improve their three point defense in these last four games. Things don't get easier as they will face two teams in the top five in three pointers made per game with Villanova (2) and Providence (4). There are a lot more factors that will be key for this final push, but 3 point defense will be key if Marquette will be dancing come March.
Marquette wins their third straight game at home Saturday against Xavier 81-72. The seniors came up big on National Marquette day, no bigger than guard Jake Thomas who scored 18 points on 6 three-point shots. Thomas, after the game talked about how his shooting was off the past few games, and he worked extra hard this week to improve.
Thomas in the past two games before today was 2 of 10 from beyond the arc. Today he was 6 of 10 and made 3 in a row in the second half. Thomas said he and a team manager have gotten up before practice all week to shoot 500 threes and it looks like so far it has paid off.
Marquette forced 19 turnovers and Derrick Wilson lead the team with 6 steals, tying a career high. MU had 27 points off turnovers, and only committed 5 on the other end.
The past three games this team has looked to have turned the corner and they have put themselves as Buzz said “in a position to be in a position”. A big game coming up with Creighton on Wednesday and if they are able to pull off an upset this team could start inching closer to a tournament spot or what Buzz said “ Hashtag bubblelife”.
Marquette may be the worst three point shooting team in the conference, but Jamil Wilson has been hot lately from beyond the arc. In the past two games against Butler and Seton Hall, Jamil is 7 of 10 from three. He was 3 of 5 against Butler and 4 of 5 against Seton Hall. In the Butler game all his threes came stopping Butler runs, including the start of the second half when Butler scored 8 of the first 9 points to go up 8. In the Seton Hall game Jamil started out on fire hitting his first 4 and all within the first 5 minutes of the game.
If Jamil is able to knock down 3s consistently it makes him that much harder to guard with his ability to get to the basket. The biggest thing is he’s made these threes in transition and all have been good shots. If he can get confident in his outside shooting it adds another dynamic to Marquette’s offense that will help open up looks for Davante and Chris.
Hopefully Jamil will continue his hot shooting from 3 because they are going to need it facing off against Creighton, the three point leaders in the Big East, who make about 11 a game.