Marquette’s Defensive Rebounding Remains Strong Despite Size

Marquette’s Defensive Rebounding Remains Strong Despite Size

Entering the 2016-17 season, many were concerned with Marquette’s defensive rebounding and with good reason. A year ago, MU ranked just #225 in defensive rebounding percentage after allowing opponents to rebound 30.7% of their misses. The Warriors also lost their top defensive rebounder Henry Ellenson (24.1% DR%) to the NBA.

Marquette allowed nonconference opponents an OR% of greater than 30.0% eight times in 13 games last season. In 12 nonconference games this year, Marquette has done so only once (IUPUI – 33.3%). MU’s is allowing an opponent OR% of 25.5% – good for #43 in the nation. The two top OR% teams MU has faced were uw-madison (avg 38.9%; against MU had just 29.6%) and Georgia (33.2% avg; 22.9%).

How has Marquette done it? Certainly 6’6” freshman Sam Hauser has played a key role with his 20.9% DR% and 60.8% minutes played. Luke Fischer’s 14.8% DR% isn’t impressive for a 6’11” center, but it’s an improvement from his previous career high of 12.8%.

However, it’s the rebounding from MU’s 6’5” and other players that have enabled them to be a good defensive rebounding team so far this season. Jajuan Johnson (17.7%), Haanif Cheatham (15.6%), Markus Howard (10.8%), and Duane Wilson (10.3%) all are 6’5” or shorter, have played at least 40% of their team’s minutes and have a double-digit DR%. Andrew Rowsey (9.0% DR%; 45.4% minutes played) and former point guard Traci Carter (12.4%; 27.1%) are close, but don’t quite make the cut.

There are only 28 Big East players who are 6’5” or shorter and have played at least 40% of their team’s minutes. Of those 28, only 14 of them have a DR% of at least 10%. Not only does Marquette have 5 of the 28 (17.6%) and 4 of the 14 (28.6%), but two of their 6’5” and under players are among a group of only 5 with a 15% or better DR%. As of December 26, 2016, the number of 6’5” or shorter players per Big East team with (a) DR% of greater than 10% and (b): 40% minutes played are listed below:

Marquette 4, 5
Butler 2, 3
St. John’s 2, 3
Villanova 2, 3
Creighton 2, 4
Georgetown 1, 4
Providence 1, 1
Seton Hall 0, 3
Xavier 0, 1
DePaul 0, 1

Looking ahead, only 2 opponents (home and away games against both) – Seton Hall and Xavier – rank in the top 95 OR% teams in the nation.

Things will get a bit more challenging, but season to date Marquette’s OR% allowed of 25.5% is 4.8% better than their opponents’ unweighted average of 30.3%. That differential is good for (tied with Seton Hall) third-best among Big East teams behind only Xavier (5.5%) and Villanova (5.1%).

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