Even though it has a worse seeding, Stanford's 2nd round opponent Marquette appears to be the Cardinal's equal according to efficiency statistics. Efficiency statistics on kenpom.com have both teams with offensive efficiency ratings of 110 points per 100 possessions and defensive efficiency ratings of 93 points allowed per 100 possessions. When adjusting for schedule strength, Stanford has better efficiency ratings on both ends by about 0.6 points per 100 possessions.
Offensively, the two teams are similar in that they are not good shooting teams, but do a good job getting offensive rebounds. Stanford is generally a good defensive rebounding team so it should negate this Marquette strength. However, Stanford's defensive rebounding has broken down at times and this will be a concern against the Golden Eagles.
|Statistics from kenpom.com||Marquette Offense||National Rank||Stanford Defense||National Rank|
|Effective Field Goal Percentage||50.6||141||43.8||8|
|Offensive Rebound Percentage||37.7||25||28.4||17|
|Free Throw Rate (FTM/FGA)||27.0||108||33.6||114|
The team's defensive strengths differ. Unlike Stanford, Marquette is a poor defensive rebounding team. Stanford should be able to take advantage of this weakness with its offensive rebounding. Marquette is remarkably good at defending the three pointer, ranking 6th in the nation in three point field goal defense with a percentage of 13.5%. However, Stanford does not rely much on the three. Shooting three pointers on less than 28% of field goal percentages, Stanford ranks 316th in the nation
|Statistics from kenpom.com||Marquette Defense||National Rank||Stanford Offense||National Rank|
|Effective Field Goal Percentage||46.1||30||50.1||155|
|Offensive Rebound Percentage||33.4||200||39.8||7|
|Free Throw Rate (FTM/FGA)||40.8||260||27.7||84|
The main difference with the Stanford defense is that one of Marquette's strength is forcing turnovers. Marquette is especially good at coming up with steals, ranking 5th in the country in steals per defensive possession at 13.5%. Stanford has improved on its theft prevention this year improving from an offensive steal percentage of 12% (311th in the country) in 2007 to 9.1% (109th in the country) in 2008. However, Stanford is not used to playing teams that have high steal percentages. UCLA leads the Pac-10 in steal percentage at 11.4%, but is only 59th in the country. Siena is the only other top 10 team in steals percentage that Stanford has played and Stanford gave up steals on 13% of the possessions in that loss. UC Santa Barbara and Northwestern also rank in the top 20 in steal percentage. Stanford gave up 10% and 15% steal percentages in the games against those two teams.
One concern with steals is that it can lead to advantageous offensive opportunities. In general, overall statistics in college basketball do not show a significant correlation between forcing turnovers and offensive efficiency. Marquette does show a slight improvement in offensive efficiency of 0.5 points added per steal, but the correlation between the two variables is less than 0.2. The data scatter is shown in the following figure.
Still, even if this improvement is not statistically significant, it may
still be the difference in a close game. Combined with the fact that steals
prevent Stanford from putting up a shot where they can get the offensive rebound
even if it misses, Marquette's steals will be a statistic to watch today.
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