Four Thoughts: Marquette v. Georgetown EditionPosted by mlemaire on January 5th, 2012
Game recaps are boring. If you want to read them, search your local newspaper or the Associated Press. Four Thoughts is our brand new, not-so creatively titled feature where, in lieu of a game recap, we give you four thoughts about key Big East action from the night before. Enjoy!
1. It has been obvious for sometime, but now it’s confirmed, Jason Clark is nobody’s second fiddle.
Clark should never have been this easy to hide in Georgetown‘s system since the minute he stepped on campus. He played 18.3 minutes per game as a freshman and has played more than 30 minutes per game and averaged at least 10 points per game in every season since. But playing behind Chris Wright and Austin Freeman meant that Clark was a major contributor who received very little attention and acclaim. Freeman and Wright are gone now, and they left a whole lot of offense and shots behind the them.
Fortunately for the Hoyas, Clark has picked up right where they left off and is in the midst of a better senior season than Wright had. Once considered more of a perimeter player, Clark was just 2-7 from behind the three-point arc last night — and he still finished 9-14 with 26 points at the end of the game. It didn’t matter who Buzz Williams put on him — especially in the second half — Clark consistently beat his opponent off the dribble and the Hoyas shot 76 percent in the second half. Nobody thought Georgetown would be 13-1, just like nobody considered Clark a favorite for All-Big East honors. A lot has changed in two months.
2. Georgetown will not be able to keep up their “Cardiac Kids” act all season.
Nobody should be trying to downplay what the Hoyas have done this season with an inexperienced lineup and a lot more contributors than stars, but they aren’t exactly the type of conference juggernaut you expect to roll through a rugged conference schedule. This a team that scored just 49 points in a win over Providence and they probably won’t shoot 76% in the second half again all season. They are also very young and their rotation is barely eight deep. John Thompson III and his team have already proven they belong in the NCAA Tournament, and there are definitely enough wins on the schedule to earn themselves a high seed. Just don’t be surprised if this team loses one or two or even three games down the stretch that they probably shouldn’t. There just isn’t enough experience on the roster to keep winning these nail-biters forever.
3. The more time he misses, the more Marquette misses Chris Otule.
The folks at Anonymous Eagle did a quick rundown of the statistical differences in Marquette since Otule went down, and they tell some of the story, but maybe not all of it. It’s no secret they miss his shot-blocking ability and his size — no one else on the team is taller than 6’8” — but the added expectations now on the backs of young forwards Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson haven’t spelled consistency yet and Buzz Williams hasn’t figured out exactly how to use them. Gardner played 31 minutes last night after playing just five minutes less than a week ago against Vanderbilt. Wilson played 31 minutes on January 1 against Villanova and then just 14 minutes last night despite earning his second straight start. It is nearly impossible to quantify the effect this rotating cycle of playing time is having on each player’s confidence, but it seems as though neither is particularly comfortable yet, especially on the defensive end where Otule’s ability to protect the rim was a luxury the team’s perimeter defenders are no longer afforded. Ultimately, assuming Williams settles on a semi-consistent rotation, the extra playing time will help Gardner and Wilson, but the Golden Eagles need a healthy Otule to be one of the top teams in the conference.
4. Todd Mayo will be a key factor in determining Marquette’s success this season.
There was plenty to like about Todd Mayo’s game last night and plenty not to as well. The freshman went 6-10 from the field and finished with 16 points and four rebounds, but he also had six of the team’s 16 turnovers and was a non-factor defensively. Aside from Johnson-Odom, Mayo is the team’s most dynamic scorer. In fact, except for the occasional rebound or three, score is pretty much all that Mayo does at this point in his career. He seems to be getting more comfortable offensively and he might be the best pure outside shooter on the roster, but he has the length and athleticism to be an above-average defender for a team that thrives on tough defense, he just doesn’t do it yet. In the Golden Eagles’ best win of the season, a 61-54 stunner over Wisconsin on the road, Mayo was just 6-15 from the field and 0-4 from behind the three-point arc, but he finished with 14 points and five rebounds for one of his best games of the season. Jae Crowder is a good player, but he is not a Sweet 16 team’s No. 2 scoring option. Mayo, if he continues to develop and gain confidence, has the potential to be that kind of player this year.