MU bloggers care, therefore they can say anything? ( reviewing the Wojo must go article)
Updated: Mar 24, 2021
We had been contemplating starting a new message board and blog for months now, but the events of this weekend accelerated our plans by a few weeks. Our blog has many contributors, with differing points of view. We are not a pro-Wojo or anti-Wojo blog per se and the same will be true with the new coach. Most of us felt he deserved one additional year considering COVID 19 impacts as well as the recruiting classes and post season bids prior to this season. There were a few of us that wished him to be removed, but only if it meant landing a worthy successor deemed as a upgrade. To date, the jury is out if the names mentioned as replacements check that box.
What we did not agree with is the way some other MU blogs (you know who they are) collaborated and colluded in a piece characterizing Wojo a few days ago. We're confident they care and they used that as the reason for their intervention. The notion that they care about MU hoops, however, doesn't give them open range to cherry pick data, say whatever they wish and even get defensive when flaws are clearly shown. Colluding together (now there is independent thinking), caused the article to lack any balance. It's as if the pow-wow got together and said we are going to write an article with this goal in mind so make sure anything counter to it never makes it in said article. Here's the head scratcher - their general thesis is fine and defensible without needing to take some of the actions they did, so why do it? One would think someone would have had a moment of consciousness about the balance (lack of) in the approach or even a sanity check of the opinions given that were mislabeled as facts.
None of us here are against opinions, in fact we love them. We know those guys love MU, too, but somewhere along the line they missed the part about completeness and spiking data that erodes their argument. We're not here to pick a fight, but here are some examples from other MU blogs that we felt missed the mark on fairness or accuracy (areas in blue from CrackedSidewalks / Paint Touches):
It's not criticism. It's just facts.
No, there were many opinions, with some facts and some facts left out. Also missing context which we will explain in detail below.
Incapable of succeeding as Marquette's head men's basketball coach. There is nothing in his record or the underlying statistics to indicate that he will be able to meet or exceed the expectations commonly associated with success at Marquette.
Nothing? A coach is required to do many things. Recruit, game plan, lead, have players graduate, keep players out of trouble and not putting the university in a bad PR position, perform community service. Nothing? He did none of these things? To the contrary. Not a whiff of issues off the court. No major scandals, no ADs fired, staff suspended, players in trouble with the law, media exposes on the program. Nada. In terms of performance, the team would have had 4 post season tournaments (3 NCAA, 1 NIT) in the last five years without COVID cancellation last year. Recruiting reached two straight top 25 classes or the first time in ten years and now all of them could be lost with this decision. Do better gentlemen, the job has many responsibilities and you didn't spend a moment touching on many of them..
His winning percentage of 0.574 is also worst since Dukiet and the worst by any non-Dukiet head coach since the 1960's.
Mike Deane took over a NCAA team. Buzz Williams took over one of the most loaded MU teams in the last 20 years with the three amigos as seniors and a multi-year NCAA team. Wojo took over a losing team. Not a single comment by the MU blogging consortium that a rebuild impacts a record while a new system is installed and players come in and out. Where you start, matters. So the facts here are accurate, but they are also wildly out of context.
The program's average finish is just 6th.
True, but again distorted without context. Wojo inherited a dumpster fire and finished last his first year without his players and taking over a losing program. It takes several years to get a coach's players in and that is not mentioned at all. This past season's record with COVID is also one with an asterisk - see Duke, Michigan State, Louisville, Kentucky, Xavier. With Covid impacts, Xavier played only 13 conference games, Georgetown 16, but MU 19. The standings are incomplete and not comparable. Some teams had to play Villanova twice, some played them only once. Further examining the 6th place avg finish claim - MU's average finish was 4th in the last four years coming into this season. Even factoring this year's * of a season, the average finish was 5th. Using the first few years during a rebuild without context is problematic. As a reminder, Buzz Williams' first two years at Texas A&M he is 12-18 in conference play - is that his fault or is he rebuilding? Most fair people would say it is due to rebuilding and Covid.
MU has exceeded expectations only once in the last seven seasons while underperforming four times.
Your data table is wrong....factually WRONG. You have 8 seasons listed in your chart - Wojo only coached for 7 years at Marquette. You have an extra year, a bad year, polluting your claims. Furthermore, you have errors in some of the other seasons in the chart. The 2015 column is (really 2014-15 inheriting Buzz's mess), the coaches picked MU tied for 7th, but MU finished tied for 9th. That isn't a -3 as you indicated, it's at worse a -2.5 to factor in the tie for 9th (not 10th that your chart does). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014%E2%80%9315_Big_East_Conference_men%27s_basketball_season#Preseason
2015-16 you got right. The 2016-17 season MU was picked 7th, but finished tied for 3rd, which means +3.5 not +3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016%E2%80%9317_Big_East_Conference_men%27s_basketball_season#Preseason ) The 2017-18 season MU was picked 7th, and finished tied for 6th...your chart is wrong again. Removing the errors (remove first column, adjust +/-) and performing the math again yields a much different answer than your chart.
I would go a stem further and eliminate this past season, and here is why. This season, as discussed before, was an incomplete year. Some teams played many more games and had more difficult conference schedules (Villanova twice, Creighton twice). How you can even count this year is a head scratcher. There is nothing equal about this season compared to the others where conference schedules were balanced. MU was picked 6th, and may have finished 6th if all the teams played their schedule - we will never know. You mentioned none of this. I'd also remind you the same coaches who picked Buzz's team to finish first in 2013-14 (he finished 6th) are those making these predictions. I didn't both to run the math on the other team, so who knows if you got those right or not, but considering the other errors some of these buy default are also wrong.
(KenPom) The data note that Marquette has only exceeded their preseason expectations once in seven seasons
To start with, why are you even bothering to use KenPom's data here? His own words state his site ranks OFF / DEF efficiency and is not an evaluation of how good a team is. There is a strong correlation, but things like LUCK (which he accounts for), or other teams performance (schedule strength) all factor in. One's KenPom rating is in part effected by factors completely out of the team's control. If one of our opponents was expected to be average team, but completely sucks losing 2 times the expected losses then that hurts our team's final ranking and we had no control over that. Ken Pomeroy has also said he adjusts the preseason predictor when more data comes in, thus using the first batch of data (which you did) is wrong on its face for the very reason Pomeroy has to adjust it in the first place. An example of his past comments, they are fun to look at, and are flawed for the reasons he states, including the error rate he outlines. https://kenpom.com/blog/2016-preseason-ratings/
Notice how the 2020-21 season Ken Pom's preseason ratings were so off for so many teams? I wonder what happened this past season that could have impacted that? There's a reason why Duke and Kentucky didn't make the tournament, or Michigan State squeaked in. This past year was an * for many programs, but not a WORD from you guys on in your articles. Why did the caring stop and where's the balance?
Wojo's results not commensurate with our heritage
What timeline are you cherry picking here because clearly you are, but in the vagueness you do not state it. MU was chosen by 97 out of 97 in the Bracket Matrix ( http://bracketmatrix.com/matrix_2020.html ) to get a bid last year as a 9 seed which is comfortably in. That would mean 3 bids in his 7 years. Go back and look at our heritage and see if that matches up. It not only does, it slightly exceeds it. Marquette has 33 bids officially, but giving the proper due to last year and even 1970 (MU turned bid down) would make it 35. The NCAA tournament has been around 82 years, so 35 bids in 82 years means 42.7% of the time we get a bid as part of our heritage. Wojo would have had 3 bids in 7 years which is 42.9%.
42.9% (Wojo bids) > 42.7% (Our Heritage)
MU was once again the worst defensive team in the league
Once again? It is true, this year we were ranked worst in conference games only in a season in which a full schedule wasn't played and imbalanced, but what do you mean by once again? That implies we finish last all the time. Factually, we finished last twice in defense in the Wojo era. https://kenpom.com/conf.php?c=BE&y=2015
Markus Howard / Hausers
The story will eventually, truly come out as most of the participants are no longer currently participating in NCAA DI college basketball. There was no good answer and no good outcome. One cannot simply say it was his inability to manage egos and styles. There was no give and this happens all the time in life, especially sports. If one or both sides are not willing to sacrifice for the greater good, then the sum of the parts cannot be reached. It's a shame, that was a damn good team, but people dug in and made their choices. Parents cannot make dictate coaching decisions - FULL STOP. The article mentions the staff should have split the tandem, which they did and it did not work. Hausers not quick enough, needed Markus to draw defense for open shots by them. Conversely, Hausers kept defenses honest for Markus to operate. Breaking them apart made it easier on defenses which the numbers showed and the staff went with the success they had.
The idea of sitting Markus in the stretch run was discussed by the staff and the staff collectively with the team decided to roll the dice. MU likely would have lost every game Markus didn't play in, so they went for the wins to play them together.
Steal percentage table
They included players like Sandy Cohen and Traci Carter who went from high D1 major to mid / low major as if an appropriate comparison? That's inappropriate and improper not to say just terrible on the comparison side. Dubious comparison would be charitable.
What is MU paying for?
Note: This section was done by two different bloggers who work with conferences today (one is currently employed at a D1 conference) and has experience in this area.
This entire section is deeply flawed, there is no other way to state it. Schools expense athletics differently within conferences, let alone comparing them across the nation. We are not suggesting Marquette doesn't spend well, but factual statements of top 3% or top 10 in the country are not factual. Some examples:
Example 1: School spends $500K on a new weight room and decides to allocate the expense against six different sports, while a different school lumps all the expense to men's basketball.
Example 2: School has athletic dorms (i.e. Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Auburn, Oklahoma, and 50+ other schools). Kansas provided $11M gift to build athletic dorm to benefit KU basketball and other non-student athletes - continued expense of dorm covered by Residence Life, not KU despite KU basketball benefitting and not tallied to their expenditures.
Example 3: Private vs public costs. Private schools do not have to disclose coaching salaries or other costs, public schools do.
Example 4: Student fees and expensing. Some schools charge an athletics student fee and count it toward athletics while others expense it into general funds. Other schools do not have student fees for athletics at all.
Clear drop off of the last 7 years vs the previous 7 years
In what criteria? Arrests? Court cases? Coaching suspensions? Assistant coaches fired? Negative off the court media press? Wins? APR / Graduation rates? Yes, we agree there is a drop off in wins, but not once did they mention some other drop offs that were positive. They also didn't mention the differences in what the previous staff was allowed to do and this current staff. The policies given to this coaching staff on whom they could recruit (i.e. players that could matriculate during their eligibility at MU with transferable credits) vs the previous staff. Did that have an impact on wins? Did it have an impact in other areas? Not a peep on this in the article.
As the conference currently sits, Marquette is probably not a top half team
Again, what criteria? If you use the rebuilding years, you may be right. If you use the last five years you would be wrong.
Again, not trying to pick a fight with those guys as they often do a good job and made some strong and relevant points. We felt some of the data was incomplete, sometimes outright flawed and missing proper context in significant areas. It appeared anything positive was left out completely, and some of the negative had conveniently been left without explanation (rebuild years).
In our opinion (most of us anyway), 2020-21 is an aberration with COVID and should have been treated as such. Two top 25 recruiting classes along with a very strong youth core earned him the right to coach this coming season in conjunction with 4 straight post season bids prior to this season. The university felt differently and here we are.