Because they will make you pay -- and quickly.
That's the lesson from the Marquette statheads at Cracked Sidewalks after Marquette's easy 88-56 win over Jacksonville Sunday. Against Jacksonville, the Golden Eagles created seven steals on the defensive end (four of them by potential breakout sophomore Vander Blue). But the truly interesting bit is how quickly Marquette scored off those steals. From Cracked Sidewalks:
Blue led MU to seven steals – and MU turned all seven steals into points in a total of 32 seconds of action following the steals. That means that after an MU steal, the Warriors scored an average of 1.57 points per possession (to a still impressive 1.24 points per possession on all other trips), and scored at a pace of 0.344 points per second or 825 points per game.
Of course, Marquette accomplished that rather eye-popping feat against a cupcake opponent in a guarantee game at home. The Golden Eagles have looked impressive to date this season, but -- with the exception of a 59-57 win over a hot Norfolk State team in the Virgin Islands -- Buzz Williams' team has hardly been tested.
That test will come Saturday, when Marquette faces in-state rival Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison. Wisconsin is anathema to the Golden Eagles' penchant for scoring points off turnovers. the Badgers almost never give away possession, and point guard Jordan Taylor is not the kind of player that can be rushed into bad decisions.
In other words, the above stat is little more than an interesting tidbit. If Marquette can repeat that performance against a team like the Badgers -- and doing so may present the Eagles with the best chance of stealing a rare win in Madison -- we'll have an indisputable trend on our hands. Until then, it's wait and see.