GOLDSTEIN: Carlino’s hot streak due to absurd 3-point shooting

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GoldsteinGraduate student Matt Carlino has taken the Marquette campus by storm because of his recent lights-out shooting. He has managed to buck the trend of just another overhyped 3-pointer shooter at Marquette, while becoming a mini-celebrity on Twitter and Yik Yak.

And analyzing his contributions so far can be a good indicator of what to expect moving forward.

There are a number of factors, mainly his minutes played and shot selection. Carlino has been on the court for just shy of 80 percent of Marquette’s season, which is quite a hefty workload. Furthermore, Carlino has been on the court at point guard for 82 percent of the time during Marquette’s last five games. Coach Steve Wojciechowski clearly trusts him enough to leave him on the floor for the vast majority of the time, even if that means forcing the 6-foot-2 Duane Wilson to play small forward.

The main reason that Carlino sees so much time is, of course, his three-point shooting. Heading into Wednesday’s game against Seton Hall, Carlino was shooting 43.9 percent from three and averaged 14.6 points per game. Since he’s a lefty, Carlino is particularly deadly from the left elbow, where he’s shooting 47 percent from deep. That’s a ridiculous figure when you consider a full 20 percent of his shot attempts – 39 field goals in all – have been three-point tries from that left wing.

Carlino has shot 23-for-42 from beyond the arc in the last five games, which qualifies as one of the hottest streaks in college basketball. Part of that is thanks to Luke Fischer for his fantastic screens, but Carlino still has to work extremely hard to gain enough separation to get a shot off. Also, since Marquette’s off-ball movement on offense is somewhat ineffective, a lot of possessions come down to Carlino having to chuck a low-percentage prayer with the shot clock nearing zero. Because of how many shots he’s taking and how low-percentage those shots are, it’s incredible that his three-point percentage is as high as it is.

Despite being on-fire offensively, there are still a few holes in Carlino’s game. Except for the second Georgetown game, Carlino is almost objectively a poor finisher at the hoop. He takes 25 percent of his shots near the rim, yet only makes 35 percent of them, well below average. Some of that is because of Marquette’s overall struggles on offense, but that doesn’t completely excuse Marquette’s hottest shooter from being inconsistent from in close.

Also, while he tends to turn the ball over, Carlino needs to do more on the defensive side of the ball. In Marquette’s last four losses, the opponent has had a pair of guards score 13 points or more. Since Marquette plays a zone defense, it’s not completely Carlino’s fault, but it is definitely a problem. Xavier was able to come back versus Marquette by draining open threes down the stretch, and St. John’s was able to either drive to the rim or execute backdoor passes possession after possession.

Carlino’s defensive responsibilities are to shut down open lanes to the hoop and close out on perimeter shooters, both of which are things that have not always happened thus far in Big East play.

Carlino became Marquette’s go-to shooter after these past five games. The key to the remainder of the season is if Carlino can keep it up, showing the conference his shooting isn’t just a flash in the pan.


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