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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Hauser’s success, Reinhardt’s struggles necessitate change

Photo by Maggie Bean

After Marquette’s destruction of Howard in the team’s home opener, coach Steve Wojciechowski explained his team’s pecking order.

“Katin (Reinhardt) and J.J. (Jajuan Johnson) and Haney (Haanif Cheatham), you have to have those three guys on the court a lot,” Wojciechowski said. “Obviously you’ve got to have Luke (Fischer) on the floor a lot.”

He went on to say the “hot hand” would determine the point guard position.

This was an important note though – Wojciechowski saw Katin Reinhardt as part of an established top four players on his roster. Of course, the season was just two games young.

Things changed over the next two games, as Reinhardt proceeded to go 2 for 16 from the floor in a pair of 2k Classic tournament games. The graduate student had nearly as many total turnovers (five) as total points (eight) in the two pivotal contests.

In the following two buy games the USC transfer has not been in the starting lineup, but his struggles haven’t disappeared. He followed up his best performance of the year, a 16 points, five rebounds and three assists performance against IUPUI, with six points, two rebounds and zero assists against Houston Baptist. That game also included two turnovers, four fouls and 0 for 6 shooting from 3-point range.

Freshman Sam Hauser has filled Reinhardt’s spot in the starting lineup as the de facto stretch four. That’s nice, but it’s not what really matters.

It’s not terribly important who starts (both play about 22 minutes per game), but the lineup combinations matter.

Cheatham, Fischer and Johnson should be the principal scorers on the team, responsible for a large percentage of the team’s shots. When Reinhardt is on the floor he takes 27 percent of the shots, the highest such number on the team. That leaves less attempts for Cheatham, Fischer and Johnson when Reinhardt is on the floor, which is a bad thing.

Fischer is scoring 135.6 points per 100 possessions, while Cheatham is just behind him at 130.7, both good for top-125 in the nation. Reinhardt is scoring 85.2 points per 100 possessions, worst on the team and truly brutal considering he’s played 24 minutes or more in his team’s four wins and less than 20 minutes in its two losses.

Despite the struggles, Reinhardt hasn’t shown any signs of changing his style of play. Fans groaned on Saturday night as he continued to brick threes while Marquette led by 20.

Not only has Hauser been significantly more efficient than Reinhardt, but his profile is a much better fit for the first unit. Hauser is the best 3-point shooter and the best rebounder on the team by percentage.

The number one reason Hauser fits with the Cheatham, Johnson, Fischer and insert-point-guard-here group is how few touches he needs to contribute. Hauser plays what KenPom defines as a “limited role” as he ends just 13.7 percent of the team’s possessions and taking only 16.4 percent of the shots while he’s on the court, opening up shots for the top scorers. Despite this limited role, he’s scoring eight points per game and knocking down more than 46 percent of his 3-pointers.

There are a few reasons to worry about playing a freshman with the top unit, such as turnovers. Hauser and Reinhardt turn the ball over at a similar rate. In fact, the veteran’s turnover rate is marginally worse.

Maybe you worry about the freshman on defense, but per, Reinhardt gives up nearly two points per 100 possessions more than Hauser.

The only area where Reinhardt has an edge over Hauser is with fouling. The freshman gets whistled for 4.3 fouls per 40 minutes, while the veteran gets called for just 2.9. Reinhardt might not be called for as many fouls, but he does have an issue setting screens – a key job for the stretch four. Additionally, Hauser’s fouling numbers are influenced by how many minutes he spends as the center, where he is severely undersized.

Hauser does the dirty work rebounding the ball the size-starved top group needs, he spaces the floor better than any player on the roster and his weaknesses haven’t been any more significant than Reinhardt’s. Hauser has earned his place.

The point guard-Cheatham-Johnson-Reinhardt-Fischer lineups are on the court more than 20 percent of the time. The same lineups with Hauser instead of Reinhardt play less than 10 percent of the time.

Perhaps the Hauser/Reinhardt conversation is more about end of game lineups than starting lineups, but wherever the minutes fall, Hauser needs to be with the top unit more than he has been.

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