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MACIAS: Post-ups from Hausers could lead to added balance

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MACIAS: Post-ups from Hausers could lead to added balance

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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Regressing to an old strategy is rarely considered a good thing, but for Marquette, it could mean a more balanced offense.

This season, junior guard Markus Howard has been incredible. He has forced himself into the conversation for national player of the year awards after putting up multiple 45-plus point performances and breaking BIG EAST and team records. While Howard has received much attention off the court for his community service and work on the NCAA rules committee, he receives even more on it.

Offensively this season, it has looked like Howard versus the world. Per KenPom, Howard has been involved on 34.5 percent of the team’s possessions. While this has worked out for the Golden Eagles so far, it is dangerous to rely so heavily on one player for so much offense.

In one of Marquette’s three losses, Howard had his lowest scoring effort — besides Georgetown — this season with eight points against St. John’s Jan. 1. In the other two losses against then-No. 2 Kansas and Indiana, Howard was six points below his season average of 24.4 points per game.

With the amount of offense Howard provides, teams try to stop him with bigger players, double-teams and face-guarding. When it works, it slows Marquette’s offensive productivity and results in a dangerously high amount of turnovers. Marquette is 245th out of 351 teams in turnovers per game.

When Howard is taken out of his game, the Golden Eagles turn to junior forward Sam Hauser. He was crucial in games against Georgetown and Providence. When Marquette was at Georgetown on Jan. 15, Hauser led the team with 31 points. A few days later, Hauser once again spoiled the Friars’ attempt at a road win Sunday.

With Hauser’s recent success, he has shown he needs to have the ball more, even now that Howard is back. He specifically needs more touches near the high post or left or right wing.

While it may seem archaic, a post-up in between the block and wing showcases some of Hauser’s offensive skills that normally aren’t as noticeable.

If Hauser wants to rise over the defender and shoot from midrange, he can do that. He can also drive to the hoop for a layup. All this would make his 3-point shooting more effective.

While driving, if an opposing player over-commits to help, Hauser can drop it off to one of his open teammates. If he is not quick enough to blow by a defender, Hauser could back his man down for a turnaround jump shot.

If Hauser could consistently create offense out of the high post, it would lead to another source of offense and less reliance on Howard. Another effect of the post up is that Hauser is in more of a rhythm, so he’s not cold down the stretch. It provides the potential for others on Marquette’s roster to score off cuts to the basket.

But that’s not all.

The Golden Eagles have another Hauser brother with a similar game in Joey Hauser. In essence, Marquette could post-up Joey the same way Sam does. Just like Sam, Joey could shoot, drive or kick out to a teammate. If the Hauser brothers are on the floor at the same time, it could provide matchup nightmares for teams without the right personnel.

If the double team doesn’t come, it means a jumper for one of the brothers over a smaller player. If it does come, then it could lead to a kick out to Howard, one of the best shooters in the country.

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