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The Curious Case of Marquis Teague


Oh, goodness, did I love Saturday.  I’ve gotten some flack for remarking on how I don’t really hate Rick Pitino that much, and how I wish Bruce Pearl was still around, and how maybe Tim Tebow deserves more credit than BBN gives him.  You may disagree, and I understand.  But what I may lack in “Cats Fandom” by having those seemingly anti-UK sentiments, I make up for in hating Duke.  Because I. Hate. Duke.  I know that’s like a gorilla saying that he likes bananas, but really I think that, for me, it goes deeper than that.  I think it’s kind of cool that UK is going to be crowned number one in about three hours, but honestly, given the choice between Syracuse or Duke losing, I’d choose Duke, no question.  I care less about us being number one than I do Duke picking up another glorious “L”.  So, if only for that alone, Saturday would have been good.  Instead, the basketball fates decided to also heap on the aforementioned Syracuse loss, a Murray State win, and a really fun Baylor-Missouri game.  Oh, and a good, albeit anxious, Kentucky win.  Go Cats.


Despite the anxiety it caused me, I was impressed with the Cats’ performance against Alabama.  I’ve rarely ever seen a team take punches, and punch back, like Alabama; at least not this early in the year.  That’s the sort of response you typically see in the Tournament, but to see it from a team in January is impressive.  Seriously, every big shot we made, they followed right up with a seemingly impossible jumper, or acrobatic layup, or drive and a foul.  We couldn’t get into a rhythm, and it had to have been an exhausting game to play on either side.  While I’m sure they’re not happy with a consolation prize, Alabama played extremely well, and I’m proud of our team for being able to finish strong with some great free throw shooting (how often have we been able to say that? it feels really good).  It was a Frazier/Ali sort of matchup, and our rope-a-dope was just enough to counter their relentless, gutsy body-shots.  (Not those kind of body shots, Ms. Sorority Girl.  The boxing kind.  It’s a metaphor.)


What stood out to me, though, was Mr. Marquis Teague.  After seeing good drive after good drive blowing past a defender, I remarked to my friend (who was on his very first visit to Rupp; more on that tomorrow) how Teague has gotten so much better at that through the season.  To my eye, he seemed to be playing greatly improved basketball compared to the start of the season.  Am I alone in making that supposition?  In fact, I supposed he was doing so much better in the second half of the now-aging season, that I decided to compare his stats from the two halves.  What resulted surprised me.


Over the course of the first ten games, starting with Marist and ending with Chattanooga, Marquis was averaging:

-10.8 Points

-46% FG

-4.6 Assists

-2.7 Turnovers

-1.7/1 Assist/TO ratio


Those numbers looked pretty good to me, so I was excited to see what the second ten games would look like.  The result?  Take a look:

-10.1 Points

-39% FG

-4.0 Assists

-3.6 Turnovers

-1.11/1 Assist/TO ratio


Every single category is lower (if only by a little), yet I had sworn that he was doing so much better.  What’s the reason behind it?  Is he pulling a Benjamin Button and aging backwards? (See what I did with the title, now? You’re welcome.) I honestly have no idea what the situation could be, so I’m asking you guys.  If you can think of something, please let me know.  Perhaps it’s the quality of competition, considering that the second half has been heavy with conference games, plus the matchup with Louisville, while the first half consisted of cupcakes plus UNC, Kansas, and IU.


I’m not trying to knock Teague with any of this; I’m only remarking on how surprised I am to see that his numbers are a little below where he started.  It still looked to me like he was a completely different player, but maybe he still has some room to improve.  And I’m sure he’ll get there.  I know we’re not to supposed to make comparisons with “Past Pointguards Who Shall Not Be Named”, but the PG position has a steeper learning curve than any other, particularly in the dribble-drive, and all of his predecessors had similar experiences.  I’m not worried, but I am ready and waiting for him to master this team.  His teammates are gonna make it easier for him in the future, particularly when they figure out how to score within three feet of the basket without catching a lob, and I’m confident we’ll see a guy in March that we never would have dreamed of in October.  Cal’s got my trust on this one, as if he needed it; it just takes some time, and I’m excited to see the result when, not if, Teague comes out the other end a polished point guard.


(PS – If you weren’t able to see the jump rope halftime special, you should check it out. It was pretty impressive.)

Article written by Corey Nichols

45 Comments for The Curious Case of Marquis Teague

  1. YOu are so right
    9:04 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    He is def going backward! Maybe by the end of the year he will not have any stats at all. go away

  2. Kyle Almek
    9:07 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    First 10 game stats are skewed with the teams UK played (Marist, Chattanooga, etc). His numbers will be inflated due to the ‘cupcakes’ on the schedule. More interesting stats would be comparing his numbers to relatively difficult teams we’ve played, i.e. UNC, IU, Alabama, Kansas, etc.

  3. ron
    9:08 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    as a stat-monkey myself, this is a case where statistics do not tell the true tale of the improvement of marques teague. what he has been able to accomplish in the last few games (2 or 3 not 10) has been a better running of the offensive system put in place by coach cal. what teague has been able to do is temper his high school-playing tendencies (drive 1-on-4 to the basket and force up an ugly layup) to picking and choosing his moments and looking to be a distributor on the court. teague’s statistics – whether good or bad – will not be the determining factor as to where he will go in the upcoming draft, instead what he is able to do as a TRUE point guard will (and he’s been playing like that of late)…at least that’s one thought

  4. brother versus brother
    9:10 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    level of competition is certainly different over the 2 spans

  5. yeah first!!
    9:11 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Curious case? It’s pretty simple. He got lucky a few times and had one or two “decent” games. He can’t defend. point. blank. period. For those who say he can really don’t know much about basketball. He can’t finish IF he even makes it to the rim. And the really bad thing is none of that. It’s the way he can’t run the team. It’s not even his lack of passing ability. It is just the way the flow of the game is really bad when he is in. I know Lamb isn’t a true point and we really need one to go far but he (lamb) does a much better job at getting the offense in better scoring positions with just the flow of the game. Numbers my say different but there there is an eye test you can give the game if you have common sense. Will teague learn in time???

  6. gameday
    9:11 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    It isn’t the last ten games, but the last two or three where he has really shown great improvement.

  7. Hoss
    9:16 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    “Perhaps it’s the quality of competition, considering that the second half has been heavy with conference games, plus the matchup with Louisville, while the first half consisted of cupcakes plus UNC, Kansas, and IU.”

    Exactly. Can we see a SOS in both instances? I mean, wouldn’t that play a serious role in his performance numbers? And isn’t it unfair to make any assumptions w/o taking that bit of info into account? I mean, you went so far as to mention it, why not follow thru and post the numbers?

  8. ukupay1
    9:19 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Teague can defend and getting better every game, he can get to them rim and finish which he did more than once in the last game and quite frankly with all the minutes being played by Teague at point how much better can we be than 19-1? Teague will continue to improve and by SEC tourney time he will be on stride to do what we the premier PG at UK. I do Know BB..sorry to disagree with other experts.

  9. WaddyGuy
    9:20 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t forget the job of a point guard is to also make the other players better. The Team is running better as a whole.

  10. Semi fat
    9:21 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    I agree with you on all your points…
    1. Don’t truly despise Rick Pitino like most on here seem to
    2. Wish Bruce and his fake tan were still in SEC.
    3. I love me some Tebow and hope the kid is a success.

  11. ibleedblu
    9:26 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    5, considering we only have 1 loss and are about to be ranked number 1 in the country, id say he is doing a fine job

  12. me
    9:26 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    his numbers are holding steady as the competition gets better. that is improvement.

  13. PACatFan
    9:26 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    As a Syracuse grad student, I am so happy that they finally lost. People up here were beginning to think their sh!t didn’t stink.

  14. Sheeeeiiit
    9:28 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    I agree 100% – Duke losing is the best part of the entire weekend besides us winning.
    I think Teague is playing pretty good lately. I say its his timing not his stats. He is learning when to pass, when to drive, when to shoot, when to speed it up and when to slow it down. His stats can stay where they are for all i care. He just needs to have his head totally in the game and make the right choices at the right times. He will not be a dynamic scorer but he will be a solid point guard and that is what we need.

  15. The Blue Goose
    9:34 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not going to comment about Teague, but I will say the Firecrackers Jumproping Team was the best halftime show I’ve ever seen. No homo.

  16. mygoodness
    9:39 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    this is a pitiful post and 5 isn’t any better. Teague is greatly improved and sky is the limit and as for Lamb, he needs to be standing behind the line knocking down 3’s all day, not running point.
    5 go be a Loserville fan, honestly!

  17. KSR1080Fan
    9:40 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    I’m just enjoying the wins.

  18. rodgers
    9:42 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    He put up a lot of points in garbage time against bad teams. Teague still has shaky moments, but he looks more comfortable. Now if he can just finish at the rim cause his D has been good

  19. Go Deep
    9:43 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Point guard is much more than what stats can show. He has improved with his mindset and understanding how to get the team in position for others to make plays. That’s different than what J Wall or B Knight was asked to do for UK. So we can’t compare his stats to theirs, he’s truly playing a different position than they did. However, he does need to continue to get better and build more confidence, he’s a true PG and will take us to a Nat’l Title.

  20. Dhatsthetruth
    9:50 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Believe it or not the better A. Davis plays the more opportunity Teague has to drive the lane. Cal even said they are afraid to leave Davis for to long to guard Teague, at least for this game. We will see what the future holds.

  21. optimism
    9:54 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    12 – agreed.

  22. Cat Williams
    9:56 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Statistically, your posts are getting worse! Poor research, mediocre UK fan knowledge, and punch lines that don’t follow jokes (your welcome!).

    Just get a little worse and there’s hope of becoming the new BTI!

  23. Don
    10:01 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Craptastic post.

  24. Go Cats
    10:01 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    You are not a statistician are you? Maybe the numbers alone aren’t telling you the full story because your averaging over different sub-populations (i.e. your analysis confounds teams like marist with UNC, treating them as equal).

    The better way to do it would be to eliminate the cupcakes from the analysis and then plot turnover/assist aganist the number of days since midnight madness. If this trends down, then he is showing improvement. But the way you did the “analysis” is of no use.

  25. cristoforouk
    10:08 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    I’m not surprised by this. While Teague is slowly starting to settle in to good games here and there, and actually running the team instead of looking to score, he still sprinkles in truly awful games. As would be expected from a young point guard he is really inconsistent. The big positive here is that his good games show a glimpse that he is slowly starting to get it. While his good games at the beginning of the year only came when he was able to score. He didn’t run the team much at all for the first half of the season. The eye test tells us he is improving, and against better competition, but he still has a long ways to go. Personally, I find myself much less frustrated with him than I was earlier in the year. I still don’t think he is elite, but he is getting to the point where he is not hurting the team the majority of the time like he did at the beginning of the season. This team definitely plays better now with him in the game.

  26. Al's IndiCats
    10:14 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    If there was one point of Teagues game that I thought he has greatly improved on was his DEFENSE. If you can, go back and look at at the UT and Arkansas games, as well as the Bama game. He’ll be just fine!

  27. el hombre juan
    10:14 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    wow, i didnt know so many of you were such experts. if you people think you can come up with better posts go start your own website and leave this kid alone. GO CATS.

  28. yeah first!!
    10:15 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Most on here really don’t know what they are talking about. That’s just a fact. I reserve a lot of comments on Lamb, Miller, Jones, MKG and Davis because I haven’t played their positions. 19 got it close and I just differ in the opinion of how much. Stats don’t tell everything including the win column. Hell, you could put Polson at the point and win some games with the talent on this team. We need more from Teague to get the MOST out of the talent on the floor like it or not.

  29. el hombre juan
    10:16 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    and for what its worth, there will NEVER be ANYBODY AS WORSE as BTI.

  30. Bledsoe's Biceps
    10:17 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    WOW! Glad I clicked on the link for the jump rope show. Those girls are great. They put on an awesome show.

    As for your Teague analysis, I agree with several of the others. It’s comparing cupcakes vs better competition. And the 10 game averages distort the most recent improvements.

  31. suggestion
    10:23 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    corey, what you and the highly esteemed ksr readers need is a common enemy. with BTI gone, they have no one to pick on. people these days need negativity in their lives – dont ask why dont know dont care. people are crazy. they need someone they can come together against as a group, a bonding experience, to attack them together as a sort of neanderthallish fellowship. your lack of hate for the likes of pitino and tebow alienate you from connecting on a deeper level with the intelligently superior collective ksr reader. find the common enemy and you will no longer be a pariah my friend.

  32. Cat Williams
    10:29 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    31 – good theory! But I think his crappy posts suffice.

  33. bung
    10:31 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    mt has had 1 assist in 2 of last 3 games…averages are funny things…

  34. your ignorant
    10:36 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    the competition got better as well. this is a dumb comparsion. why dont you compare his high school stats to college as well.

  35. Charles
    10:49 am January 23, 2012 Permalink


    The hatred for Duke by most Kentucky fans is pure jealousy! I am a Kentucky fan and cannot understand why UK fans hate Duke so bad. We have played them what, three times in the last twelve years?

    The reason our proud program did not match Dukes success the last twelve years is due to tubby smith running the program into the ground! Wanna hate someone, hate tubby! Its really stupid to direct hatred to Duke in which has a coach that has said glowing things about Kentucky over the years while displaying a level of sportsmanship towards Kentucky that has been over the top!

    By the way, the hatred for Pitino is stupid as well. Hate tubby for being an abject failure!

  36. REAL BLY
    10:55 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    considering we’ve had arguably the best point guard in UK history followed by damn fine Brandon Knight…..we are a little spoiled! Jones is my concern….

  37. Carl
    11:21 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    I know this is just a blog and the people writing the articles know less about UK basketball and college basketball in general than I do but….it is getting a little old to see someone pick stats and try to make a negative article about a player who has obviously improved over the 20 game span. Any accountant will tell you that you can make statistics say whatever you want. But the fact is that Teague is making better decisions, the offense is running smoother and Kentucky is beating a higher level of competition now than they were in November and December. Accept it and move on.

  38. Jonathan
    11:33 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    What happens next year with both Teague and Harrow at PG? How is that going to work? Can they co-exist?

  39. catfaninohio
    11:48 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Teague takes way too many shots from the point position and, worse, makes way too few. If the point guard is going to shoot 10 or more times a game, he needs to be close to 50% or higher. Teague is frustrating.

  40. GrumpyOldDude
    11:53 am January 23, 2012 Permalink

    35 – You might be jealous, but I’m sure as hell not….I just despise them and their snooty fanbase.

  41. Charles
    12:06 pm January 23, 2012 Permalink

    40, Believe me, I am not jealous and you say you hate Dukes snooty fan base? They have no real fanbase other than a bunch of students that attend the games so they can be the show with a few scattered alumni that give a crap about basketball!

    Tubby smith did wwwaaayyy more damage to our proud program than Duke ever did! Do you despise tubby like you do Duke? “Tubby is a great guy” does not count because Coach K is a great guy as well! K picked up Richie Farmer from the court and got on the microphone with Cawood after the 92 game. Who does that?

    Some Kentucky can’t have an original thought but can only parrot what they hear!

  42. GrumpyOldDude
    12:20 pm January 23, 2012 Permalink

    41 – I do not “despise” Tubby and do have great respect for Coach K, despite your attempt to lump us all into your neat, little rant.

  43. GapToothDanny
    12:30 pm January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Just to put the icing on the “fisk cake”, the rope-a-dope was employed against George Foreman, not Frazier.

  44. Charles
    1:23 pm January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Well 42, tubby is the reason Kentucky lost an entire decade while the other programs were going to multiple final fours, signing big time recruits, winning National titles. I am perplexed as to why you can despise a “snooty fanbase” but give tubby a pass after the damage he did to our program.

  45. Nick
    4:35 pm January 23, 2012 Permalink

    Charles what about BCG Tubby was a good coach with a better winning percentage at UK then Rick had here honestly you seem to have a agenda that is coming from somewhere else Tubby was a horrible recruiter but for taking the guys he had and making them better he was one of the best in the nation at it. On another note Tubby should and will have his name retired in the rafters of Rupp. Sorry not arguing just stating true facts also Teage is improving ur stats are flawed