Marquette had an interesting season last year. One that shows how interesting fan perspective can be... Marquette finished the regular season with a 18-13 overall and 9-9 Big East record. They struggled most of the season, coming up short against almost all their big name opponents (except Syracuse). Then they won two games in the Big East Tournament and two games in the NCAA Tournament, both times as an 11 seed. Those four wins pretty much erased a mediocre regular season in most people's eyes.
So now will Marquette be able to build off their post-season success? Or will they mirror the team that struggled during the regular season?Key Loses:
Early entry: None
Juan Anderson 6'6" SF #90 Scout #61 Rivals, NR ESPN
Derrick Wilson 6'0" PG NR
Todd Mayo 6'3" SG NR but #1 in NorthstarBBall's top 40 Postgrad players rankings.
I think Marquette is in a similar position to Cincinnati. Both teams are expected to be better this year and finish in the top 6, or so, of the Big East. These predictions are based solely off the fact that they return the core of teams that made runs to the Sweet 16. However, both teams lose some key pieces. Marquette loses 37.8% of it's scoring and has to replace two players in Jimmy Butler and Dwight Buycks, who both played around 30 minutes a game. Butler was arguably their most important and best player. He was certainly the most versatile: he was second in points and rebounds and fourth in assists, and the team's best defender. Buycks was their leader in assists and shot the best percentage from behind the arc. The returning players should be able to take up the slack left by Buycks as Cadougan is a capable point guard who's assist rate was better than Buycks and there are still plenty of good three point shooters on the team. Butler will be harder to replace. Nevertheless, the Golden Eagles should be strong next year even though their depth takes a hit. Darius Johnson-Odom is has the potential to make a huge leap, and very well could be First Team All Big East next year.
Marquette adds a three-person recruiting class that could get even better as they still have two unused scholarships. They finished second to Maryland in the recruitment of Nick Faust so they will most likely get a look. But even if they don't, they still have a decent group coming in.
- The rankings are a bit all over the place with regards to Juan Anderson. Rivals is really high on him while ESPN doesn't even have him in their top 100. The scouting report on him makes him sound a lot like Butler in his ability to affect the game in many areas. However he doesn't shoot the ball that well at this stage and isn't very athletic. Marquette loves their wings so he should be good down the line and contribute some this season.
- Derrick Wilson is an unheralded point guard recruit. He's probably 3rd in line at point at this point. He's a score-first point that relies on his strength to get to the hoop because he's not particularly fast or athletic. He's not a pure point and it's unclear if his skill set will translate to this level. But he's a hard worker who will at least push his teammates and make them better.
- Todd Mayo is coming off a prep year so is not included in the normal rankings. The Northstar basketball people are really high on him rankings him; they have him above Kadeem Jack, Markus Kennedy, Durand Johnson, Ge'lawn Guyn, and Eli Carter who make up the traditional top 6 and will all be playing in the Big East next year. Mayo is the brother of OJ Mayo. The knock on him is that he's a bit of a ball hog and can't play in a structured offense. But his scoring ability is for real. If Buzz can reel him in he can be very good.
The one concern for Marquette is interior depth. Currently their front court consists of Jae Crowder 6'6" who is more of a perimeter player on offense but has the bulk necessary to guard the post, 6'10 Chris Otule who is arguably the best returning shot blocker in the Big East and 6'8" Devante Gardener who saw limited minutes but showed a lot of potential in his game against us. 6'7'' Jamil Wilson or 6'6" Jamil Jones may be called on to play some 4 much like Hollis Thompson was last year. However they managed to make the Sweet 16 last year with a similar roster. Marquette has the tools for another successful season. The Golden Eagles should finish in the second tier of the top half of the Big East (#5-8) next season.