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Big East Breakdown: #9 Marquette

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last Year's Record: 17-15 (9-9) No postseason

Key Losses: Davante Gardner 14.9pts, Todd Mayo 11.3pts , Jamil Wilson 11.7pts, Chris Otule 5.8pts, Jake Thomas 7.9pts

Key Returnees: Deonte Burton 6'4" So SG 6.9pts, Derrick Wilson 6'1" Sr PG  5.0pts, Jajuan Johnson 4.3pts 6'5" So SF, Juan Anderson 6'6" Sr SF 3.2pts, Steve Taylor Jr 6'7" Jr PF 2.5pts, John Dawson 6'2" SO PG 2.0pts, Duane Wilson 6'2 RS-Fr PG (Did not play last year due to injury)

Key Incoming Players: Matt Carlino Sr PG 13.7pts (Transfer from BYU, eligible immediately), Luke Fischer 6'11" So C 2.8pts(Transfer from Indiana, eligible after 1st trimester), Sandy Cohen III 6'6"  Fr SF (#75 on the RSCI consensus rankings)

Breakdown:

Marquette was mediocre last year. This offseason they lost the top 4 leading scorers, 5 of the top 6 scorers, the top 3 leading rebounders, 4 of the top 5 assistmen, the only shot blocking threat, and the only consistent outside shooter. Oh yeah, and the head coach. The loss of the head coach led to the loss of the recruiting class that was at one point a top 15 class in the nation expected to make up for the loss of all that production. But with Buzz bailing to Virginia Tech all but Sandy Cohen (No not the OC character) decommitted.

Despite all that, things are not all bad at Marquette. They have a number of top 100 recruits on the roster, even if all of them haven't lived up to that potential yet. The Golden Eagles will be led by BYU transfer Matt Carlino, a quality experienced guard that provides a steady presence at PG that was missing last year and some outside shooting that this Marquette team sorely lacks (Carlino shot 33.9% from 3 last year, the return 3pt% from players who took at least 20 shots are: 29%, 26.9%, and 19.2%) . Outside of Carlino, the next bright spot is Deonte Burton. He's built like a tank and uses his mass to make up for his lack of height. He was decently efficient last year(101.4 Ortg), but it will be interesting to see how he handles being more of a focal point of the offense rather than an after thought. Then Marquette will hope that 5 former top 100 players finally live up to their high school rankings: Jajuan Johnson RSCI #30, Duane Wilson RSCI #59, Steve Taylor Jr RSCI #82, Luke Fischer RSCI #71, Juan Anderson RSCI #81. (Deonte Burton was also a top 100 Recruit RSCI #54, but he is a more proven commodity). Wilson never got to play last year due to injury. Fischer had a decently efficient semester at Indiana but couldn't get playing time behind lottery pick Noah Vonleh and decided to come home to Wisconsin. Juan Anderson is a senior who has had a middling career and seems unlikely to suddenly start playing up to his ranking despite the likelihood of increased playing time. Jajuan Johnson and Steve Taylor Jr both showed flashes in their short careers, but have been limited in their playing time and production. Some Marquette fans accuse Buzz Williams of purposely holding these two and other young Marquette players back last year in a vain attempt to prove a point or possibly to purposefully sabotage the team depending on what conspiracy theory you want to believe.  Johnson was very efficient last year(108.9 Ortg) and should be a strong player going forward. Taylor on the other hand was woefully inefficient last year(81.1 ORtg) after an efficient freshman campaign(112.4 ORtg). So if he can at least split the difference in efficiency it will be a big boost to Marquette since he'll be called upon to play 30+ minutes a night.

Derrick Wilson (last year's punching bag for Marquette fans) and John Dawson will round out the guard rotation with Carlino, Duane Wilson, and Jajuan Johnson. Freshman Sandy Cohen probably won't see much time unless he's called into service to man the post due to foul trouble on this undermanned team.  Last year's team strength was its front court, but that entire front court is gone, leaving 6'7" Steve Taylor Jr. the starting center on day 1, with 6'6" Juan Anderson, a little used player in his first 3 years, the only other player capable of manning the post until  Fischer becomes eligible.


Marquette will face a tough non-conference schedule and do so with out the aid of any player taller that 6'7" as Luke Fischer does not become eligible until Mid December. @ Ohio St Nov. 18th, vs. Wisconsin Dec 6th, and the Old Spice Classic November 27th-30th will certainly tax the Golden Eagles and likely have them picking up several losses and basically eliminating them from NCAA contention before the start of the new year. Which is what makes this Marquette team scary for the rest of the league. They have enough talent to beat good teams on a given night, but likely will pick up too many losses before their roster is complete so will hurt every Big East team that loses to them, just like last year. Luckily for Marquette fans, they will not be down for long as Coach Wojciechowski has already reeled in a monster recruiting class for next season including top 5 prospect Henry Ellenson.