MUHoops Student Staff Predictions

The MarquetteHoops student staff takes a stab at projecting how high the Golden Eagles will fly in 2010-11.

Nick Chmurski

Overall Record: 22-9

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East Finish: 5th

Surprise Game: vs. Syracuse (W) – On a Saturday afternoon in late January, Marquette finally gets the orange monkey off of their back as they dial up an impressive showing in front of a rowdy Bradley Center crowd.

Keys to Success: I see Marquette's level of success this year being dependent upon three things – injuries and the play of Junior Cadougan and Chris Otule. If the Golden Eagles can manage to stay healthy or at least not lose anyone for a significant amount of time, Marquette fans should be treated to watching one of their deepest teams in recent memory. Arguably as important will be how effective Junior Cadougan is leading Buzz's bunch. The sophomore will need to be the headiest player on the court, limiting turnovers and dictating the tempo of the game. Cadougan's ability to do this will likely determine whether Marquette is pushing for a spot in the Sweet 16 or hosting an NIT game. Along with the play of Cadougan, I see Chris Otule has having a major impact of this year's team. Otule doesn't need to be an all-conference performer but if he can give Buzz Williams 25 minutes per game of sound defense, rebounding, and put backs, Marquette will have a much easier time dealing with the bigger teams that have troubled them in the past. It promises to be an exciting year and if the Golden Eagles can continue to improve and manage to stay healthy there is no reason why they can't compete with almost anyone in the country.

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Mark Strotman

Overall Record: 19-12

Big East Record: 10-8

Big East Finish: 7th

Surprise Game: @ Villanova (W) This matchup has become a rivalry of some sorts with so many close games recently, so it's a prime situation for the Golden Eagles to pull off the upset. Both backcourts match up well and Darius Johnson-Odom's last performance against Villanova, a 24-point effort in the Big East Tournament, will carry over as Marquette pulls off the upset.

Keys to Success: As much of a jump as Jimmy Butler has made since he arrived on campus two years ago, the key to Marquette's season is shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom. His ability to transform from sharpshooter to team leader will be important, and he seems ready to make the jump. Every team needs a scorer and, while Butler will be counted on to score and bang with big men down low, Johnson-Odom is the type of player who can take over games and win the close one. Another player who will be important also resides in the backcourt: Junior Cadougan. He claims his Achilles heel which he tore last offseason is stronger than ever before, and he is the only real point guard for an offense that desperately needs an efficient one. The success of those two players will determine whether or not Buzz Williams makes a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

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Matt Trebby

Overall Record: 24-7

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East Finish: 4th

Keys to Success: Every year Marquette is predicted in the middle or bottom part of the Big East and every year they keep exceeding those predictions. This year shouldn't be any different. Something this year's team has is depth. Buzz could have up to a 10-man rotation, a welcome change for Marquette fans. MU also welcomes Chris Otule (again) and Davante Gardner to the frontcourt. These guys have the potential to be difference makers in the frontcourt. Otule has had a great offseason, and looks primed for success this season, if he can finally stay healthy. Gardner has great size and touch and could become a big component by Big East play. I see this year's team as being much less reliant on the 3-point shot. With the addition of Vander Blue, Jae Crowder, Jamail Jones, and Reggie Smith, the Golden Eagles will probably look to run the floor and slash to the basket more than last year. It will be interesting to see the combination of players Buzz uses this year. Will he stick with a 3-guard look or will he rotate more forwards into the mix. Either way it will be fun to see how the minutes shake out. I see the Golden Eagles getting another top-five Big East finish this year, and potential to make a run deep into March.

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Mike Adleman

Overall Record: 22-9

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East Finish: 5th

Surprise Game Season finale against Seton Hall in New Jersey could be a landmine for a Marquette team eyeing the Big East Tournament.

Keys to Success: MU will look to Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom for leadership and much of the scoring. If he stays healthy, expect Chris Otule to make a big impact in the frontcourt. Jae Crowder will replace some of the void left by Lazar Hayward's graduation, snagging him Newcomer of the Year.

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Alex Jesswein

Overall Record: 24-7

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East Finish: 5th

Surprise Game: vs. Vanderbilt. This is not so much a surprise game as it will be a gauge for how the team is at the start of the Big East season. A win in Nashville to close out a strong Non-conference slate could propel the Golden Eagles to a strong Big East season. Winning on the road, at a BCS conference opponent is no easy task but if MU can pull it off, it would go a long way to show how experienced they've become.

Keys to Success: As usual, post play is a question mark for Marquette. However, just like in years' past I believe MU will find a way to overcome it. This year, however, inexperience looms over the point guard position and it will be up to Junior Cadougan and Reggie Smith to provide solid play in-order for this Golden Eagle team to reach new heights. Cadougan looks to have recovered nicely from his achilles injury but has yet to play big minutes at the D1 level. Both Darius Johnson-Odom and Jimmy Butler have proven themselves as impact players in the Big East. If one or both can reach that next level and become a star in this league, Marquette will be looking down on many teams in the standings come March.

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