MarquetteHoops Staff Predictions

The MarquetteHoops student staff takes a stab at projecting how high the Golden Eagles will fly in 2011-12.

Mike Adleman

Overall Record: 23-8

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East Finish: 5th

Surprise Game: vs Vanderbilt. Vandy enters the season ranked #7 in the country on the shoulders of John Jenkins and Jeffrey Taylor. The Commodores edged Marquette last season on a late layup in Nashville, but I don't see the Golden Eagles dropping this one at the Bradley Center. This is a great opportunity for Marquette to see how they compare to one of college basketball's top teams before Big East play begins.

Key to MU Success: Marquette's post play will be pivotal to their success this season. Jae Crowder rose to the occasion last year, and will step into an even bigger role with the departure of Jimmy Butler. Chris Otule has progressed nicely each season since coming to Marquette, and I look for that trend to continue. Davante Gardner looks to improve on a freshman campaign where he showed flashes of brilliance offensively. Transfer Jamil Wilson is unproven for the Golden Eagles, but the potential for a huge year is there. If these guys can stay healthy, Marquette is poised for a run come tournament time.

Potential Downfall: The point guard position is a big question mark for Marquette again this year. Junior Cadougan played well towards the end of last season, but hasn't proven yet that he can give Buzz Williams consistent minutes. Derrick Wilson is the only other true point guard on the roster, and there's no telling what he will be able to contribute as a freshman.

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Ben Greene

Overall Record: 22-9

Big East Record: 11-7

Big East Finish: 4th

Surprise Game: I'm not ruling out the possibility of Marquette pulling off an upset over their highly rated in-state rivals, Wisconsin. Assuming everything goes as planned, the Golden Eagles should be coming off of a stretch of six wins leading up to their matchup with Wisconsin, including a Paradise Jam Championship. If Marquette can continue the momentum and play with confidence, I wouldn't be surprised to see them pull out a win.

Key to MU Success: Marquette's experience should serve as a serious asset this season. The Golden Eagles have added sophomore transfer Jamil Wilson to help fill the void after losing Jimmy Butler. Other than Butler, Marquette's only key loss was guard Dwight Buycks, meaning the Golden Eagles should have a relatively experienced team this season. Seniors Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder were both major difference makers last year, while Junior Cadougan, Vander Blue, and Chris Otule all made significant contributions as well.

Potential Downfall: Though Marquette has very skilled post players, their lack of height may be their biggest downfall. The Golden Eagles don't have a single seven-footer on their team, and only one player is over 6-10 (Chris Otule). The absence of big men on Marquette's roster could lead to daunting matchup issues throughout the season.

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Alex Jesswein

Overall Record: 23-8

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East Finish: 5th

Surprise Game: I think the one game most fans are overlooking is the Jimmy V Classic game against Washington in NYC. Yes, the Huskies lose their top three scorers from last season but they will still bring a talented team to the Garden. The backcourt duo of Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten should be really good and their frontcourt has the potential to be solid. Washington should give Marquette all they can handle in MSG.

Key to MU Success: Point guard play. It's now Junior Cadougan's turn to take over full reigns of the PG position and be the catalyst for the MU offense. Will he be able to handle 25-30 minutes a game? Can he defend against high major guards? The answers to these questions along with finding a suitable backup will be the biggest determinant of how far MU can go.

Potential Downfall: Defense, defense, defense. Marquette has failed to reach the top 50 in defensive efficiency with Buzz Williams at the helm. Last year, it was their perimeter defense which allowed opponents to shoot nearly 36% from beyond the arc (248th in the country). Will we see MU continue to try and exploit their speed by pushing out the defense or will they switch to more of a containment style?

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Joe Kelly

Overall Record: 22-9

Big East Record: 11-7

Big East Finish: 4th

Surprise Upset: Vanderbilt

Surprise Loss: USF

Key to Marquette's success: Darius Johnson Odom. DJO has already proven he can be a ferocious scorer with the ability to create shots both inside and outside the lane. The ball will most likely be in his hands during crucial offensive series this year and it will be up to him to capitalize.

Potential Downfall: Post presence. With the competition being stiff in the Big East, especially at the forward position, we will see if forward Jae Crowder and center Chris Otule will be able to battle the Big East big men night in and night out. If not, Marquette can run into serious problems during Big East play.

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Mark Strotman

Overall Record: 23-8

Big East Record: 12-6

Big East finish: 4th

Surprise Upset: At Wisconsin. I think Wisconsin and Jordan Taylor are going to be great this year, but the emotional strength of this Marquette team pushes them to a massive win at the Kohl Center, and the intra-state rivalry really begins.

Surprise Loss: None. If I had to pick one, St. John's athleticism should scare every Big East team. Once they start playing together and gain experience, look out.

Why They Could Be Great: Many people will say Jamil Wilson, and they probably aren't wrong, but I'll go with Junior Cadougan. We know all too well what a great Marquette offense looks like when it has a point guard running the show, and Cadougan could truly be that guy. He's already one of the best passers in the Big East and looks noticeably thinner this year, which will help him defensively. We saw that aggressiveness in the second half of the year, and if he adds a jump shot to his game, the Marquette back court becomes unstoppable.

Potential downfall: Lack of scoring off the bench. The offseason is the time for everyone to speak highly of how each player has improved, but there's still a chance Jamail Jones isn't ready for Division I basketball, that Vander Blue still can't do anything offensively and that none of the freshmen are truly ready. If that happens (of course, worst-case scenario), then Davante Gardner is the only option off the bench and Marquette will need to rely on its starting five to play more minutes to avoid losing leads. Two players who can help with scoring off the bench: Jamail Jones and Todd Mayo.

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Matt Trebby

Overall Record: 21-10

Big East Record: 10-8

Big East finish: 7th

Surprise Game: A loss at Providence

Key to success: Junior Cadougan. If the junior point guard plays like the Junior we saw at the end of last year, this is going to be a completely different team. Without his play from the game at Connecticut to the end of the year, Marquette would have been in the NIT. His inconsistency last year still worries me a bit, but at the same time it is very possible he found his groove at the end of the year. DJO and Jae Crowder won't be able to have the type of seasons they're being hyped to have if Cadougan isn't playing well. Also, Junior has to play well, because if not, the Golden Eagles have very limited options at point guard. I think there's no doubt this year, though, that the Marquette Golden Eagles will go only as far as Junior Cadougan takes them.

Potential downfall: Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue. You can see above for why Cadougan is here. Why's Vander here? Well, he's going to have a lot of pressure put on his shoulders this year, and that isn't what Marquette fans want to hear, after a very disappointing freshman campaign. Blue is going to be asked a lot to guard the opposition's best scorer. Buzz might say that's DJO's job for now, but you can't go the whole season having your best offensive player do that. Blue is going to play more minutes than expected in my opinion, because he's going to have to defend. Marquette will be a pretty good defensive team this year, but they can be great is Blue steps up and lives up to his hype. He has the potential to do the job, but with another display like last year, Marquette could find themselves in some big trouble defensively.

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