Staff Preseason Picks

The writers of MarquetteHoops.com make their quick predictions for the Golden Eagles' 2008-09 season

John Dodds, Site Administrator

20-11 Overall, Eighth in the Big East, NCAA First Round

MU is ranked in the Top-16 in many preseason polls, but I think this is too high. They will be a very exciting team to watch..very much like the US Olympic "Redeem Team" with lots of great smalls but not enough bigs. These issues make me extremely cautious about the season:

1) Tough Conference: The Big East will be strongest since MU joined in 2006. ESPN the Magazine ranks MU at No. 14, but they also rank five teams ahead of us and don't even mention two talented teams in Villanova and Syracuse

2) Post Play/Depth: Losing Mbakwe was huge for depth. Burke has improved and Otule has potential but he is young. Fulce will be out until late December, meaning Hayward may have to play some center. Rebounding. Rebounding. Rebounding.

3) Schedule: This year, the conference schedule is not kind to MU, with tough single road games and some challenging home-and-home matchups. MU must win almost all of its home games and sweep DePaul. The final five games will be brutal, so MU must have eight wins in the bank before then.

4) Statistics: Shooting, more specifically free-throw and field goal percentages, have been an issue for this group.

This will be a fun year to watch the team. The Big Four could be great, but it is the post play that will determine this season. The guards could take MU to the Promised Land, but it will be close. I will take an NCAA Tourney appearance and run.

Jeff Wolf, Chief Editor/Head Writer

23-8 Overall, Fifth in the Big East, NCAA Second Round

Throw out the records when Wisconsin comes to town December 6 – Marquette is clearly the more talented team, but I just have a bad feeling about that one. They do beat NC State on the road, however. In conference play, the Golden Eagles split with Georgetown and sweep Villanova, but they still drop four of the last five after ending with a home loss to Syracuse. That really puts them at a disadvantage going into the NCAA Tournament – string together a bunch of late losses and you really take a hit in the seedings. Given that, I see Marquette drawing a No. 2 seed in the second round and falling valiantly short of the Sweet-16.

Marco Radenkovich, Senior Writer

23-8 Overall, Sixth in the Big East, NCAA Sweet-16

We take care of Wisconsin and win the tournament at the Sears Centre, but the loss of Joe Fulce will hurt us against Tennessee – one of the few teams in the country with more athletic guards than Marquette. We'll also fall at NC State, as they're a team that always seems to surprise, and to Providence, a team that I believe will make the NCAA tournament. All of the other conference losses come because of match up problems. The stretch at the end of the year is going to be really tough, and I only expect us to take two of the last five. It won't matter because we'll be a lock for the tournament. Jerel, Lazar and ‘Nique lead us to a few wins in the Big East Tournament, then, in the NCAA's, we'll get to the Sweet 16. From there it's one game at a time... let's have some fun this year!

Nick Chmurski, Senior Writer

23-8 Overall, Fifth in the Big East, NCAA Sweet-16

It is really difficult to gauge this team because of the significant changes that have occurred over the past few months, but I anticipate a highly motivated, well-coached group with strong senior leadership.

Despite what many are calling a weak non-conference schedule, I believe Marquette will play several tough, meaningful games and be tested early. Tennessee, North Carolina State, and Wisconsin will prove to be worthy adversaries. Loss, loss and win, respectively. The Big East will be brutal, and I see MU finishing behind Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. Marquette will drop games to each one of these league powers as three out of the four games will be on the road. Marquette is also at a decided size disadvantage against these opponents.

MU will make the NCAA Tournament and I think they will likely see anywhere from a five to seven seed. They make it as far as the Sweet-16, where their lack of size catches up to them.

Alex Jesswein, Junior Writer

21-10 Overall, Sixth in the Big East, NCAA Second Round

Marquette's lack of depth, especially in the post is a big concern for me. I see that as the downfall of this team, much like it has been in the past. Having only two guys that are six-foot-eight or taller really hurts any chances that the Golden Eagles had of making a deep tourney run or a push for the Big East title.

Robbie Shimp, Junior Writer, Marquette Radio Asst. Sports Director

23-8 Overall, Fifth in the Big East, NCAA Sweet-16

Marquette, at least from a leadership standpoint, should have a successful and productive season. Their core has had three years to work things out, and big things are expected. However, (and this is a major however), I believe the Golden Eagles anemic frontcourt will prevent them from any great successes this season. Marquette shouldn't have too much trouble in the non-conference schedule, but will be punished physically by their lack of size by the end of Big East play. Decent success again in the Big East tournament and NCAA this season, and Coach Buzz will bring a warranted fresh approach to Marquette basketball, but this team will not produce any amazing results.


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