It’s been 221 days in the making, but my God, Marquette basketball is finally back. This years’ offseason has been quite eventful, involving injuries, transfers, a head-scratching draft decision – otherwise, containing the fluctuating drama you’d expect to see in a Kardashians episode, not Marquette basketball’s offseason. But this drama was not without its glory moments. As of today, the 2014 Marquette recruiting class is ranked in the top-20 of nearly every rankings site, headlined by prized shooting guard Ahmed Hill and backed by a couple of other multi-star wings. But as it was with the offseason, the 2013-14 squad itself has been expected by many to have its fair share of ups and downs this year. Although chosen as the preseason winner of the new Big East, one cannot dismiss that the Golden Eagles lost Vander Blue and a couple of other starting guards, which really hurts a team from both a scoring and leadership standpoint. But nonetheless, with such a devastating frontcourt, promising freshman class, and not to mention the “gritty” brand of basketball we’ve come to display under Buzz, the sky looks to be more than the limit for this years’ squad.
So for your convenience, we’ve put this season preview together with just about everything you could possibly need for Friday, besides the vintage Dwyane Wade jersey and popcorn. Oh wait, we’ve got you covered on one of those too. (Wow! Thanks, Daily Eagle!)
Behold, the season schedule, with projected outcomes beside each game. Home games are highlighted in dark gray. Obviously, the Big East schedule annually involves none other than conference opponents, making it not as exciting as our non-conference schedule, which changes from year-to-year – so click here to see our analysis on it. You’re going to want to do so, because we do a rundown on the Ohio State game as well as all the other non-conference opponents. And we play OSU in a week and a half (is it really that close?!), and as you could probably tell, it’s kind of a big deal. Tickets are running out fast. OSU fans are trying to leave the country. Yeah, definitely a big deal.
|11/08/13||vs. Southern W||Milwaukee, Wis.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|11/12/13||vs. Grambling St. W||Milwaukee, Wis.||6:00 p.m. CT|
|11/16/13||vs. Ohio State L||Milwaukee, Wis.||12:00 pm CT|
|11/21/13||vs. New Hampshire W||Milwaukee, Wis.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|11/25/13||at Arizona State L||Tempe, Ariz.||8:00 pm CT|
|11/28/13||at Cal State Fullerton W||Fullerton, Calif.||3:30 p.m. CT|
|11/29/13||George Washington/Miami WW||Fullerton, Calif.||TBA|
|12/01/13||TBA (Wooden Legacy Final) W||Fullerton, Calif.||TBA|
|12/07/13||at Wisconsin W||Madison, Wis.||1:15 p.m. CT|
|12/14/13||vs. IUPUI W||Milwaukee, Wis.||2:00 p.m. CT|
|12/17/13||vs. Ball State W||Milwaukee, Wis.||8:00 p.m. CT|
|12/21/13||vs. New Mexico W||Las Vegas, NV||8:00 p.m. CT|
|12/28/13||vs. Samford W||Milwaukee, Wis.||1:00 p.m. CT|
|12/31/13||at Creighton L||Omaha, Neb.||9:00 p.m. CT|
|01/04/14||vs. DePaul W||Milwaukee, Wis.||1:00 p.m. CT|
|01/09/14||at Xavier W||Cincy, Ohio||8:00 p.m. CT|
|01/11/14||vs. Seton Hall W||Milwaukee, Wis.||1:00 p.m. CT|
|01/18/14||at Butler W||Indianapolis, IN||1:00 pm CT|
|01/20/14||at Georgetown L||Washington, D.C.||8:00 p.m. CT|
|01/25/14||vs. Villanova W||Milwaukee, Wis.||1:00 p.m. CT|
|01/30/14||vs. Providence W||Milwaukee, Wis.||6:00 p.m. CT|
|02/01/14||at St. John’s L||New York, N.Y.||11:30 a.m. CT|
|02/04/14||vs. Butler W||Milwaukee, Wis.||8:00 p.m. CT|
|02/11/14||at Seton Hall W||Newark, N.J.||6:00 p.m. CT|
|02/15/14||vs. Xavier (Nat. Marquette Day) W||Milwaukee, Wis.||5:00 p.m. CT|
|02/19/14||vs. Creighton W||Milwaukee, Wis.||7:00 p.m. CT|
|02/22/14||at DePaul W||Chicago, Ill.||1:00 p.m. CT|
|02/27/14||vs. Georgetown W||Milwaukee, Wis.||8:00 p.m. CT|
|03/02/14||at Villanova L||Villanova, Pa.||1:00 p.m. CT|
|03/04/14||at Providence W||Providence, R.I.||8:00 p.m. CT|
|03/08/14||vs. St. John’s (Al’s/Senior Day) W||Milwaukee, Wis.||11:00 a.m. CT|
Projected record: 21-7 (Big East 13-5). But wait, isn’t the above record 14-4? Yes, I’m surprised you noticed. It’s just that there’s always those one or two games each year where no one shows up to play, and you end up getting beaten by Villanova, or UW Green-Bay, perhaps (Marquette fans cringe in unison). The new Big East has many teams with stars that can go off at any time, and we all know at least one of them is going to catch us on our heels sometime. It’s something that happens to every team, every year, and is something no one will ever be able to truly explain. So instead of predicting when exactly it’ll happen, we’ll leave it to the basketball gods and just say it’s going to happen. All in all, even though we have them losing the home win streak to Ohio State, our predictions hold MU winning the Wooden Legacy Tournament and Big East conference – both events that should lead to a respectable seed in the NCAA tournament.
As for the schedule itself? There are nine Friday night/Saturday afternoon home games! If you’ve never been to a game at the Bradley Center, this is the year to go. Even if you are unable to, almost every Big East game will be broadcast on new channel Fox Sports 1. It comes with almost every cable package that has ESPN and ESPN2 – just search in the high channel numbers. If you’re in the Chicagoland area and have Comcast, we’ve got you covered once again – it’s 237.
Another game to highlight would be the St. John’s-MU game at Madison Square Garden. It’s a Saturday morning game (11:30 CT) on Super Bowl Weekend, so make sure you get up for this one. Marquette and St. John’s could possibly be vying for a top spot in the Big East by then, and not to mention this game has “revenge” implications from last years’ OT game-winner at the Garden. Click here for a GIF of Vander Blue’s last-second layup – I’ve posted it in many articles already, and still don’t think I’d have a problem with posting it 56 more times in this article alone. I like it more every time I see it, and you should too. Unless you’re a St. John’s fan.
Here are the projected starters, along with those behind them.
PG Derrick Wilson – Todd Mayo, John Dawson
SG Todd Mayo – Jajuan Johnson, Juan Anderson, Deonte Burton
SF Juan Anderson – Jamil Wilson, Deonte Burton
PF Jamil Wilson – Davante Gardner, Steve Taylor
C Chris Otule – Davante Gardner, Steve Taylor, Jamil Wilson
Side note: Freshman PG Duane Wilson has a stress fracture in his leg, so he wasn’t listed. He’s expected to get plenty minutes upon returning, but no one really knows when that’ll be since there’s no timetable. Rumors have it he’ll be out for a while.
Longer side note: With Wilson’s injury, Todd Mayo may be seeing time at PG, which could get interesting. Jajuan Johnson is supposed to be eating into Mayo’s minutes at SG throughout the season anyways, so that would be a creative way to get both on the floor at the same time. There are many more possible lineups we’ve created, so just know this one is more “small ball” oriented than if Gardner were put at PF and Jamil at the SF. Also know that this displays who’s projected to start the game – not finish it. A lineup we’d expect to see in crunch time would be Derrick Wilson, Jajuan Johnson, Jamil Wilson, Davante Gardner, and Chris Otule. Some would have Duane bringing up the ball, but being injured to start the season will ultimately hurt his experience on the floor, thus diminishing Buzz’s trust in him late in games (all the while considering he’s only a freshman).
And here’s our projected scoring table, along with the X-Factors/gut feelings for each player:
Jamil Wilson: 16.0 PPG (ceiling) – 14.0 PPG (floor)
- X Factor: Will he be able to step up as Marquette’s go-to scorer? Gut: Absolutely.
Davante Gardner – 15.0 PPG (ceiling) – 12.0 PPG (floor)
- Can he stay on the floor? If so, will he be able to maintain his efficiency over longer stretches of minutes? Gut: Yes – I see 24+ MPG in Gardner’s tank this year. Efficiency won’t be as high as last season’s, but will still be among top in nation.
Todd Mayo – 11.0 PPG (ceiling) – 7.0 PPG (floor)
- After a 2012 suspension and injury-riddled offseason, can he step up to be the backcourt contributor Marquette so desperately needs? Gut: Somewhat. Mayo will surely be better than he was last year, but inconsistency and poor shot selection will have Marquette looking to make SG somewhat like a time-share. However, this has a high volatility to change – ever since last season ended, Mayo has been absolutely locked in. Wouldn’t be surprised if he had a monster year.
Jajuan Johnson – 12.0 PPG (ceiling) – 5.0 PPG (floor)
- How much will the heralded freshman actually contribute to the team? What will be his role with the team, and how much will he play? Gut: JJJ’s another “high-volatility” player. His contribution will depend on that of his backcourt peers – if Mayo turns out to be more than stable handling SG, Johnson may come off the bench for a few 3’s, a few athletic plays and such. But if the backcourt proves itself as weak as advertised, we may be seeing a whole lot of JJJ this season – and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Juan Anderson – 8.5 PPG (ceiling) – 4.0 PPG (floor)
- How much will he contribute now in his new, perimeter-based role? Gut: Doubles his point average to 6.0 PPG. Showed ability to defend even in the post last year, and with the 3-point shot on display at Madness and the MKE Pro-Am, Anderson could very well be a surprise contributor this year.
Chris Otule – 8.0 PPG (ceiling) – 5.0 PPG (floor)
- Otule has been injured three out of five seasons as a Golden Eagle, so obviously one of the biggest questions is if he’ll be able to stay healthy. Clairvoyant Daily Eagle says that not only will he stay fairly injury-free, but the sixth-year senior will have a big year now that his ACL is fully healed.
Steve Taylor, Jr. – 7.0 PPG (ceiling) – 4.5 PPG (floor)
- Taylor put up extremely efficient numbers his freshman year, so how will he follow those up with more opportunities? Gut: With such a talented frontcourt ahead of him, we think we’ll see a little more of the same from Taylor this year. However, expect really big things from him next year when Gardner and Otule are both gone.
Deonte Burton – 5.5 PPG (ceiling) – 3.0 PPG (floor)
- Burton’s a mystery player this year. With so many talented forwards ahead of him, will Burton actually get to contribute his freshman year? Gut: Clairvoyant Daily Eagle makes another guest appearance, and thinks we’ll have to wait until Burton’s sophomore or junior year until we really start to see him emerge. But at least we can still watch his AAU dunking videos until then. Seriously, I feel my jaw hit the keyboard every time I watch them.
Jake Thomas – 4.0 PPG (ceiling) – 2.0 PPG (floor)
- Rumor has it Thomas has been working on some new moves this offseason, such as the dribble-crossover then pump-fake, the through-the-legs dribble then pump-fake, and lastly, a unique double backflip through a ring of fire then, of course, pump-fake. Shoot the ball, kid. No X-Factor until you do so.
Derrick Wilson – 4.0 PPG (ceiling) – 2.5 PPG (floor)
- Will Derrick Wilson finally be able to put the ball through the hoop? Gut: Probably, but not as much as we’d like.
John Dawson – 2.0 PPG (ceiling) – 0.5 PPG (floor)
- How much will Dawson contribute while Duane Wilson is out? Gut: Could be a lot more than people think. Remember, Derrick, Duane and Dawson are the only point guards on the roster. I mean, someone has to bring the ball up when Derrick is tired and/or getting destroyed by Jahii Carson/Aaron Craft/and so on. All trolling aside, Dawson’s a much bigger offensive threat than Derrick, and could end up getting to even 5 or 6 points a game if he gets the bulk of the minutes behind Derrick. But we don’t think that’ll be the case – Buzz will most likely deploy Mayo or JJJ to take the ball up when depth is scarce.
More side note: If Duane Wilson were starting the season healthy, I’d put him at 7.0 PPG ceiling, 4.0 PPG floor. He’s certainly a high-upside player – but for now, let’s wait until he gets in the groove of playing again.
..Did I forget Dylan Flood? Let’s put him at 9.0 high-fives per game ceiling and 4.0 floor. In fact, numerous analysts agree Dylan could very well lead the nation in HFPG. It’s a tough stat to do so in, however, so come Friday we’ll be able to see how well he’s been working on his form over the offseason. Coach, am I following through well? Dylan, you don’t play- oh, you mean high fives? Yes, I’ve really noticed, Dyl.
As for another Flood troll, we now ask all our Twitter followers out there to tweet @Daily_Eagle with a picture of your hands high-fiving each other, with #Flooding as the caption. If you like to live dangerously, tag him.
Lastly, we’d just like to thank all our fans for following Daily Eagle for the past few months. We’re starting to hit a few hundred views a day as the season starts up, so keep up with us for plenty game recaps and such as the season hits stride. As always, go Golden Eagles (or Warriors, if you must), and if we don’t see you at the Bradley Center on Friday, we’ll see you there on the 16th. #BeatOSU!
Welcome to the Daily Eagle – a blog and twitter feed of all things Marquette basketball. Follow us on Twitter at @Daily_Eagle for live updates on recruiting, games, facts, and the occasional opinion. For inquiries, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.