Marquette kicked off the last third of the season on Thursday with an 11-point victory over Providence. Four months ago, that seemed like quite the easy prediction.
As for the fact that the win only boosted Marquette to 12-9, and 4-4 in the Big East? Or that two days later, Marquette got absolutely bulldozed by St. John’s to put them back under .500 in conference? Not so much.
As you may remember, we made a lot of prediction columns over the offseason. It’d make little sense to let them sit around in the archives for the rest of eternity, so let’s take the time to evaluate what we’ve gotten right and wrong (so far) in terms of our preseason projections. Below, we take a look back at our preseason primer, which was posted on November 8th. The predictions we made are in bold typing.
Prediction: Jamil Wilson will “absolutely” be able to step up as Marquette’s go to scorer and will average somewhere between 16 and 14 points per game.
I think the video below sums up my reaction to making this prediction:
Jamil may be second on the team in scoring, but there’s no doubt around that he’s disappointed this season. Buzz seemed to have noticed that on Saturday, as he benched him for the entire second half after J-Dubs barely seemed alive in the first. He’s had his flashes of dominance, but the inconsistency, lack of leadership and inefficient production has been inexcusable.
Davante Gardner will average over 24 minutes per game and somewhere between 15 and 12 points per game, depending on Jamil’s production. Efficiency won’t be as high, but will still be among top in nation.
Hey, we got something right! Ox is averaging 27.5 minutes per game, an astounding jump from 21.5 last year, and is leading the team with 14.9 PPG. His efficiency hasn’t been as high, which is correct, but unfortunately it’s not amongst the top in the nation – mostly due to a FT shooting slump to start the year and a lower FG%.
Todd Mayo will “somewhat” step up as Marquette’s primary backcourt contributor, as his inconsistency will have Marquette looking to make SG somewhat like a time-share. He will average somwhere between 11 and 7 PPG.
Wait, am I psychic?
Jajuan Johnson’s 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.
See, here’s the thing: our backcourt sucks, but Buzz hasn’t been willing to sit Derrick and Jake for the freshmen to change it. So take the first statement, change Mayo’s name to Thomas, and change “more than stable handling SG” to “is a terrible defender and one-side, streaky offensive player, but Buzz enjoys watching the world burn.” Okay, just kidding. But clearly, this situation has more to do with seniority rather than talent. We didn’t get that part right, but “Johnson may come off the bench for a few 3’s, a few athletic plays and such” is pretty accurate description of what his role has been this season.
Update: Buzz finally sat the seniors today in the second half as a statement of their effort. Deonte and JJJ got a ton of playing time, took 1/3 of the team’s shots and, most importantly, produced – and although it didn’t add up as very efficient play, it was still promising for the future.
Scoring could be between 8 and 4 PPG, but I say Juan Anderson 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.
Well, Juan is averaging 3.8 PPG, and his stats are nearly the same as last years’. The perimeter role has just been weird, and he attempted way more threes by this point last year than he has so far this season. He’s also got this huge non-conference/conference schedule stats split going on:
Non-conference schedule: 13 games, 17.5 MPG (had 26 mins at Wisconsin and double-digit mins vs OSU, SDSU and NM), 5.3 PPG (28-61, 46% FG), 5-19 3PT (26%), 4.8 REB, 1.6 ST, 0 total blocks
Conference schedule (not including St. John’s game): 8 games, 8.0 MPG (last 6 games – 9, 2, 4, 7, 10, 8), 0.6 PPG (1-12 FG), 0-1 3PT, 1.75 REB, 4 total ST, 5 total BL
This type of split didn’t happen last year – his minutes and stats had remained fairly consistent all season. Even weirder is that in the second split, Juan’s only attempted one three and has more blocks than steals, after he was supposedly going to be a perimeter player this season. Since he rarely plays anymore, I haven’t been paying much attention to his court positioning, but there’s a possibility that this plan to transform Juan’s game has failed. Or maybe he’s just hurt or something. Or, Buzz realized he’s just not that good of a player to be getting quality minutes. That too.
Update: Juan had 2 points (1-6 FG) and 8 rebounds today against St. John’s. He played 17 minutes, but most of it was garbage time. Besides the 8 rebounds, it wasn’t a great game for the junior – but then again, it wasn’t really a good game for anyone on the team.
Not only will Chris Otule stay fairly injury-free this season, but the sixth-year senior will have a big year now that his ACL is fully healed.
And that he has! Career highs in points, rebounds, and rebounds this season for the 56th-year senior (citizen).
With such a talented frontcourt ahead of him, we think we’ll see a little more of the same from Steve Taylor this year.
Half true, half false. Taylor’s statistical output, besides lower FG% and slightly higher rebounds, is almost the same as last years’. However, he’s had really inconsistent playing time due to nagging injuries, and has now strung together a few great games after he started feeling better. He had 23 mins against Georgetown and Villanova and put up great stats, but had only 10 minutes against Providence – and besides 5 rebounds, he barely did anything in that short time. He also only had 2 points (0-6 FG) and 4 rebounds against St. John’s. That makes us wonder whether the back-to-back 20+ minute games had his knee hurting again, but the fact that he’s been playing shows that it can’t be anything too bad. We hope, at least.
We think we’ll have to wait until Burton’s sophomore or junior year until we really start to see him emerge.
The video below is a metaphor for me trying to run way from this prediction, and ultimately getting drilled by karma:
I wouldn’t have gotten absolutely clocked had I trusted the spectacular AAU videos screaming that #Bane was the real deal. Although he’s nowhere close to hitting his ceiling yet, Deonte has arguably been the best freshman this year, and we didn’t see that coming.
Jake Thomas: We made a couple bad jokes in the preseason article about how he needed to start actually shooting threes to get an X-Factor for the season, and well, at this point he’s made more than he even attempted all last season. But still, now he just does one thing streakily instead of nothing – which should get him good playing time, but not the amount of minutes he’s been getting this year compared to other players. *Cough cough* Todd JJJ Deonte and so on *coughs some more*. However, we did predict him to score between 4 and 2 PPG, and he’s averaged 7. Better than we all expected him to do, especially with that 34% clip from three.
Will Derrick Wilson finally be able to put the ball through the hoop? Probably, but not as much as we’d like.
I think this sums up the fan base’s opinion on Derrick this season.
How much will Dawson contribute while Duane Wilson is out? 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.
So, Dawson is getting much more playing time and has shown numerous flashes of talent. #FreeDawson is now usually said in the same sentence as #FreeJJJ. That’s it. I’M PSYCHIC!! #JohnnyBasketball!!
Record would be 19-5 (Big East 6-3) thus far, and final record would be 21-7 (Big East 13-5).
Okay, maybe not.
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