Author: Dave Klinger (Editor), firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo: Marquette Athletics.
The athletics department released the conference schedule, which complements the non-conference slate in providing us a list of the entire season’s games. The unfamiliar, inexperienced roster confuses many in terms of predicting the outcome of the upcoming season, but a common theme in almost everyone’s perspective is excitement. The Golden Eagles replace a last-place team with a roster that will play six new guys on the court, including a top-five, nationally-ranked freshman in Henry Ellenson. The uncertainty is what will cause fans to question this team’s potential but also dream of possible accomplishments. For us at MarquetteNation.com, that idea drives us to write this article which will predict the win-loss outcomes of each game.
Conference: 11-7 (with 1-0 against Stetson on 1/27/16)
FINAL RECORD: 22-9
NCAA Tournament? Yes. Barely entering as an 8 or a 9 seed.
It’s easy to predict this team for a sub-9-loss finish when analyzing from a game-by-game perspective. In fact, I believe we can compete with any team on this schedule. So why aren’t we 31-0? Why did I mark a loss against Wisconsin even though I believe we’re a better team on paper and on the court? Why did I predict a loss to Georgetown and Xavier, and two-game sweeps dealt by Villanova and Butler? Because basketball plays on hardwood, not paper. No one goes undefeated. Everyone loses — even Kentucky and Duke — and sometime it’s because your opponent plays better, or you play worse, or both, or whatever. Teams that play consistently to their standards are good teams, and usually that consistency is easier to achieve when your team has veteran leadership. We have returnees — and good ones, too — but I’m not sure if we have a tried and true core that can set an identity for this team from day one. Look at the roster:
There are no seniors on this roster.
LET ME REPEAT: There are no seniors on this roster. Even in last year’s transition season, it was clear that the leadership of Matt Carlino, Juan Anderson and Derrick Wilson propelled us through both difficult and routine game situations and set an impressively positive tone for a mediocre season. This year’s team has impassioned talent and chemistry, but the fact that it is anchored by a group unfamiliar with each other and college basketball is not very promising.
I expect this year to feel like last year at many times. I expect frustration on both ends of the ball and head-scratching decision-making. And I certainly do not expect an NCAA tournament bid.
But the talent is unquestionable. The spirit in the locker room, in the gym, and on the court is ablaze. An aura of hope floats among the inexperience and uncertainties, and fans like myself are crossing their fingers that this team’s talent can override their deficiencies.
…and that’s why I have the team finishing at a solid 22-9. Party because we play a very, very soft schedule, but mostly because I believe this team can do great things.
As a Marquette fan, I’m more than willing to take that bet.
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