Author: John Larson, firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo: Marquette Athletics.
What a rollercoaster season it has been so far for the Marquette Golden Eagles. Easy wins, disappointing losses, and a tournament victory have Marquette sitting at 4-2.
So far: Marquette started the season with an 83-80 home loss to Belmont. Even though this was disappointing, many fans knew the Bruins have been a tourney presence in past years. Stud freshman Henry Ellenson excelled in his first game as he put up 21 points and grabbed 16 boards. Marquette then faced IUPUI and snuck out a gritty overtime win. We can’t expect great things from the Golden Eagles yet as the team is young and is still adjusting to the college level. Things hit rock bottom as Marquette got demolished by Iowa as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Unfortunately, this was just an embarrassing game as the Hawkeyes exposed our weak defense and doubled team our bigs down low. Wojo’s troops just weren’t ready for an experienced Big Ten Team and this showed not just in the box score, but the effort on the floor.
Morale was low heading to New York to take on one of the top players in the nation in Ben Simmons. Wojo made an awesome decision by having the team practice on a New York street ball court. This has been the turning point so far in the season, as Marquette toppled Simmons and #22 LSU in the Legends Classic semifinals 81-80. Another win over Arizona State the day after gave the Golden Eagles the title and lots of motivation. The November part of our schedule finished yesterday when Marquette rolled past Jackson State, 80-61. Haanif Cheatham put up a career high 24 points and Henry Ellenson added another double-double. Marquette finished the month at 4-2 and enters the easiest part of their schedule.
Some things to takeaway from the first month of the season:
- Marquette has played a tough schedule so far and losses to Belmont/Iowa are characterized as good losses while a national television win against LSU will help in March
- Henry Ellenson has been a force in the post and has shown why he was a top 5 high school recruit (needs to lay off the threes though)
- The starting lineup has been changed multiple times. I believe the lineup of Cheatham, Wilson, Cohen, Ellenson, and Fischer is most effective.
- The twin towers down low draw lots of attention from defenses (guards need to hit threes to keep the defense honest)
- Cheatham and Carter have both had their moments and they will improve together
- Turnovers and rebounding are still an issue
- Remember, this team is inexperienced so giving them time to adjust to the college level is appropriate
What to expect in December:
- The only tough game is at Wisconsin for the rest of the non-conference schedule
- Expect Henry to keep adding double-doubles where his season average will become a double-double (averaging 15.2 points and 9.8 rebounds a game so far)
- Duane Wilson has been up and down shooting the ball this year, but I expect him to come alive against some of these smaller schools
- Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson will gain more playing time
- Haanif Cheatham will be the x-factor for this team not just in December, but for the rest of the season
- Wojo has yet to receive a technical, but his intensity will start to fire up
- Expect Marquette to enter Big East play with a 9-3 record with the lone loss at the Kohl Center vs Wisconsin (Big East play begins December 30th vs Seton Hall but this is left out in my record prediction)
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