John Larson, Staff Writer. Photo: Marquette Athletics.
So, it’s just less than a week into Big East play and many Golden Eagles fans are wondering if Marquette basketball even has a chance at making March Madness. Marquette is 0-2 in the conference with disappointing losses to Seton Hall and Georgetown. The schedule is only going to get tougher because the Big East is one of the best conferences in college basketball. Matchups against Providence, Xavier, and Villanova (all ranked teams) await Marquette in the next two weeks. I would argue though that not all hope is lost for the Golden Eagles. There is still time to turn things around, and the way to do that will be establishing consistency.
The problem for Marquette right now is that we lack consistency. You may read that sentence and say, “Wait, didn’t Marquette win 9 games in a row?” Yes, this is true, but many of these teams were some of the worst in D1 basketball. Coach Wojo scheduled like this to let Marquette’s young players gain some confidence heading into Big East play. Sounded like a great idea until the Golden Eagles struggled facing elite competition.
Marquette needs to focus on letting the positives of one game carry over to the rest. Take this for example: Haanif Cheatham went for 17 points against Seton Hall, but only had 6 to go along with 0 assists at Georgetown over the weekend. Or Traci Carter going scoreless because of foul trouble against Seton Hall. This can’t happen. For Marquette to win games, they need multiple players scoring in double figures every game. We have found out that Henry Ellenson isn’t capable to do it himself. He has struggled immensely in Big East play so far, shooting a poor 7-29 overall in two games. For him to once again be dominant, he needs to go and bang with the big guys in the post. On the season, Ellenson is only shooting 42% overall which is due to his 26% shooting behind the arc. The best way for this team to score points is in attacking the basket.
On defense, Marquette has to play better help defense in order to be faster rotating. Rebounding the ball is always important and Fischer and Ellenson will be the keys to that. The guards, especially Traci Carter, need to be more aggressive and cause more turnovers. Pushing the basketball in transition off a missed shot or turnover will allow easy fast break points and gives a team momentum.
Overall, there still is time for Marquette to turn it around. Butler is 0-2 in conference play and even though they are extremely talented, they are also struggling in the difficult Big East. For Marquette to win games in the next few weeks, they need to put together 40 straight minutes of great basketball. They have played well in spurts recently, but the only way to win sports is to go hard for the entire game. As Marquette continues its season, expect Duane Wilson to lead the way. He is still coming off the bench, but is a gifted scorer and needs to step up and be the leader the team needs. Every game is important from now on and many are seen as must-wins. Let’s see what Marquette basketball can do in the next few games — it will all start with getting consistent results from the team as a whole.
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