Oct 15, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
Last Season: 26-9, 14-4 (t-1st Big East); Lost in the Elite 8 to Syracuse
Head Coach: Buzz Williams (6th season at Marquette: 122-54, 60-30 Big East)
Key Losses: Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan, Trent Lockett
Newcomers: Duane Wilson, Deonte Burton, Jameel McKay, JaJuan Johnson, John Dawson
- G: Derrick Wilson, Jr.
- G: Todd Mayo, Jr.
- F: Jamil Wilson, Sr.
- F: Davante Gardner, Sr.
- C: Chris Otule, Sr.
- Bench: JaJuan Johnson, Fr.; Deonte Burton, Fr.; Duane Wilson, Fr.; Juan Anderson, Jr.; Steve Taylor, So.; Jameel McKay, Jr.
They’ll be good because …: Marquette’s front line will be one of the best in the country, as this group can legitimately go five or six deep. It starts with the big boys: Chris Otule and Davante Gardner, who combine for more than 550 pounds of center. In the past, these two have shared time up front, as Gardner is much more of an offensive threat while Otule is a defensive presence and a space-eater in the lane, but don’t be surprised to see them being used together more this season.
But those two aren’t alone up front. Jamil Wilson is the latest in the long line of combo-forwards to come through the Marquette program. Steve Taylor was a highly-regarded forward coming out of Chicago in 2012. JuCo transfer Jameel McKay and junior Juan Anderson, who started 31 games as a sophomore, round out the front line rotation. There is enough talent, depth, and versatility here for Buzz Williams to be able to create a number of different looks up front.
But they might disappoint because …: Generally speaking, Marquette has been known for their back court over the course of Williams’ tenure, but there are plenty of question marks when it comes to the guards on the Golden Eagles’ roster. The returnees are Derrick Wilson, Todd Mayo and Jake Thomas, none of whom will strike fear into Big East opponents’ hearts. Williams landed an impressive recruiting class that included top 100 prospects Deonte Burton, Duane Wilson, and JaJuan Johnson as well as John Dawson, and while that group may be the future of Marquette basketball, they’re not necessarily the present. They’re freshmen, after all.
How well will they acclimate to playing in the Big East? Can Derrick Wilson play the role of Marquette’s primary ball-handler? Is Mayo healthy (and mature?) enough to be relied upon as a consistent source of scoring? There is talent there, but there are plenty of questions and concerns as well.
Outlook: This team is an intriguing as any that Williams has had in his five seasons in Milwaukee. It’s built around size in the front court and will rely upon youthful, inexperienced talent in the back court, the first time we’ve seen a team like that from him at Marquette. Here’s a stat to remember, however: In his five seasons at Marquette, Williams has never had a team outside the top 35 in offensive efficiency. But in those five years, his teams have ranked 85th, 304th, 129th, 16th and 239th in tempo. Williams knows how to build a system to maximize the strengths of the players on his roster.
More to the point, Williams is almost like Bo Ryan in the sense that his teams always seem to be better on the floor than they look on paper. He may hate the idea that his teams succeed because they outwork and out-hustle their opponents not because of talent or coaching, but the bottom-line is that Marquette does outwork and out-hustle teams. What makes them scary is when there is talent on the roster, and this year’s group certainly has the pieces. Marquette should enter the season as the favorite to win the Big East, so it will be interesting to see if Williams can find the right way for all those pieces to fit together.
Dec 21, 2013, 7:52 PM EST
North Carolina sophomore wing J.P. Tokoto has shown signs of improvement this season, raising both his scoring (9.6 ppg entering Saturday) and rebounding (4.8 rpg) averages from a season ago. Part of that has come with an increased number of opportunities, as Reggie Bullock’s now a Los Angeles Clipper and P.J. Hairston’s no longer a…
Dec 21, 2013, 6:55 PM EST
Even though No. 5 Michigan State has a number of players dealing with injuries during the early part of this season, it didn’t stop them from earning a big 92-78 road win over Texas on Saturday. Despite battling plantar fasciitis, senior forward Adreian Payne played one of the best games of this college basketball season…
Dec 21, 2013, 6:54 PM EST
In the late stages of Michigan State’s 92-78 win over Texas on Saturday afternoon, Denzel Valentine set up Branden Dawson for one of the year’s best highlights. Valentine tossed an alley-oop off the glass for Dawson, who finished the pass the way that you would expect one of the nation’s best athletes to finish it.
Dec 21, 2013, 6:01 PM EST
Marcus Foster and Thomas Gibson both scored 14 points for Kansas State as the Wildcats knocked off No. 21 Gonzaga 72-62 in Manhattan, KS, on Saturday afternoon. Bruce Weber’s club held Kevin Pangos to 4-for-11 shooting on the night, as he finished with just 12 points and six assists. Sam Dower went down with a…
Dec 21, 2013, 6:01 PM EST
Given how much production James Madison lost from last season’s NCAA tournament team and the fact that Andre Nation won’t be available until the Dukes begin CAA play, it comes as no surprise that they’ve struggled offensively this season. Charles Cooke (15.6 ppg, 4.0 rgp, 2.1 apg), Ron Curry (11.9, 4.5, 2.7) and Andre Semenov…
Dec 21, 2013, 4:50 PM EST
Marcus Foster has been one of the nation’s most underrated freshmen this season, starring for a Kansas State team that has remained well off the national radar. Well, not anymore. Foster is on fire as Kansas State as the Wildcats are currently beating No. 21 Gonzaga. We’ll see if that lead holds, but for now,…
Dec 21, 2013, 4:45 PM EST
Florida State dictated tempo and slowed down unbeaten No. 22 UMass and senior point guard Chaz Williams as the Seminoles held on for a 60-55 victory in the Orange Bowl Classic. Despite a controversial ending that featured a missed foul call on a Cady Lalanne dunk that would have cut UMass’ deficit to a point…
Dec 21, 2013, 3:00 PM EST
Later in the season we’ll all surely have a laugh about how Kansas was once the No. 18 team in the country. This Jayhawks team is far too talented for that ranking and showed how good they can be during a monster second-half surge in its 86-64 win over Georgetown on Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks…
Dec 21, 2013, 2:47 PM EST
After getting hit in the back of the head by Georgetown’s Nate Lubick, Perry Ellis looked wobbly while shooting a free throw that hit the bottom of the backboard a good three feet to the left of the rim. He pointed to his head after the miss, leaving the game with 18 minutes left in…
Dec 21, 2013, 2:41 PM EST
Julius Randle finished with 29 points and 10 boards and Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in with 16 points and seven boards as No. 19 Kentucky withstood an early three-point barrage to knock off Belmont 93-80. The Bruins were scorching from beyond the arc in the first half, taking a lead that stretched to as much as…
Dec 21, 2013, 2:13 PM EST
Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid put down a ridiculous tip slam during the second half of Kansas’ home game against Georgetown. The Jayhawks are comfortably ahead of the Hoyas late in the second half, and this tip slam is just icing on the cake to a nice non-conference home win for the Jayhawks. Follow @phillipshoops
Dec 21, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
After weeks of speculation, Florida officially announced that transfer center Damontre Harris is officially no longer with the team, according to Kevin Brockway of the The Gainsville Sun. Florida announces C Damontre Harris officially no longer with team.— Kevin Brockway (@gatorhoops) December 21, 2013 Harris transferred to the Gators from South Carolina after averaging 6.8 points, 5.5…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
Arizona State will get an immediate boost to its rotation as Michigan State transfer Brandan Kearney is eligible to play for the Sun Devils on Saturday against Texas Tech after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. Kearney averaged 2.3 points in 16.9 minutes last season as a sophomore at Michigan State, but…
Dec 21, 2013, 11:20 AM EST
Junior point guard Mike Powell has opted to transfer out of Rhode Island, according to a release from the University. The Chicago native lost his starting job to Texas Tech transfer Biggie Minnis after starting seven of the first nine games this season as Powell was struggling to produce. Powell averaged 2.6 points in 15…
Dec 21, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
If you like dunks, surely you remember high school phenom Seventh Woods’ mixtape from his freshman season last year. Well, the springy sophomore is at it again, this time with an absurd dunk over a defender at the Chik-Fil-A Classic. While the dunk by Woods is obviously fantastic, it might be the reaction of the…
Dec 21, 2013, 9:40 AM EST
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 5 Michigan State at Texas (4 p.m., CBS) A banged-up Spartans team travels to Austin for its first true road game of the season on Saturday as Rick Barnes and Texas hope to continue to surpass preseason expectations. Texas has a big chance at home to capitalize on an already…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:54 AM EST
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Minnesota 92, Nebraska-Omaha 79 — Friday nights in college hoops tend to be quiet, but Minnesota and Omaha put on a show at The Barn tonight with the Gophers holding on for the win. Deandre Mathieu led all scorers with 27 points for Minnesota. IMPORTANT OUTCOMES 1) SMU went on the…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:27 AM EST
In Ivy League basketball circles, which soon expanded to national basketball circles at the conclusion of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, all of the talk during the summer months revolved around Harvard. Rightfully so, to an extent. The Crimson returned virtually their entire team, along with welcoming back Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry. They were the…
Dec 20, 2013, 11:37 PM EST
On the surface, Minnesota leading Nebraska-Omaha — who is in just their second year of playing a schedule comprised of almost exclusively Division I competition — 83-77 with just minutes remaining in regulation may seem like a lackluster effort by the Golden Gophers. That’s far from the case. Minnesota played well. Their potent offense ran…
Dec 20, 2013, 9:15 PM EST
Syracuse blew out High Point on Friday evening, 75-54. If you can believe it, however, High Point actually led Syracuse early in the second half, 40-39. The Orange would then go on a 28-3 run. Midway through the run, C.J. Fair did this. Follow @KLDoyle11
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