Marquette Coming Along With Its Reloading Effort This Season

Posted by WCarey on December 22nd, 2012

Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Saturday afternoon’s game between LSU and Marquette.

Last season was a wildly successful campaign for Marquette, as the Golden Eagles finished second in an ultra-competitive Big East and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Eagles were led by the great senior leadership and phenomenal play of Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. Those two graduated in May were selected in the second round of June’s NBA Draft. Entering this season, Marquette returned many of its other key role players from a season ago. Point guard Junior Cadougan, scoring guard Todd Mayo, swingman Vander Blue, athletic forward Jamil Wilson, and big man Davante Gardner had all shown glimpses of becoming major contributors, but due to the presence of Crowder and Johnson-Odom, star performances were rarely needed from them. The Golden Eagles also secured the services of fifth-year senior swingman Trent Lockett, who transferred to Marquette from Arizona State after the conclusion of his undergraduate academic career.

Buzz Williams Knew He\'d Have Some Reloading to Do This Season (MJS/R. Wood)

Buzz Williams Knew He’d Have Some Reloading to Do This Season (MJS/R. Wood)

This preseason, Marquette was projected to finish seventh in the Big East by conference coaches. Many media outlets’ predictions coincided with that of the coaches, as the Golden Eagles were almost unanimously chosen to finish within the top half of the conference but not near the top tier. Just before the season began, the team was dealt a tough blow when it was revealed that Mayo would be academically ineligible for the fall semester. Another misfortune occurred when the season opener with Ohio State at the Carrier Classic was cancelled due to dangerous condensation on the court. In just their third game of the season, the Golden Eagles were dealt yet another tough break when Butler guard Rotnei Clarke was able to connect on a desperation 25-foot one-handed heave to give his team a triumphant 72-71 victory in the first game of the Maui Invitational.

The Golden Eagles finished their Maui trip with wins over Mississippi State and USC. A little over a week after returning home from Hawaii, the team visited Florida and was blown out by the Gators in a game that was never close. Showing some resiliency in their following game, the Golden Eagles defeated Wisconsin by 10 in their annual rivalry game in what was hotly-contested affair. Just when it seemed they had developed some consistency as they neared conference play, the Golden Eagles were stunned on the road this past Wednesday by Wisconsin-Green Bay. What was most disconcerting about the loss was the fact that Marquette only managed to score 47 points. On the heels of their lackluster offensive performance against the Phoenix, the program finally received some good news Thursday when it was announced Mayo was able to get his academics in order and would be eligible to play immediately. On the heels of that positive news, Marquette busted out of its offensive slump in a hard-fought 84-80 home victory over LSU on Saturday afternoon.

As non-conference play comes to a close and with Big East play on the horizon, there are still a lot of questions about this team. Most of those questions revolve around the team’s consistency issues and its lack of a go-to guy. If the team is able to get into a rhythm early in conference play then it is possible that it could surpass expectations and be a major player in conference play. However, for that to happen, the Golden Eagles are going to need someone to step up as its go-to guy. Cadougan, Blue, Wilson, and Gardner have all shown that they are capable, so it is time for one of them to take the next step in their evolution.

WCarey (318 Posts)

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