2007 Marquette Golden Eagles Basketball Preview
In 2006- 2007, the Marquette Golden Eagles (24- 10 overall, 10- 6 Big East) made it to the March Madness odds after finishing tied for fifth in the conference. Tom Crean (165- 86 in eight years and overall) saw his team annihilated in round one of the NCAA tournament as they lost to Michigan State 61- 49. Crean should get his team deeper into the tournament this season. That is if they can improve underneath.
Statistically, Marquette did okay in the stacked Big East. However, for the NCAA basketball odds, turnovers were troublesome as the Golden Eagles gave up 14.6 per game, ranking them 12th in the conference. In plus/minus turnover ratio, they tied Louisville for third at plus-2.5. The team ranked seventh in scoring, dropping in 71.9 PPG, while the Eagles were ninth in scoring “D,” allowing 64.9 PPG. In rebounding margin, the team was a respectable plus-3.3. Overall, Marquette was good enough but not great in 2006- 2007.
The frontcourt is definitely vulnerable. That became clear in last season’s NCAA tournament and not much has changed since that time. Senior forward/center Ousmane Barro (8.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 59.9 FG%) is a good player who must become more disciplined at giving away fouls and must become more of a first shot scoring threat. Lazar Hayward (6.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 42.8 FG%), now a sophomore, had a fine frosh year. Look for him to step-up this season if you bet on college hoops. Freshman forward Trevor Mbakwe is an athletic shot blocker who could be a difference maker in the low post.
The Golden Eagles excel in the backcourt where they have skill, talent and depth. Playing a three-guard set, Marquette is anchored by the play of junior Dominic James (14.9 PPG, 4.9 APG, 38.4 FG%). However, poor decisions and off shooting nights defined the college basketball betting lines and James’ play at times. Consistency is needed from him. Juniors Wesley Mathews (12.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 43.8 FG%) and Jerel McNeal (14.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 41.7 FG%) bring some solid experience but must handle the ball better.
The Marquette Golden Eagles return five starters and have not lost one key player. They also have some quality recruits. Last year the team petered out late in the season. Look for a stronger finish this year. The Golden Eagles could finish anywhere from one to four in this highly competitive conference.