2009-2010 Marquette Golden Eagles Basketball Preview
Last season, the Marquette Golden Eagles (25- 10 overall, 12- 6 Big East) finished fifth in the conferencing, earning their fourth straight NCAA Tournament berth. This season, though, things look a bit glum for the Golden Eagles. The loss of three guards, Dominic James (11.0 PPG, 5.0 APG, 2.1 SPG) Wesley Matthews (18.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.2 SPG) and Jerel McNeal (19.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.0 SPG), will prove to be extremely detrimental to this team’s success.
Although the Golden Eagles were 11th in scoring defense, allowing 69.5 PPG, that was offset by the fact that they were second in scoring offense, putting 78.3 PPG on the board. They were also second in free throws, hitting 73% of their attempts. Overall, Marquette was good 45% (6th) of the time from the floor and 35% (5th) of the time from downtown. They notched a rebound margin of plus-2.7 (7th).
Senior forward Lazar Hayward (16.3 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.1 APG), one of the best players in the Big East, is back and that is very good news for the Golden Eagles. Also returning is swingman Jimmy Butler (5.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.7 APG). Butler, who seems to improve every game, is a solid rebounder and accurate shooter. The rest of the frontcourt, center and bench players, are all question marks. Seven-foot-two freshman center Youssoupha Mbao may be raw but the Eagles lack of an inside presence means that he will see action. Freshman Jeronne Maymon will definitely play in his first season.
Community college player Darius Johnson-Odom arrives just in time to take on the shooting guard spot. Johnson-Odom has the drive and energy to score bunches of points quickly. He can also play point as can community college transfer Dwight Buycks. Freshman guard Junior Cadougan will also see action immediately. The backcourt is definitely both inexperienced and talented.
This season coach Buzz Williams will shepherd his young team to the NIT after struggling to finish somewhere in the bottom third of the conference. There are a lot of question marks on this team combined with a whole lot of inexperience. Still, Marquette has one of the best incoming classes in the Big East. They will work hard this year and lose more than their share of games, but after one season, this team will once again be in the hunt for first place and a NCAA bid.