Team Name: Marquette Golden Eagles
2013-14 Record: 17-15 (9-9 Big East)
Picked by many to be among the Big East's best at the start of last season, Marquette was never really able to live up to the hype as they hovered around mediocrity for much of the year.
Speaking of mediocrity, the Golden Eagles would not have a winning or losing streak of more than three games until early February.
After winning five of six in conference play to get their record to 17-11 and give them a legitimate chance at the NCAA Tournament, Marquette would then go on to drop four straight to end the year, including a first round loss in the Big East Tournament to Xavier.
Following the departure of head coach Buzz Williams after six seasons with the school, the Golden Eagles would hire longtime Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski to take the reigns going forward.
F Davante Gardner (14.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG), F Jamil Wilson (11.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG), G Todd Mayo (11.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG), G Jake Thomas (7.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG), C Chris Otule (5.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG)
Coach Wojciechowski will certainly have his work cut out for him in his first year at the helm, as Marquette lost their top four scorers from last year's senior-heavy squad. Davante Gardner, Jamil Wilson, Jake Thomas, and Chris Otule all graduated from the program, while Todd Mayo decided in August that he would be leaving Marquette as well.
All of these loses will leave the Golden Eagles with just nine scholarship players for their season opener, and with just one player over 6'7" on their roster (center Luke Fischer, who won't be eligible to play until mid-December).
F Sandy Cohen (Seymour, WI), G Duane Wilson (Milwaukee, WI), G Matt Carlino (Transfer-BYU), C Luke Fischer (Transfer-Indiana)
The lone true freshman for Marquette this season will be forward Sandy Cohen, a four-star recruit who was ranked 83rd overall in the class of 2014 by ESPN.
Guard Duane Wilson will also see action for the first time this season, as he redshirted all of his freshman year after a leg injury and sickness kept him from playing most of the season.
Guard Matt Carlino also decided in April that he would be transferring to Marquette. Carlino averaged almost 14 points and four rebounds per game for BYU last season, and should bring instant offense to the Golden Eagles this year.
Center Luke Fischer also made the decision to transfer to Marquette midway through last season after playing just 13 games in Indiana, he'll be eligible to play for the Golden Eagles beginning in December.
Key Players Returning:
G Deonte Burton (6.9 PPG, 2.2 RPG), G Derrick Wilson (5.0 PPG, 4.2 APG), G Jajuan Johnson (4.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG), F Juan Anderson (3.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG)
Sophomore guard Deonte Burton comes back as the Golden Eagles' leading returning scorer from last season, despite averaging just under seven points per game in 2013-14.
Guard Derrick Wilson comes back for his senior season as their leading rebounder, despite averaging under four rebounds per game in 2013-14. In terms of backcourt production, Marquette shouldn't have much to worry about, as seven of the eleven players on their roster this season will be guards. But in their frontcourt there are many questions, and currently few answers.
As stated earlier, of the four non-guards currently on their roster, only one of them stands taller than 6'7".
Returning Minutes, Points, Rebounds:
Key Non-Conference Opponents:
@Ohio State (11/18), Georgia Tech (11/27), Wisconsin (12/6), Arizona State (12/16)
Marquette will have quite the non-conference schedule to deal with this season, beginning with a matchup against Ohio State in just their second game of the year.
They'll also take part in the Orlando Classic (formerly the Old Spice Classic), along with Georgia Tech, Kansas, Michigan State, and Tennessee.
A guaranteed game with Georgia Tech awaits them, along with a possible showdown against Michigan State in round two. Upon returning from Orlando, the Golden Eagles will take on both Wisconsin and Arizona State at home near the end of non-conference play.
Most Intriguing Conference Matchup:
St. John's (3/4)
Marquette and St. John's have closed out Big East play with absolute thrillers in each of the past two seasons.
In 2012-13, it was Vander Blue who nailed a buzzer beater for the Golden Eagles to silence a Madison Square Garden crowd and give Marquette a share of the Big East regular season title.
Last season in the Bradley Center, it was St. John's who would prevail in an amazing double-overtime thriller that effectively ended Marquette's hopes for an NCAA Tournament berth.
This season the Red Storm and Golden Eagles will not close out Big East play against each other, but they will play each other in the second-to-last game of conference play, which is close enough. Can the two make it three straight dramatic finishes to the regular season?
Projected Big East Finish: 8th
Projected Overall Finish: No Postseason
In coach Wojciechowski's first season at Marquette, it should be tough for the Golden Eagles to remain competitive in the Big East. Any time that a team loses its top four scorers from a season before, I'd find it difficult to see them making much noise at all.
Their backcourt should be relatively decent, especially with the BYU transfer Carlino coming in, but there are just too many questions in their frontcourt right now, especially considering that they won't have Fischer for the season's first month. Overall, I expect the Golden Eagles to take a step back in Wojciechowski's first season.