2018 Marquette Golden Eagles Basketball Predictions with Odds and Expert Picks
Villanova, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and… Marquette? That's a heady group for a team that has made the tournament only once since 2013 and won their only national title in 1977 to be a part of. But those are the five teams that have had a Top 12 team for offensive efficiency each of the last two years. And there is a decent chance that Marquette is going to be that efficient again this year. They will have to score in bulk because they have been incredibly bad defensively. And though they could be a little better on that end of the court, they still aren't going to be anything close to elite.
Marquette Golden Eagles Additions/Losses
There are not a lot of changes to this roster. They lost a big player in Andrew Rowsey, a guard who was their leading scorer last year. As we will discuss later, though, his loss might not hurt as much as you might suspect. The only other departure was an odd story - Harry Froling, a big Australian center, transferred in after a semester at SMU, sat out the first semester last year, seemed to be carving out a role, and then left after the season to play pro ball in Australia.
The team adds two transfers, one new recruit, and one old recruit. The key transfer is Joseph Chartouny, a grad transfer guard from Fordham who will likely step right into a starting role, replacing Rowsey. The other is Ed Morrow, a big, tough forward who transferred from Nebraska and sat out last year. He'll come off the bench and will keep opponents honest if they get chippy against this small backcourt. The recruit is Joey Hauser, a four-star power forward who is the brother of the team's star forward, Sam. The younger Hauser joined the team a semester early to rehab from an injury and understand the system better, so he should be able to hit the ground running. He'll come off the bench and could quite possibly sub in for his brother quite often. And the old recruit is another four-star forward, Brendan Bailey, the son of longtime NBAer Thurl Bailey. He was a member of the recruiting class two seasons ago but has just returned from his Mormon mission. His maturity as a freshman should help to offset some of his inevitable rustiness, and he should find playing time on the wing.
Marquette Golden Eagles Outlook
There is talent on this team. Junior guard Markus Howard is a fantastic player. Paired with Rowsey in the backcourt, he averaged just 0.1 fewer points. Losing Rowsey could actually help him this year. Rowsey was ball-dominant like Howard, so the two had to share the ball, and it blurred their roles. Chartouny is much more of a playmaker and will be able to serve the ball up to Howard more selflessly than Rowsey ever did. And Chartouny is also a much better defender than the inept Rowsey was, so that will help the team and take some pressure off Howard as well. Howard has the chance to be a very special player this year - like all-American level in a year when the point guard crop isn't nearly as deep as last year if he plays to full potential.
The other big-time player on this team is Sam Hauser. He was third in scoring last year and is a great shooter with more upside. He was playing through injury last year but is healthier after offseason injury. He should also see more opportunities with Rowsey not around to act like a ball vacuum.
The other two starters are experienced but not as productive. Sacar Anim is a wing who started as a sophomore last year and is an on-court leader. And senior center Matt Heldt is in his second year of starting as well. His game doesn't leap off the page in any way, but he isn't a liability. And off the bench they have some very nice shooters. Joey Hauser and Bailey have real upside, and Jamal Cain hit 47.8 percent of his threes last year as a freshman.
Marquette Golden Eagles Schedule
This is a pretty tough nonconference schedule that will really challenge this team and test what they are made of. Their third game is at Indiana, a team like Marquette that sits just on the outside edge of the Top 25. Then they start the brutal NIT Season Tip-off tournament. They will play No. 1-ranked Kansas and then either Louisville or sixth-ranked Tennessee. In December they play 12th-ranked Kansas State. A week later they host Wisconsin, a rival and another team just outside the Top 25. By the time the Big East schedule starts on New Year's Day, we will have a good sense of what this team is.
Outside of Villanova, the Big East seems headed to a bit of a down year - one of transition. That works in favor of Marquette. If the offense comes together as well as they could, and the defense is a little better than last year, they should be able to do some damage.
Marquette Golden Eagles Futures Odds
If the AP poll went beyond 25 teams Marquette had the votes to be ranked 27th in the preseason poll. Bovada lists national title futures odds for 51 teams, and Marquette is not one of them. It seems, then, that oddsmakers are less into this team than voters, so we could find some opportunities for early-season value betting on this team.
Marquette Golden Eagles Predictions
I like this squad. They are going to score in bulk and will be really fun to watch. They are in decent shape to finish second in the conference and to make it back to the tournament after missing last year. There is downside if the defense struggles, or if Howard can't carry the load of being the primary backcourt presence. But I am optimistic and expect to see them in the polls at the end of the regular season. I'd have them in now - likely in the spot that LSU has but probably shouldn't.
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