Going into last season, Marquette was a consensus top-20 team, coming off three consecutive Sweet-16s and deemed a heavy favorite to repeat as Big East champs.
My how things change. After failing to live up to those lofty predictions, losing 70 percent of the offense, failing to make the NCAA Tournament and seeing Buzz Williams leave, Marquette is a consensus pick to finish in the bottom half of the Big East.
There are too many “ifs” and even more unknowns at the moment to predict anything else from a national perspective. Below is a roundup of previews and predictions for Marquette from around the country.
Big East Coaches Poll: Tied for 7th
ESPN: 6th in Big East
“At Marquette last season the initial surprise came when the Golden Eagles missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in nine years. Then, a second, and much larger, shock arrived: It wasn’t so much that Williams left Al McGuire’s chair as that he would do so to take the job at Virginia Tech. The Hokies have not exactly been building Marquette-like multiyear NCAA tournament appearance streaks of late.
Now the MU program is in Steve Wojciechowski’s hands, and the first-year coach will set to work trying to improve an offense that had much more in common with Butler and DePaul in terms of shooting from the field than it did with Creighton or Villanova. Maybe Deonte Burton can be part of the new regime’s solution.
The last time we saw the 6-4 Burton, he was scoring a career-high 23 points on just 14 shots in a losing effort against Xavier in the Big East tournament. Wojo’s sophomore should form one half of a solid nucleus alongside BYU transfer Matt Carlino. And if additional contributions should be forthcoming from top-100 freshman Sandy Cohen, redshirt freshman Duane Wilson and/or Indiana transfer Luke Fischer (eligible as of mid-December), Marquette could surprise almost as many people as Buzz did.”
Yahoo Sports: 6th in Big East
“Heck, even under-the-radar Marquette has NCAA tournament potential if the addition of BYU transfer Matt Carlino and redshirt freshman Duane Wilson gives its backcourt much-needed firepower.”
“Coach on the rise: Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette. Even though Wojciechowski has yet to coach a game at Marquette and likely lacks the frontcourt talent to achieve much in his first season, the former Duke assistant still has planted seeds for future success. He has landed a star-studded 2015 recruiting class highlighted by consensus five-star power forward Henry Ellenson and three other Rivals 150 recruits. That class should help Wojciechowski reinvigorate a Marquette program that endured a rare down season in Buzz Williams‘ final year. Marquette went 17-15 last season, terminating the program’s eight-year streak of making the NCAA tournament.”
CBS Sports: 7th in Big East
“You’re going to have to learn how to spell it now. W-O-J-C-I-E-C-H-O-W-S-K-I. Just break it down into three parts: Woj / ciec / howski. See — easy! The longtime Dukie is now leading Marquette in the aftermath of Buzz Williams’ shocking departure to Virginia Tech. And Woj is already making waves, having acquired a future NBA draft pick last week. But that will be talk for next season. For this season, expectations are at knee-level. And I’ve got the Golden Eagles overachieving. Not reaching the NCAAs, but still: I think 15 wins at least are in the cards here. BYU transfer Matt Carlino has one year of eligibility left, and I expect him to be a problem for the league. Deonte Burton is a serious player, and he’ll combo with Carlino for one of the Big East’s four best backcourts. I think MU will start slow, but when Luke Fischer gets eligible at the semester break, they’ll find a groove and win at least six games in league play. The schedule isn’t totally daunting, so that should help.”
Athlon Sports: 8th in Big East
“Steve Wojciechowski enters his first season with very little up front — but plenty of perimeter punch, including Todd Mayo and Matt Carlino.”
Fansided: Bottom 3
Casual Hoya: 9th in Big East
“Marquette will face a tough non-conference schedule and do so with out the aid of any player taller that 6’7″ as Luke Fischer does not become eligible until Mid December. @ Ohio St Nov. 18th, vs. Wisconsin Dec 6th, and the Old Spice Classic November 27th-30th will certainly tax the Golden Eagles and likely have them picking up several losses and basically eliminating them from NCAA contention before the start of the new year. Which is what makes this Marquette team scary for the rest of the league. They have enough talent to beat good teams on a given night, but likely will pick up too many losses before their roster is complete so will hurt every Big East team that loses to them, just like last year. Luckily for Marquette fans, they will not be down for long as Coach Wojciechowski has already reeled in a monster recruiting class for next season including top 5 prospect Henry Ellenson.”