Preseason Previews: Maine

Marquette Madness has come and gone. The season is so close, we can taste it. Marquette fans know who we will battle but might not know anything about our future opponents. To remedy this, Paint Touches is taking an in depth look at each of Marquette’s opponents, both conference and non-conference, to see what we have to look forward to. These will be released in order of what Paint Touches believes to be the easiest matchups to the toughest. The creamiest of cupcakes all the way to the most unbeatable of opponents. Next up is a team that was in the 10 worst teams in D1 last season (per KenPom) but should be on the rise (to well below average) in 15-16: The Maine Black Bears.
Opponent: Maine
Mascot: Black Bears
Conference: America East
14-15 Record: 3-27 (2-14)
14-15 RPI: 338
14-15 KenPom: 345
Coach: Bob Walsh (2nd Season)
Date: 12/05/15
Location: BMO Harris Bradley Center

Departures from 14-15:
Zarko Valjarevic: Starting SF: 31.5 mpg, 10.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.1 bpg, 1.4 tpg, .342 3P%
Ethan Mackey: 4th off Bench: 12.9 mpg, 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.2 bpg, 0.8 tpg, .000 3P% (appeared in only 9 games)
Christian Ejiga: 5th off Bench: 9.4 mpg, 2.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.2 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.4 bpg, 0.5 tpg, .000 3P%
Erik Nissen: 6th off Bench: 5.5 mpg, 1.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.1 bpg, 0.5 tpg, .000 3P%
Peter Westra: Benchwarmer: 3.0 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.0 tpg, .000 3P% (appeared in only 1 game)
22% of Scoring, 18% of Rebounding, 14% of Assists, 16% of Steals, 50% of Blocks, 33% of 3PM

Vincent Eze: 3 star PF, ranked #351 by 247sports
Marko Pirovic: Backup PF, returns from injury
Isaac Vann: 2 Star SF, unranked
Devine Eke: 2 Star SF, unranked
Lavar Harewood: 2 star SG, unranked
Ilija Stojikovic: 2 Star SF, unranked
Dennis Ashley: 2 star PG, unranked
Walter King: 2 star PG, unranked
Ryan Bernstein: 2 star PG, unranked

Probable Starters:
PG: Aaron Calixte: 5-11 175 SO: 31.9 mpg, 7.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.4 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 2.8 tpg, .264 3P%
SG: Kevin Little: 6-0 160 SO: 29.5 mpg, 12.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 2.3 apg, .389 3P%
SF: Shaun Lawton: 6-5 190 SR: 31.6 mpg, 9.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.1 bpg ,2.6 tpg, .288 3P%
PF: Vincent Eze: 6-8 202 FR: Ranked #351 by 247sports, 3 star PF
C: Till Gloger: 6-8 220 SR: 26.5 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.9 tpg, .000 3P%

Probable Bench:
Garet Beal: 6-6 215 JR SG
Marko Pirovic: 6-7 205 JR PF
Troy Reid-Knight: 6-0 190 JR PG
Isaac Vann: 6-6 190 FR SF
Devine Eke: 6-7 195 FR SF

Probable Benchwarmers:
Lavar Harewood: 6-3 200 FR SG
Ilija Stojkovic: 6-7 210 FR SF
Garvey Melmed: 6-1 175 SO PG
C.J. Ward: 5-11 170 JR PG
Dennis Ashley: 6-1 165 FR PG
Walter King: 6-0 195 FR PG
Ryan Bernstein: 6-0 175 FR PG

Quick and Dirty Analysis: Maine has been an America East bottom feeder for the past several years. Second year coach Bob Walsh has already started the process to get Maine out of the basement, back to respectability. Despite being ranked in the bottom 15 last season, the Black Bears should be expected to break out of the 300s into the 250-300 range. They retain a majority of their production from last season, and several key pieces with their recruiting class. The gem of the class is Vincent Eze, the school’s first three star prospect in several years. Eze brings some much needed size and defense to the post for the Black Bears. Isaac Vann and Devine Eke are two solid freshmen who should carve out some playing time in Maine’s rotation. Maine also gets Marko Pirovic back, a reserve PF who was leading the team in rebounding before he went down with an injury last season.

Walsh had a lot of success at D3 Rhode Island College before being tapped to be the head coach of the Black Bears. He has Maine going in the right direction but there are still years away from even being a competitor in the America East. They do return a lot of production so their chemistry should be a little ahead of Marquette’s. There will be some frustrating moments in this game, moments where it seems like Maine just knows how to play together better than Marquette does. Ultimately, they won’t have enough talent, size, or shooting to keep up with the Golden Eagles.

Early Prediction: Maine keeps nipping on Marquette’s heels. Always down by at least 10 but never completely out of the game. With about five minutes left, Maine ultimately run out of gas. Marquette wins by 15+.

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Categories: Home, Previews

Author:Ryan Jackson

Texas A&M Professional, Marquette Fantatic


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