Well that was fun. It could easily be argued that Friday night’s beatdown of Vanderbilt was the most enjoyable game that Marquette fans have been treated to in the Wojo era. It is safe to say that for many fans, their expectations have gone through the roof. It is important to keep in mind that it was just one game. And if you read Paint Touches’ preview, you know Vanderbilt was a little overranked and a great matchup for Marquette. Still, the shooting of young gun Sammy Hauser (#sammysplash), the thievery of Jajuan Johnson, and the complete domination by Luke over a likely future NBA player is enough to give anyone optimism.
Next up is the first of Marquette’s on campus games for the 2K Classic. Marquette drew the Bison of Howard for their first opponent. At first glance, this might seem like your standard high fat cupcake. Howard was sub 300 in both KenPom and RPI a season ago after all. However, this is not a team that Marquette should sleep on. They bring back almost their entire roster, including all five starters, and have one of the best pure scorers in all of college basketball. A few months ago, Paint Touches picked Howard as the MEAC champion in our Way Too Early Bracketology. Joey Brackets than copied us a few months later and made the same pick. Here is everything you need to know about the presumptive MEAC champions.
Probable Starters (15-16 stats):
PG: Ausar Madison: 5-9 150 lb RSJR PG: 5.1 mpg, 0.3 ppg, 0.1 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.4 tpg, .000 FG%, .000 3P% (Only appeared in 8 games)
SG: J.T. Miller: 6-4 185 RSJR SG: 27.6 mpg, 15.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.8 tpg, .500 FG%, .333 3P%
SF: Damon Collins: 6-6 190 lb SR SG: 33.1 mpg, 10.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.2 bpg, 2.5 tpg, .375 FG%, .220 3P%
PF: Tyler Stone: 6-7 205 lb SR SF: 26.0 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 1.5 tpg, .382 FG%, .194 3P%
C: Marcel Boyd: 6-10 250 lb SR C: 31.3 mpg, 10.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.4 spg, 1.5 bpg, 2.4 tpg, .529 FG%, .000 3P%
Solomon Mangham: 6-7 230 lb SR SF
Dalique Mingo: 6-2 200 lb JR SG
Charles Williams: 6-4 170 lb FR SG
Michael Obindu: 6-8 230 lb SO PF
Kofi Andoh: 6-4 195 lb SR SG
Jalen Jones: 6-3 200 lb RSSO SG
Cameron Lewis: 6-8 220 lb SO PF
Kai Tease: 6-0 175 lb FR PG
Chuck Smith: 5-10 180 lb SR PG
Nate Garvey: 6-4 170 lb FR SG
Ibrahim Dosunmu: 6-7 200 lb FR SF
Henry Odunze: 6-9 215 lb FR PF
James Daniel: 6-0 175 lb SR PG (Injured)
Prince Okoroh: 6-5 225 lb RSSR SF (Redshirt?)
- There is one player that everyone automatically starts talking about when the Howard Bison are brought up, James Daniel. What you see in his stat line above is not a typo. Daniel did average 27.1 points per game, which was good for the title of top score in all of division one. Not only was he the top scorer, but he had the highest scoring average by over two points per game over the much better known Buddy Heild who was the second highest. His scoring ability earned Daniel MEAC Player of the Year. Unfortunately for the Bison, Daniel will not be playing in Milwaukee. Their senior stud suffered a high ankle sprain in practice and is expected to miss about a month.
- Daniel’s injury has revealed a glaring weakness in the Howard lineup. Apparently, the only other player capable of running the point is Ausar Madison. Madison is a fourth year walk on for Howard. Last season he only appeared in 8 games and failed to make a single FG in his allotted garbage minutes. Despite this, he got the start in Howard’s opener against Michigan and tallied 21 minutes. His FG drought continued as he put up a goose egg in points, but he did manage 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal. It seems unlikely that Madison suddenly improved over the offseason. This is likely the result of other guards not having the confidence or skillset to run the point.
- One reason for optimism amongst Howard fans is the return of J.T. Miller. Miller was the second highest scorer for the Bison with 15.0 ppg before injuring himself in the fifth game of the season. Unlike his running mate Daniel, Miller gets his buckets a lot more efficiently. He has an outside shot but his preference is to use speed and strength to will himself to the basket. In his last full season, he was top in the conference for both 2P FG% and True Shooting %.
- Not many MEAC teams can boast about having an aircraft carrier in the middle of their defense. Howard has Maryland native Marcel Boyd. Boyd was a double double machine last season, tallying 11 of them last season. In fact, his per game average was pretty much a double double with 10.4 ppg, and 9.9 rpg. Amazingly, his rebounding was only good for 2nd in the league but he was a force on both the offensive and defensive glass. Officiating could play a big role in this game as Boyd was both top 10 in conference in drawing fouls and committing them.
- Howard started off their season with an 18-point loss to future Marquette opponent, Michigan. The game was a lot more competitive than one would think. Howard held Michigan scoreless for the first 5 minutes and was only down 5 with 12 minutes left in the game. Michigan’s John Beilein described Howard’s defense as “an aggressive matchup zone” that he couldn’t remember seeing before. Howard had a better shooting night than Michigan and matched them on the boards. Where Michigan took advantage was turnovers. The Bison gave the ball away 17 times, including 9 Michigan steals. Howard could only manage 1 steal of their own.
- A question mark on Howard’s roster is the presence of Prince Okoroh. As a junior, Okoroh was the second best player for Howard (behind Daniel) during the 13-14 season. He left the team for personal reasons despite having one year of eligibility. It is two years later and Okoroh has returned to the roster. Howard’s website mentions that Okoroh left and came back but offered no reason for the departure or whether or not he is active this season. He did not make an appearance against Michigan. If he is back on the roster, that gives Howard another experienced scorer and will make them the consensus early pick for the MEAC crown.
- Howard freshman Ibrahim Dosunmu is the cousin of 2018 Marquette target Ayo Dosunmu.
During the offseason, Paint Touches circled this game as one to be wary of. It had all the makings of a trap game. Low major opponent, sub 300 RPI last season, and wedged between two high major opponents at neutral sites, but also a senior heavy team, that should greatly improve with a dominant scorer who can take over a game. We also expected a win but knew that Howard couldn’t be taken lightly. That was before the injury to Daniel. Without their bonafide star, Howard returns to its status as a high fat cupcake. But this is the good kind of high fat cupcake. Daniel should return in plenty of time for MEAC play. They should end up with double digit wins and are a favorite to earn the automatic berth from the MEAC. So Marquette will get all that high fat flavor with a more low fat effect on their RPI. Marquette fans got to see what Wojo’s swarming man defense looks like against a team with no true PG (Vanderbilt). Imagine what they can do against a team with no true PG and less talent around him. Forcing 25+ turnovers is not outside the realm of possibility for this game. Expect Carter, Howard, and Rowsey to be harassing Ausar Madison anytime he has the ball. Luke and Heldt will have a true test trying to contain double double machine Marcel Boyd. After Luke’s domination of Luke Kornet, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Expect the walk-ons to get some time in this one.