How did MU perform according to expectations?

Marquette Men's Basketball

Photo by Ryan Messier/Paint Touches

A few days before the season tipped off, we rounded up all of the predictions we could find that related to how Marquette would perform in the 2016-’17 season. It’s important to gauge the actual results against what was expected of the team in order to better measure the overall accomplishments of the season. 

And it turns out Marquette surpassed it’s expectations and then some finishing in a tie for 3rd, in the Big East (4th with all the tiebreakers) and at No. 31 in KenPom, No. 32 in Sagarin, and No. 32 in T-Rank. Let’s go through some of these predictions individually.

Sports Illustrated

Expectation: 51st (7th in BEast)
Actual: 31/32 (4th in BEast)

SI’s projections are a great tool because they not only give you the predicted finish and a blurb, they break down what their computer model projects for each individual player. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s a “good” projection, per se, as we and others had complaints about it in real time. Any system that projected Jajuan Johnson to average fewer point, volume and minutes from the year before had no idea what this team was going to look like. But aside from that, it’s really insightful to get an objective gauge. 

And now here are the actual results:

Name PPG RPG APG Ortg Volume Mins
Jajuan Johnson 12 4.1 2.7       105.0 24.6 62.7
Markus Howard 13.2 2.2 2.3       118.6 25.4 53.0
Luke Fischer 10.9 5.9 1.2       124.5 20.5 59.8
Katin Reinhardt 10.8 2.7 2.1       110.7 20.8 58.3
Andrew Rowsey 11.6 1.8 2.3       126.7 23.1 51.9
Haanif Cheatham 8.7 3.8 2.2       106.7 19.0 63.4
Duane Wilson 4.8 1.8 1.8       101.7 17.1 38.3
Sam Hauser 8.8 5 1.3       127.8 13.6 65.9

As you can see, the projections aren’t awful compared to the results for cases like Fischer, Rowsey and Reinhardt. But they were WAY off on Cheatham, Howard, and Hauser. Some of those balanced out, but nothing can substitute the lift Howard’s proficiency and efficiency provided. As such, Marquette over-performed SI’s expectations by almost 20 spots.    

CBS Sports

Expected: 49th (7th in BEast)
Actual: 31/32 (4th in BEast)

MU ranked 344th out of 351 teams in terms of minutes played at the college level heading into last season. They’re older now, but still don’t have enough seniors — old, hardened veterans — to push them to the top four in the conference.

Good thing they had freshmen who were hell good. 

NBC Sports

Expected: (7th in BEast)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

The Golden Eagles have a deep perimeter with Duane Wilson, Jujuan Johnson, Traci Carter, Sandy Cohen III and Haanif Cheatham being joined by Andrew Rowsey, Katin Reinhardt and Markus Howard. Ellenson leaving leaves a void in the rebounding department, and I’m not sure the new additions fix the turnover problems.

Not mentioned in the blurb, Sam Hauser, probably the most important player on the team and the leader in DRebounding rate. 


Expected: 47th (7th in BEast)
Actual: 31st (4th in BEast)

FOX Sports

Expected: (7th in BEast)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Marquette outplay this predicted finish, as they do have plenty of offensive weapons.

That was pretty spot on, to be honest. 

Jeff Sagarin

Expected: 68th
Actual: 32nd


Expected: (8th in Big East)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

Marquette might be a year away from ending its three-year NCAA tournament drought.


Expected: (6th in BEast)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

The Golden Eagles have the best incoming freshman class in the conference and a key transfer in UNLV’s Katin Reinhardt, but are still likely a season away from being a legitimate threat to the top of the conference.

Again, pretty spot on, minus the being a year away thing.


Expected: (5th in Big East)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

An impressive freshman class, led by four-star power forward Brendan Bailey, should have Marquette fans excited about the future.

The most bullish forecast of the bunch didn’t realize Bailey wouldn’t be on campus until 2018. 

The makeup of the roster indicates that the Golden Eagles will rely heavily on hitting 3-pointers, which is always a risky proposition.

But they had MU pegged very, very well. 

USA Today

Expected: (8th in BEast)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

However, for Marquette to see the overall improvement coach Steve Wojciechowski craves, senior Luke Fischer, the lone experienced frontcourt player, will have to stay out of foul trouble.

Or just be the best shooting team in the country. 

Barstool Sports

Expected: (5th in BEast)
Actual: (4th in BEast)

I was bullish on them last year as I expected Henry Ellenson to dominate a little bit more for this team to be successful. However, they all have a year under their belts as Haanif Cheatham should be more consistent this year. Look for him and Luke Fischer to run a lot of two-man game.

Analysis was off, but the results were right on.

Team Rankings

Expected: 38th (5th in BEast)
Actual: 29th (4th in BEast)

I added them in thanks to a note from David Hess on Twitter. The best projection I found, by far.

In sum, Marquette beat the expectations of every single outlet’s prediction. The season ended on a bit of a sour note against South Carolina, but this team overachieved for the season as a whole. 

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Categories: Analysis, Offseason


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