WATCH NOW - Media Day Interview with Dwight Buycks
The Big Picture: Marquette put together a 22-12 season that ended with another NCAA appearance last March. Each of MU's five seasons in the BIG EAST has been a 20-win campaign that included a trip to the NCAA Championship. Last year, the Golden Eagle program led by coach Buzz Williams returned to the NCAAs while working with only one returning starter. This year, Williams has to find a way to replace Lazar Hayward, an NBA first-round draft choice, to maintain the 20-win and NCAA streaks.
Who's Back: The nucleus for 2010-11 starts with senior Jimmy Butler who earned All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention recognition last season. The 6-7 forward averaged 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds, which were second on the team in both categories. He also shot 53 percent from the floor. Guard Darius Johnson-Odom averaged 13.0 ppg and was second in the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting, making 47.4 percent. Point guard Junior Cadougan showed some promise after recovering from a preseason knee injury. He saw action in 12 games, but may be poised for a much bigger role in 2010-11. Senior guard Dwight Buycks may move into a full-time starter's role after averaging 6.7 points last season and starting 11 games. Senior forward Joe Fulce averaged 3.5 points and 3.1 boards while averaging 11.7 minutes per game. Other frontcourt returnees include sophomore center Chris Otule and sophomore forward Erik Williams.
Who's Missing: Hayward was among the BIG EAST leaders in several categories last season, averaging 18.1 points (6th) and 7.5 rebounds (9th). He also connected at an 84.3 percent clip from the foul line (5th) and had a steal average of 1.9 (3rd). Guards Maurice Acker (8.7) and David Cubillan (6.8) were dependable veterans who helped Marquette lead the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting. MU made 41.3 percent from beyond the arc which was fourth best in the nation.
Storylines: In league games last season, Marquette was first in the BIG EAST in scoring defense (65.6), free throw shooting (.760), 3-point defense (.304) and turnover margin (+4.39). Those numbers helped translate into an 11-7 BIG EAST mark, which included winning three straight games that went into overtime - all on the road. Overall, the Golden Eagles played 17 games that were decided by five points or less or went into overtime, easily the highest total in the league. They were 8-9 in those games. New floor leaders need to emerge as the senior trio of Hayward, Acker and Cubillan will be missed. Newcomers should get some long looks to contribute immediately. The group includes guards Vander Blue and Reggie Smith along with forwards Jamail Jones, Davante Gardner and junior college transfer Jae Crowder. Blue was a member of the USA Basketball U-18 Team.