#69 Marquette Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Marquette Golden Eagles
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #69
Conference Rank: #8 Big East
Marquette had some good non-conference wins last year, knocking off the likes of LSU, Arizona State and Wisconsin. However, the Big East proved to be too tough for the Golden Eagles and they finished 8-10 in conference play and missed the postseason. But that was a young team and there is plenty of hope for a better 2016-2017 campaign. Luke Fischer will carry a heavy burden in the frontcourt. He is the team’s top returning scorer at 12.1 points per game and rebounding at 6.2. Fischer is a consistent scorer in the paint, but he will need help on the glass and this team may not be able to provide it.
2015-16 Record: 20-13, 8-10
2015-16 Postseason: none
Coach: Steve Wojciechowski
Coach Record: 33-32 at Marquette, 33-32 overall
Who’s Out:
The reason for the concerns on the glass is because of the departure of Henry Ellenson. He led the team with 17.0 points and 9.7 rebounds as a freshman and was drafted 18th overall in the NBA Draft. Ellenson did a lot for this team and Coach Steve Wojciechowski will need to change how his offense and defense operates without Ellenson. Also gone is Wally Ellenson, who averaged 1.9 points per game and little used Michael Mache.
Who’s In:
The Golden Eagles bring in two experienced transfers and a couple of very promising freshmen. Katin Reinhardt, a graduate transfer from USC, gives the team some more size on the perimeter. With the Trojans last year, the 6-6 guard started 18 games and averaged 11.4 points. Two years ago he led the Trojans with 12.5 points per game. With his size and Marquette’s likelihood of running with a smaller lineup, Reinhardt could spend some time at the four spot. However, he is not much of a rebounder. The other experienced newcomer is Andrew Rowsey, a transfer from UNC-Asheville. He is a very good shooter from everywhere on the floor and the 5-11 junior averaged 19.2 points per game as a sophomore and 20.3 points as a freshman. He may not be able to do that much damage as a 5-11 guard in the Big East, but he can still knock down shots. Markus Howard had a great prep career and is a consensus top 100 recruit. He finished his prep career averaging 18.6 points and 3.4 assists. Sam Hauser is another big time recruit. The 6-6 guard also has the size to play in the four spot if needed.  
Who to Watch:
With Haanif Cheatham, Duane Wilson, Jajuan Johnson and Traci Carter, it is understandable why Marquette may play four guards around Fischer. Cheatham is a talented combo guard who had a very promising freshman season. He averaged 11.8 points and 2.2 rebounds. He is a decent outside shooter, but Cheatham will do more damage using his 6-5 frame to attack the basket. Wilson, a 6-2 junior, was a part-time starter and the team’s most prolific three-point shooter. On the year he averaged 11.6 points per game. Johnson is the senior leader on the perimeter. The 6-5 wing averaged 10.2 points and is ready for a bigger senior season. With more improvement from his outside shot, Johnson could turn into the top scorer on the team. Carter is a quick point guard who had a very good freshman year. He is not going to be a major scoring threat, but Carter dished out 4.6 assists as a freshman. This is a team that desperately needs ball handlers. The team committed way too many turnovers last season and that could be an even bigger problem if the Golden Eagles use their smaller lineup to get up and down the floor quicker this season.
Final Projection:
Turnovers and rebounding are going to be the two areas where Marquette could falter this year. Sandy Cohen and Matt Heldt will have to provide some quality minutes when Coach Wojciechowski needs to play bigger. Cohen is just 6-6, but he can be a solid rebounder from the small forward position. However, he will see most of his time at the power forward spot. Heldt is a big 6-10, 245 pound center. He barely saw the floor as a freshman, but he is ready for a bigger role. He will be Fischer’s primary backup. Yet that does not mean all of the 6-5, 6-6 and 6-7 guards or forwards are strong enough on the glass to play beside Fischer. When a team plays smaller, they tend to play faster and that is not good for Marquette’s turnover issue. The team will often shoot more three-pointers as well. That may not be a big issue for this team, but after making very few three-pointers last year, it is a big change and Marquette may not have all of the weapons they need to make those changes and improve enough to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Traci Carter, Sophomore, Guard, 5.4 points per game
Duane Wilson, Junior, Guard, 11.6 points per game
Jajuan Johnson, Senior, Guard, 10.2 points per game
Haanif Cheatham, Sophomore, Guard, 11.8 points per game
Luke Fischer, Senior, Center, 12.1 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.3 (95th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.2 (237, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (42, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.7 (129, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (281, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (212, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.6 (68, 5)
Rebound Margin: 0.0 (190, 8)
Assists Per Game: 16.2 (29, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.7 (322, 8)
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#67 Markus Howard
#85 Brendan Bailey
#115 Sam Hauser