Today Yoco Hoops' Yoni Cohen offers a preview of the expanded Big East. With regards to MU, Cohen remarks that "With the exception of Steve Novak and Joe Chapman, the cupboard is all but bare at Marquette". Later he wonders, "Is Marquette's incoming class, purported to be among the top 15 nationally, as good as advertised? Or will Tom Crean's 2003 Final Four seem a decade away at season's end?"
To sum it up, Cohen calls for a Down Year at MU:
"Marquette: The Golden Eagles struggled mightily after Travis Diener suffered a season ending injury. Without Diener and third leading scorer Dameon Mason, no amount of impact freshmen will enable Tom Crean to avoid another disappointing season."
Certainly it's low-hanging fruit to figure that a team which lost its three best players might struggle. Of course, MU does have a tremendous influx of new, high-ceiling talent into the program that is largely ignored in the FoxSports final analysis.
Let's see which teams were ignored when it came to selecting the 'down year' team nominee:
- Seton Hall: Strangely, FoxSports refers to 'Justin' as a point guard for the Hall -- yet Justin Cerasoli transferred out of Seton Hall months ago. Hmmmm. The Hall lost four starters from a squad that finished 4-12 in the Big East last season.
- DePaul, which lost its top two scorers and its best perimeter defender.
- USF, which struggled mightily last season and lost its top three scorers.
- Providence. The Friars lost their best player, Ryan Gomes, after a very disappointing season. They do return a solid (though not deep) backcourt in McGrath and Brewington. However, the Friars endured three transfers in the off-season and have no interior threats.
Will MU have a .500 record in the Big East this year? Probably not, but the trajectory of the program looks good when one realizes that the best talent in the program are all freshman and sophomores.
Down year? Nah.
Transition year -- definitely. Perhaps its just a matter of perspective.
Take a look here.