It's the eve of the 2011-12 season, which means it's again time for the Cracked Sidewalks staff to take a turn at prognosticating what the new season of Marquette basketball has in store for us. Before we get on with the annual event, we can turn back the clock to predictions of the past.
2006-07 CS staff said 23.8-7.2 (9.8-6.2); actual record 23-8 (10-6)
2007-08 CS staff said 23.2-6.8 (12.5-5.5); actual record 22-8 (11-7)
2008-09 CS staff said 23-8 (11.4-6.6); actual record 23-8 (12-6)
2009-10 CS staff said 16.5-13.5 (7.8-10.2); actual record 20-10 (11-7)
2010-11 CS staff said 21.2-9.8 (11.1-6.9); actual record 18-13 (9-9)
After three years of picking within about a game of what MU would do, we were 3.5 games under the actual two years ago and 3.2 games over the actual last year. Here's hoping for a return to form this year. Let's get on to the predictions!
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Rob: Holy crap! Did I just predict MU going 24-7 and 13-5 in conference? That set of predictions scares me for two reasons. #1 - I am one of the least accurate forecasters on the CS squad. #2 - My outlook for the year is wildly optimistic and yet based on nothing. However, I'll stand by it. This is the year Marquette breaks through. And if they don't, I'll just become bitter and angry. Cheers!
Tim: I am more bullish on this team than I realized. My primary reason for the optimism is experience. Heading into last season the Warriors were one of the Big East's least experienced teams, and that played itself out with some maddening inconsistency in key spots. This year, however, MU is loaded with proven veteran talent and has the added benefit of depth from a promising group of underclassmen. I worry about the defense A LOT given Buzz's inability to find a scheme that works and coach to it (can we PLEASE stop pressing the ball tightly 35 feet away from the hoop?!). But in the end this team has terrific talent, a wealth of experience, and a schedule that sets up well for a 23-win season.
Kevin: Do you recall our 9-9 team last year? Or the whopping 3 BE road wins, 2 of which were cellar-dweller teams? And remember that guy, Jimmy Something, that NBA 1st rounder who won't be playing for us this year? I do. We have some new talent to figure out how to use, Buzz will be one year better, and that will help. MU winst he cupcakes, plus the PJam. Lose to bucky because it's at the Hole and no one ever wins there. Washington will be the big deal, but I don't think we're up for that challenge. The BE season is simple. We defend the home court, losing 1, and lose 7 on the road. That's 10-8, a game better than last year.
John: Don't know why, I just have this bad feeling about the Drake game. I think we are going to be enjoying the trip too much, roll up a huge first round win in the Paradise Jam, and then get shocked at how good their defense is and drop one.
James: Defense is still a huge concern of mine and has been for several years. The Big East will take a step back, which helps. It would be an upset if we don't win the Paradise Jam. PG play is still critical in my opinion. JC had some good games in the back half of the season, that development must continue. DJO and Crowder need to be strong leaders. What does Jamil Wilson bring after a year off? Can Vander Blue become a consistent player? I've got the boys 12-6 in the conference, which is a big improvement from last year. Might be too optimistic, but I'm sure not optimistic enough for some.
Alan: I'm sure I'm being overly optimistic, but our schedule sets up really well. We're clearly the best team in the Paradise Jam. We should beat Washington, LSU, and all the cupcakes (though some are pretty good), and we get the advantage of playing Vandy at home. But for some reason, I feel we'll slip up in one more non-con outside of Wisconsin. The Big East slate also lines up very well. I think for all the initial worry about having Georgetown and Villanova as mirror games, those are a lot more daunting in name than they might be on the court this year. I really think we should be a top-4 team.
Dr. Blackheart: MU is stronger than most pundits have them rated, as Jamil Wilson is a forgotten top talent. Of the Pomeroy Top 100 offensively efficient players this last season, 70% were upperclassmen, and MU should start all academic upperclassmen (counting Jamil Wilson's redshirt). This could be an Elite 8 team if the depth develops. What I like about our depth is it provides different match-up looks -- defense, length, scoring, inside-outside, fouls to give. DJO will have a stud year as he is protected by two other inside-outside scorers. The key piece is Junior as the floor general we lacked at crunch time last season. If he steps up big, watch out as we will finally be able to close out the nail-biters. In Pomeroy, Luck is influenced by Experience. Expected Outcome: Lucky.