In Big East play last year Marquette had the top player (Jae Crowder, 2nd in the country 11.12% Value Add at www.valueaddbasketball.com) and the best duo (combined with Darius Johnson-Odom a 16.38 Value Add). Based on 2013 preseason Value Adds Marquette will only have the best player on the court 3 times in Big East play, vs. DePaul Feb. 3, at Villanova Feb. 23 and at Rutgers March 5. The following is a comparison of where Marquette's top 3 players rank vs. the top 3 from each Big East opponent:
|Date||Opponent||Rnk||Best Player||Ft||In||Rnk||2nd Best Player||Ft||In||Rnk||3rd Best Player||Ft||In|
|Marquette||158||Gardner, Davante||6||8||317||Wilson, Jamil||6||7||327||Blue, Vander||6||4|
|1-Jan||Connecticut||20||Napier, Shabazz||6||0||110||Boatright, Ryan||6||0||205||Daniels, DeAndre||6||8|
|5-Jan||Georgetown||4||Porter, Otto||6||8||297||Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes||6||3||450||Trawick, Jabril||6||5|
|12-Jan||at Pittsburgh||37||Patterson, Lamar||6||5||61||Adams, Steven||6||10||271||Woodall, Tray||5||11|
|16-Jan||Seton Hall||57||Edwin, Fuquan||6||6||540||Cosby, Aaron||6||3||584||Auda, Patrik||6||9|
|19-Jan||at Cincinnati||55||Wright, Cashmere||6||0||392||Rubles, Titus||6||8||499||Parker, Jaquon||6||3|
|26-Jan||Providence||48||Henton, LaDontae||6||6||117||Cotton, Bryce||6||1||118||Ledo, Ricardo||6||5|
|28-Jan||South Florida||114||Collins, Anthony||6||1||194||Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn||6||8||356||Austin, Waverly||6||11|
|3-Feb||at Louisville||18||Dieng, Gorgui||6||10||59||Behanan, Chane||6||7||208||Smith, Russ||6||0|
|6-Feb||at South Florida||114||Collins, Anthony||6||1||194||Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn||6||8||356||Austin, Waverly||6||11|
|9-Feb||DePaul||246||Young, Brandon||6||3||345||Crockett, Jamee||6||4||815||Melvin, Cleveland||6||8|
|11-Feb||at Georgetown||4||Porter, Otto||6||8||297||Smith-Rivera, D'Vauntes||6||3||450||Trawick, Jabril||6||5|
|16-Feb||Pittsburgh||37||Patterson, Lamar||6||5||61||Adams, Steven||6||10||271||Woodall, Tray||5||11|
|19-Feb||at Seton Hall||57||Edwin, Fuquan||6||6||540||Cosby, Aaron||6||3||584||Auda, Patrik||6||9|
|23-Feb||at Villanova||250||Yarou, Mouphtaou||6||10||403||Ochefu, Daniel||6||10||478||Bell, James||6||6|
|25-Feb||Syracuse||69||Fair, CJ||6||8||173||Southerland, James||6||8||254||Triche, Brandon||6||4|
|2-Mar||Notre Dame||19||Cooley, Jack||6||9||50||Grant, Jerian||6||5||152||Connaughton, Pat||6||5|
|5-Mar||at Rutgers||207||Miller, Dane||6||6||217||Mack, Myles||5||9||259||Seagears, Jerome||6||1|
|9-Mar||at St. John's||33||Harrison, D'Angelo||6||3||333||Sanchez, Orlando||6||9||484||Pointer, Sir'Dominic||6||6|
The following is how Marquette's top player (Gardner) ranks among the Conferences top players, etc, then all the way down the list until Jamal Ferguson projects as the best No. 10 player and Lockett as the best No. 11 player and obviously potentially much higher.
|Rnk||MU player||Ft||In||Compared to other BE|
|158||Gardner, Davante||6||8||11 BE teams have better No. 1|
|317||Wilson, Jamil||6||7||9 have better No. 2|
|327||Blue, Vander||6||4||7 have better No. 3|
|463||Mayo, Todd||6||3||7 have better No. 4|
|531||Cadougan, Junior||6||1||5 have better No. 5|
|613||Anderson, Juan||6||6||5 have better No. 6|
|688||Otule, Chris||6||11||4 have better No. 7|
|848||Taylor, Steve||6||7||4 have better No. 8|
|951||Thomas, Jake||6||3||2 have better No. 9|
|979||Ferguson, Jamal||6||3||0 have better No. 10|
|1062||Lockett, Trent||6||4||0 have better No. 11|
|1323||Wilson, Derrick||6||0||5 have better No. 12|
MU would be an underdog against national contender Louisville even at home, so having them as one of the 9 road games is better than a team where home court might make the difference. There are 6 conference foes who would be close enough to MU in the rankings that the home court would determine the rankings, and MU gets all 6 of them at home (Providence, Pitt, ND, Syracuse, Georgetown and UConn), though they do also play at Georgetown and Pitt for possibly the only games besides Louisville in which MU would be the projected underdog. You always expect a couple of upsets at least, but based just on who is favored MU would have a 15-3 edge though admittedly at Rutgers would be a close call.
Please don't accuse me of predicting a 15-3 finish. Even if MU was given an 80% chance of winning each of those 15 games, that means they would probably be upset 3 times so a 12-6 mark might be a more reasonable goal even assuming the team can gel and have a lot of people step up to make up for DJO and Jae being gone, but flipping the schedule might have made MU an underdog in 6 or 7 games, so the schedule creates a very high ceiling of what is possible.
While a prohibitive favorite in the conference this year, Louisville did not get a good draw and could be underdogs at Georgetown, Notre Dame, Syracuse and perhaps even UConn - who will treat that visit as their national championship.
So while it is certainly possible to see Marquette finish as low as 7th, their balance and a very favorable schedule makes it quite possible they could finish as high as 2nd and not impossible that they could contend for the title though a likely double digit loss at Louisville would give the Cardinals the tie-breaker.
Here is where each Big East team ranks nationally right now on Value Add.