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Cardiac Hill Big East Basketball Preview: Marquette Golden Eagles

Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE

Returnees: Marquette lost two very important pieces to their program, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, who were among the best players in the league the past few seasons. Buzz Williams has picked up nicely where Tom Crean left off and Marquette still builds teams around athletic guards, and junior college transfers.

Marquette has one of the best backcourts in the Big East. Junior Cadougan is a veteran that should handle the point guard responsibilities. Vander Blue and Todd Mayo are bigger guards, and both will start for the Golden Eagles. Blue came in as one of the most heralded recruits in school history, but has not been a big time scorer yet. That could change this season. Mayo had a good freshman season and will be the team's best shooting option. DaVante Gardner and Jamil Wilson should man the inside spots. Gardner is a big man weighing at a 290 pounds, and he must improve his rebounding. Wilson has a good defensive presence in the shot blocking department. Chris Otule will also return and he started the first few games of the season before tearing his ACL.

Newcomers: Trent Lockett is coming over from Arizona State. Lockett is a 6-5 scoring wing that averaged 13 points per game before transferring. He will certainly see plenty of minutes for coach Williams. Two new freshmen will also be joining the program. Steve Taylor will have a tough time cracking the lineup, but should see some time at the forward spot before the season is over. Jamal Ferguson is a Marquette type wing that can slash and play defense, he should see some time as well.

Final Outlook: Marquette always wins with an undersized and athletic group. Buzz Williams has just that in this year's players. They may take a while to figure out roles, but Marquette will be a tough squad to deal with late in the season. Expect the Golden Eagles to head back to the Big Dance.

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