Breaking down the pre-season AP: #s16-20

images33A quick glance at the Golden Eagles’ starting lineup could raise a few eyebrows. First year coach, Buzz Williams, will start four seniors and one junior. Of those starters senior forward, Dwight Burke, is the tallest at 6’8”. Yes, Marquette will create match-up problems for themselves and opponents.
Seniors, Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews return for the Eagles’ back court. All three averaged double figures for a team that lost by one to Stanford in the second round of last year’s NCAA tourney.

James is kind of an enigma. After averaging 15 points and 5 assists during his freshman campaign the point guard has seen his game and numbers go in the wrong direction. At times last year the Richmond, Indiana native looked unhappy and unmotivated. Don’t be surprised if James excels with Williams moving from assistant to the head coaching position. Maybe the reins will be loosened.
Usually teams that press don’t do well in March, but the Golden Eagles could be an exception to the rule. They have an experienced team, and Williams could incorporate a variety of defenses that keep opponents off-balance.

Junior, Lazar Hayward, should start in the front court. Maurice Acker and David Cubillan, a pair of junior guards, will see plenty of time off the bench.

Along with a rugged Big East schedule (six teams in the AP’s pre-season top 25) Marquette’s non-conference schedule includes match ups with Dayton 11/29, Central Michigan 12/2, Wisconsin 12/6, Tennessee 12/16, and NC State 12/22.

images34Beware the Hurricanes! Folks in Durham and Chapel Hill – heed my warning!!! Head Coach, Frank Haith, returns for his fifth season with a starting lineup that includes three seniors and two juniors. Miami gave Texas all they could handle in the second round of last year’s Dance. Those players return experienced and ready to go.

Lance Hurdle, Jack McClinton, and James Dews return in the back court. McClinton averaged almost 18 ppg last season including 42.7% from behind the arc and 91.9% from the charity stripe. Dews threw in 10 ppg.

Dwayne Collins and Jimmy Graham will start in the front court. Both measure in at 6’8” and are active on the boards. They combined for eleven boards per game – making it difficult for teams like UNC to establish a rebound and outlet game.

6’7” senior, Brian Asbury, and freshman, DeQuan Jones will be a big part of Haith’s rotation.

images35Now that the distraction known as O.J. Mayo has moved on to the N.B.A., it will be interesting to see if fourth-year head coach, Tim Floyd, can get the Trojans to play to their abilities. Many are saying the Pac-10 will be down this year. I’ll believe it when I see it. Teams like Washington St. and Washington will not beat themselves.

6’9” junior, Taj Gibson, should benefit the most from Mayo’s departure. At times last year the Trojans looked constipated on offense and Gibson struggled to get into the flow of the game.

Gibson will be joined in the front court by freshman, DeMar DeRozan and sophomore, Kasey Cunningham. But the Trojans have plenty of size on the bench – ‘610” senior, Keith Wilkinson will provide muscle as will 7’ Mamadou Diarra and Leonard Washington.

Juniors, Daniel Hackett and Dwight Lewis will run the back court. The duo averaged a combined 19 points per game last season.

images36As long as Billy Donovan stays in Gainesville, the Gators cannot be overlooked. But even Donovan will be taxed this year as his eight-man rotation will include two freshmen and four sophomores. The Gators will make their share of mistakes, but should be able to muddle their way through the SEC schedule.

Walter Hodge is the lone senior in the starting lineup. Last year the 6’ guard averaged 10 points and just under three assists per game.

Sophomores, Nick Calathes, Jai Lucas, and Alex Tyus join Hodge. Donovan has expressed his dissatisfaction from time to time with this group. While they can put numbers on their board – combined for 28 per game – they lacked commitment on the defensive end.

6’8” Dan Werner completes the starting five.

Chandler Parsons, Eloy Vargas, and Kenny Kadji will log plenty of minutes. Donovan is high on Kadji and Vargas – a pair of true freshmen.

images38The NCAA has moved the three-point arc back a foot, but that won’t slow Stephen Curry. If anything the twelve inches will create more space inside for the Wildcats to manipulate.

Curry averaged almost 26 ppg last year while leading Davidson to the Elite Eight. Despite everyone in the gym knowing who was going to shoot for the Wildcats, Curry dropped buckets at a dizzying pace.

If Bob McKillop’s team is to repeat, they will need contributions from the foot soldiers.

Andrew Lovedale averaged six points and 5 boards per game last year. He’ll be joined in the front court by Stephen Rossiter. William Archambault will provide minutes off the bench.

Max Gosselin and Bryant Barr return to the back court.

6’10” freshman, Frank Ben-Eze, could prove a perfect complement to Curry. As defenses extend the true freshman will need to take advantage of one-on-one coverage in the paint.

Brendan McKillop, the coach’s son, will be a valuable in the Wildcat rotation.

5 Responses to "Breaking down the pre-season AP: #s16-20"

  1. Smitty   November 16, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Does that mean that by leaving the Trojans, O.J. Mayo became Metamucil??

    I think that Miami Hurricane team is going to wreck some havoc in the ACC this year.. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels better beware on their trips Miami this year.

    It will be interesting to see the impact that the moving of the 3 point line will have in the college game. Actually this is a big rule change – why hasn’t this gotten more press? I am just curious because the 3 pointer has had a huge role in the college game and this is going to weed out a few of those “pretend” 3 point shooters.

  2. Casey   November 16, 2008 at 8:31 pm


    OJ Mayo as metamucil? I am fine with that image.

    Duke gets lucky. They do not travel to Miami this summer. The Heels and ‘Canes play twice.

    Not my theory – but – moving back the arc could increase the overall percentage because of the reason you mention – weed out the counterfeiters. Saroney mentioned this theory about a decade ago.

    Duke escaped with a 2pt. win over Rhode Island today.

    Good News – Paulus did NOT start.

  3. Smitty   November 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Agreed – It will increase the overall percentage. But I think that where the line was created alot of excitement because anyone and anyone could step out and hit that big 3 pointer when the team needed. Like the guy who shoots 58% from the free throw line, but suddenly looks like Larry Bird when he steps behind the 3 point line.

    Certainly not saying that the change is a bad thing for the NBA. Quite the contrary. But I am interested to see how much of an affect this will have on the college game. Again – this hasn’t gotten that much pub – why?

    As for Paulus not starting – about a year too late. But I give him credit. He doesn’t appear to be complaining about it and seems to be playing hard when he is in. Getting tested early – Rhode Island never has a bad club. Isn’t Baron coaching there?

    This just in – Syracuse fires Greg Robinson.. Interesting since Lane Kiffin was interviewing at Clemson. So is Gross going after Kiffin or Gill? The watch is on and suddenly there is hope in the Land of Orange.

  4. Casey   November 16, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Jim Baron is still the coach at RI, and Jimmy Baron Jr. is still making it rain (Adam ruined that phrase). Junior dropped 8 trifectas today. RI had some big non-conference wins last year. Disappointed that game wasn’t on anywhere.

    Moving back the arc will the game. Kids who can take threes will not be bothered by the foot. But it will open the floor that much more.

  5. Casey   November 16, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Better buy your cheap SU season tickets while the price remains under $100.

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