Marquette came into the 2012-13 season having big question marks trying to replace Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder, and Big East leading scorer Darius Johnson-Odom. Many believed Marquette would struggle with their two stars leaving for the NBA but that’s not the case. The Golden Eagles have played outstanding thus far in the season and see themselves at the top of the Big East Standings and nationally ranked in this week’s poll at No. 25.
A big reason for Marquette’s success is the efficient play of Davante Gardner. The junior forward comes off the bench but has a huge impact on the game. Gardner is a big physical presence down low at 6’8 and 290 lbs. He is second on the team in scoring averaging 13.1 points per game. He leads the Big East shooting 61.5 percent from the field. He’s the leader of a great bench core for Marquette that averages 31.7 points (fourth-most in the nation) and 18.3 rebounds per contest.
Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan are the leaders of the Golden Eagles. Blue tops the team with over 31 minutes played and points scored with 13.7 per game. Cadougan is third averaging 9.1 ppg. Cadougan started Big East play by hitting a three-point buzzer beater against UConn to force the game into overtime where the Golden Eagles prevailed. He finished with 18 points and five assists.
Head Coach Buzz Williams stresses defensive effort and field goal efficiency. Marquette is 37-5 since Williams became head coach and 4-1 this year when they hold opponents to under 60 points. Since the 2008-09 season, MU has had a total of 51 games shooting over 50% from the field and holds a 48-3 record in those games. The Golden Eagles are also a fantastic free throw shooting team. In their four Big East outings Marquette is shooting .744 percent from the free throw line with 90 makes while their opponents are shooting .600 percent with only 48 makes. Marquette’s style of play gives them a chance to win in every game which is why two of their four Big East wins have come in overtime. MU also had a tough 49-48 victory against Georgetown.
Marquette has a 13-3 record and has started Big East play unbeaten at 4-0. They were unranked all year until creeping into the rankings this week. Marquette plays great at home and has won 19 straight home games and has the sixth-longest home winning streak in the nation. They look to remain unbeaten as they travel to face a tough Cincinnati team on Saturday.
Big East Power Rankings
1. Louisville 2. Syracuse 3. Marquette 4. Cincinnati 5. Georgetown 6. Notre Dame 7. Connecticut 8. Pittsburgh 9. Rutgers 10. Villanova 11. St. John’s 12. DePaul 13. Providence 14. Seton Hall 15. USF
John Cavaliere is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball and covers the Big East.