Marquette had the most exciting first couple of games in the NCAA Tournament last year, beating Davidson and Butler by a combined three points. They settled down to knock off the No. 2 Miami in the Sweet 16 before the Syracuse zone ended the Golden Eagles' season in the Elite 8. Marquette lost some guys, but also gained a few as well and should be back on their feet by the time the tournament rolls around.
Here is what you need to know about the 2014 Golden Eagles:
2013 Record: 26-9, 14-4 Big East
2013 Postseason: Lost in the Elite 8 to Syracuse
Key Additions: Duane Wilson, JaJuan Johnson, Deonte Burton, Jameel McKay (transfer)
Marquette is in an odd spot. At first glance, they lost just three players while returning a good chunk of the core that took them to the Elite Eight last year. On the other side, they lost both their starting point guard in Junior Cadougan and their leading scorer in Vander Blue.
Losing the starting point guard is one of the harder spots to fill, and it might take some time for coach Buzz Williams to find the right combination. Incoming guard Duane Wilson had a fantastic senior year in high school, leading his high school to a second straight state title while averaging 24.8 points and 5.3 assists a game.
While Duane Wilson takes time to make the transition to college hoops, many are expecting Derrick Wilson to hold the point for the time being, and barring a phenomenal step forward for Derrick it will be a temporary gig. Duane Wilson will also help fix a rather large hole in the Marquette offense -- a staggering inability to shoot the three. As a team, the Golden Eagles shot just 29.6 percent from beyond the arc, good for 324th best in college. Wilson just got done hitting 55 percent from three point land his senior season.
If he is on the floor as a three-point threat, it should help free up the rest of Marquette to do what the team did best last season: take good shots. As a team the Golden Eagles shot just a shade over 50 percent as long as they didn't stray belong the three point line, and having an actual threat should help that figure go up.
Blue made the wrong decision when he hopped on the draft board only to never hear his name called. Marquette lost some very key players in the mix, but still has the talent to make the tournament. How far they end up will probably ride on the shoulders of a couple of the freshman. For a team that has made the tournament for eight straight years, it's tough to bet against seeing Marquette in March.