All three fall teams look like they are in prime position to contend for their respective Big East championships. Men’s soccer is a consensus national top 5 team, the women’s team is producing another year of consistency and quality, and the volleyball team is on its way up under coach Bond Shymansky.
Starting tomorrow night, we can add two more teams to that list, although their seasons don’t start for another month or so.
Marquette Madness signifies that basketball season is approaching quickly and will be up and running before we know it.
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will be on display tomorrow night at the Al McGuire Center, and while we won’t be able to learn too much from their performances, it will be nice to reacquaint ourselves with the teams and introduce ourselves to a few new faces.
On the men’s team, most people will see Trent Lockett in action for the first time. After averaging 13 points per game while playing for Arizona State over the last two seasons, can he fill the void left by Darius Johnson-Odom?
Coach Buzz Williams told John Rothstein of CBS Sports a few weeks ago that freshman Steve Taylor is the best player he’s ever recruited coming out of high school. How good can he be?
Is Chris Otule healthy and fully recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him last season, and is fellow big man Davante Gardner in better shape and poised to build on his big second half of last season?
Williams’ team presents many questions that may not be answered on Friday, but it sure will be nice to see everyone back out on the court.
For Terri Mitchell’s team, the questions are very different. The main one for me: how big of an improvement can it make coming off of last season where it was one of the Big East’s bottom teams?
Can Sarina Simmons be the leader the team needs her to be and put together a senior season that someone as talented as she is capable of? Will Katherine Plouffe be one of the Big East’s best interior players?
Who will score for this team out on the perimeter? Can McDonald’s All-American nominee and freshman guard Ashley Santos make as big of an impact as the team may need if it desires any postseason play?
We’ll find out a little bit about both teams on Friday night, but the main outcome of the evening will be that basketball is back at Marquette.
Not only that, but this is the most exciting time in recent memory for Marquette athletics. With the three fall teams experiencing the success they currently are, the return of basketball will only continue to fuel the interest in all of the teams.
With three possible Big East champions already in action, there are two teams striving for that same possibility that are about to get going. We know Buzz’s team will be able to compete, while Mitchell’s team may surprise. It all will begin Friday night at the Al McGuire Center.
Here’s to a strong end to the fall season and to an exciting start to the winter sports. Students should be ecstatic because the season just provides more opportunities see athletes competing at a level that has provided success in the past and has potential for great things going forward.