Marquette has Sweet 16 potential

The Golden Eagles lose key contributors but will still be dancing in March

Updated: September 11, 2012, 11:02 AM ET
By Greg Rosenstein, Dave Telep and Joe Lunardi | ESPN Insider
Buzz WilliamsChris Trotman/Getty ImagesBuzz Williams will have to get creative to replace Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom.

Leading up to Midnight Madness in October, ESPN Insider's "Countdown to Madness" series is previewing the top five seeds in each of the four regions in Joe Lunardi's preseason 2013 NCAA bracket. To read all of the team previews as they are published, click here. This is the entry for the Marquette Golden Eagles, No. 5 in the West (Los Angeles).

The key: Balance and depth

Stat to know: 256

Marquette's offense last year relied heavily on the ability of seniors Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, who averaged a combined 36 points per game. Both players scored more than 600 points for the Golden Eagles in 2011-2012. The third-highest scorer? Forward Davante Gardner with only 256.

Replacing that production will be a challenge this season for the Golden Eagles, but assistant coach Brad Autry believes the strength of the 2012-13 squad will be its balance.

"When you have a variety of guys who can score in a variety of ways, it makes it hard to figure out how to stop a team," Autry said. "I think it's going to be a different guy every night. It's not going to be one person; it's going to be us. Not just Darius or not just Jae.

"Obviously there are going to be times where someone is going to need to get 20 [points] or grab 15 rebounds, but it will be a combination of our entire team taking over those roles."


To read the full 2012-13 Marquette preview, including the Golden Eagles' season outlook from Joe Lunardi, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Joe Lunardi | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com