New Year’s Resolutions: Marquette Golden Eagles

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Over the course of the holiday week, we at College Basketball Talk will be detailing what we believe will be the New Year’s Resolutions of some of the nation’s most talented, most disappointing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams. What can we say, we’re in a giving mood.

Who else made Resolutions? Click here to find out.

WHAT DOES MARQUETTE PROMISE TO DO MORE OF?: Get more consistent production from their backcourt.

  • Why it will happen: Junior point guard Derrick Wilson is a fine defender and distributor and senior Jake Thomas is the team’s best shooter, but neither of them have the capability to be well-rounded offensive threats like junior Todd Mayo and freshman point guard Duane Wilson (no relation to Derrick) — who is practicing with the team after returning from a leg injury. The debut of Duane Wilson and more consistent playing time for Mayo should help the Golden Eagles’ offense immensely.
  • Why it won’t happen: Asking Duane Wilson to run an offense after returning from injury, and nearing Big East play, is an awful lot to ask of a freshman point guard and Mayo — who, during the course of his Marquette career, has been sent home to West Virginia, ruled academically ineligible for first semester last season, and suspended for the Wisconsin game this season — has too many strikes on his resume to be counted on to consistently stay on the floor and produce.

WHAT DOES MARQUETTE SWEAR THEY WILL DO LESS OF?: Go for prolonged scoring droughts.

  • Why it will happen: Besides the return of Duane Wilson, sophomore forward Steve Taylor is finally getting healthy following complications from off-season knee surgery and the Golden Eagles should have better luck finding lineups that gel together on the offensive end. Jamil Wilson, Davante Gardner and Todd Mayo are all capable scorers, but for whatever reason, head coach Buzz Williams has found difficulty getting multiple scorers rolling at the same time during some games this season. As the season wears on, Williams will figure out his most potent offensive lineup when he needs points and he’ll have more pieces to work with — like a healthy Wilson and Taylor — going forward.
  • Why it won’t happen: The Golden Eagles have been held under 60 points three times this season — including 35 points in an ugly home loss to Ohio State — and the team lacks the perimeter shooters to space the floor for their interior scorers and perimeter drivers to flourish. Marquette shot 29 percent from beyond the three-point line last season and this season that number has stayed nearly the same (30 percent) as senior Jake Thomas is their only player above 34 percent from distance. Despite the poor perimeter shooting, the Golden Eagles still made the Elite Eight last season, but they lost three of their top five scorers from last season in Vander Blue, Junior Cadougen and Trent Lockett and didn’t replace them with much scoring punch.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.