Sunday’s Marquette Basketball schedule announcement brought a bit of a surprise along with it, although not because of the opponent. The Golden Eagles will be hosting Houston Baptist on Saturday, November 26th.
The surprise is that Marquette will be playing on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Given the rapid fire nature of the start of the season, where Marquette will be playing five games in 12 days, I didn’t expect them to come back with a game so quickly after the 2K Classic home game on the 22nd.
Anyway, let’s learn a thing or two about the Huskies....
Saturday, November 26th: vs Houston Baptist
2015-16 Record: 17-17
Returning Points Leader: Colter Lasher, 10.5 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Josh Ibarra, 6.6 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Colter Lasher, 2.0 apg
Final 2015-16 KenPom Ranking: #273
I’ll admit, I was surprised to find out that HBU was #273 in KenPom at the end of last season. I had expected to find out that they were lower, as it was just their eighth season as a Division 1 team. My instinct on that was correct, as 2015-16 was the only time in their eight seasons where they finished better than #314. It’s also the only time they finished with a record that wasn’t sub-.500, and yes, they needed four wins over non-D1 teams to get to 17-17.
Head coach Ron Cottrell has been at HBU since 1991, and even though they’ve been struggling since moving to Division 1, he’s earned his chance to get things going in the right direction. From 1999 through 2007, Cottrell won the Red River Athletic Conference regular season title, so he’s got his fair share of victories while coaching the Huskies.
HBU will have to weather the loss of Anthony Odunsi, who led them in scoring and assists last season. They might also have to figure out who’s going to rebound for them, as Ibarra missed the final 11 games of the season. I presume that’s due to injury, but I can’t find anything that will confirm that. The point is that the 6’11" sophomore had one of the 10 best offensive AND defensive rebounding rates in the country as a freshman and HBU lost eight of those last 11 games that he missed.
The timing of the Houston Baptist game will allow Marquette the opportunity to fit in one more game before they head to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs on December 4th, so that means we’re on pins and needles to find out what tomorrow’s announcement will be.....