The 2017-18 college basketball season is quickly approaching, and thus, we turn our attention to previewing the upcoming Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball season.
As you may have noticed, we’ve got a few new voices here on the site since the school year started. We’re going to take advantage of that and do something new for the season preview. We’ve got a stacked up list of questions about the 2017-18 campaign, and each of the new contributors to AE are going to take a crack at answering them. There will be a new question every weekday afternoon between now and the start of the season, so be sure to stop back every day to find the new one.
Onwards, then, to the question of the day:
Who is the starting five on Opening Night against Mount St. Mary's?
Ben Snider: Is there actually a Mount St. Mary’s? Like a physical mountain? I tried googling it but couldn’t find anything. Why would you name a school after a mountain that doesn’t exist? If you all could collectively ask the team that question during the game, that’d be super helpful.
Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, Sam Hauser, Ike Eke, Matt Heldt. Would not be entirely surprised if head coach Steve Wojciechowski tries to put himself in.
Pistol Brad: Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, Haanif Cheatham, Sam Hauser, and Matt Heldt should be the starting lineup for the season opener. I am guessing that Wojo will want to lean on experience at the beginning of the year until the new guys get acclimated. However, with Cheatham still knocking the rust off from his shoulder injury and Anim showing great work ethic during his redshirt year I could see Wojo giving Anim the start over Cheatham to show how he values the hard work that Anim has put in.
Besay: The three players I can 99% guarantee will be starting in the first game are Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, and Sam Hauser. Unless one of them gets injured between now and then or gets suspended (cough cough Rowsey), they will get the start against Mount St. Mary's. Matt Heldt will more than likely get the start at center as he is the only true center that's eligible to play during the first semester. Unless Wojo decides to change things up and go with a small ball lineup, Heldt will start at center. The final spot is tricky because Wojo will either have to trust a freshmen right from the get-go or go with the unproven redshirt sophomore Sacar Anim. In the scrimmage against UWM, Anim logged significant minutes with the first team so I'm tempted to say he'll round out the starting 5 for Wojo. But it's also Mount St. Mary's, so maybe Wojo will try to experiment a bit with his freshmen and give them the start. One things is for sure: this team has guys that can play multiple positions so it will be interesting how Wojo uses his players in the first game of the regular season. My final prediction is that Howard, Rowsey, Hauser, Anim, and Heldt start the first game against Mount St. Mary's.
NHammertime: Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, Haanif Cheatham, Sam Hauser, Matt Heldt. Four of these five are locks. If Cheatham heals properly from his injury, he should be the 5th guy. If not, I believe Sacar Anim would take that spot. Theo John could also be in consideration for the spot if Wojo wants to go bigger. All 3 of these guys provide a strong defensive presence to the relatively weak defensive prowess of the other 4 starters.
CLagore: This is fairly easy to guess. On opening night, send your best guys out there and let them play ball: Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, Haanif Cheatham, Sam Hauser and Matt Heldt. What will be tricky is rotating freshmen in and out while keeping the veterans in so that Wojo doesn't have to play four freshmen at once, but that should allow him to mess with line-ups in game and see what works and what doesn't. I would be willing to bet this is who we see out there for the tip in the first game, and not a single game after, as either Rowsey or Cheatham will start coming off the bench once Wojo feels comfortable sliding a newcomer into the starting five.
Broadway Brown: I say the first four are kind of obvious. The fifth starting spot all depends what style of play Wojo wants to play. The obvious four are Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, Sam Hauser, and Matt Heldt. I say Heldt because we do not have many options at center to start off the season. Once Harry Froling comes back, I think he can take the center spot. The last name called for opening night could be anyone from Theo John, Sacar Anim, Jamal Cain or Haanif Cheatham. With that said, I say Cheatham gets the start on opening night based on his experience and defensive capabilities.