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2018-19 Marquette Basketball Preview Roundtable: The X-Factor

What’s going to be the difference for the Golden Eagles this season?

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 college basketball season is quickly approaching, and thus, we turn our attention to previewing the upcoming Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball season.

As was the case last year, we’ve got a stacked up list of questions about the 2017-18 campaign, and each of the 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 or what is the X-Factor on this year’s roster?

Ben Snider:

♪♪It could all be so simple...BUT YOU’D RATHER MAKE IT HARD♪♪

Lauryn Hill really had a wide open path to being one of the greatest female artists of all time. Now she doesn’t even show up to her own concerts on time. Kind of disappointing, but I also doubt she cares much for the feelings of a 24-year-old white man.

Speaking of 90’s Rap/R&B artists, I think Sacar Anim will be the X-Factor for Marquette this year. He proved himself as a guy who can carry the team when other options fail and is a lockdown defender as well.

None of these things would matter if he didn’t have breakaway dunk potential. That’s the key to being an X-Factor. If I can’t see him getting a steal that leads to a windmill dunk at the apex of a huge run then the conversation is over. I see that in Anim, from the defense to the hops.

Sam Newberry:

The X-Factor is Joseph Chartouny. I like talking about him because he reminds me, in theory, of Trent Lockett my freshman year. Grad transfer coming in to shore up an experienced team, provide toughness, make some baskets, and be a leader. If he comes in and flops at what he proved to be good at while at Fordham, it’ll be a long year. I don’t think the team will go as he goes, but if he’s off on defense or playmaking, the finely tuned machine will start sounding a lot clunkier, and clunky is never a good term to use in the context of “how my basketball team operates.”

Brewtown Andy:

The thing that makes me wonder about this upcoming the season the most is two-fold, although the two parts are related and are both about the two most experienced post players on the roster. Ed Morrow elected to transfer from Nebraska because he reportedly didn’t want to continue to play as an undersized center for Tim Miles. However, as a sophomore at Nebraska, according to Hoop-Math, Morrow took over 60% of his shots at the rim and shot over 65% on them. His other shots were all counted as two-point jumpers, and he shot just 39.9% on them. That’s not the kind of production you want from someone who wants to play further from the basket on the regular.

This brings us to Matt Heldt. We’ve all seen and heard about Heldt attempting three-pointers in practice and open scrimmages at this point. During his prep career at Neenah, Heldt was regularly-ish knocking down triples. He’s yet to attempt one in a live game at the college level, but the evidence at least suggests that Wojo is open to letting him pull the trigger.

These two things are connected, in a way. So my X-Factor isn’t a specific player, but it’s an aspect of these two guys. Are Heldt and Morrow going to be able to shoot and maneuver on offense away from the bucket? Is that something that Wojo has in store for them? If that’s the case, and both of them can turn into reliable scorers outside of even 10 feet, then that’s going to unlock a whole new aspect of Marquette’s offense. It would allow Wojo to go totally wild with his rotations if he can shift Heldt and/or Morrow up to the 4 in the lineup, or play them together as an interchangeable 4/5 combo depending on what the opponent is throwing at MU.

Patrick Leary:

Joey Hauser is Marquette’s X-Factor. If his impact is limited, Marquette will probably still succeed, but largely in similar ways (read: Markus and Sam shooting it) to years prior. But with Joey Hauser achieving his potential ahead of schedule, Marquette would have a matchup nightmare capable of scoring in every way imaginable.

So much of what has made Marquette relevant in the last two years has involved smaller guys chucking as many threes as possible. Joey Hauser represents an opportunity for MU to expand its offensive horizons and also take pressure off of Markus’ shooting. The only way Marquette truly makes the leap into the national spotlight this year is if Joey Hauser does so as well.

Broadway Brown:

I think Joseph Chartouny will be the X-Factor this season. He showed the country what he was capable of at Fordham and I think his game will transfer well here at Marquette. He provides exactly what the offense and defense needs and if he is at his best this season I believe this team could do some big things this year.

Besay:

The X-Factor for me this year will be the player that makes the most difference for the team compared to last year. The clear frontrunner is Joseph Chartouny. He’s a defensive ballhawk and a true point guard that will get Marquette’s offensive running like a well-oiled V12 engine. He’ll take over most of the ball handling responsibilities which will allow Markus Howard more freedom to play off-ball and work his magic. Chartouny will balance out the offense to where they’re not just pulling up from three 90% of the time (technically it accounted for 44.4% of their shot attempts last year but you get the point). He’ll also bring the defense closer to the league average in efficiency since he’s a guard that’s taller than 6’2” and can actually play defense (led the NCAA in steals last year with 97)!

Connor Lagore:

*sighs*

I don’t even know why I’m sighing. I’m just so sure that we already know what this team is going to be very good at but have literally no idea what else they could be good at. I don’t know if it’ll be defense. I don’t know if one or two other major scorers will appear. I don’t know if anyone’s growing nine inches. I just don’t know where to start when thinking of things that this team could be very good at that isn’t called “shooting” or “scoring points.” There are a lot of important players that could be X-factors. But we don’t really know if they will. I agree with everyone above me on who they chose as an X-factor and why they could be that. But we just can’t be sure. Basketball is a game of two things: runs and uncertainty. But I am certain about one thing. Marquette’s X-factor will be that they will become shockingly very good at something we did not think they could be good at.

This is a garbage answer, I’m sorry.

Pistol Brad:

The X-factor for the team this year is Ed Morrow. It feels strange to pick someone who has played two years of (semi) high level basketball but after a year off and an injury plagued off-season there are certainly some questions around the Nebraska big man. The reason that I have him chosen as the X-factor is not only because of the fact we are yet to see him play and reports of his effectiveness in practice are widely varied but because of how he will impact the way we play the game if he proves effective. If Morrow can come in and do what we expect (get boards, score around the rim, and play defense) it opens up plenty of lineups that are not available without such a versatile big. If Morrow sucks up rebounds like he did at Nebraska, then Marquette could march out something akin to the Warriors’ Death Lineup with Markus Howard, Brendan Bailey, Sam Hauser, Joey Hauser, and Morrow at times. If Morrow proves effective, such a lineup could prove nearly impossible to stop offensively, and should be able to compete on the defense end as well. If Ed Morrow is the player he is built up to be, then he could change the whole identity of this Marquette team, and I am not sure there are very many players that one can say that about.