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Get to Know A Marquette Basketball Opponent: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

The Golden Eagles technically tip-off the Pre-season NIT with Bethune-Cookman

NCAA Basketball: Bethune-Cookman at Washington
Here’s Isaiah Bailey attempting a layup last season against Washington.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Bethune-Cookman University, formerly Bethune-Cookman College

How did they get their name? It’s actually a great story, you should read it.

Location: Daytona Beach, Florida

Why does that sound so familiar? Because that’s where the Daytona 500 is held every year. For NASCAR fans, you know all about it. For the other 99% of the American population, it’s considered the most “prestigious” race of the year with by far the largest purse. A guy by the name of Austin Dillon won it last year. There hasn’t been a repeat winner since Sterling Marlin won it in 1994 and 1995. Why is this important? Because his name is incredible. Even better, his dad’s name (who also raced cars for a living) is Coo Coo Marlin. Absolutely legendary.

Whoah wait a minute did you just cite Wikipedia??? Yup! We believe in high quality journalisms here at Anonymous Eagle.

Okay let’s get back to Bethune-Cookman. Friendly reminder to actually read through the article I cited up at the top for reference.

Founded: The Bethune part of their name was founded in 1904. They added Cookman in 1925 after a merger of two schools, so really, the whole enterprise kind of dates back to 1872.

Enrollment: 4,143 total students with 3,992 undergraduates and 151 graduate students

Nickname: Wildcats. According to our “friends” over at VU Hoops, it’s the fourth most common nickname for a division 1 men’s basketball program as of the 2013-14 season. You win a “prize” if you can name the other programs that have the Wildcat as their mascot. Hint: there’s nine others.

Why “Wildcats?” There’s actually a reason here. Going back to the BCU origin story, due to the merger with the Cookman Institute, Dr. Bethune suddenly had male students at her school. With the prospect of team sports on the horizon, they “chose the Wildcat and it’s untamed characteristics as representative of the fighting spirit of her young students.”

Do they have a notable marching band? SURE DO.

Here’s their show from the 2018 Honda Battle of the Bands. BCU has represented the MEAC at the Battle of the Bands in each of the last six shows.

Notable Alumni: Nick Collins, former safety of the Green Bay Packers. He played seven season with Green Bay making the Pro Bowl three times. Most widely known for his pick 6 against Big Ben in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV (45) as the Packers went on to beat the Steelers 31-25. After that it’s a bunch of people I’ve never heard of. Mainly football players which leads me to believe that Bethune-Cookman is known for their football program. Rasheen Mathis, Terry Anderson, Rickey Clait, Boobie Clark, Booker Reese, Lee Williams, Maulty Moore, Eric Weems, Charles Riggins (who was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1982) are all former NFL players. Can’t forget about Larry Little who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. FWI, I was born in ‘95 so don’t @ me for not knowing Mr. Little. All very fun names that I very much approve of. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m all about giving shoutouts to people with fun names. As for non-athletes, there’s actor Rodney Chester whose best known for his role as Alex Kirby on the sitcom “Noah’s Arc”. Puerto Rican politician and senator Carmelo Rios Santiago. And lawyer Nathan K. McGill who was the first African American to be assistant attorney general in Illinois.

Last Season: They went 18-14 with an 12-4 record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

Final 2017-18 Kenpom Ranking: #288

Current KenPom Ranking: #297

Current 2018-19 KenPom Projection: 16-14, but 10-6 in the MEAC, which would be third place.

Returning Stat Leaders:

Points: Isaiah Bailey, 16.1 points
Rebounds: Soufiyane Diakite, 9.8 rebounds
Assists: Isaiah Bailey, 4.7 assists

Shooters? Not particularly. Shawntrez Davis connected on 38% of his threes last year, but averaged fewer than two per game. Against DePaul on Wednesday, they went 6-for-20 from deep, which is... not... great. Leon Redd went 2-for-4 off the bench, so keep an eye on him.

Bigs? Soufiyane Diakite averaged a near double-double last season with 10.5 points and 9.8 rebounds, but he’s only 6’6”. The other big man with arguably a better season was Shawntrez Davis who is 6’9” and 220 pounds. He averaged 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while hitting 55% of his field goals. He also started in every game for the Wildcats last season.

Head Coach: Ryan Ridder. He’s in his second season with the Wildcats after leading them to one of their best seasons ever in his first year with the team. They set multiple school records and had their second best win total ever on their way to a share of the regular season MEAC title. Ridder previously spent four years at Daytona State College where he led the Falcons to four Mid-Florida Conference championships. DSC is literally less than two miles away from BCU, so Ridder didn’t even have to move. Nice. Before taking the job at DSC, Ridder was an assistant at Campbell University in North Carolina for three years.

All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 1-0. The only previous meeting came back in 1991, when MU got a 89-53 win in December of that year.

Previous Time Out: Will you look at that? Bethune-Cookman started the season against our in-conference nemesis DePaul and got whooped by 22 points. Hopefully we can record a similar (or better) margin of victory. Isaiah Bailey led them in scoring with 12 and in assists with three, while Cletrell Pope had nine rebounds to lead in that department.