Marquette ranked highly heading into 2019-20 season

Marquette‘s season didn’t exactly end on a good note.

After making it into the top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Golden Eagles struggled down the stretch and lost six of their final seven games, including a first-round outster in the NCAA tournament by Murray State.

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But there’s some good news: Marquette is thought of very highly heading into next season.

As soon as the national championship game ended, writers, analysts, experts, etc., started putting out “way too early” preseason Top 25s for the 2019-20 season.

The majority of those putting out such rankings see the Golden Eagles as a top-10 team — in fact, the average ranking comes out between No. 7 and No. 8 — with couple having Marquette in the top four (including one at, yes No. 2).

There is one major caveat, of course: These prognosticators are going on the assumption that Markus Howard will be returning for his senior year. If Howard doesn’t come back, well, temper those expectations of course (although analysts still like Marquette, obviously they won’t like them as much).

Here’s a roundup of all the “too early” Top 25s we could find, in order of Marquette’s ranking. When possible, we’ve also added in the comment each writer made about the Golden Eagles.

Let this fuel your fire until October.

Jeff Borzello of ESPN: 2. “Before a late-season collapse, Steve Wojciechowski had Marquette atop the Big East and poised for a run in March. If Markus Howard returns to Milwaukee, expect the Golden Eagles to complete the task this time. The entire starting five should be back for Marquette, with Howard and the Hauser brothers leading the way. One key addition will be Utah State transfer Koby McEwen, who will bring size and versatility to the backcourt — and enable Howard to focus solely on scoring.”

Rob Dauster of 4.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium: 6. “Wojo should have just about everyone back. Markus Howard, the Hauser brothers, Sacar Anim and Theo John are the important ones, but he’ll also add a critical piece in Utah State transfer Koby McEwen. The Golden Eagles struggled down the stretch but they will bring back experience and no shortage of scorers.”

John Marshall of the Associated Press: 6. “Ranking the Golden Eagles this high is all about Markus Howard. He doesn’t come back, they drop several spots.”

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News: 6. “As of now, Marquette projects to return its top-six scorers from a team that won 24 games. If the masterful Markus Howard (25 ppg) heads to the NBA, we’ll revise.”

Jeremy Woo of 6. “For the Golden Eagles to remotely justify this ranking, Markus Howard has to come back. If he does, the expectations will be sky-high. Every other key player returns and incoming Utah State transfer Koby McEwen could end up starting at guard and helping free up Howard. If Sam and Joey Hauser can take steps forward, it’ll help take pressure off Howard to do everything, and if the screws tighten a bit defensively, there’s a lot to feel good about with this group. Marquette will be out to prove a poor end to this season was more a mirage than anything.”

Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News: 7.

Scott Gleeson of USA Today: 8. “Much of the Golden Eagles’ 2019-20 prospectus hinges on All-American Markus Howard’s decision to turn pro. The 5-11 guard averaged 25 points a game as a junior, but it’s uncertain he’d even get drafted. Should he return stay along with the rest of Marquette’s core, a team that underachieved late in the season could rewrite the script next March.”

Gary Parrish of 8.

Mike Rutherford of SB Nation: 8. “There may not be an offseason decision that looms larger for a player’s respective team than Markus Howard’s does for Marquette. If the 2019 Big East Player of the Year comes back, the Golden Eagles could easily be Final Four good. If he doesn’t … that’s going to be a much tougher sell.”

Scott Richey of the Champaign News-Gazette: 10. “Shoring up their defense has to be a point of emphasis for the Golden Eagles, but they know what they’ve got on the offensive end in Markus Howard.”

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report: 13.

Patrick Stevens of the Washington Post: 15. “Can the Golden Eagles get their mojo back? They were never quite the same after going scoreless from the field in the final 5:14 of a Feb. 27 loss at Villanova that precipitated a 1-6 slide to end the season. Marquette has plenty of Hausers (Joey and Sam) and a key transfer (former Utah State guard Koby McEwen), and the potential return of Markus Howard would give it one of the nation’s most dynamic scorers. Still, there’s some reflection to be done this offseason in Milwaukee.”

Seth Davis of The Athletic ($): n/a (note: Davis has Marquette listed as No. 34 among his next 20.)