By Nick Galle
The Marquette Golden Eagles will look to prevent a three-game losing streak this Wednesday as they look forward to a home match-up with Xavier. Marquette is coming off back-to-back losses against Providence and Seton Hall after an impressive win over the Villanova Wildcats.
The biggest thing holding this team back? Lack of production down low.
Marquette has lived and died by the hands of Markus Howard so far. There really is not much to look for outside of the senior guard. Howard is the heart of this team, but he has not been able to pump the blood out to any of his teammates.
In the two previous losses, Howard has shot a combined 22-55 (40%). In the game against Seton Hall, he accounted for 49% of Marquette’s points and shot just 36% from the field.
There is no doubt that Markus Howard is one of the best scorers in college basketball. He is possibly even the best. With that being said, he is averaging less than three assists per game and is often inconsistent. The inconsistencies often go unnoticed due to the fact that he is such a prolific scorer.
If you don’t think the Golden Eagles depend on Howard for their success, take a look at the games they have lost. In the five games in which they came up short, Howard has shot just 34% from the field. Without his production, Marquette stands no chance.
Production from the post was a problem last year, but it might have gotten even worse this year. The trio of Theo John, Ed Morrow, and Jayce Johnson is averaging just 11 points and 13 rebounds a game. On top of that, John is seemingly in foul trouble every game and Morrow has shot just 47% from the floor, a lackluster percentage for a big man.
If the production down low stays this way, Marquette is going nowhere. Simple as that. Markus Howard could drop 35 every game and it still would not be enough. He needs help. His assist averages should be higher. There have been games where he has tried to move the ball around more, but his supporting cast has been unable to convert.
With the 1-3 start in Big East play, limited contributions from the post, and inconsistencies from their star player, this season might be a short one for Marquette.