Welcome to the second round of Eric vs. Erik. Today, your favorite columnists are locked in an epic debate over the men’s basketball team. Begin.
Erik Schmidt: All three judges had me taking the first debate 30-27. This time I’m just going to finish you off and punch you a one-way ticket to Bootyville. I’m actually surprised you came back for another try. I figured you would just cut your losses and go back to writing those awesome Tuesday columns that everyone loves so much. You’re like a bad case of athlete’s foot: annoying and hard to get rid of.
Anyway, today we’re supposed to debate the men’s basketball team, and I thought we could start by answering the unanswerable question: With the Big Three moving on to the big basketball court in the sky, who is going to score points for this team besides Lazar Hayward?
Eric Grover: Really, Hair-Gel? Stop trying so hard, you might hurt yourself. Also, where’s Bootyville? Are you hitting on me?
I think the season is going to be dependent on Jimmy Butler establishing himself as a solid offensive threat. He averaged just 5.6 points per game last season, a number that will have to increase three-fold for Marquette to put wins on the board. Dwight Buycks also figures to be an exciting player, and we’ll see how he progresses over the year. Buzz Williams is going to need him to start contributing immediately.
Erik: I’m not trying hard at all, you’re just easy to make fun of. And that nickname was funny but completely inaccurate. I’ll have you know that my hair is all natural, baby. But I do think that your boyish mop of hair could use some gel. Or shampoo.
I think I’m going to have to agree with you, though. Butler proved he was a talented player last season, and if he can continue to improve this team might not miss guys like McNeal or Matthews as much as you’d think. Buycks is probably the most talked about newcomer this year despite the three star freshman Marquette landed. He’s shown to have superior athleticism and a knack for scoring. The other guys to keep and eye on are Jeronne Maymon and Joe Fulce. Maymon is just a beast and should start from day one, and Fulce looks healthy and ready to play big minutes off the bench.
Eric: You look like a bloated version of Fred Savage. I have no good segue for that, so I’m just going to continue.
So, Erik, Buzz Williams is entering his second year and his three senior leaders are gone. The team features eight players with little-to-no game experience. This is clearly a rebuilding year, which really is too bad for Lazar. I think the learning curve will be extremely high and they will struggle in conference. The team is projected to finish somewhere between the middle and the back of the Big East. What do you think, Wonder Years?
Erik: That was probably the weirdest and most off-point insult I’ve ever heard. I don’t even need a comeback, you embarrassed yourself enough, Genius.
Obviously, this is being deemed a “rebuilding year,” but I think that’s more of a compliment to this team’s bright future with Maymon, Cadougan, Youssoupha Mbao and incoming stud Vander Blue, than a knock on this year’s team. They won’t come close to winning the Big East or NCAA titles, but this team might be better than everyone thinks. Lazar is really, really good, and the combination of Butler, Buycks and grizzled seniors Maurice Acker and David Cubillan might be enough to push this team to about seventh in the conference, which isn’t bad at all in the Big East.
Eric: Insult? That is about the highest compliment I can give someone. Winnie Cooper, man. You’re not thinking straight.
Speaking of not thinking straight, I agree that this team will be very good in three years and could even be a potential National Championship contender. But finishing in the top half of the conference? Last year Marquette had three of the best players in program history, and they finished fifth. And they’re only going to slide two spots? Check your head, remedial journalism major.