Marquette Basketball: How Can Golden Eagles Fix Early Offensive Struggles?

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2013

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 16:  Todd Mayo #4 reacts against the Ohio State Buckeyes during a basketball game at BMO Harris Bradley Center on November 16, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images)
Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

The first appearance on the national stage by the Marquette Golden Eagles this season went horribly wrong as they shot 10 of 53 from the field in their 52-35 loss to Ohio State on Saturday. 

It goes without saying that Marquette needs to fix its offense, and quick, if it wants to be considered the best team in the Big East. 

Starting with Thursday's home clash against New Hampshire, the Golden Eagles have a chance to erase their futile performance from the minds of their fans. 

In their first two nonconference games, Marquette scored 63 against Southern and an eye-popping 114 against Grambling State. 

Based on those results, it is clear that Buzz Williams' team is capable of scoring enough points to handily win games. 

But, what exactly went wrong against Ohio State? 

First of all, Todd Mayo, the Dom DiMaggio of college basketball, should not have been able to take 15 shots, which was six more than starter Jamil Wilson's nine. 

As the game progressed, Mayo, the younger brother of O.J., continued to take shot after shot early on in the possession and as he continued to miss, the fate of Marquette was sealed. 

By chucking an exorbitant amount of shots up while he entered panic mode, Mayo jeopardized any chances of a potential comeback. 

With that being said, there is no way Williams will let Mayo take that many shots in the future.  

Another problem with the offensive strategy that the Golden Eagles employed on Saturday was that they could not feed their big men on a consistent basis. 

Davante Gardner did have 10 points and six rebounds in his usual role off of the bench, but he was barely a force when it came down to crunch time against the Buckeyes. 

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 16: Marquette Golden Eagles  Davante Gadner #54 of the Marquette Golden Eagles drives against Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during a basketball game at BMO Harris Bradley Center on November 16, 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisco
Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

Starting center Chris Otule could only muster four points and three rebounds in 17 minutes of play, a number that is small because of the foul trouble he found himself in. 

For their team to succeed, Gardner and Otule need to stay out of foul trouble and make themselves a factor in the paint from the first time they step on the court.

If that happens, the guards in the lineup like Derrick Wilson and Jake Thomas will be able to thrive since the attention will be squared on the frontcourt players. 

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 08: Derrick Wilson #12 of the Golden Eagles dribbles up the court with Chrisoher Hyder #0 of the Southern Jaguars  defending during the first half of play at BMO Harris Bradley Center on November 08, 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. (P
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

With a better attack in the paint expected on Thursday, the Marquette offense should be able to become balanced once again, but it must not slip back into its form from the Ohio State game in the four games following the New Hampshire clash. 

The Golden Eagles will be tested during a four-game road trip out west that begins on Monday against Jahii Carson and Arizona State. 

After that matchup in Tempe, Marquette will play in the Wooden Legacy tournament where it could potentially square off against Creighton in the final if all goes well. 

It will be in those four games where Marquette will get to prove that Saturday's showing was just a fluke and that it is the real on the offensive end. 


Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.