Last year was not an easy one for Buzz Williams and Marquette as injuries and other issues cost him depth. The team was forever forging a new identity.
So how did Marquette manage to go 14-4 in the Big East, finishing second, and advance to the Sweet 16 for a third consecutive season with a 27-8 record?
Jae Crowder, the Big East Player of the Year, and Darius Johnson-Odom had more than a little to do with it. And now they are both gone, earning NBA paychecks, leaving Williams to figure out how to replace their combined 35.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Those numbers represent 47.7 and 33 percent of the team's totals, respectively, from a year ago.
It's a challenge that Williams has excelled at during his six previous seasons at Marquette, the last five as head coach.
''Every team is a house,'' Williams said. ''We all live in that house and when the season's over, that house goes on the market and you can't live in it again. They were...