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DJ Carton Eligible in 2020; Marquette’s Final Four Odds Still +1950 Without Markus Howard

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Basketball

Updated Jun 18, 2020 · 6:20 AM PDT

DJ Carton guards Worsell
DJ Carton is now a member of the Marquette Golden Eagles. Photo from Alexei Jones (Wiki Commons)
  • Former Ohio State phenom D.J. Carton was granted a transfer waiver and is immediately eligible to play in the 2020-21 season
  • Carton averaged over 10 points, three assists and nearly three rebounds per game in 20 outings as a freshman for the Buckeyes last season
  • Marquette’s Final Four odds are still at +1950, sixth-best in the Big East

Former Ohio State guard D.J. Carton, who transferred to Marquette in April after one season in Columbus, had his waiver for immediate eligibility approved by the NCAA on Wednesday.

He played in 20 games as a freshman for the Buckeyes before stepping away from the team in January to focus on his mental health, then decided to transfer.

His addition brings the Golden Eagles odds to make the to +1950, only the sixth-best in the Big East.

2021 Final Four Odds for Big East Teams

Team Odds
Villanova +143
Creighton +225
Providence +900
Butler +1600
Georgetown +1850
Marquette +1950
DePaul +2450
Xavier +2450
St. John’s +2700
Seton Hall OFF

Odds taken June 17th

The Quad Cities native, who will now be twice as close to home at Marquette’s campus in Milwaukee, was rated the nation’s No. 34 prospect in his high school class, according to 247Sports composite rankings.

While only three conference teams are in the top 50 of our 2021 Final Four odds (Villanova, Creighton and Providence), his addition only puts the Golden Eagles’ odds to advance to Indianapolis in the middle of the pack. Should Steve Wojciechowski’s program be seeing a bigger bump from Carton’s availability? We answer that question below.

Add a Phenom, Lose a Legend

Yes, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Carton  is explosive. The dynamic perimeter player gives Wojo a huge asset in the backcourt. “He’s got some things from a physical standpoint that you just can’t coach,” Wojciechowski said. “He’s got some gifts. He’s very good in the pick and roll. He’s a very unselfish player. He’ll make the guys around him better.”

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Judging by the highlights, adding a player like Carton will  make a difference between wins and losses in the ultra-competitive Big East during the upcoming season.

But remember, Marquette is also losing the conference’s all-time leading scorer in Markus Howard.

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Howard was an absolute stud over his four years at Marquette. He surpassed former Syracuse standout Lawrence Moten’s mark for most points in conference play last season and was the leading scorer in college basketball, pouring in 27.8 points per game.

While Carton should be a huge plus for Wojo and Co., Howard’s loss looms large.

Ability to Gel

That said, knowing Carton is available now – as opposed to later this year – is a big deal.

“A lot of times with the waivers, you don’t know until the season has started with practices and games right around the corner,” Wojciechowski said. “This gives us a summer to have the team we’re going to have working together under the rules and guidelines of the coronavirus protocol.”

That’s a huge factor. There are still numerous unknowns about what college sports will look like in the post-COVID-19 world we’re living in. You would think teams with more familiarity with each other would be the more successful ones.

In addition to Howard, the Golden Eagles also said goodbye to second-leading scorer Sacar Anim. But they return third-leading scorer Koby McEwen, along with Greg Elliott and Symir Torrence – and bring in Carton. That mix of veterans to help Carton gel into the system over the next four months is important.

Tough Competition

As noted above, the Big East is rock solid.  The Wildcats have won two of the last four NCAA titles handed out. And Creighton finished last season ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll and was one of the sleepers entering a Big Dance that never happened due to the coronavirus. Those two programs are justifiably at the top of conference odds when it comes to Final Four chances for the upcoming campaign. But what about the rest of the pack, including Marquette?

Providence should be legit again in 2020-21. So should Butler. Those programs return plenty of talent to compete for a trip to the Final Four and their odds reflect that. But Georgetown as a slight favorite over Marquette (+1850 vs. +1950) is questionable. The Hoyas were a sub-.500 group last season and bring in a group of freshman including T.J. Berger and Jamari Sibley that could be interesting. But they haven’t proven they can perform at the elite level Carton can.

If anything, Marquette should at least be in the +1700-1900 range. While I don’t expect the Golden Eagles to advance to the 2021 Final Four, fans of the program might find it worthwhile to plunk down an investment wager at the current number as I expect it to get shorter.

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