Despite the disappointment of last season, Marquette has one of the best non-conference schedules in the Big East. They have a great mixture of non-conference games that will get the Golden Eagles back on track. Marquette has a great set up for their conference schedule, and that will allow the Golden Eagles to make a push to return to the NCAA tournament.
The season kicks off with the Golden Eagles traveling to Columbus to play Ohio State. Ohio State will likely be ranked in the top-15 in the nation for the duration of the season. Imagine the excitement that would take place around the program if Marquette beats one of the best teams in the country on their home court. A win against the Buckeyes would prove that Marquette could beat anyone in the nation and prove that the Big East is still one of the best conferences in the nation.
The next few big games come via the Orlando Classic in November, where they are guaranteed a game against Georgia Tech, and could play Michigan State in the next round. Although the Spartans lost Adrian Payne and Gary Harris, they are still projected to be ranked in the Top 25, and a win against them would be another huge confidence booster. Georgia Tech has seen better years back when they had Kenny Anderson and Stephon Marbury in the 1990s, but they are still a team in a conference that is considered to be the best in America. Any time a Big East team takes on a squad from the ACC, it's a chance to prove themselves as a conference. The Big East was disrespected by the rest of the nation last year. I mean, the A10 got six teams in the tournament? If anyone of those teams like UMASS, St. Louis, or even VCU played in the Big East, they would have been lucky to make the NIT. Marquette should use this game as an opportunity to prove that the Big East is still a major conference.
The biggest non-conference game for the Golden Eagles is definitely the Wisconsin game. Wisconsin had an unbelievable run to the Final Four last year, but now they have a legitimate shot of winning a national championship. Frank Kaminsky is going to be one of the best players in the nation, and a win against a top-10 team will play a big role in Marquette getting to the NCAA tournament.
Big East Schedule
Marquette's first home conference game is against the Providence Friars. Last year, Providence beat Marquette in Rhode Island, crushing the Golden Eagles hopes of making the NCAA tournament. Look for Marquette to try and seek revenge against the Friars this time around. A home win against a quality Big East opponent would be a great way to start the season.
The three-game stretch Marquette needs to take advantage takes place in late January, when the Golden Eagles host Georgetown, Seton Hall and Butler. Georgetown is predicted to be the best team in the Big East this year and are also considered to be a nationally-ranked team for the entire season. A win against the best team in the conference, with one of the best recruiting classes in the country, would be huge for Marquette. Seton Hall and Butler are also viewed as some of the best teams in the conference and Marquette has a legitimate shot of beating both teams. In order for the Golden Eagles to make the tournament, they'll need home wins against quality conference opponents. This three-game stretch at home is a tailor-made situation for Maquette to break the NCAA tournament bubble.
Even though Marquette has a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season, their chances of making the NCAA tournament may come down to the Big East Tournament. If it were not for the tourney last year, Providence would have played in the NIT. Marquette should be confident going into the tournament because they have enough talent to beat any team in the conference.
Marquette fans should be happy about their schedule and it looks like the Golden Eagles will have a fantastic year.
Will Marquette bounce back this season, or will Wojo's first year struggles hinder the Golden Eagles? Let us know your expectations for Marquette basketball in the comments below.