After two consecutive transition seasons, a buzz is brewing in the home of one of America's most notable beer-producing cities.
The Marquette Golden Eagles swoop into 2015 boasting a stellar recruiting class and the return of one of the most productive freshmen that the program has ever seen. Year Two of Wojo is bound to be more successful than the struggle that encapsulated Year One and with a little luck, MU could find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament.
With that said, let's peer into the schedule, and take a look at the five best matchups of the upcoming season (in my humble opinion):
5. Butler (March 5, 2016)
The final game of the season could be of vital importance for the Golden Eagles if they are to make a run for the NCAA Tournament. MU and Butler have had a few quality scraps in the past two seasons with overtime matchups occurring in the past two seasons. Drama could very well infiltrate this showdown as well if we're lucky enough and if the stakes are right. I'd bet that they are.
4. Iowa (November 19, 2015)
The Gavitt Games gives us an intriguing matchup between Marquette and the Hawkeyes of Iowa. Fran McCaffrey's club has made the NCAA Tournament the past two consecutive seasons and will likely be a threat once again this coming year in the Big Ten Conference. Though Aaron White and Gabriel Olaseni have departed, Iowa comes into this season with five of their top seven players in usage rate returning including Jarrod Uthoff, Adam Woodburry and Peter Jok. With a bevy of talented players on the floor, expect this to be one of the better matchups in the Big East-Big Ten showdowns.
3. Villanova (February 27, 2016)
National Marquette Day will feature a huge matchup of fantastic Big East freshmen as Henry Ellenson and Jalen Brunson will be on opposite ends. That, and the fact that 'Nova will likely be the best team in the Big East again this season will attract a lot of attention and an improved Marquette squad with a rowdy home crowd could give the 'Cats a run for their money. This one is no doubt going to be a doozy.
2. LSU (November 23, 2015)
Speaking of great freshmen, this matchup will be quite the display. LSU's Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney are two of the best in the country and Simmons is projected to be a high lottery pick - if not the top selection in next year's NBA Draft. The Tigers are one of the most intriguing teams in the Southeastern Conference and could be one of the best if everything shakes out correctly. Marquette will get a nice litmus test early in this Legends Classic affair in Brooklyn, and if they are to take down the Bayou Bengals, it could serve as a very notable nonconference win come March.
1. Wisconsin (December 12, 2015)
There's hardly ever a time where the top matchup for Marquette isn't against in-state rival Wisconsin. The Badgers are coming off of back-to-back Final Fours and were the National Runner Up in this past year's NCAA Tournament, falling to the Duke Blue Devils in a spirited effort in Indianapolis. This one will be at the Kohl Center where MU will look to gather the same effort they had in December 2011 when they knocked off Bucky by the score of 61-54. The Golden Eagles are 2-5 in their last seven trips to Madison, so time will tell to see if Marquette can shake off the cobwebs and turn the tilt in their direction inside America's Dairyland.