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2017-2018 Big East Nonconference Schedule Analysis: Marquette Golden Eagles

Let’s dive into what the Golden Eagles are up against this year.

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Marquette Golden Eagles’ schedule is nothing to shake a stick at.

They start with Mount Saint Mary’s, who have been solid the last few years, and get Purdue at home for the Gavitt Games. Purdue, with Isaac Haas and the corps of shooters around him, could pose major problems to Marquette, who will be without transfer center Harry Froling until the school’s winter break.

Thankfully, both of these opponents come to Milwaukee in the last year of the Bradley Center no less. So, a fan should be optimistic about winning both of these games as long as the Golden Eagles play up to their skill level.

Marquette gets to participate in the Maui Invitational. They face off with Virginia Commonwealth Rams in Round 1, a perennially good basketball program that consistently produces one of the best mid-major teams every year. Or, in simpler terms, not a team to take lightly. MU, depending on the outcome of their game, will face one of Cal or Wichita State. Depending on the status of one Landry Shamet for Wichita State, Marquette may face a Shockers team that should be one of the best teams in the country and go deep in March.

The rest of the competition in the Maui Invitational isn’t to be scoffed at, either. LSU Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Michigan Wolverines all have weapons (including Bonzie Colson for Notre Dame, one of the best returning upperclassmen in the country) that can challenge them in a variety of ways.

Short of Chaminade, there isn’t a bad opponent for the Golden Eagles to face in this tournament, and coming away with one or even two wins should boost Marquette’s resume.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

While Marquette does have some games that it should win handily (see Eastern Illinois, American et al.), they get Georgia at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee and Vermont at home as well. Both programs are good wins, with the Catamounts being an NCAA tournament team last year, losing by 10 to another Marquette opponent, Purdue (who boasted Caleb Swanigan at the time).

And no MU fan can forget about Wisconsin. Marquette travels to their in-state rival this year. They lost after a competitive first half at home last year, but won at the Kohl Center in 2015 behind Henry Ellenson. With Wisconsin absent many of the senior leaders of last season, it should be a hotly contested game (and I, being biased, think Marquette will pull it off).

So the nonconference schedule, in my opinion, should be, at worst, 9-3. I might be entirely too optimistic, but such is life.