There's been a lot of talk from the Syracuse faithful regarding tomorrow's matchup between YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles and the Orange People of Upstate New York. Apparently believing that National Marquette Day is some kind of one-time, concerted effort to organize all Marquette's energies into defeating the Once and Forever Kings of the Big East, our Orange friends have wondered, among other things, whether Marquette has enough of a fanbase for a "national" event and why Marquette is so hell-bent on beating Syracuse this year, since the 'Cuse could give two poops about Marquette.
(And, while we're on the topic: given that we're a tiny, Midwestern liberal arts college, Marquette has a small but passionate national fanbase. I wouldn't expect word to reach the American Siberia that is Syracuse, New York -- "SYRACUSE: JUST THREE AIRPORT CONNECTIONS FROM EVERYWHERE!" -- but maybe when you're not snowblowing or fretting over the most recent dismissal from the team, you can learn a bit about your conference brethren.)
Truth is, we don't much care about Syracuse either, and National Marquette Day has little, if anything, to do with a 'hard on' to beat SU. We have a National Marquette Day every year, during a Saturday Big East home game. It just so happened that the game vs. the Orange was one of three Saturday home conference games that was on our schedule this year, and, since the first Saturday game was on New Year's Day at 10:00 freaking a.m. and the other is two weeks from the end of the season, it didn't make a lot of sense to try to organize viewing parties and invite alumni back to Milwaukee then. This is process of elimination, more than anything.
Now: would we like to beat Syracuse? Absolutely. Maybe there's a little added incentive because the Orange are the only team Marquette hasn't defeated since joining the Big East, but, in the grand scheme of things, a win over Syracuse is about the same as a win over St. John's or Cincinnati -- nice, sure, but not a "HOLY SHIT, WE WON WE CAN CANCEL THE REST OF THE SEASON WOOOOOOO!" kind of win, like Indiana apparently had last night vs. Illinois.
In some particular order, the games I care about more than Syracuse:
2. Notre Dame
5. Georgetown (for the Jezzy bragging rights, not because I dislike the Hoyas)
... and 'Cuse comes somewhere in the more-or-less indecipherable mass after that. Probably above Providence. Maybe above South Florida.
I hope that answers the questions about why we're doing what we're doing tomorrow. Personally, I think 'Cuse fans would be more concerned about getting housed by Seton Hall at the Carrier Dome and about uber-frosh Fab Melo being slightly more useful than a hat rack on the basketball court, but what do I know?