It's July, so that means it's time to start finding out the full non-conference schedule for men's basketball. More so than in years past, this could be an interesting schedule. It's the first season under the direction of head coach Steve Wojciechowski, and while some of these games may be already set in stone (Wisconsin, Arizona State, Ohio State, Orlando Classic), there is going to be a little bit of influence from Wojo as to how he wants to set this particular roster up for as much success as possible.
Most notably is the first item on the schedule: an exhibition game against Wisconsin Lutheran. This will be the first exhibition game that men's basketball has played since the 2010-2011 season. In recent years, former head coach Buzz Williams came to favor the closed secret scrimmages against other Division 1 opponents. I also favored Marquette participating in those, as it allowed the team to work on things as long as possible and work on as many particular situations against high major opponents as possible. This year, however, we have a new coaching staff, and it's probably in everyone's best interest to have one official game situation that doesn't count against the win-loss column to get any kind of in-game kinks out. That game against WLC will be on Saturday, November 8.
That brings us to the regular season opener.
Friday, November 14 - vs Tennesse-Martin
2013-14 Record: 8-23
Leading Returning Scorer: Myles Taylor, 14.6 ppg
Leading Returning Rebounder: Myles Taylor, 6.3 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Marshun Newell, 3.5 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom.com Ranking: 313
The Skyhawks might not sound terribly impressive based on that capsule. But Taylor is a 6'7", 250 lb. forward that ended up in the top 250 in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate on KenPom.com last season, while also landing in the top 280 in block rate as well. Newell finished in the top 200 in assist rate, so he knows how to find open teammates in places where they can score. As you can probably guess, they were a middle of the road offensive team, but completely atrocious on defense. UT-Martin finished DEAD LAST in effective field goal percentage defense last season and had the seventh worst defensive efficiency in the country.
The athletic department said that we'll be getting one new game per day, so we'll see y'all again tomorrow for the next game, although it will probably be the trip to Ohio State on Tuesday, November 18.