The way the college basketball calendar shakes out every year, the annual Marquette-Wisconsin game tends to fall on the Saturday following the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This tends to lead to things like Badger fans claiming the REAL game is earlier in the week or, as has been the case the last two seasons, ESPN attempting to lull the country to sleep by putting Wisconsin-Virginia on television.
This year is no different, and as a team returning most of its roster from a Final Four team, Wisconsin gets Duke, the team expected to be the pride of the ACC this season, plus they also get to play them in the Kohl Center in Madison.
This is an incredible stroke of luck for Marquette.
Tonight, Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski is going to get to watch Mike Krzyzewski, his long time boss and mentor, coach his Blue Devils squad against the self same Badgers team that Wojo will be coaching against in the Bradley Center on Saturday morning. I'm not going to try to claim that Coach K is going to do anything special in the game specifically to help Wojo game plan for the Badgers, nor am I trying to imply that Wojo will be able to acquire some kind of magical key to guarantee victory from the 40 minutes of basketball later tonight.
But. It can't be anything but beneficial for Wojciechowski to see what the guy he sat next to for the last 15 years does against Bo Ryan's battle tested squad. Wojo's going to get to watch the game live (if he wants to) and then he'll have all day Thursday at least and maybe part of the day on Friday to crack through the game tape to see if there's anything that Duke does that he knows will work for his Golden Eagles squad.
I usually don't have a lot of nice things to say about how ESPN runs their business after they deliberately broke up the Big East in order to make their contract with the ACC more valuable. But here, at least on this Wednesday in early December of 2014, ESPN has made a business decision that has the potential to give Marquette a slight advantage heading into Saturday's contest with the Badgers. Hats off to you, Bristol.