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Marquette Men's Basketball 2014-15 Non-Conference Schedule: The Orlando Classic

This will occupy games 5, 6, and 7 on the schedule this fall. You might remember this tournament as the Old Spice Classic.

I don't think Katy Perry is going to be at the Orlando Classic, but there aren't any solo pictures of Mickey to choose from.
I don't think Katy Perry is going to be at the Orlando Classic, but there aren't any solo pictures of Mickey to choose from.

Marquette last took a trip to Disney World on Thanksgiving weekend back in 2009.  The Golden Eagles came away with wins against Xavier and #15 Michigan en route to a championship game showdown with Florida State.  Solomon Alabi answered a Lazar Hayward bucket late to give the Seminoles a 57-56 victory.  Marquette had led by as many as 17 early in the second half in that game before FSU rolled on back, powered by 14 second half points from Chris Singleton.

This event used to be called the Old Spice Classic, and now it's not.  It's still being held at the HP Field House at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, so I'm guessing it was just a choice on Old Spice's part to no longer sponsor the thing.  The 2014 version will have the same format as the 2009 version, where the teams play on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, take a day off, and then return to action on Sunday.  If we're lucky, we'll get another video of a trip to the Magic Kingdom that lives up to the reputation of the 2009 video:

This year's Disney World trip will probably not end as well as the last one did, and yes, I just referred to coughing up a 17 point lead in 16 minutes as a positive result.  Why is that, you ask?  Well, here's the other seven teams, sorted by their final 2013-14 ranking:


2013-14 Record: 24-13
Returning Points Leader: Josh Richardson, 10.3 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Derek Reese, 3.0 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Josh Richardson, 1.5 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: #7

Michigan State

2013-14 Record: 29-9
Returning Points Leader: Branden Dawson, 11.2 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Branden Dawson, 8.3 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Denzel Valentine, 3.8 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: #9


2013-14 Record: 25-10
Returning Points Leader: Perry Ellis, 13.5 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Perry Ellis, 6.7 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Wayne Selden, 2.5 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: #12

Rhode Island

2013-14 Record: 14-18
Returning Points Leader: E.C. Matthews, 15.3 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Gilvydas Biruta, 7.0 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: E.C. Matthews, 2.7 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: #103

Georgia Tech

2013-14 Record: 16-17
Returning Points Leader: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 11.7 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 4.3 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Marcus Georges-Hunt, 2.1 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: #109

Santa Clara

2013-14 Record: 14-19
Returning Points Leader: Jared Brownridge, 17.2 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Yannick Atanga, 5.0 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Brandon Clark, 3.5 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: #153


2013-14 Record: 14-17
Returning Points Leader: Jimmie Taylor, 12.1 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Zedric Sadler, 3.9 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Zedric Sadler, 3.0 apg
Final 2013-14 KenPom Ranking: 211

Yep, that's right: Tennessee was actually a more efficient team last season than Michigan State or Kansas.  Wrap your head around that.  Now, they've lost major pieces from last year's team, notably Jarnell Stokes and head coach Cuonzo Martin, so you probably can't expect that kind of production from the Vols again this season.  Odds are that when the official brackets are announced later this month, Michigan State and Kansas will be essentially the #1 and #2 seeds and they'll probably catch Santa Clara and Rider as their first round games.  That leaves Tennessee, Georgia Tech, and Rhode Island as MU's most likely first round opponent, and a win would mean a second round game against either MSU or KU.  Coming out of this with a 2-1 record might be a pretty good result based on those odds.