Here's how completely taken off guard I was by Marquette announcing the 2015 men's lacrosse schedule yesterday: The 2014 schedule was announced in DECEMBER. According to the calendar, it's still officially summer and we have the schedule already. Things are strange and unpredictable.
Here's the schedule:
|Sat., Feb. 7||At Lehigh|
|Sat., Feb. 14||At Hofstra|
|Sun., Feb. 22||At Richmond|
|Fri., Feb. 27||Detroit (N)|
|Sun., Mar. 1||Ohio State (N)|
|Fri., Mar. 6||at Jacksonville|
|Sun., Mar. 8||at Mercer|
|Sat., Mar. 21||at Georgetown|
|Sat., Mar. 28||at Villanova|
|Tue., Mar. 31||at Bellarmine|
|Sat., Apr. 4||vs St. John's|
|Tue., Apr. 7||at Notre Dame|
|Sat., Apr. 11||at Providence|
|Sat., Apr. 18||vs Duke|
|Sat., Apr. 25||vs Denver|
Ok, so what do we have here?
- If you're thinking "Are you sure that this is the 2015 schedule and not the 2014 schedule," that's fair. Eight of the non-conference opponents are exactly the same as 2014, including that opening pair of Lehigh and Hofstra in exactly the same order.
- Yes, there are only three home games. With Rutgers departing the Big East to help form the Big Ten's lacrosse league, there are only six teams in the Big East now. That means only five games, and that means it has to be split three and two, and MU catches the short end of the stick this year.
- Yes, two of the home games are against Duke and Denver, both of whom made the Final Four last year. Tack on the road trip to South Bend, and MU's got three of the F4 teams on the board this season. WHY ARE YOU DUCKING US, MARYLAND?
- You might see those two neutral site games against Detroit and Ohio State. Those games will be played at Bellarmine in Louisville, Kentucky. The four schools involved have combined to make this an annual event going forward. Given that Marquette has played all three schools in both seasons of Division 1 competition and is making an extra trip to Louisville to play the Knights, I'd wager that whichever team MU doesn't see in that two game weekend will still end up on the schedule in the future.
- Additional note on Duke, Denver, and Notre Dame. Marquette is a combined 0-6 in two seasons against those two teams and has been outscored 100-37. On the upside, it's fun to have a regular series against these guys, especially as Marquette gets better and better. On the downside, it might lead to a less than fun experience for those home games against the Pioneers and Blue Devils.
- That last note makes me sound awfully pessimistic about the 2015 squad, and I don't mean that to happen. If Marquette can find a way to replace the offensive power of Tyler Melnyk and Bryan Badolato (and yes, I realize that's a steep hill), there's a lot of games that are completely winnable for Marquette. MU hung with Lehigh for a half last year and had narrow losses to Ohio State, Jacksonville, Bellarmine, and Villanova twice, and that 12-7 loss to Notre Dame was much closer than the final score makes it appear. I would have to say that finishing over .500 for the first time in program history and making the Big East tournament for the second time are both achievable goals for the Golden Eagles.