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Marquette Men’s Basketball Is Playing Dayton, But Don’t Tell Anyone

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It’s a SEEKRIT. SHHHHHHHHH.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Dayton vs Syracuse
Your mascot is weird, Dayton.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

With just one exhibition game scheduled for Marquette men’s basketball this year, it seemed likely and/or obvious that head coach Steve Wojciechowski was going to arrange for a closed door scrimmage against another Division 1 team before the season started.

Thanks to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we now know who the opponent will be.

Dayton? GROSS.

Yes, it is.

Long standing grudges against Dayton for being jerks and/or thinking that they have any kind of a chance of ever joining the newly remodeled Big East aside, I reluctantly have to admit that this is a pretty good choice by Wojo. The Flyers have made three consecutive NCAA tournament under the guidance of head coach Archie Miller. It does delight me to point out that they’ve been less and less successful in each of the three appearances, going from an Elite Eight to advancing to the Round of 32 to a first round exit this past season.

On top of that recent history of success, the Flyers return five of the seven players that appeared in at least 40% of the team’s minutes last season, including three of the four guys who averaged at least 10 points a game. One of those guys is Scoochie Smith, and I mention him here because it’s really fun to say the name Scoochie Smith out loud. Go ahead, try it. See, it’s fun, isn’t it?

This will be a “secret” scrimmage which means that the schools can’t officially publicize it, nor can they let outsiders attend. It doesn’t mean it’s ACTUALLY a secret, because as you can tell, the fact that Matty V found out about it means no one’s really keeping it under their hat. The upside to these scrimmages is that there are no rules as to what they can and can not do. If Wojo & Miller want to agree to play a series of scenario drills for hours, cool. If they want to play a regulation game, cool. There’s no time or content restriction on these things other than what the two teams agree to do. That’s why I think these are much more beneficial than playing an exhibition against some NAIA team where you can get a 20 point lead inside of the first 10 minutes and just slack off for the remaining 30.

I do have one question: Other than “it’s a neutral site that’s roughly halfway between the two schools,” why are they holding the scrimmage at the home barn for the Indiana Pacers?