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Marquette Basketball Will Open The 2016-17 Season Vs Vanderbilt At The Veterans Classic

The non-conference schedule is starting to round into shape here.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

We now know six of Marquette's non-conference games for the 2016-17 season.  Marquette will be one of four teams participating in the Veterans Classic on Friday, November 11, 2016.

It's a doubleheader of games, where Marquette will square off with Vanderbilt in a neutral site game at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, while Ohio State will play a road game against Navy.  Both games will be televised on CBS Sports Network, and Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that Marquette's game will start at 5:30pm Central.  That sounds to me like game #1 of a doubleheader, especially with the home team in the other game.

It's hard to make any definitive statements about Vanderbilt's state as a quality opponent next season, at least at this point of the offseason.  They finished 19-14 in the season that just ended.  They went 11-7 in the SEC, which was good enough for a tie for third in a conference that sent three teams to the NCAA tournament, including the Commodores.  However, head coach Kevin Stallings bolted for Pitt since VU's season ended in a 70-50 loss to Wichita State, and star sophomore Wade Baldwin has entered the NBA Draft.  Bryce Drew has taken up Stallings' old spot, and after a 124-49 run at Valparaiso, I think it's safe to say that he'll end up getting the most possible out of whatever his roster looks like next year.  Will he have things firing on all cylinders on November 11th?  We'll have to see.

Velazquez also noted that this game will be the first game of the year for Marquette.  Here's what we know for games that are locked in place right now:

Friday, November 11: vs Vanderbilt
Thursday, November 17: 2K Classic semifinal game (Michigan, Pitt, SMU)
Friday, November 18: 2K Classic championship/consolation game (Michigan, Pitt, SMU)

Marquette also will play two home games as part of the 2K Classic, but those have not been scheduled yet.  The press release announcing the inclusion of IUPUI, Eastern Michigan, Gardner-Webb, and Howard as the home game opponents says "Each of [Marquette, Michigan, Pitt, and SMU] will host a pair of regional round games on campus before heading to the World's Most Famous Arena," but I don't think that Marquette is going to be able to fit both of those games in between coming home from the Naval Academy on Friday night and leaving for New York on Wednesday night.  Last year, both Georgetown and Wisconsin played one of their games before the 2K Classic and one game after, so that might be the likely solution for Marquette this season.

That kind of tight scheduling also means that Marquette will not be participating in the Gavitt Games this season.  It's Year 2 of an eight year cycle where Marquette has to sit out twice, so that's fine.

We also know that Marquette will be playing Wisconsin in the Bradley Center this season, and if things hold to the "Saturday before Marquette's finals week" tradition, that game will take place on December 10th.  Marquette seems to like hosting the Blue & Gold Auction the night before the Wisconsin game after doing that the past two seasons, so keep your eyes peeled on that.

That's six games.  There is also the game against Utah that was reported, but never confirmed by either side of the equation.  Marquette played a total of 13 non-conference games last season, so there's a lot left to fill in later on in the summer.  Hopefully it will not include the SWAC in any fashion.