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The 2016-17 Marquette Men’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule: Western Carolina

The Catamounts might take a step back next season, but they should still be a decent opponent for the Golden Eagles.

NCAA Basketball: Southern Conference Tournament-Wofford vs Western Carolina
Yooooooooo, WCU’s mascot is kind of amazing.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

With eight days between the announced Houston Baptist game and the already known Georgia game on December 4th, it seemed pretty likely that we were going to get an announcement of a buy game on Monday morning.

Yup, that’s what we got. Marquette will play Western Carolina at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday, November 30th.

Wednesday, November 30: vs Western Carolina

2015-16 Record: 16-18, 10-8 in the SoCon
Returning Points Leader: Elijah Pughsley, 9.2 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Marc Gosselin, 4.0 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Devin Peterson, 1.5 apg
Final 2015-16 KenPom Ranking: #188

At first glance, it seems like Marquette has grabbed a pretty high quality non-conference opponent here. Middle of the pack and over .500 in the Southern Conference last year! Top 200 in KenPom! Coming off a CBI appearance! What’s not to like?? Well, as you can probably guess from that list of returning stats leaders, WCU’s top four scorers last season were all seniors. Those four guys also includes their three best rebounders and their three best assists guys, too.

While this all makes it appear that WCU is due to take a bit of a nosedive next season, there is some reason for optimism for how the Catamounts will be affecting MU’s postseason possibilities when March rolls around. In 11 seasons under head coach Larry Hunter, Western Carolina has never finished lower than #258 in KenPom. Even in the four seasons previous to Hunter that are in the KenPom database, WCU was always somewhere in the 200s.

This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams. Marquette has won all four previous meetings, with all of them taking place in Milwaukee. The first one was waaaaay back in 1975, but the remaining encounters have all been since the start of the year 2000.

I would imagine that Marquette is not going to schedule a game on Friday night before heading to Georgia for a Sunday game. If that’s the case, that’ll make tomorrow’s announcement the roadie against the Bulldogs.