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Thoughts And Ramblings On The 2017-2018 Marquette Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

Never too early to think about it!

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

If tradition is any indication, we’re still more than two months away from Marquette men’s basketball announcing their full 2017-18 non-conference schedule. However, we already know three of Marquette’s opponents and four of the days that MU will be playing, so we may as well start to create a framework of what the non-conference schedule will look like when it’s completely announced.

Like this, for example.

A look at the 2017-18 non-conference schedule thus far.

The black is covering the days before the season starts, so there’s no reason to worry about that. The four green days are the known game days already. December 9th is the Saturday before Marquette’s fall semester finals, so that will, as usual, be the day of the Wisconsin game. November 20-22 is the scheduled dates for the Maui Invitational, and while we don’t know Marquette’s opponents, we can give that a green tint.

UPDATE: December 9th might not be the date for the Wisconsin game. That has been the scheduled spot for it over the last several years, but according to the Wisconsin State Journal, UW will have a very busy start to December already. In order to accommodate the Big Ten tournament moving a week earlier in order to play it at Madison Square Garden (still funny!), B1G teams will play two conference games between December 1st and December 4th. The Badgers are also looking at returning a game against Temple in Philadelphia that week as well. None of this precludes hosting Marquette on the 9th, but playing two league games and two major non-conference games in the span of eight or nine days can not be anyone’s idea of fun. (h/t to @PaintTouches for the heads up on the B1G schedule)

The red is days we know MU won’t be playing. That includes the two days before and two days after Maui for travel and recovery purposes, and also because the day immediately afterwards is Thanksgiving. The day before the Wisconsin game is out, because duh. The week after the Wisconsin game is, of course, finals week, so that’s also out. Under Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette has yet to play a game on the Saturday immediately after finals, but it’s not completely out of the question. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are also blocked out as there’s no reason to expect a game then.

Marquette should play a “mainland game” for the Maui Invitational and I’d expect that to end up as MU’s first game of the season, either on November 10th or 11th. I say “should” because Connecticut did not play one last year for whatever reason. After a year off, the Golden Eagles will almost definitely return to the Gavitt Tipoff Games this season, which will be played on November 13-17, and I’d expect Marquette to play early in the week due to travel to Hawaii.

We know that Marquette will host American and Georgia as part of the non-con schedule next season, but those games don’t have public dates yet. Last year, MU visited Georgia on the day after the SEC football championship game, largely due to the Bulldogs wanting to avoid scheduling a high profile game against the title game just up the road from Athens. Georgia might want to avoid sending a road game against the football game again, so that might leave out December 2nd for that one. As for American, that’s a buy game and could fit anywhere on the schedule.

Between Maui, the Gavitt Games, and the three other games, that’s eight non-conference games known already. Last year, Marquette played 12 non-con games, so there’s probably only four more opponents to reveal. Odds are that there won’t be anything super exciting to announce like the Veterans Classic against Vanderbilt last season or even a home-and-home either. Six of MU’s eight known games are against power programs (unless the Golden Eagles draw Chaminade in Maui), and Marquette played five power programs last season. It seems unlikely to expect a seventh power program game in 2017-18. Hopefully the remaining games are not sub-300 type opponents.......