Alright, Marquette’s conference schedule just got released. How are things looking in terms of difficulty? Well, assuming you forgot about what the teams look like at this point, this is a good recap of each team. Even still, it’s hard to look at a big chunk of 18 games and imagine how it’ll go on a game-to-game basis. That’s why I’m here: to save you from yourselves. Let’s break these games up in segments.
First Five Games
Marquette 2017-18 Big East Schedule 1-5
|Wednesday, Dec. 27||7:30 PM||Xavier||FS1|
|Saturday, Dec. 30||3:30 PM||Georgetown||FS1|
|Wednesday, Jan. 3||5:30 PM||at Providence||CBS SN|
|Saturday, Jan. 6||7:00 PM||at Villanova||FS1|
|Tues., Jan. 9||8:00 PM||Seton Hall||CBS SN|
The first half of the schedule is overall the most difficult. Just count at Villanova as a loss, but at the same time I’d be willing to bet that Georgetown gets shut out at some point this year, so playing them at home should be a win. So among playing Xavier at home, Providence on the road, and Seton Hall on the road, they should aim to win 2. I’m not confident about winning at the arena with the second worst name in history (KFC Yum! Center laps the field here (Editor’s note: Ben is very smart.)) because all I remember about playing Providence last year is Kyron Cartwright going into God-mode and Jaylen Lindsey making 78 threes for some reason and they’re both returning. I also think Xavier will be a bit overrated this year, at least to the point that a home win should definitely be an expectation. Seton Hall at home then should be a game where a tournament-bound team finds a way to beat a team better than them. These types games are sprinkled out throughout the year, and my general litmus test for how good a team is includes if they win more than half of these games.
The goal for this segment should be 3-2.
The Next Five Games
Marquette 2017-18 Big East Schedule 6-10
|Friday, Jan. 12||5:30 PM||at Butler||FS1|
|Mon., Jan. 15||8:00 PM||DePaul||FS1|
|Wed., Jan. 24||5:30 PM||at Xavier||FS1|
|Sun., Jan. 28||12:00 PM||Villanova||Fox|
|Wed., Jan. 31||8:00 PM||Butler||FS1|
THEY’RE DEFINITELY BEATING NOVA AGAIN. Ok, probably not. That’d be neat, though. Especially since it’s on Fox and Gus Johnson calling Matt Heldt’s buzzer beater three might make me cry. Also, playing at Butler at 5:30 central on a Friday? Good Lord. If I’m watching college basketball on a Friday, it’s an actually-fun matchup between Iona and Manhattan.
Sidebar: I love the MAAC conference. Now that Wichita State and Creighton are out of the Missouri Valley, it might be my favorite mid-major conference. (Editor’s Note: I swear to you, Ben wrote all of this without my input whatsoever.)
Anyway, playing Butler twice here is odd. They have a new coach, and Andrew Chrabascz, who Chredded us in Indianapolis last year, is out. Kelan Martin did the same at the Bradley Center, and both he and Kamar Baldwin are returning. I don’t know how much help they’ll really have, though. I’ll just call it a split for safe keeping. The DePaul home game should also offset the Villanova loss, which leaves another one of those games that could make a difference to the selection committee. You could argue this could be the game at Butler in addition. I just think that Xavier is a good matchup with their lack of legit threat big guys aside from their grad transfer, Kerem Kanter.
In a vacuum, I’d say the goal here should be 3-2 as well, but if they’re 5-5 overall after these 10 games, you won’t hear me complaining. I’ll take some glances at the worry button if they’re 4-6, especially with the opportunities for good wins starting to thin out by this point.
Next Three Games
Marquette 2017-18 Big East Schedule 11-13
|Sat., Feb. 3||1:30 PM||Providence||FS1|
|Wed., Feb. 7||6:00 PM||at Seton Hall||FS1|
|Sat., Feb. 10||11:00 AM||at St. John's||Fox Sports WI|
This, to me, is the biggest variability. They could easily go 0-3 or 3-0. Providence still scares me at home, even though last season was PC’s first ever win in Milwaukee, Angel Delgado might eat Andrew Rowsey at some point this year, and nothing scares me more than St. John’s playing for their tournament lives at the end of the year. Remember how psychotic they were last year? They played with the same reckless abandon that I imagine Chris Mullin had when he asked his barber for that flattop at the age of 54. Also, no Saturday night home games even with the Bucks not playing Saturday home games at all.
Final Five Games of the Year
Marquette 2017-18 Big East Schedule 14-18
|Sat., Feb. 17||9:00 PM||at Creighton||Fox Sports WI|
|Wed., Feb. 21||7:30 PM||St. John's||Fox Sports WI|
|Sat., Feb. 24||11:00 AM||at DePaul||Fox Sports WI|
|Mon., Feb. 26||6:00 PM||at Georgetown||FS1|
|Sat., Mar. 3||TBD||Creighton||TBD|
A potential Saturday night home game! Although, based on last year’s final day schedule, it seems unlikely.
It’ll be awesome to see the Bradley Center packed to see the Big East Champion team. These are the cupcakes. If they don’t have any notable wins yet, they’ll probably have to wait for the Big East tournament for them. They really should go 5-0 here. Creighton will be a mess unless Syracuse transfer Kaleb Joseph really is a better solution than the “Marcus Foster: Point Guard” experiment they they tried after the now-departed Maurice Watson got hurt. Despite my St. John’s concerns, Marquette should beat them at home. On the road against DePaul is basically Marquette Madness, in that 7000 people in Marquette gear will show up to see them play an exhibition game. I’ll think of another Georgetown joke in a few months when they’ll have made it a lot easier for me.
Wrapping It Up
11-7/12-6 overall in the conference is probably in the 75th percentile of scenarios, which I think constitutes a reasonable goal. Recall that they made it in the tournament going 10-8 last year with a worse non-conference schedule, so don’t freak out if they don’t reach that total. The non-con comment bears revisiting after the Wisconsin game in December because our expectations will change as that portion of the season goes on, especially with the freshmen and defense. For now, we’re in the home stretch of the offseason. Basketball is almost here, so get excited.