Somewhat lost in the excitement of Marquette Madness was the news that Marquette would be playing Northwestern in a closed door scrimmage at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois, on Sunday, October 28th. This is one of those “secret” scrimmages that everyone finds out about through sources and the schools aren’t officially allowed to publicize or release stats.
Marquette will play at Northwestern in a closed-door scrimmage on Oct. 28. #mubb— Ben Steele (@BenSteeleMJS) October 6, 2018
This isn’t quite the obvious quality test for the Golden Eagles that it was at the start of last season. In October 2017, it was a battle of two teams coming off their first NCAA tournament appearances under their respective head coaches. This time around, it’s two teams that missed the NCAA tournament, and while Marquette returns everyone except for sharpshooter Andrew Rowsey, Northwestern loses three seniors from their rotation. The Wildcats were actually doing pretty good last season, sitting at 15-10 and 6-6 in Big Ten play after knocking off eventual national runner-up Michigan on February 6th, but they ended up losing their final seven games of the season and didn’t participate in any postseason competition.
The easy explanation as to why this one is happening this year is because it’s a return scrimmage from last year. Marquette hosted Northwestern at the BMO Harris Bradley Center last year, so now the Golden Eagles will head to Welsh-Ryan Arena. This gives the Northwestern staff a chance to work out the kinks in the freshly remodeled building, which is a nice extra benefit for this. There’s also the obvious connection that there was last year, as MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski and NU head coach Chris Collins were both teammates and co-workers at Duke.
Marquette has an exhibition against Carroll University set for Tuesday, October 30th, and will officially kick off the 2018-19 season with a home date against UMBC on Tuesday, November 6th.