As I’ve matured over my years, I’ve come to develop two subcategories that fall under the “rivalry” umbrella. This past Sunday, I went to the Cincinnati-Wichita State game with my dad. It was an awesome experience. I had never been to Koch Arena before. Both sides seemed to realize that this was not a game existing in isolation and that both teams would be in the upper echelon of basketball for as long as the AAC continues to exist. So 5 more years. Regardless, despite the heartbreaking loss by the Shockers, the fans were mostly pleased walking out of the arena because they knew that the Shockers played their hearts out and simply lost to the team that played better. And because of Rashard Kelly’s dunk. That rivalry is going to be fun and I respect Cincinnati (Yes, I say this as someone who didn’t follow old Conference USA or the Big East until 2013. Shut up.).
It could not be a less enjoyable experience. I’d rather watch Dan Dakich bathe in melted butter with those Chris Paul/Oscar from The Office commercials playing on repeat than spend 4+ hours a year (6+ this year woooo) watching those two teams joust at each other in men’s basketball. We’re not going through the whole etymology (What’s the etymology of the word “etymology”? *hits blunt*) of what a rivalry truly is. They’re in the same conference, they play twice a year, they’re 90 miles apart, they’ve played each over 120 times spanning back a century. It’s a rivalry.
Marquette seems to get yanked into DePaul’s black hole of suckiness every time they play. According to T-Rank’s Game Score metric, which grades games from 0 (bad) to 100 (great), Marquette has had results of 81, 63, 54, 89, 39, 91, 97, 83, 97 and 46 against DePaul since 2014. There are some baaaaaad performances there. Even that last 97 performance came only because the Blue Demons wouldn’t have been able to hit Mo Wagner’s mouth that night. Black hole of suckiness.
They’re good at literally two things this year: Forcing turnovers and grabbing offensive boards. The latter happens to be one of the 50 things Marquette’s defense is susceptible to, and it single-handedly won the game for DePaul in Wintrust a couple weeks ago. Even if it resorts to form tackling, Marquette will need to limit the amount of misses DePaul grabs on Wednesday night and they can win easily. Honestly Marquette could also not limit their second chances and still win easily, but I’d rather not test that theory.
Here’s something you haven’t heard a million times yet: Marquette needs to win this game to have a chance at getting a bid. If they win this mud fight and lose to Villanova, I’d put the odds of a bid at roughly 50%. There seems to be less potential for bid thievery this year in terms of the amount of mid majors destined to be an at large no matter what, but bubble teams are also a little stronger this year. I don’t know. If you think I’m wrong, just know that I don’t really care. What I do care about is Marquette not losing to DePaul. I’m already mad about it and the game isn’t until tomorrow night.