The yearly men’s basketball game between Marquette and Wisconsin is on such a planned schedule that it completely blew past my consciousness on Saturday, when Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published his article about the date of the game for the 2018-19 season.
I mean, I recognized that it was new information that Steele was reporting, but because the game has been locked into the Saturday before Marquette’s Finals Week for I don’t even know how many years in a row now, it didn’t register in my head that it needed a blog article.
ANYWHO, the point is that the game is officially set for Saturday, December 8, 2018. The alternating home-and-home series pivots back to Milwaukee this season, which is an incredibe stroke of luck. Marquette will begin playing their home games at the brand new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center in November, so this is just one more highlight to the first season in the new building.
Marquette has a record of 57-67 against Wisconsin across the long history of the series that dates back to 1917. While the Golden Eagles are underwater overall in the series, they have won the last two meetings in Madison and three of the last four, including last year’s 82-63 decimation of the Badgers. Things have not gone quite as well for the Golden Eagles in the closing years of the Bradley Center, with UW taking three of the last four in Milwaukee. There are certain aspects of the Wisconsin fanbase that will try to tell you that the Badgers have been the dominant program in the state in the recent past, but the fact of the matter is that the series stands at 6-5 favoring Marquette since the 2007-08 season.
Wisconsin is coming off of their first season without an NCAA tournament since 1998-99. While a certain amount of their 15-18 record lies in the fact that D’Mitrik Trice and Kobe King both missed the final 23 games of the season, you can’t ignore the fact that Wisconsin was 4-6 with Trice and King in the lineup. Based purely on eligibility, UW is expected to return every major contributor to last year’s team for the 2018-19 season, but there is still one question left in the air. Ethan Happ has one year of eligibility remaining, but he has also declared for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent. Happ has previously stated that he would return to Wisconsin for his final season if he did not receive a first round guarantee from an NBA franchise, but it’s hard to see 21st century NBA teams having an interest in a 6’10” guy who essentially can’t shoot from outside the painted lane on the floor. There was a lot of sturm und drang over Happ’s attempts to add a three-point shot to his arsenal last summer, but he finished his junior campaign with a 1-for-11 mark from long range.
Marquette/Wisconsin is the fourth officially scheduled game of the season for the Golden Eagles, joining the season opener against UMBC and the two games of the 2018 NIT Tip-Off. We also are aware of a scheduled game against Buffalo, but the date on that one is as yet unconfirmed. There’s also two home games as a part of the NIT Tip-Off, but the event has not announced the teams participating in that end of things.
Here’s what the Marquette schedule looks like in terms of a calendar so far, with holidays and Finals Week blocked out in red and officially scheduled games in green.