The Basketball Tournament locked the fan voting and roster pages at 11am Central time on June 1st. Teams needed to get at least seven players on their roster, and the top nine fan vote gatherers in each region earned their way into the field this year.
Golden Eagles, Marquette’s alumni team, didn’t have to worry about fan votes this year. TBT has established a partnership with the Big East, at least for this season. That partnership has created a four-team Big East alumni team pod in the Northeast region of the tournament made up of St. John’s, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles, with all four squads given guaranteed spots in the 72 team tournament.
Here’s the official roster for this year’s Golden Eagles squad, with Dan Fitzgerald as general manager and Joe Chapman as head coach:
Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge
Those are the MU alumni on the roster, and there’s also one Willie Atwood on the roster page as well. Atwood played two years at Arizona State after starting his collegiate career in the juco ranks. I’m not sure what his connection to Marquette is, other than he was recruited to ASU by Herb Sendek when current MU assistant Stan Johnson was also on staff. It’s possible that Atwood’s inclusion is just some kind of temporary glitch in the TBT system, but a 6’8” guy who can shoot it a little bit from outside would be a welcome presence on the team.
Travis Diener is currently listed as a point guard on the roster page. That was his original designation when he popped up on this year’s roster page, but it was shortly thereafter changed to “head coach.” It’s back to listed as guard, so hopefully that does mean that Diener will be in action.
We’ll wait to discuss the other teams in the Northeast region once TBT officially announces the field. The top nine vote getters will make it in, as will four at-large teams, so we won’t get ahead of ourselves quite yet. Besides, Golden Eagles will have to make it out of the Big East pod for that to matter. For now, we can discuss the rosters on the other three Big East teams. MU’s first game will obviously be against one of the three, and if they win that one, their second round game will be against one of the other two.
I want to say that the other three Big East squads have a better roster than Marquette, perhaps because they all seem to hold a notable advantage in youth over the Golden Eagles. Here’s the lists.
Jack Attack (Georgetown Alumni) w/ Patrick Ewing, Jr. as head coach
Hall In (Seton Hall Alumni) w/ Jamar Wise as head coach
Johnnies (St. John’s Alumni) w/Kevin Clark as head coach
Anthony Mason, Jr.
Those three lineups are pretty good, and with Marquette missing out on the services of Davante Gardner and Dwight Buycks this year, I get the feeling that Golden Eagles won’t be favored to come out of their pod. Then again, they get home court advantage, so who knows what could happen. The Seton Hall roster is ever so slightly exposed to risk with Carrington and Rodriguez on board, as both guys could very likely end up on Summer League rosters, and thus might not make it to Milwaukee. Of course, the same goes for MU’s Jamil Wilson. Summer League doesn’t officially get going until after the Big East pod, but teams may hold pre-league camps and practices to get all of their guys on the same page.
The Big East pod at the McGuire Center gets started on June 30th with games at 2pm and 4pm Central, with the winners advancing to July 1st and a game at 1pm. I would presume that Golden Eagles will be playing in the 4pm game on Saturday, because it always makes sense to have the host in the second game.