The 2019-20 college basketball season is quickly approaching, and thus, we turn our attention to previewing the upcoming Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball season.
To that end, we’ve got a stacked up list of questions about the 2019-20 campaign, and each of the contributors to AE are going to take a crack at answering them. There will be a new question every weekday morning between now and the start of the season, so be sure to stop back every day to find the new one.
Onwards, then, to the question of the day:
What will be Marquette’s three best wins on Selection Sunday?
It’s not just who will be the three best teams that MU beats. A road win against Villanova is more impressive than a home win against the same Wildcats, and neutral site wins have an increased quality as well.
In no particular order, at Wisconsin, home vs Purdue, home vs Villanova.
1. Winning the first round of the Orlando Invitational will be huge because a) Davidson is going to be competing for an A-10 title this year and b) they would very likely get to play a “meh” USC team in the next round instead of a terrible (KenPom preseason #278) Fairfield squad. That’d be huge for overall SOS rankings.
2. On the road against Kansas State. I’ll likely be going so I’ll be cheering very loudly and it’ll easily distract Bruce Weber from remembering that he’s supposed to be coaching. It would also likely be the Wildcats’ only non-conference loss, so that win could stick in the minds of the committee.
3. Senior Day against Seton Hall. Seeing Markus Howard tower over Myles Powell’s corpse yelling, “Is this your king?!?!” is the general direction of the press table will be the best moment of his career.
At Wisconsin, At Xavier, Vs Villanova.
I’m not convinced Marquette will beat Purdue or win at Kansas State. Greg Gard is a bad coach though so I will always pick Marquette over Wisconsin if the two programs are relatively equal. I’m not super high on Villanova and Marquette won that game last year, and then I actually really like Xavier this year but trust Marquette to win there on the road.
In order, at least my best guess of order: vs Purdue, vs Davidson at Disney World, vs Xavier.
I think Purdue will be pretty good this year, but catching them early as Matt Painter adjusts his team to a post-Carsen Edwards world will be very beneficial to the Golden Eagles. Davidson probably qualifies as under-the-radar good right now, but they’re top 25-ish capable heading into the season (two spots behind MU in the preseason AP poll) and expected to be an Atlantic 10 contender. Never hurts to beat a team that can win a top 10 conference. I’m putting Xavier as MU’s best Big East win because I believe in the Musketeers more than I believe in Villanova (by a little bit) and Seton Hall (by a lot).
As I have learned the past few years, guessing on these games is pretty much a crapshoot. So, I picked the top three wins I want to see (and that we have a decent chance of winning): Purdue for revenge for the ass whooping we took two years ago on my 21st birthday, Xavier at home because my brother went there and they made me sit through a four-hour graduation, Seton Hall in the BET because nothing would make me happier than Myles Powell’s Big East career coming to an end at the hands of Markus Howard.
Note: I do also think we beat Wisconsin but since they are ranked 45 in KenPom and are currently 1-point underdogs to Rutgers on December 11th, I did not select them as a top three win. You can’t be a quality win if you’re expected to lose to Rutgers.
I think it will take Marquette some time to get things going this season. Thus, their three biggest wins will come in Big East play. They’ll take down Nova at home with barely any students in attendance to watch on January 4th (shaking my fist angrily at whoever does the scheduling). They will also enjoy some sweet sweet revenge against Seton Hall by beating the Pirates twice. That’s not to say they won’t get some big wins in non-conference but the conference wins will matter more to the committee than a Kansas State or Wisconsin victory.