Wellllll, it’s the offseason for Marquette men’s basketball. That is, as it has been since the loss to Murray State, a bummer.
However, the offseason also means that it’s “people tell Jon Rothstein schedule information” season. It’s only a matter of time before interesting tidbits about the 2019-20 non-conference schedule starts leaking out one way or another. As such, it’s probably a good idea to take stock of what we already know about the schedule that we’ll see for the Golden Eagles starting next November.
Here’s what we 100% know for sure that we’ll see next season:
- A road game at Kansas State, partly as a return date for the game in Milwaukee this past season and partly as MU’s end of the new Big East/Big 12 challenge series.
- A road game at Wisconsin, because it’s their turn to host again. If the seemingly now traditional “Saturday before Marquette’s finals” schedule holds, the game will be played on December 7th.
- The Advocare Invitational, which is the Thanksgiving Weekend event down at Walt Disney World. Marquette will be joined in Florida by Davidson, Fairfield, Harvard, Maryland, Temple, USC, and Texas A&M. MU will play three of those teams in one fashion or another. I would prefer that it be in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship game of the tournament, but these things aren’t up to me.
Kansas State is coming off of a 25-9 season, where they shared the Big 12 regular season title with Texas Tech. That makes those two the first non-Kansas conference champs in 15 years. However, K-State got dumped in the NCAA tournament first round by UC Irvine. Wisconsin went 23-11 this past season, finishing fourth in the Big Ten and losing to Oregon in their first NCAA tournament game.
The Advocare Invitational ought to be interesting, as Fairfield, Temple, and Texas A&M are both going through coaching changes. The Stags and the Aggies have not named replacements in the big chair as of this writing, while Temple had Aaron McKie as coach-in-waiting during Fran Dunphy’s final season in charge. Given that USC’s season ended on March 14th and Andy Enfield is still employed, it seems that the Trojans are not going to willfully make a change. However, given that former USC assistant Tony Bland pled guilty in the bribery scandal in early January, we probably can’t say anything for 100% certain regarding Enfield until he’s actually putting on a pair of mouse ears in November.
It would be unrealistic for us to not touch briefly on the A&M job for a moment. Buzz Williams has been the leading candidate to replace Billy Kennedy in College Station for the entire season, dating all the way back to when NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster made “Buzz will be their coach next year” his bold prediction for the team on his SEC preview podcast before the season started. That speculation has only ramped up as Virginia Tech’s season came to an end on March 29th in the Sweet 16. For now, the Aggies are without a coach, but feel free to prepare yourself for Marquette/Texas A&M being a thing in the fall.
Y’all can count, of course, and thus you can figure out that only is five games worth of schedule right there. Marquette played 13 non-conference games in 2018-19, so there’s a whole mess of contests that we’re going to find out about at some point in the not distant future. One of those is probably going to be another go-round in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
The Gavitt Games is an eight year cycle, and through four years, Marquette has played three of their allotted/required six games. That gives them three more in the next four years, so odds are that there will be another one in 2019-20. Marquette has played two home games and one road game, but I’m not sure if there’s any kind of requirement for home/road even splits in the Gavitt Games. If the scheduling brains are trying to keep it even, then it’s likely that MU plays a road game if they play another Gavitt Game in November. Of course, with Marquette already playing at K-State and at Wisconsin, it would also make sense for MU to angle to get a home game just to balance out the schedule a bit.
Other than that, it’s pure speculation as to what Marquette is going to do as far as scheduling. The past few seasons has shown that head coach Steve Wojciechowski has an inclination to schedule tests for his team, as MU has brought in Fresno State, Vermont, and Buffalo as buy games in Milwaukee. Since the argument can be made that MU is essentially bringing back the exact same roster with a little more ballhandling ability in the form of Koby McEwen and Greg Elliott, you could also argue that 2019-20 will be Wojo’s most talented and skilled roster. Thus, you’d think that the intent of scheduling upwards with an eye on the best possible NCAA tournament berth next March would continue. We’ll have to wait and see what exactly that means, though.
I wouldn’t particularly expect to find out about anything super interesting in terms of the schedule, though. Maybe there will be a home-and-home series against a major conference squad starting up with the first game in Milwaukee, or perhaps some sort of one-off neutral site event, but the odds are that all we’ll be getting is buy games the rest of the way here outside of the Gavitt Tipoff Games announcement.