Okay, let’s start with the pure factual items here.
On Tuesday afternoon, Marquette men’s basketball announced the official date for National Marquette Day 2020. It will be on Sunday, February 9th, in conjunction with the home game on that day against Butler. The game is set for an 11am Central time tipoff, and is scheduled to be broadcast on FS1.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to associated items of interest.
Here’s the official men’s basketball Twitter account’s announcement of said scheduling.
If you would be so kind, please click through on that tweet, and check out the replies.
What you will find there is an amazing level of dork as people whine, cry, moan, complain, and in at least one case threaten about the fact that NMD has been scheduled for a Sunday this year.
Oh, no! Mother, fetch me my pearls so that I may clutch them and my fainting couch so that I may use it for its designated purpose! [gently places back of hand against forehead]
Let’s deal with a few things that we know about scheduling Marquette home games.
- The Milwaukee Bucks have first priority on using Fiserv Forum. I don’t know if you guys heard, but the Bucks are probably going to be pretty good again next season, so ESPN and TNT have scheduled them on national television a whole hell of a lot. This limits where Marquette games can be placed, perhaps even more so than in previous years.
- Fox Sports and CBS Sports are in charge of when Marquette plays. All the university does is let their TV partners know what dates they have available at Fiserv and then the TV partners make the schedules. When the people paying you millions of dollars per year tell you that you’re playing at 11am on a Sunday, you check to make sure the direct deposit is still hitting and then you go play at 11am on a Sunday.
Here’s what we know about scheduling National Marquette Day.
- It has to be a weekend home game, because what’s the point of trying to organize watch parties literally all across the globe if the game is happening on a weeknight?
- It is in the best interest of the aforementioned watch parties if the game is televised on a nationally available television channel.
- Scheduling NMD in collaboration with Senior Day is a waste of a marketing opportunity. If we accept the idea that both Senior Day and NMD helps sell a few extra tickets and thus make Marquette a few extra bucks, then it would be a waste of money to combine the two. We know this, because Marquette never combines the two.
With those three things in mind, let’s take stock of Marquette’s options for National Marquette Day this season. You’ll note that I did not even require that the game be against a Big East opponent.
OPTION #1: Saturday, November 23rd vs Robert Morris
One, it’s Robert Morris. Two, the game is broadcast on FS2, which is touchy as far as national coverage goes.
OPTION #2: Saturday, December 28th vs Central Arkansas
One, it’s Central Arkansas. Two, it’s between Christmas and New Year’s and trying to trick people into not traveling for the holidays just because it’s National Marquette Day is probably a bad idea. Three, class is not in session, so there will be essentially no students at this game.
OPTION #3: Saturday, January 4th vs Villanova
Okay, this is actually a solid option..... except like the Central Arkansas game, this is during winter break and is thus actually a bad idea. I mean, unless you like having National Marquette Day with a three-quarters empty student section.
OPTION #4: Saturday, February 1st vs DePaul
One, this game is available only on the Fox Sports Regional partnerships for television, so it will be touch-and-go if our friends in say, Seattle get to watch it. Two, it’s DePaul. Does anyone really want to taint National Marquette Day with DePaul?
OPTION #5: Sunday, February 9th vs Butler
It’s a weekend game, it’s the last non-Senior Day weekend home game of the year, it’s on FS1, and it’s got an early start time that leads to very festive brunch options for all of the watching parties. Everything clicks into place here.
It is also, for my money, the game I most want Marquette to win this year. I have not forgiven LaVall Jordan for his role in causing injury to Markus Howard towards the end of the 2018-19 season, and I never will. I want Marquette to beat Butler’s brains out for the rest of time, and even then, I will not have gotten over this.
OPTION #6: Saturday, February 29th vs Seton Hall
This is the final home game of the year, and is thus Senior Day. Specifically, it’s going to be Markus Howard’s Senior Day, and by this point in the season, he will presumably already be 1) Marquette’s all-time leading scorer, 2) The Big East’s all-time leading scorer, 3) Marquette’s all-time leader in made three-pointers, and 4) The Big East’s all-time leader in made three-pointers. This one is kind of already a big deal, and as mentioned above, it’s silly to waste a marketing opportunity by folding NMD into it.
And that’s it. Six weekend home games all season long, and essentially, only one real option for National Marquette Day: The one that Marquette picked. More importantly, it was seemingly the only real option as soon as the schedule was announced last week. We covered this in the article about the schedule release.
It’s not going to get changed. If you want to continue to advise the university and the athletic department that you’re a loon, well, be my guest.