Hey, didja see this? Didja hear about this?
As early as November of 2018, we knew that Marquette men’s basketball had a multi-team event hole in their schedule for the 2022-23 season. At the time, that looked an awful lot like Nike and Jordan Brand asked Marquette to keep their schedule clear in case they wanted to do a PK85 tournament to celebrate Phil Knight again.
Flash forward a few years and, uh, well, for reasons, the Marquette brand isn’t quite as shiny as it should be and so the Golden Eagles will not be in that tournament. Instead, when this November rolls around, Marquette will be headed south instead of west to play in the Beach Division of the Fort Myers Tip-Off. It will be a four team event played from November 21, 2022, through November 23, and based on last year’s scheduling, that means that the Golden Eagles will be playing on the 21st and the 23rd while the tourney plays the Palms Division on the 22nd.
Record: 12-20, 5-15 ACC
Final KenPom.com Ranking: #156
Head Coach: Josh Pastner, entering his seventh season at GT and 14th as a Division 1 head coach with a record of 261-169.
Marquette is 4-3 all time against Georgia Tech. The first meeting came allllll the way back in 1926, with the Yellow Jackets winning at home, 23-19. The two teams met twice in the 1950s, once in the ‘60s, and twice in the 1970s, including a 63-45 home win for MU on their way to the 1977 national championship. The most recent meeting went in MU’s favor as well, as have the last three, with the Golden Eagles winning 72-70 in November 2014 as part of the Orlando Classic.
Record: 18-16, 8-10 SEC
Postseason: Lost at Virginia in the first round of the NIT
Final KenPom.com Ranking: #49
Head Coach: Chris Jans, entering his first season at MSU and 7th as a Division 1 head coach with a record of 143-44.
Marquette is 1-0 all time against Mississippi State. The lone meeting in the series was also in one of these holiday tournaments, as MU won 89-62 in the 2012 Maui Invitational, 24 hours after Rotnei Clarke hit That Shot.
Record: 11-20, 4-16 Pac-12
Final KenPom.com Ranking: #122
Head Coach: Craig Smith, entering his second season at Utah and 9th as a Division 1 head coach with a record of 236-128.
Marquette is 1-1 all time against Utah. One meeting in 1955 as the #7 ranked Utes snuck past MU by five points, and another in 1970, with Al McGuire getting the 83-63 win in the quarterfinals of the 1970 NIT. Yes, that was the NIT that MU won after telling the NCAA where to stick their bracket.
Normally I would try to give you a bit of this and that about the teams involved. However, with the transfer portal being a thing and COVID bonus years being a thing, I’m not going to try and speculate who is and is not the expected returning leaders for these teams. However, based on how the seasons went/ended for these squads, and even calculating that all four teams involved should be expected to improve from 2021-22, I would have to say that Marquette should be the odds on favorite to win here.
Given that I’m writing this now in April than in February, I think it’s important to point something out about the broadcast of Marquette’s games in this event. This past season, Fox Sports had the rights to the broadcast. It stands to reason that would hold through til this year.... but maybe not. First, there’s not a single mention of Fox Sports or FS1 in the press release from the Fort Myers Tip-Off about the four teams involved. Second — and this is the big one — if last year’s schedule of Day 1 and Day 3 holds true for Marquette in November, that means that the Golden Eagles will be playing on Day 1 and Day 3 of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.... and Fox holds the broadcast rights to the World Cup. Now, the fact of the matter is that because of the time difference involved, the World Cup matches for the day will be wrapped up by mid-afternoon in the United States. In theory, this means that it should be easy enough to put basketball on FS1 in primetime.... but I presume that the World Cup broadcasts — including the United States team playing in the last match of Day 1 — will take very large precedent over anything else. Something to keep your eye on, that’s for sure.