Things come in order around here at Anonymous Eagle, which is why we talked about the 2022 Fort Myers Tip-Off yesterday and who Marquette men’s basketball will see when they travel to Florida this coming November.
NEXT November is different, though. Thanks to the enterprising work of Ben Steele at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel back in the day, we already knew that Marquette would be back as part of the Maui Invitational in November of 2023. Up until this week, though, we didn’t know who would be in the tournament along with the Golden Eagles. Now we know. In addition to Marquette and Chaminade, the local regular in the tournament, here are the other six teams in the field:
Current NCAA Tournament Streak: Every tournament since 1999, four straight Sweet 16s.
All-Time Series: Gonzaga leads, 2-1, haven’t played since November 2010
Head Coach: Mark Few, career record of 658-129
Current NCAA Tournament Streak: Every tournament since 1990.
All-Time Series: Kansas leads, 7-1, haven’t played since November 2018
Head Coach: Bill Self, career record of 763-229
Current NCAA Tournament Streak: Every tournament since 2015.
All-Time Series: Purdue leads, 9-1, haven’t played since November 2019
Head Coach: Matt Painter, career record of 409-197
Current NCAA Tournament Streak: Missed the tournament in 2022 to snap a three tournament streak
All-Time Series: Syracuse leads, 9-5, haven’t played since March 2013
Head Coach: Jim Boeheim, career record of 998-426
Current NCAA Tournament Streak: Every tournament since 2018
All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 5-3, haven’t played since November 2014
Head Coach: Rick Barnes, career record of 754-395
Current NCAA Tournament Streak: Two straight, but also two straight Sweet 16s
All-Time Series: UCLA leads, 4-0, most recent game in December 2021
Head Coach: Mick Cronin, career record of 432-201
Yep, that’s right, Marquette is one of six 2022 NCAA tournament teams in the field, and the Golden Eagles are the only team that was seeded lower than #4. Feels like the competition here might be a little steep. On top of that, Tennessee is the only team that Marquette holds the advantage against in the history of the series between the teams, so that seems a little bit of a hill to climb as well.
The really wild part about it? If you wanted to take the optimistic view of Shaka Smart’s tenure as Marquette head coach, you could easily see a way that MU is the favorite to win the Big East when the 2023-24 season rolls around..... and it’s still possible that a 1-2 record in this tournament would still be viewed as a success. Think about it this way: It’s entirely possible and bordering on reasonable in fact that there will be five preseason favorites in their respective conferences out of the other six Division 1 teams participating in this tournament. Sorry Syracuse, but, y’know, [gestures broadly] you’ve got some things going on.
We’re obviously way too far away from games being played on Thanksgiving week in 2023 to make any serious kinds of comments about how Marquette stacks up against any of these teams or what their rosters look like. So, put a pin in this one for now, and if you’ve ever wanted to watch Marquette play with some palm trees as backdrop, start saving your nickels now.