It took until September 14th before we got the Marquette women’s basketball non-conference schedule. At the time, the team announced that the Big East schedule would be coming “Next Week.”
That did not happen, as it took 14 days for the league office to actually release the women’s basketball schedule. Is it a coincidence that it came right on the heels of the league announcing the television assignments for men’s basketball? I’m guessing it’s not.
Let’s address the Big Issue at hand with the Big East women’s basketball schedule: After playing a 18 game round robin schedule after The Reformation and then expanding to 20 games when Connecticut joined the league to fit in everyone playing the Huskies twice, that is now in the past. The Big East is moving to an 18 game schedule for women’s basketball. Everyone will play eight opponents both home and away along with one home game against the ninth opponent on the schedule and a road game against the 10th. In Marquette’s case, at least for this season, that means only a home game against Georgetown and only a road game against Providence.
Why is the Big East doing this? I’ll let the league’s press release say it before I elaborate:
New for 2023-24, the BIG EAST will shift to an 18-game conference schedule. Schools will play eight opponents twice and two opponents once. Many factors were considered when determining schedule pairings, including projected order of finish, established rivalries and television requests. The BIG EAST played a double-round robin schedule the previous 10 seasons. The adjustment to an unbalanced schedule provides greater flexibility in scheduling non-conference opponents.
To address the points the league makes:
- Projected order of finish means that they wanted to boost the NET for the expected top teams in the league. Using last year’s NET as a guideline, three of the top four teams — Connecticut, Creighton, and Marquette — will play two of the bottom four teams just once, while the fourth — Villanova — will only play one of the bottom four teams once. The bottom four teams were all sub-100 teams in the NET last season, and this is just helping teams aiming at the NCAA tournament avoid drags on their schedule. Is that a net positive for the league?
- Established rivalries means things like they wanted Marquette and DePaul to play twice.
- Television requests means that they wanted UConn vs whoever on Fox, FS1, or CBS Sports Network this season, and as such those games had to be locked in.
- Greater non-conference flexibility means they wanted to give Geno Auriemma more time to schedule out of conference games. Women’s Basketball starts on the same day as men’s basketball does, but for the Big East, the conference tournament starts five days earlier. That means the regular season ends six days earlier, and that’s a week of scheduling that’s just not there for the women. Pulling two Big East games from everyone 1) creates the free time to schedule non-conference games and 2) hands those two games inside of the NCAA’s limit on a regular season schedule back to individual schools to use as they see fit. Everyone gets to use them, sure, but you can read this as doing UConn a solid with their semi-regular series against South Carolina, Tennessee, Notre Dame, and so on.
As for Marquette’s schedule, much like the men’s team, the Golden Eagles appear to be the beneficiaries of Fox and CBS having open broadcast windows due to the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild strikes. MU will make one national broadcast television appearance when they host Villanova on National Marquette Day on FOX. So many men’s games going up to Fox means there’s more FS1 and CBS Sports Network time for women’s games, and MU will be on FS1 three times — twice at home — and on CBS once, and that one also is a home game. Would it be more fun if they were on the road when they were on TV due to the FloSports contract? Sure, absolutely, but maybe the television people like the setup at the McGuire Center to broadcast games, and sometimes that’s how it goes.
Other than that, and the UConn games which are both on SNY but available in Milwaukee on the Fox Sports app, everything else will be on FloSports, including all of Marquette’s home dates in non-conference play. If you’re the kind of person who worries about this kind of thing, Marquette will knock out three of their Big East road games during winter break and play just two home games in that time. They will also have to play Creighton on the Wednesday of finals week, which is not the best time to be playing one of the most important games of the Big East schedule, but at least it’s a home game?
The way the schedule shakes out, everything is either Tuesday or Wednesday and then again on Saturday. There’s off spaces in there, but that’s the basic format for the schedule. No Sunday games at all, which is a little on the weird side given how much television time gets sucked up by men’s basketball on Saturdays, but maybe that’s a side effect of the aforementioned Hollywood strikes opening up TV space.
Here’s the full 18 game Big East schedule!
2023-24 Marquette Women’s Basketball Big East Schedule
|Wednesday, December 13||Creighton||FloSports||7:00 PM|
|Sunday, December 31||at Connecticut||SNY||Noon|
|Wednesday, January 3||at St. John's||FloSports||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, January 6||Xavier||FloSports||TBD|
|Tuesday, January 9||at Seton Hall||FS1||6:30 PM|
|Saturday, January 13||DePaul||CBS Sports Network||TBD|
|Wednesday, January 17||at Villanova||FloSports||6:00 PM|
|Tuesday, January 23||Connecticut||SNY||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, January 27||Butler||FloSports||2:00 PM|
|Wednesday, January 31||at Creighton||FloSports||6:00 PM|
|Saturday, February 3||at Providence||FloSports||1:00 PM|
|Wednesday, February 7||Georgetown||FS1||8:00 PM|
|Saturday, February 10||Villanova||Fox||2:00 PM|
|Tuesday, February 13||at DePaul||FloSports||7:00 PM|
|Tuesday, February 20||Seton Hall||FloSports||7:00 PM|
|Saturday, February 24||at Xavier||FloSports||1:00 PM|
|Tuesday, February 27||St. John's||FS1||7:30 PM|
|Saturday, March 2||at Butler||FloSports||TBD|