Why didn’t you guys tell me that Inside Lacrosse put out the men’s lacrosse preseason top 20 media poll last week? I put you guys in charge of reminding me of that!
It’s okay, we’ll figure it out together going forward.
The IL media voters have YOUR Marquette men’s lacrosse team.... well, not ranked to start 2024. But! They are receiving votes in the poll. Given that Inside Lacrosse lists the Receiving Votes teams in a descending order of points earned, that makes Marquette the unofficial #28 team in the country before a single goal finds itself in a net. Given that MU went 6-8 a year ago with three overtime losses to end the season, that’s a pretty strong indicator that the voters think that the coin toss nature of the losses mean that the Golden Eagles miiiiiiight have been closer to 9-5.
It’s safe to say that Marquette is going to get more than a few chances to show whether or not they deserve those preseason votes. We don’t know what happened this past weekend in Durham in exhibition play, but I think it’s safe to say that head coach Andrew Stimmel has a feel for how his team holds up against preseason #2 Duke right now.
The first live action that counts test against a ranked team will come in Marquette’s fourth game of the season when preseason #1 and reigning national champions Notre Dame comes to Valley Fields. The Irish beat MU 21-10 in South Bend last season, so let’s just say that everyone in Milwaukee would like that to go better this time.
The ND game kicks off a run of games against teams earning votes. Marquette will be in Florida the following weekend to face #11 Michigan, and one week later, they will host Utah, who start off the season as the unofficial #21 team in the country. The Golden Eagles went 1-2 against that trio of teams last year, so we’ll get a very clear view of what Marquette is as a team after the first weekend of March.
Marquette has one final non-conference ranked team test waiting for them. On March 16th, they’ll be out in the Philadelphia suburbs for a “neutral” site game against #4 Penn State. The Golden Eagles out-muscled the Nittany Lions on Long Island last season, so it will be interesting to see if they can repeat the effort in a second straight meeting.
That brings us to Big East action, and Marquette is going to have their hands full as usual. Marquette’s second conference game will be on the road against preseason #12 Georgetown. Tradition insists that MU end the regular season against Denver, this time on the road, and the Pioneers start the year at #13, one spot behind the Hoyas, who are the preseason favorite in the Big East. One week before traveling to the Rocky Mountains, Marquette will have to contend with Villanova in the Valley, and the Wildcats are one spot behind Utah in the Receiving Votes department to start the season.
If Marquette can figure out how to beat some of these guys, the Golden Eagles are set up incredibly well to take a run at an NCAA tournament berth this season. As a team earning preseason top 20 votes, it’s clear that at least one national pundit, maybe more, definitely think that the Golden Eagles have the horsepower to figure that out between now and May.
Marquette will open the season THIS COMING WEEKEND when they make the trip out to Colorado to face Air Force. The Falcons went 11-6 last season and missed on the NCAA tournament by way of an 11-9 loss to top seeded Utah in the ASUN championship. Yes, Air Force/Utah was the Atlantic Sun championship game, stop thinking about it, you’ll hurt yourself. Air Force was picked to finish third in the ASUN this season, and for the moment, we have no clarity as to whether or not we’ll be able to stream this game anywhere.
You can check out the entire preseason top 20 right here.