Welcome back to the AE Mailbag! We’re going to try to do these once a week between now and (at least) August, so feel free to keep firing your questions in to the email inbox — email@example.com — or hit us up on Twitter — @AnonymousEagle — if you’ve got something that’s nagging at you. Marquette sports, college sports, movies, TV, favorite foods, whatever you’ve got, we’ll be happy to try to answer it.
Here we go!
From @CharlieWeber45: Since you brought up “From the parking lot!” today, what are the top 3-5 Gus Johnson calls of all time?
SIXTEEN MINUTE GUS MONTAGE!
The Vermont-Syracuse stuff is at the 7:15 mark, if you want to skip ahead.
From @Cohete009: Why did Wojo block me?
These questions usually have obvious answers, Ben’s research into the issue notwithstanding. “WHY WAS I BLOCKED??!?!? ALL I DID WAS SEND SEVEN STRAIGHT TWEETS IN A MINUTE ACCUSING HIM OF FRAMING MRS. O’LEARY’S COW” or something to that effect. So let’s do the obvious and run a search for tweets tagging Wojo from your account annnnnnnnnnnd......
@steve_wojo I'll be there to support the team. Go Marquette!— Chris Lein (@Cohete009) November 13, 2015
What about mentioning the official MU account? Nope.
Just using “Wojo?” Nope.
Well then. I got nothing for you, other than it seems like Wojo’s been on the block button an awful lot lately. All I’ve got to say about that is that’s a bad look for a coach who has unequivocally not overperformed yet in his head coaching career.
From: @77ncaachamps: Is Milwaukee ready for an MLS team?
As always, these things come down to money, right? According to this article from Soccer Stadium Digest, an MLS team in Milwaukee would need to draw better than Marquette men’s basketball to at least be in the neighborhood of everyone else in the league.
That feels like it’s a bit of a reach, especially with this article on the Torrent, the local semi-pro club, from last June saying that there were “hundreds” in attendance at Hart Park in Wauwatosa. With that said, the yearly Marquette-Milwaukee men’s soccer match is capable of drawing north of 4,000, so there might be enough of an audience. There’s also the issue of the team needing a stadium to hold north of 15,000 people, and I don’t know where you build that thing where you could reasonably call the team still in Milwaukee.
From @captainJAMErYca: What will Sam Hauser impress us most with this year, his excellent all around play on the court, or his superior Fortnite abilities?
Does he have superior Fortnite abilities? I legitimately have no idea. I’m one of those dorks that’s actively avoiding playing Fortnite at this point. I get the weird feeling that it would be a situation where the attention and hype would overwhelm the actual gameplay at this point, and I’d end up thinking that everyone who plays the game is a weirdo for going so crazy about something so uninteresting.
Anywho, I don’t know anything about anyone’s abilities in the game. For the purposes of discussion, I’m going say that I hope it’s option #1, just because if Sam’s very good at Fortnite, but he’s more impressive with his basketball play, then that’s pretty good news for Marquette. It also means that he’s 100% healed from his hip surgery, too, and that would definitely be good news.
From @lessthannick11: Expectations for men’s and women’s soccer this fall? Has Louis Bennett done enough to keep his job this long?
I’ll take the second part first. Marquette men’s soccer has made three NCAA tournament appearances in program history. Louis Bennett has been at the helm for two of them. Now, with that in mind, the last one was in 2013, and the team has had a record of 21-34-12 since then. That includes 3-11-2 last year. Over the past few seasons, the hardest thing for Bennett has been merely having a similar roster from year to year. The team has been shaken up over and over by transfers, with 15 players departing with eligibility remaining over the past three years. Part of that is the reality of men’s college soccer, where there are only 9.9 scholarships to spread across the entire roster, not enough to even cover a starting lineup, and there’s no mandatory redshirt season if you transfer to a new school. Think about it this way: If you’re from Wisconsin, like 10 of the players on the 2018 MU roster, and you’re getting a 25% scholarship from Marquette, where you’re still required to pay over $30,000 plus housing, and you realize that you could transfer to Wisconsin, where your full tuition bill is going to be under $5,000, and if the team can toss anything your way, you’re coming out ahead on the deal? You can’t really fault anyone for leaving if that’s part of their equation.
Bennett took the program from 1-15-1 in his first season in 2006, and racked up more wins than the year before every season through 2012, where Marquette ended up ranked as high as #2 in the country. The following year, the team earned the program’s first ever NCAA tournament victory. Yes, it’s been downhill since then, but between his assemblage of the program over his first seven seasons and his constant ability to win at Milwaukee (135-64-17), I trust his ability to return Marquette to the competitive standard that the rest of the athletic department is displaying.
So that brings us to the actual competition part of 2018 for Louis Bennett’s team. Yes, they lost seven players from last year, including four seniors. However, they return 17 guys, and Bennett has brought in a recruiting class of 12, including two sophomore transfers and two freshmen who have already been on campus for the spring semester. The returners constitute a strong core to build around, so if any of the new guys crack the starting 11, they’re well deserving of their spot. Take it for what you will, but Marquette went 2-0 against Division 1 foes in the spring season, earning road wins against SIUE (2-1) and Milwaukee (4-1). That’s roughly the same Panthers squad that beat MU 2-0 in the 2017 Milwaukee Cup match. We already know the home schedule for this fall, and there’s two 2017 NCAA tournament squads coming to town. I want to believe that Marquette will show marked improvement from their 3-11-2 record from last season, but between a few tough home tests and a likely strong Big East schedule (hello, Georgetown and Creighton) as usual, perhaps finishing .500 is the goal.
As for the women’s team, they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs over the past few years. 2015 was Markus Roeders’ first season without a winning record at just 8-8-4, and it was MU’s second straight season without an NCAA tournament appearance after six straight tourneys before that. 2016 brought a sixth Big East title to Milwaukee and another NCAA tournament appearance, but 2017 saw the program’s first ever losses to Providence and Villanova, and 13-7-1 ended up being not enough for a postseason berth.
I admit I didn’t really know what to expect from the Golden Eagles in 2018 until about a week ago. MU was losing four starters, including Darian Powell, one of the 10 best goal scorers in program history. However, the non-conference schedule that Roeders has assembled is stacked up with four teams that qualified for the 2017 NCAA tournament and a fifth — Milwaukee — that went unbeaten last season but somehow was left out of the national championship field. That’s a very challenging schedule, so I have to imagine that hopes are high in the athletic department for what this team can accomplish this fall.
From @specialkcu: If Marquette could play any Big 12 or PAC 12 school who would you want to see? Who do you think would be best for tournament resume, regardless of the outcome?
The answer to the second part is somewhat obvious, as from year to year, the best tournament resume team to play in the Big 12 is almost always going to be Kansas and the best Pac-12 team is almost always Arizona. They might not be the best team in a particular year, but right now, they’re the best choice ahead of time to guarantee the best possible result. Of the two, Kansas would be the best choice, because the Pac-12 has not been a very good conference over the past decade or so, at least relative to their status as a Power Five football conference.
As far as which teams do I most want to see pop up on the schedule, this is simple. When it comes to non-conference games, I’m always in favor of new and different matchups. Thus, I most want to see Marquette play Oklahoma and California, as they have never played either squad. Texas would be the next best Big 12 team to play, as Marquette has played them just once, back in the fall of 1977. Washington State would also be a good option coming out of the Pac-12, as their one spot on the slate came back in 1993. I’d like to see a UCLA game, as MU is 0-2 against the Bruins and they haven’t clashed since 1964. I would also like a game against Stanford, as the classic 2008 NCAA tournament game between the two is MU’s only loss in the five game all-time series.
I’ll give you a bonus here, as there is one team in those two leagues that I never want to play ever again. The last time that Marquette played West Virginia resulted in Buzz Williams dancing on WVU’s logo after a 61-60 victory in 2012. I want that to be the last game against the Mountaineers. No more trips to Morgantown ever.