Upon the Big East releasing its conference schedule Tuesday, Marquette waited until then to release it’s full schedule.
As we have been doing here at Today’s U, we will dissect the non-conference portion of the Golden Eagles’ schedule. We already put out a primer on the Big East schedule.
Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski will have to replace stud Henry Ellenson this season, but he has a talented team that can contend for a postseason bid. You should not shed a tear for the Golden Eagles just yet — their backcourt is deep and diverse.
Without further ado, let’s break down Marquette’s non-conference schedule.
Note: RPIs courtesy of KenPom.com
Howard, 11/14/16 (home)- As a warmup for the 2K Classic, Marquette will get to feast on a Howard team that went just 12-20 last season, while finishing with a measly 332 RPI.
IUPUI, 11/22/16 (home)- While the Golden Eagles barely beat IUPUI last season (winning 75-71), it’s hard to see this year’s game being a scare again. The Panthers finished just 13-19 last season and hardly represent a stern test for Marquette.
Houston Baptist, 11/26/16 (home)- Although Houston Baptist finished with a respectable 17-17 record last year, its paltry 273 RPI indicates the Huskies will be in over their heads when they come to Milwaukee in late November.
Western Carolina, 11/30/16 (home)- While slightly better than the rest of the cupcakes listed here, the Catamounts will offer little to no resistance to Wojciechowski’s squad.
St. Francis (PA), 12/19/16 (home)- Here is yet another rout just waiting to happen. The Red Flash went 13-17 last season with an abysmal 293 RPI.
Southern Illinois Edwardsville, 12/21/16 (home)- This matchup is the creamiest of cupcakes—it even comes with sprinkles on top. SIUE was brutal last season, collecting just six wins and possessing an awful 321 RPI.
— MarquetteMBB (@MarquetteMBB) September 13, 2016
Non-cupcake games, but games Marquette should win
Fresno State, 12/6/16 (home)- This is one of those middling games Marquette has to be very mindful of. Fresno State had a breakthrough 2015-’16 season en route to 25 wins and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament before losing by 11 points to Utah in the first round. While Marvelle Harris is gone for the Bulldogs, this is not a team that will roll over. Still, the Golden Eagles hold a major talent edge and should have enough to win.
Vanderbilt, 11/11/16 (neutral)- As part of the Veterans Classic to be played in Annapolis, Maryland, Wojciechowski’s crew will get a tough test to open the season. Although the Commodores lose Wade Baldwin and Damian Jones, new Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew does bring back solid vets in Riley LaChance, Matthew Fisher-Davis, Jeff Roberson and Luke Kornet. You might have to call this game a toss-up.
Michigan, 11/17/16 (neutral)- As part of the 2K Classic to be played at Madison Square Garden, Marquette has drawn the Wolverines for the first game of the semifinals. As usual, you can expect John Beilein to have a squad ready to challenge for another NCAA Tournament bid. This will be the senior season for Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton. They’ll want to get off to a strong start. The Wolverines’ experience could be a key factor in this contest.
Georgia, 12/4/16 (away)- An away game for a young Golden Eagles team is not ideal, and with Georgia bringing back star guard J.J. Frazier and double-double threat Yante Maten, Marquette will have to come strong if it expects to escape Athens with a win. This is the Golden Eagles’ only true non-conference road game.
Wisconsin, 12/10/16 (home)- This is the game Golden Eagle fans circle every year. Expect a raucous crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. That said, the Badgers will hold the edge — they possess as good a senior duo in the nation as there is (Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig). After losing last season’s game, the Badgers will be looking for revenge and the state bragging rights that come with it.
To be determined
SMU or Pittsburgh, 11/18/16 (neutral)- Depending on whether they win or lose against Michigan in the 2K Classic, the Golden Eagles will play either SMU or Pittsburgh the next day in New York. Either team will present a challenge and represent a way to nab a key resume-building win.