The remainder of Marquette’s men’s basketball schedule was released last Wednesday, and fans will be treated with many enticing match-ups over the course of the season.
The Golden Eagles, coming off a second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16, will be consistently put to the test in the nonconference against top-tier teams such as Ohio State, Florida, Wisconsin and Butler.
Marquette is slated to play in the annual Maui Invitational Tournament, beginning with a Nov. 11 game versus Colgate at the Bradley Center, with the tournament reconvening on Nov. 19 against Butler in Maui.
Other teams in the bracket include North Carolina, Mississippi State and Texas, among others.
Senior center Chris Otule anticipates the challenges that await in the Maui Invitational. Playing against teams of this caliber so early in the season should benefit the Golden Eagles in the long run.
“We’re anticipating all of that,” Otule said. “Last year we got to play in the Virgin Islands and I’m glad we get to play in Hawaii and get to play against all those good teams there.”
Other challenges for the team include taking on Ohio State and Florida, powerhouses in their respective conferences. Marquette fell to Florida in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament in March, and the Golden Eagles will be seeking revenge for that defeat.
“We have a tough non-conference schedule playing those teams like Wisconsin and Ohio State, but you really wouldn’t want it any other way,” Otule said. “You want to play the best teams and see how you match up.”
The Ohio State game will be played on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in Charleston, S.C. on Nov. 9., the team’s first game of the season. Otule said the game should be a “good experience” and that the team is undergoing its usual individual and team workouts in preparation for the opener.
The Marquette-Wisconsin rivalry will return to Milwaukee on Dec. 8, and Big East action begins Jan. 1 at home against Connecticut. The Golden Eagles’ tough stretch appears to be late in the season when they play at Villanova, then at home against Syracuse and Notre Dame.
In the Big East, however, any team can be a surprise, and Otule is well aware of that.
“The Big East is a challenge in itself,” Otule said. “Every game is a grinder, and you can come up winning or losing against any given team.”
Some interesting trends in Marquette’s schedule this year: four of the first five Big East road games for the Golden Eagles are against teams that finished .500 or better last year, and the last four Big East road games will be against teams that finished under .500.
After Marquette plays at Florida on Nov. 26, the team will be playing strictly in Wisconsin until Jan. 12, when it plays at Pittsburgh. Marquette has six home games during this time and a road game at Green Bay.