GOLDEN EAGLE: Marquette will have its challenges at home, on the road
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Marquette’s conference schedule features a challenging home slate and a relatively easy road lineup. In the non-conference spread, the Golden Eagles will be playing against teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last year. Here’s a closer look at Marquette’s schedule strength at home and on the road.
The Golden Eagles are going to have their hands full at the Al McGuire Center, especially when league play commences. Seven of the squad’s eight league home games will be against teams predicted to finish in the top half of the conference.
Coach Terri Mitchell sees the tall task ahead but hopes the team will be comfortable enough playing at home at that point.
“You get the hometown crowd behind you and you get the comfort of home,” Mitchell said. “You hope you have some advantages and that we can put them in a disadvantage like we feel we have when we’re on the road in the Big East.”
Marquette’s first home game is this Saturday against Butler. The team then plays four consecutive road games and won’t return to the Al until a Dec. 1 tilt against Fordham. Mitchell hopes the team plays well on opening night to make the fans want to come back for more after the road swing.
“We only play once in November,” Mitchell said. “We only give our fans one opportunity to see us, and then we’re on the road for a good long time.”
The Golden Eagles will host Navy and Green Bay, two teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year.
The teams Marquette plays on the road seem beatable, but that’s almost never the case in basketball.
The Golden Eagles will play seven of their eight league road games against teams that are projected to finish in the lower half of the Big East standings. In a conference like the Big East, however, no game is a guaranteed win. Junior guard Gabi Minix said the team won’t be taking the road games lightly.
“When we go and get Ws on the road, that just helps motivate us more,” Minix said. “We don’t have a lot fans that come with us, and they have a lot of fans going against us.”
Marquette will be greatly testing itself against some powerful schools on the non-conference away schedule. The team will be playing at South Dakota State, Texas A&M and Georgia Tech, all tournament participants last season and expected contenders for this season. If Marquette can come away with even two wins against these teams, it would give the team not only confidence, but a solid resume for NIT or even NCAA consideration.
Marquette redshirt freshman center Lauren Tibbs took a glance at her team’s conference schedule and saw that the Golden Eagles have to play Connecticut, arguably the nation’s best team, not once but twice this year.
Many teams would be frightened by this, but Tibbs sees these two games as a perfect opportunity to put Marquette on the right track.
“I think we approach it not necessarily that we have to play Connecticut twice, it’s we get to play Connecticut twice,” Tibbs said. “It’s an awesome team, and they’ve obviously established themselves at the national level. I think it’ll be really good for us to get the chance to play them here at home and measure ourselves against them.”