Non-conference schedule set for men’s basketball

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Marquette players huddle during game at DePaul Feb. 22, 2014. (Photo by Francesca Reed)

Marquette men’s basketball’s non-conference schedule was completed Monday when ESPN officially released the bracket for the 2014 Orlando Classic.

The Golden Eagles will play Atlantic Coast Conference member Georgia Tech Nov. 27 in the first round of the tournament, but not before a handful of home games and a marquee road matchup in Columbus, Ohio.

Marquette faces off against Wisconsin-Lutheran Nov. 8 as a tune up game before the season officially starts Nov. 14, when the Marquette faithful will pack the Bradley Center for the season opener against Tennessee-Martin. The Skyhawks finished last season 8-23, bad enough to finish second from the bottom in the Ohio Valley Conference’s West division.

The quality in opponents quickly jumps, though, as Marquette will rematch Ohio State Nov. 18, this time on the road. Last season, the Buckeyes snapped Marquette’s 25-home game winning streak with a 52-35 drubbing.

Marquette will travel back to Milwaukee for a two-game homestand against Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 22 and New Jersey Institute of Technology Nov. 24. Nebraska-Omaha, hailing from the Summit League, finished with the same record as Marquette at 17-15 last season, while independent NJIT finished 13-16 playing teams mostly from the Northeast.

Then, after NJIT, the Golden Eagles will fly down for the Orlando Classic matchup with Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets went 16-17 last season, with 12 of those losses during conference play. Marquette will then battle either Michigan State or Rider Nov. 28., depending on both games’ outcomes. Marquette will play a third game in the tournament, but the opponent will be decided later.

Once the tournament concludes, Badger Hate Week begins in Milwaukee as the Golden Eagles will take on cross-state rival Wisconsin at the Bradley Center Dec. 6. Marquette will look to avenge the six-point loss to the National Semifinalists from last season.

Marquette will then round out non-conference play with three more home games. The first is against Arizona State Dec. 16, whom the Golden Eagles lost to 79-77 last season right before the Wooden Legacy. Marquette then welcomes North Dakota to Milwaukee Dec. 22. North Dakota finished 17-17 and 12-8 in the Big Sky last season. Marquette’s final non-conference game will be against Morgan State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Dec. 28, where the Bears finished 15-16 last season.

Of all the teams Marquette will face in its non-conference schedule, only two –Wisconsin and Ohio State – made it to the NCAA Tournament last season. The rest of the Golden Eagles’ non-conference opponents failed to make any postseason tournament. With only one true road game, at Ohio State, Marquette will benefit from the home arena and can try to rebuild its home winning streak.

UPDATE

Men’s basketball will play its first game in the Al McGuire Center when the team hosts Alabama A&M. Dec. 19. The game was added to the schedule Monday morning, and will be played at the Al because of scheduling conflicts at the Bradley Center. Having a annual game at the Al McGuire Center does not seem to be in the works though.

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