Before we actually look at the schedule, a brief summary of how it will be expertly graded (but if you’ve already read this on a previous installment, please feel free to skip ahead to the schedule so that you don’t get too annoyed with the repetitiveness).
The most common ways to assign a ‘grade’ to something is by using a letter (A+ to F), or on a scale (maybe 1 to 10), or even the simple pass/fail will suffice. However, the non-conference schedule grades for all 10 Big East teams done here at Play for the Garden will be using the STEAK grade. Nope, that’s not an acronym for some fancy advanced calculation. That is steak as in the kind you eat. Why? Because I like steak and can’t think of any reason not to. Anyway, the grading scale looks like this:
Cube steak (weak): low quality piece of meat, but you gotta throw something on the frying pan on Tuesday nights
Filet mignon (getting better): very high quality piece of meat, but just not enough there
Rib eye steak (neutral): More times than none, this is what you’re probably cooking on your backyard grill. Quality piece of meat (if cooked properly), but you know there’s better.
Strip steak: (almost there): Now were talking about a large tender cut of meat with that right amount of fat infused.
T-bone/Porterhouse (strongest): Containing meat from two of the most prized cuts of beef (short loin and the tenderloin), this is the boss of steaks.
Noteworthy games: Ohio State (Nov. 16), at Arizona State (Nov. 25), at Wisconsin (Dec. 7), New Mexico (Dec. 21), Wooden Legacy (Nov. 28 – Dec. 1) includes a round 1 game against Cal State Fullerton, a round 2 game against either George Washington or Miami and a round 3 game against either Charleston, San Diego State, Creighton or Arizona State
Rest of slate: Southern (Nov. 8), Grambling State (Nov. 12), New Hampshire (Nov. 21), IUPUI (Dec. 14), Ball State (Dec. 17), Samford (Dec. 28)
Steak: Strip steak
Analysis: Buzz Williams scheduled his team a solid slate of games for the first half of the season, but the Golden Eagles only have one true road test – a meeting at in state rival Wisconsin. But that’s not that unusual for a top-tier program in the country. There are programs that attempt to get through all of November and December before ever being tested away from home. But Marquette is not only being tested in that Wisconsin game, but with an even bigger game against Ohio State at home, which will take place on land this year and under a roof. As I’m sure you recall, these two teams attempted to meet on opening night last year on an aircraft carrier but didn’t even get to the opening tip because of condensation on the court. This year is the first year of a home-and-home series between the two schools and it will be highly anticipated. The Golden Eagles also take part in the Wooden Legacy where potential games against San Diego State, Arizona State and Creighton (which would be a nice preview even before Big East play) would be solid games.
Big East schedule notes:
Given that the Big East is now a 10-team conference, a true round robin format (each team plays every other member at home and away) will be conducted. There is no question about it, this is the fairest way to determine a regular season champion, but very few conferences have this ability. However, when and where these games are played still matters.
Big East schedule: at Creighton (Dec. 31), DePaul (Jan. 4), at Xavier (Jan. 9), Seton Hall (Jan. 11), at Butler (Jan. 18), at Georgetown (Jan. 20), Villanova (Jan. 25), Providence (Jan. 30), at St. John’s (Feb. 1), Butler (Feb. 4), at Seton Hall (Feb. 11), Xavier (Feb. 15), Creighton (Feb. 19), at DePaul (Feb. 22), Georgetown (Feb. 27), at Villanova (Mar. 2), at Providence (Mar. 4), St. John’s (Mar. 8)
Even if the two do see each other before Big East play gets under way, the featured game on opening night of conference play between Marquette and Creighton on Fox Sports 1 will be must watch. And the final four game stretch of their season looks to be difficult especially if Providence and St. John’s live up to expectations this year. I know St. John’s has squandered talented teams in the recent past, but don’t be surprised if that final game of the regular season at the Bradley Center is for the regular season title.