The Marquette Golden Eagles have an incredibly important game this Saturday. I’m going to discuss this in a moment, but first I need to go on a brief tangent.
I started contributing to the Racine County Eye two years ago. This is an incredibly opportunity that allows me to improve as a writer and hone my perspectives. An unexpected benefit of this gig is that I am continually humbled. It’s one thing to state an opinion on a barstool, but it’s a tad more permanent when your opinion is published. In the latter case you have the opportunity to revisit past arguments in all their glory, which I do from time to time. This has taught me that I don’t know anything about sports.
Shortly after Marquette beat #1 Villanova I wrote “Coach Wojo has provided emphatic evidence that the Golden Eagles are heading in the right direction.” These words may as well be the kiss of death. Since that column the Golden Eagles have lost four of five games and find themselves on the fast-track to the NIT. As I said, I don’t know anything about sports.
Getting back on topic, Saturday is “National Marquette Day.” Per the official website, “this global celebration gathers the Marquette nation united together in pride, spirit and sport.” This is also the day where Marquette hosts the Xavier Musketeers in the most significant game of Steve Wojciechowski’s tenure in Milwaukee.
As of right now, Joe Lunardi has Marquette as one of the “last four in” for the NCAA Tournament. Their post-season hopes are skating on thin ice with hot blades. Should Marquette lose to Xavier on Saturday night they will essentially need to run the table to make the tournament. (Unfortunately for Marquette, Aaron Rodgers is not on their roster.) Conversely, should they win they will be on the safe side of the NCAA tournament bubble and have an inside track on their first post-season appearance since 2013.
In my previous – and ill-fated – column about Marquette’s fledgling resurgence I also wrote that Wojo “demonstrated proof of concept” by beating Villanova. In hindsight, I may have overstated the importance of that game. With that in mind, allow me to discuss the importance of this upcoming contest:
The Golden Eagles host the Xavier Musketeers on National Marquette Day. This game will be played in front of a sellout crowd and watched by alumni viewing parties across the country. Moreover, an NCAA Tournament bid is precariously hanging in the balance. If Marquette delivers a competitive and inspired performance (even in defeat!) then we should feel good about the direction Wojo is taking the program. That is, until the next big game.