"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, July 13, 2009

Marquette wades into Non-Conference Schedule Bit by Bit


Evidently, the reason to release the schedule one day at a time is to drive additional traffic to the www.gomarquette.com website. In truth, the folks at Marquette do a pretty good job with their online content. Their video clips are great, so visit the website and click around.

That said, I still think releasing the schedule one day at a time has limited upside and more downside.

I've always been a fan of ripping the band-aid off right away instead of the slow pull. I like to jump straight into the pool instead of wading in slowly. Basically, it's my preference to get the unpleasantness over with as quickly as possible. And let's face it. Almost always, the non-conference schedule is some level of unpleasantness. This portion of the schedule is not the reason that people buy season tickets. In fact, griping about the non-conference schedule is somewhat of an annual ritual amongst Marquette fans.

Therefore, I found it weird (at best) that Marquette has insisted on releasing the schedule one game at a time. Today's announcement is that Marquette is going to open up the season with...


I guess the logic is that we get an entire day to focus on each opponent. Maybe this gives each team on the schedule an opportunity for a further analysis. Perhaps Centenary gets their time in the sun. Who knows? Maybe the non-conference schedule is a treat to be savored slowly and enjoyed, instead of unpleasantness and pain. Neat... their nickname is the Gents.

Or, we can find out that Centenary was 8-23 last season in the Summit League, with a Pomeroy Rating of 246. We could also do a little digging, and find out that their best Pomeroy Rating was back in 2004, at 181. Since then, they've been 316, 317, 248, and 279. Instead of being a savory morsel, Centenary is truly just another bad team Marquette will play because the economics dictate it. Now, for an entire day for two weeks, we get to focus on each portion of the non-conference schedule being bad.

I appreciate the desire of Marquette, or any organization, to experiment. In general, their coverage is outstanding (like last year's video clips). But a good chunk of the schedule is already out there in draft format on the Wiki. Not to mention that Wisconsin has already posted their schedule (by the way, we play them on Dec. 12th). We even provided more info a few weeks ago. Why not just release the whole thing all at once? Is there that much suspense to find out what Friday or Saturday in December we play Seattle?

Like a ritual of late summer, Marquette releases the non-conference schedule, and then the Internet breaks out with complaints. It usually goes as follows:

  • Defender - all major programs play some number of crap teams for non-conference schedules
  • Season Ticket Holder - yeah, but I'm the one shelling out $XXXX(X?) to watch this junk
  • Rinse and repeat as necessary.
One exception to griping was last year, when the comments weren't actually that bad. I attribute this mostly because MU had added another tough opponent in NC State. That was a surprise last year but isn't this year. Plus, the schedule was released and then we moved on. Now, get ready for a solid two weeks (at least) of replaying the above complaints about the non-conference schedule. Maybe tomorrow we can find out when MU plays Presbyterian. Yay?


Trick Shot said...

So, is this all a smoke screen delay as the details of another TV game are worked out with ESPN? The "It's IU, IU Guy" is sniffing around Blue and Tokoto--and is pining for an invite for the F4 HOF dinner. This would be the year to play MU in Milwaukee when the students are on break with a built in excuse with a weak team on the road. This would have ratings all over it...and would put TC in WI a few extra times (game + HOF dinner to go with UW game). Whatever it is, "me sniffs" something is being cooked up to explain all this faux pomp.

November said...

We just can't load up on teams like Centenary. Someone please correct me if I don't have the RPI right, but my understanding is it is basically one part the teams record, two parts opponents record, and one part opponents' oppoents record.

Let's say MU went 23-9 next year (.71875 winning%), with their opponents going 554-446 (.554) and the opponents opponents playing .500. That's an RPI of .581688, which would have been good for the 46th RPI based on last year's results.

Now let's say in addition to that record, MU playes Centenary. It doesn't matter how bad we beat them, we win to improve to 24-9 (.72727), but their 8-23 mark drops our overall opponent's % to .545102 and opp's opp to .495. Overall, we drop to .578119 to 51st place.

So by BEATING Centenary we drop FIVE spots in the RPI. So you can see how just playing one, much less several, of these non-top 200 teams can really cost us a bid to the NCAA. It's just not worth it, even if we never lose one of these games.

Matt said...

With this new batch of players, I'm giving MU a pass this year on the non-conference schedule. Their hardest challenge for at least half the season will be lack of experience both with each other and with Coach Buzz sorting out rotations.

23-9? I know you were using that as conjecture, but let's not even start with that talk for this season. Every team MU faces this year is going to provide a challenge of some sort. Let's keep expectations realistic for this year.

I'm in the camp that an extra tough non-conference game or two would be great, for sure, but the 18-game Big East schedule provides more than enough opportunity to gather valuable wins.

Also, as for this year, I'm assuming they'll play Tennessee (??), at Wisconsin, NC State, then that tourney over Thanksgiving. This means that at least a quarter of their non-conference games will be decent. These kids are going to need experience against a variety of systems, schemes, environments, etc.

CS: I know Rosiak is on vacation, but is there an update on Cadougan's status?

Also, CS: Maybe you could post other BE non-conference schedules?

Championships Matter said...

From what I have seen so far, this pre-BEAST schedule is an embarrassment. Even UWM shouldn't be playing some of these schools.

I know we lack experience this fall and I know some games will be tough but I think most well-regarded high school teams in Chicago and Milwaukee could beat the teams on our schedule.

Look, we're not mid-major. We're a real, live powerhouse school in a real, live powerhouse conference. Start acting like it. Let's try to schedule North Carolina, Duke, Texas, Stanford, Washington, Washington State.

You'll draw better; the team will learn more; and, Marquette will respect their fans. Showing us the garbage they have on their schedule so far is like the National Football League forcing season ticket holders to buy exhibition game tickets. Nobody wants them, but we're forced to put up with crappy games that don't matter -- just like Marquette's pre-BEAST schedule.