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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Golden Eagles of Marquette

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Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown kick off the Big East slate with a battle in the Good Land, and as usual we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown’s next opponent. Here with us as always to dish on all things Marquette are our best blog bros over at Anonymous Eagle, your trusted source for all of your Golden Eagle news. Let’s do this!

Big East baby! You ready for the real fun to begin?

Depending on which definition of "fun" you want to use.

Am I ready for the ongoing excitement of Big East play, where there's a basketball game involving someone in the conference nearly every single day for the next nine weeks? Yes, yes I am.

Am I ready for the actualization of the potential in Marquette to spring forth and turn this season into one that ends in a postseason berth for the Golden Eagles for the first time since playing Syracuse in the Elite Eight in *double checks* TWENTY-THIRTEEN HOLY CRAP IT FEELS LIKE FOREVER.

Am I ready for the very real possibility that the Big East is so friggin top heavy this season that everyone that's not one of the top four teams is going to have their head caved in at least eight times this season? No, no, I am not.

Talk to us a little bit about this Marquette squad. Who are some of the guys that are going to cause the Hoyas problems?

I don't want to blow your mind here, but the most exciting players on the team are guys who are new to Marquette this season. If that seems like something that came up last year, you're not wrong. Junior transfer Andrew Rowsey along with freshmen Sam Hauser and Markus Howard are combining to shoot over 46% from long range this year, which helps explain why Marquette is the 18th best three point shooting team in the country.

Senior center Luke Fischer (he of the game winning free throws against the Hoyas in Milwaukee last year) is going to get all the minutes he can handle in the post, and he averages 14 & 6 with a block. If you make a lazy pass, just expect that Jajuan Johnson is going to pick it off and throw it down on the other end. The senior from Memphis is tied for the league lead in steals with more than two per game.

I told you guys last year that I didn't think Henry Ellenson was going to make it in the NBA. Do you agree with me now or still way too early to say?

Hey, hey, hey, hey, slow down here. He's averaging nearly a double-double..... in five games played with the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons' D-League team.

I'm going to lean towards "way too early" here. Two things are working in Ellenson's favor in that regard. First, Stan Van Gundy was thrilled that he fell to the Pistons in the draft, so odds are he'll get as much of a chance as his work off the court will allow him. Second, I had the impression that the Pistons were going to be a team that had playoff aspirations this season. Right now, they're a game and a half back of Indiana for the eighth playoff spot, and there's two teams between them and the Pacers. (Sadly, one of them is Chicago, aka Marquette's unofficial NBA team.) If the Pistons are going to keep languishing, the reasons for playing Jon Effing Leuer in front of Henry Ellenson are going to go down very, very fast.

Seems like there are more than a few souls over in your fanbase that have had it with WoJo. What's your take on how he's done with the program thus far?Give me the pros and cons of keeping and getting rid of him.

Big picture, I think Wojo's doing just fine. He took over a team that essentially had no long term future built into it as a result of repeated recruiting failures by Buzz Williams, and has quickly boosted the talent level on the roster back to a level where they can be competitive in the Big East. The roster's a bit unbalanced right now with a plethora of guards and very little in terms of size, but that won't be the case next year with two 6'8" guys and a 6'9" guy coming in with three spots still available.

The argument against Wojo right now is two-fold, from what I can tell. This year's variety of Golden Eagles seems to be unable to play consistent defense, much like last year's team struggled with that as well. If you think that he just can't get it done on that side of the ball at this point, I can see how you'd be done with him. I get that part, but the other side - Marquette is going backwards now - seems a little bit silly. Expecting Henry Ellenson to drag a heavily inexperienced team kicking and screaming into the NCAA tournament was probably the wrong move, and expecting the team to get better from last year's 20 win season without Ellenson is also probably the wrong move.

If you think a coach isn't getting it done, then it's time to move on. I don't think we're at that point with Wojo yet, and I think we're still pretty far away from that point. Besides: he has the administration's backing, as evidenced by the contract extension that he got at this time last year. Even if this season ends without a postseason appearance, I don't think you'll be able to find enough donors to round up the cash to get out of a contract that runs through 2022.

What was the best thing you got for Christmas?

Either the bottle of bourbon made locally right here in Milwaukee by Great Lakes Distillery (#216 of a run of 1010 bottles!) or the Hawkins Middle School A/V Club three-quarters sleeve shirt.

Please rank the following: Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lawrence. Related, what has been the best movie you have seen recently?

Emma Stone, then J-Law, although I suspect that her "hey, I'm a super cool chick" persona is a bit of a performance than anything else, then Natalie Portman. Stone wins it for me because of her performance in Easy A and she was really fun in the two terrible Spider-Man movies. I like Lawrence as Mystique in the X-Men movies, and that leaves third place for Portman. I was actually at the theater watching Moana with the family when y'all sent the questions over, and that was fun, but I'm also a huge mark for The Rock. If anyone knows where to find a Heihei bobblehead, please let me know. I can't decide if I want to see Rogue One. I can't shake the "hey, look, they succeeded at the thing we already knew they succeeded at" vibe of the plot.

How does Marquette have to finish this season in order for you to stamp the season a success?

I still think it has to involve a postseason appearance, even if it's just the NIT. Whether that means 9-9 in Big East play, or 10-8 at the minimum, I think that has to be the cutoff on success versus failure. It's not pitchforks and torches time if it doesn't happen, especially with four ranked teams in the league right now, but I think that has to be the line between the two sides.

Fun Fact: During the Wisconsin game, I was accused of being a "typical Marquette fan" who would be happy with going 1-29 every year as long as the win was against the Badgers.

Gun to your head, which Big East teams make the NCAA Tournament?

Villanova, Creighton, Butler, Seton Hall, and Xavier.

On a scale of 1-10, how great is it that Syracuse lost to Georgetown and St. John's this month? Do you want UConn back in the Big East?

Oh, it's easily a Nigel Tufnel-esque 11. The only thing funnier than Syracuse fans getting too far over their skis because of a freak chance Final Four run last year is Syracuse fans getting slapped in the face with the reality that their team isn't good enough to do that again the following season. By the way, I'm not saying that y'all should thank me for that W against the Orange, but I am saying I turned it on when it was 60-59 favoring the Hoyas.

As for the Huskies, I remain firmly in the camp of "No schools with Bowl Division football programs" when it comes to possible expansion. I'm completely in favor of the idea of bringing Connecticut back into the Big East, but as long as they keep throwing money down that horrifying well that is UConn football, I can't see a place for them in the league.

Shoutout to Bob Diaco, though.

It's been a few years now, you good with the whole FS1 thing?

Funny story about this. Ever since people lost their damn minds about Marquette's new uniforms this season, I've started checking in from time to time on the insanity that is the Facebook comments on the official MU men's hoops page. There was a fairly recent comment from someone complaining that Marquette isn't on national television enough.

Depending on how you want to think of FS2, every single Marquette game this season has been on national television.

So, while I'm generally speaking pretty pleased with the Big East's contract with Fox is working out, it would appear that there is a segment of people out there that just have no idea how to watch the games. That is probably bad, or, at the very least, sub-optimal.

Final score prediction?

89-80, Golden Eagles.