It’s Marquette’s the lights at its impressive new home
The Marquette men’s basketball team is ready to settle into its new home.
The Golden Eagles will face Carroll in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the first time MU will play against an opponent at gleaming new Fiserv Forum.
The team had a dress rehearsal of sorts at the building with a practice for season-ticket holders last week on Thursday.
Afterward, head coach Steve Wojciechowski sat in the coaches meeting room in the expansive MU locker room at Fiserv Forum and talked about the excitement of playing in the new arena.
“Being here, there was much more emotional energy,” he said. “Our guys were really fired up. Our guys were here at like 4 o’clock. It’s like ‘Can’t wait to get out there.’ I’m like, ‘You know, guys, practice isn’t for another two hours.’ “
The Golden Eagles held a few practices at Fiserv Forum, but before Thursday hadn’t in front of an audience or with the arena configured the way it will be on MU game days.
“There was some juice, man,” Wojciechowski said. “There was juice in the building. You see it. And we’ve been in here before. But most of the time we’ve been in here we’ve played on the Bucks floor.
“You see it with the blue and gold. The lights. The scoreboard. Don’t discount how that impacts a guy. It’s like driving that new car for the first time.”
Besides testing out the new arena, the exhibition gives MU a chance to play against someone other than themselves. The Golden Eagles also held a closed-door scrimmage against Northwestern on Sunday in Evanston, Ill.
“A lot of times when you’re evaluating your team this time of year, the days when your offense doesn’t look good, you think, ‘Man, we look pretty good defensively,’ ” Wojciechowski said. “And the days your offense looks good, you think you stink defensively.
“This gives you kind of a clearer picture of where you’re at.”
MU junior guard Markus Howard, who averaged 20.4 points per game last season, is excited about the potential of MU’s deep roster.
“I think we’re going to be really versatile,” Howard said. “We have a lot of guys that can score at will. This is probably one of the most unselfish teams I’ve been around in terms of being able to move the ball.
“In our weeks of practice, there have been some unbelievable plays made in terms of moving the ball.”
The game also gives fans a look at MU’s intriguing new pieces, including transfers Ed Morrow and Joseph Chartouny as well as freshmen Brendan Bailey and Joey Hauser.
“I think this year is going to be very exciting with the different plays we’re running, different lineups we have,” Howard said. “It’s going to be really fun to watch. They’re really exciting to play with.”
Wojciechowski cautions against reading too much into early season results, especially an exhibition.
“We’re still very much a work in progress,” he said. “I think we will be a lot better at the end of the year than we are at the beginning because there is still some newness.
“But I think we have a chance to be a really good team and that’s our expectation.”