Marquette comes to town Thursday and, believe it or not, Brian Wardle, Travis Diener and Steve Novak will not be with the team. You know, the players who seemed like they played there forever.

The Milwaukee-based school is a Jesuit institution that doesn’t play football. Fans of other schools, therefore, tend to forget the Golden Eagles exist until one or two days before they are scheduled to play basketball. By then, it’s too late. They’ve been psyched up for months, having circled your school on the calendar, and they know every single detail about your strengths and weaknesses.

These games are always close, even when one of the teams is having an off year. Not sure I agree with Tom Heiser that, with the recent decline of Cincinnati, Marquette is U of L’s strongest natural rival. Hard to see anything natural about the series except for that fact that both have good basketball traditions, that and their common C-USA heritage.

Tom Crean resembles a mad scientist more than a basketball coach on the sidelines, with his Bryl Cream hair and those spectacles from the Fifties. Dashing wildly about during games, he always seems to be tottering on the verge of a breakdown. One of those people whose jitters make other people jittery. Hyperactivity personified, but he’s an effective coach.

What would be nice would be a game where U of L comes out clicking on all cylinders and puts Marquette away early. Won’t happen, probably never will. Buzzer beater for sure.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.