MILWAUKEE — Any memories of last season are a distant afterthought for Marquette students and fans as a new season tipped off Monday night at Fiserv Forum.
While the night was kicked off with a celebration of last season, as the banner for the Big East was unveiled, there’s a bigger banner fans are anticipating this season.
“I’m expecting another Big East dub, at the least,” Caroline Swartz, freshman said. “I’m not going to jinx it, but I can see it. I have faith.”
“We know what we can do,” Victor Jauregui, sophomore said. “We can do way better than we did last year. I feel a National Championship is coming to Marquette. I know they got it. I believe in them.”
“We’re ready to go to the Final Four,” Nathan Nichols, sophomore said. “Ready to go all the way. We got the boys to do it. We’re going for the National Championship baby.”
For Nichols, he means business. He was the first student seated in the student section. He is one of the student section leaders and he takes his job very seriously, popping off his MU hoodie to reveal his number 4, Stevie Mitchell jersey. Nichols is far from where he grew up in Kansas City, but Fiserv Forum is where he feels at home. He chose Marquette because his family has ties to the University, quickly adding nearly 8,000 new family members from MU’s undergrad class, all clad in blue and gold.
“Everyone on campus is excited,” Nichols said. “The campus is buzzing. They have our full support. We’re all behind the backs of these five men on the court, at any time, and Shaka Smart as well. I love this team and love what they stand for. I love how much energy they bring every single day.”
Year after year, it won’t be hard for Nichols or the rest of the Golden Eagles fans to recognize the product on the court. Marquette is returning four of its five starters and eight rotational players. However, the men on the court won’t be the only familiar people inside Fiserv Forum for every home game. The team had 94 percent of its season ticket holders renew since last season, which is the highest retention rate Marquette has ever had.
High hopes are soaring for the Golden Eagles and fans are ready.
“The hype here is so awesome,” Emily Buscemi, freshman, said. “Watching everybody have a big community is so cool.”
“It makes it an honor to go here,” Mia Thurow, freshman, said. “They’re making Milwaukee proud all the way across the country. We love our basketball team.”