"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

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Building a Bracket

Typically, we only present an S-Curve, largely because of all the rules around bracketing. The vast majority of bracketologists that post brackets seem to do so just for the hypotheticals without paying attention to what the Selection Committee would actually allow or do when it comes to slotting teams into spots. Today, we're going to try to follow all those rules and not just give an S-Curve, but go through the thought process of what comes out after that is done. So let's start with the S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-AUBURN 2-GONZAGA 3-ARIZONA 4-BAYLOR

2-Seeds: 8-Lsu 7-VILLANOVA 6-PURDUE 5-Kansas

3-Seeds: 9-DUKE 10-Ucla 11-Michigan State 12-Texas Tech

4-Seeds: 16-HOUSTON 15-Kentucky 14-Tennessee 13-Wisconsin

5-Seeds: 17-Xavier 18-Connecticut 19-Ohio State 20-Alabama

6-Seeds: 24-Marquette 23-Providence 22-Usc 21-Illinois

7-Seeds: 25-Iowa State 26-Byu 27-COLORADO STATE 28-West Virginia

8-Seeds: 32-Texas 31-San Francisco 30-St. Mary's 29-Seton Hall

9-Seeds: 33-LOYOLA CHICAGO 34-Wake Forest 35-Creighton 36-MURRAY STATE

10-Seeds: 40-San Diego State 39-Iowa 38-Indiana 37-Tcu

11-Seeds: 41-Oregon 42-Miami 43-Oklahoma 44-Wyoming 45-Florida State

12-Seeds: 50-IONA 49-UAB 48-DAVIDSON 47-North Carolina 46-Arkansas

13-Seeds: 51-CHATTANOOGA 52-NEW MEXICO STATE 53-TOLEDO 54-OAKLAND

14-Seeds: 58-TOWSON 57-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 56-WAGNER 55-VERMONT

15-Seeds: 59-PRINCETON 60-SOUTH ALABAMA 61-LIBERTY 62-UC IRVINE

16-Seeds: 68-NICHOLLS STATE 67-NORFOLK STATE 66-TEXAS SOUTHERN 65-LONGWOOD 64-MONTANA STATE 63-NAVY

I can assure you I spent a lot of time working on the bracket, but sometimes life gets in the way so I wasn't able to provide the thorough explanation I wanted to around all the picks. Sometimes, storylines are unavoidable, such as Alabama facing in-state rival UAB in the first round, simply because Alabama has played every other team on the 12-line (excluding UNC, but they are bracketed with Arkansas, who Alabama did play).

In terms of path, I always look at Marquette, who would be in the West Region, though beginning in Indianapolis, which would probably be most MU fans first eligible choice. The Wyoming/FSU play-in winner would be a challenge, as would the likely Texas Tech second round matchup. FSU and Texas Tech would be defensive challenges with lots of length while Wyoming would be a style contrast as the Cowboys can score but haven't played much real competition. If the Golden Eagles did reach the second weekend, the most tantalizing storyline would be if both they and Wisconsin managed to pull upsets in the Sweet 16, which would set up an in-state clash for the right to go to the Final Four.

Here are a few notes on the bracket construction...

Seeded Lines (1-4): On the 2-line, Kansas/Purdue and LSU/Villanova had to be swapped regions to avoid conference foes sharing seeds. This also led to UCLA and Texas Tech switching regions to give better regional parity.

At-Large Caliber Seeds (5-11): Alabama was tricky because they played almost everyone on the 12-line, leaving UAB as the only team they hadn't faced and creating an in-state matchup in the process. The 6/11 matchups were also difficult as I attempted to keep the following combinations apart: USC/UCLA and Oregon, Duke/ACC 11-seeds, and Oklahoma/Texas Tech. Lots of back-and forth to juggle the 3/6/11 lines. The 7/10s were also tricky as Iowa State/WVU/TCU, Indiana/Iowa, and Colorado State/San Diego State all had to be kept apart. The 8/9s were surprisingly easy as the only first-round potential conference clash was Creighton/Seton Hall. It was actually more difficult looking at the second round (Gonzaga/St. Mary's/San Francisco and Baylor/Texas) as well as potential three-match Big East battles in the second weekend.

Autobids (12+): This was slightly complicated by the bracket construction needing to have a play-in on the 12-line (this rarely happens) and there were a few rematch potentials to avoid, but in general this wasn't difficult. It's also important to avoid putting a seeded team into a first-round road environment. The closest to this was Kentucky/Toledo, but someone was going to have to play Toledo in Buffalo (still 300 miles from their campus) so it was the lower seeded Kentucky that drew the assignment.

Here's the bracket:



Last Four Byes: San Diego State, Oregon, Miami, Oklahoma

Last Four In: Wyoming, Florida State, Arkansas, North Carolina

First Four Out: Belmont, Mississippi State, Boise State, Texas A&M

Next Four Out: Kansas State, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Florida

 

Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big East: 7

Big 10: 7

SEC: 6

ACC: 5

Pac-12: 4

WCC: 4

MWC: 3

Monday, January 24, 2022

Consider the bar raised

This has been one heckuva week for sports in general and for #mubb specifically. We had some drinks while recording, but we did not deliver on the 17 drink pod we promised if #mubb went 2-0, we aren't monsters. So we breakdown the games against Villanova and Xavier, looking to identify just what has this team found in themselves that has led to this thrilling winning streak. We also talk about what this all means for NCAA tournament hopes and whether Team Bubble Watch #TBW is even a thing this year. We close out the pod forecasting the week ahead and try not to get too optimistic....but that might not even be possible anymore. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/w9j8ci/ScrambledEggs_Editted_012322.mp3

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Potential Revealed

It was a heck of a week for #mubb and we've got to talk about it. We spend time talking about the week that was and how it has changed our expectations for the season. We also troll the Seton Hall fans a little bit while talking about the tight results on Saturday. We then turn to the balance of the season and what we think this team can do and how we see it going. It's then time to talk about the upcoming week. We discuss what is possible against Villanova and Xavier and then predict the outcomes. We close out with some #mubbTMM. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/b7b6ik/ScrambledEggs_Editted_011822.mp3

Monday, January 17, 2022

Resume Watch

 

Tyler Kolek's steal and lay-up to beat Illinois is resume gold

Photo by Aaron Gash | AP Sports

For Marquette fans, it's been a good past 96 hours. In addition to racking up a Quadrant 1 win over Seton Hall in nailbiting fashion, St. Bonaventure thrashed VCU, which moved the Bonnies from a bad Quadrant 3 loss up to Quadrant 2. Kansas State scored an upset of Texas Tech, moving up to 75 in the NET and Quadrant 1. Those results give Marquette four Quadrant 1 wins; only Baylor and Wisconsin (5 each) have more in the entire country. Shaka Smart's team also has no bad losses. As a result, they have effectively moved off the bubble as they are no longer one of the last eight teams in.

In terms of things to watch, keep an eye on Illinois. Marquette's top-10 win is better than anyone on the bubble except Arkansas can claim and the Illini are undefeated in league play and favored per kenpom to win the Big 10. They are up to a 4-seed here but have the potential to be a 2-seed come Selection Sunday, meaning Tyler Kolek's steal and lay-up from November 15th might end up being the play of the year when it comes to seeding.

In terms of Quadrant cut-lines, Seton Hall (#30) and Kansas State (#75) are the exact last teams to qualify for Quadrant 1 wins, so MU will hope to see them move a bit higher up. Providence (#33, cut-off 30) could move up to Quadrant 1 while Ole Miss (#115, cut-off 100) isn't far from being Quadrant 2. Both are favored to win this week and could help the cause by exceeding the spread.

1-Seeds: 1-AUBURN 2-ARIZONA 3-GONZAGA 4-BAYLOR

2-Seeds: 8-VILLANOVA 7-PURDUE 6-Kansas 5-Lsu

3-Seeds: 9-DUKE 10-Texas Tech 11-Wisconsin 12-Michigan State

4-Seeds: 16-Illinois 15-Xavier 14-Iowa State 13-Ucla

5-Seeds: 17-Kentucky 18-HOUSTON 19-Tennessee 20-Connecticut

6-Seeds: 24-Seton Hall 23-Usc 22-Providence 21-Ohio State

7-Seeds: 25-LOYOLA CHICAGO 26-Alabama 27-Byu 28-Colorado State

8-Seeds: 32-Texas 31-St. Mary's 30-San Francisco 29-West Virginia

9-Seeds: 33-Iowa 34-Marquette 35-San Diego State 36-MURRAY STATE

10-Seeds: 40-Oklahoma 39-Wake Forest 38-Belmont 37-Creighton

11-Seeds: 41-Indiana 42-Tcu 43-Mississippi State 44-North Carolina 45-Oregon 46-Arkansas

12-Seeds: 50-CHATTANOOGA 49-WYOMING 48-UAB 47-DAVIDSON

13-Seeds: 51-IONA 52-GRAND CANYON 53-OAKLAND 54-WAGNER

14-Seeds: 58-TOWSON 57-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 56-TOLEDO 55-VERMONT

15-Seeds: 59-NAVY 60-PRINCETON 61-UC IRVINE 62-LIBERTY

16-Seeds: 68-NORFOLK STATE 67-GARDNER WEBB 66-TEXAS SOUTHERN 65-NICHOLLS STATE 64-TEXAS STATE 63-MONTANA STATE


Last Four Byes: Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Indiana, TCU

Last Four In: Mississippi State, North Carolina, Oregon, Arkansas

NIT 1-Seeds: Cincinnati, St. Louis, Miami, Virginia Tech

NIT 2-Seeds: Texas A&M, Florida, New Mexico State, Boise State


Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big East: 7

Big 10: 7

SEC: 7

Pac-12: 4

WCC: 4

ACC: 3

MWC: 3

OVC: 2

 


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Moving a Metric Ton

Tyler Kolek led Marquette's romp over Georgetown

Photo by Tommy Gilligan | USA Today Sports

Our last time out, we discussed how the largest problem for Marquette were their computer numbers. It's amazing what a 2-0 week with a combined 60-point margin of victory over high-major opponents will do to change that. In kenpom, Marquette improved from 85 before the Providence game to 48 the morning after the Georgetown win. In the NET, Marquette improved from 83 to 45 in the same span. According to T-Rank, Marquette was the #1 team in the country over the course of the past week.

As it's the most consistent metric over the past decade, I went back to see what Marquette's improvement in their kenpom rank means for their tournament odds. To do so, I broke down the number of at-large bids earned vs available in each 10-spot data range from 31 to 80. The available number rules out automatic bids as there is no way to know if they would've earned an at-large or not. I also included the lowest kenpom team in each year to earn a bid. It might be interesting for Marquette fans that the lowest kenpom team to ever earn an at-large bid was ranked #83 in 2011, the VCU Final Four team coached by Shaka Smart. Here is the data:

Year 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 Low Bid
2021 6/9 5/10 3/9 0/9 1/8 74
2019 4/7 5/8 3/9 1/9 2/7 78
2018 6/10 6/7 2/8 2/10 0/7 69
2017 8/10 4/8 3/8 0/7 0/9 60
2016 8/10 3/8 4/8 1/9 0/8 62
2015 7/9 7/9 1/9 0/9 0/8 52
2014 4/8 6/9 3/8 0/9 1/7 72
2013 4/7 7/9 4/8 0/8 0/10 60
2012 6/6 4/9 4/8 1/7 1/10 77
2011 7/9 5/8 3/9 1/10 0/10 83
Total 60/85 52/85 30/84 6/87 5/85 68.7
Percent 70.6% 61.2% 35.7% 6.9% 5.9%

At 85, Marquette's odds of earning an at-large bid were next to nothing, but in the 40s they skyrocket to 61.2%. As of this writing, Marquette is #51 thanks to the movement of other teams over the weekend. Regardless, the two blowout wins have put Marquette squarely in the NCAA Tournament discussion thanks to their metric improvement.

One note for this year, I am using the highest ranked NET team to determine autobids. Using the highest ranked team by the NCAA's own evaluation tool insures the in-theory "best" teams are selected rather than allowing outlier results to dictate selection. Let's take a look at the full S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-BAYLOR 2-Auburn 3-ARIZONA 4-GONZAGA

2-Seeds: 8-Kansas 7-PURDUE 6-LSU 5-Michigan State

3-Seeds: 9-Usc 10-VILLANOVA 11-DUKE 12-Ucla

4-Seeds: 16-Tennessee 15-Texas Tech 14-Xavier 13-Iowa State

5-Seeds: 17-Wisconsin 18-Seton Hall 19-Ohio State 20-Connecticut

6-Seeds: 24-HOUSTON 23-Providence 22-Alabama 21-Illinois

7-Seeds: 25-LOYOLA CHICAGO 26-West Virginia 27-Byu 28-Oklahoma

8-Seeds: 32-Colorado State 31-Texas 30-Kentucky 29-San Francisco

9-Seeds: 33-St. Mary's 34-BELMONT 35-Iowa 36-Creighton

10-Seeds: 40-Marquette 39-Minnesota 38-Indiana 37-San Diego State

11-Seeds: 41-Wake Forest 42-Memphis 43-Murray State 44-North Carolina 45-Miami 46-TCU

12-Seeds: 50-UAB 49-WYOMING 48-CHATTANOOGA 47-DAVIDSON

13-Seeds: 51-IONA 52-OHIO 53-OAKLAND 54-NEW MEXICO STATE

14-Seeds: 58-TOWSON 57-VERMONT 56-WAGNER 55-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

15-Seeds: 59-UC IRVINE 60-NAVY 61-PRINCETON 62-LIBERTY

16-Seeds: 68-HOWARD 67-GARDNER WEBB 66-TEXAS SOUTHERN 65-NICHOLLS STATE 64-TEXAS STATE 63-MONTANA STATE


Last Four Byes: Minnesota, Marquette, Wake Forest, Memphis

Last Four In: Murray State, North Carolina, Miami, TCU

First Four Out: VCU, UCF, Florida, Virginia Tech

Next Four Out: St. Louis, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Texas A&M


Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big 10: 8

Big East: 7

SEC: 5

ACC: 4

WCC: 4

Pac-12: 3

MWC: 3

OVC: 2

American: 2

Monday, January 10, 2022

This is fun, like super fun

#mubb had something to say this last week, and boy so do we. The podcast is back to talk about the mollywoppings from Marquette against Providence and The Fighting Patrick Ewings. We talk about what changed in the last couple of games to generate these results and whether it's sustainable. We turn to the upcoming game and the never ending weirdness that are games against DePaul. We then pivot to Saturday's game against a likely ranked Seton Hall team which ends up generating a discussion on most disliked Big East fans. We finally close out the pod with some predictions and some #mubbTMM. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/fuw4iq/ScrambledEggs_Editted_010922.mp3

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water

Let's get right to it, not fouling when up 3 was a bad choice and not in a revisionist history sort of way, in a very real time everyone knew it sort of way. However, one bad choice also shouldn't sink the whole of year one for the Shaka era. We're back to talk about the disappointing result against Creighton and preview the games against Providence and Georgetown. Bottom line, panic isn't necessary but the frustration is understandable, and we think this week is the week to right the ship. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/6f4ri4/ScrambledEggs_Editted_010322.mp3