"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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

SOR/Matrix Average: Marquette Only Winner Among 10 "Middle" Teams Wednesday

In the past I've argued a "Middle 25" ranking for college basketball would be much more interesting than the Top 25, since what we really want to identify pre-tournament is the 25 teams fighting for the last 10 spots in the tournament.

The "Middle 25" below were those teams based on me averaging the Strength of Record ESPN argues is the best analytic indicator (a measure of how likely the 25th best team in the country would have been to match the team's record) and the cumulative wisdom of the bracket matrix. I grade last night's performance with a B, C or D letter grade (there were no earth-shattering A or F grades last night) to indicated if a team could have moved up or down based on last night's performance.

SOR/ Matrixup to 10 of 25 get bidsCONFRecordWed GmGrade for Wed or next game (kenpom ranks)
1Arizona State



Thur at #74 Oregon

2Saint Mary's



Thur hosts #295 Pepperdine

3FloridaSEC17-10UnchangedC - closer than expected loss at #15 Tennessee
4BaylorBig 1217-11Sat at #23 TCU; Lunardi 7th in middle
5St. Bona.A 1020-6UnchangedC - closer than expected 73-67 home win over #191 Duquesne
6AlabamaSEC17-10DownD - destroyed by 19 vs #12 Auburn
7MissouriSEC18-10Sat #25 Kentucky
8ProvidenceBig East17-10DownD - losing 56-47 with 13 min left vs. #38 Seton Hall before slick floor suspended
9LouisvilleACC18-9DownD - destroyed by Duke 82-56

Miss St.

Current Cutoff



Sat Hosts #80 South Carolina

11SyracuseACC18-9DownD - lost at home vs. #7 UNC
12NebraskaBig Ten21-9Hosts #27 Penn State
13UCLAPac-1219-8Thur at #60 Utah; lunardi 11th in middle
14MarylandBig Ten19-11Sat hosts #20 Michigan
15MarquetteBig East15-11UpB - bigger than expected win over #71 St. John's
16Boise StateMW21-6UpB - crushed #222 Colorado St 87-54 on road
17Penn StateBig Ten19-10DownD - upset loss vs. #24 Minnesota at home
18LSUSEC16-11Sat #71 Georgia
19USCPac-1219-9Upbigger than expected win at #112 Colorado
20WashingtonPac-1218-9Thur at #93 Stanford
21UtahPac-1217-9Thur hosts #53 UCLA
22GeorgiaSEC15-11DownD - bigger than expected loss at South Carolina 66-57
23Notre DameACC16-12Sat at #89 Wake Forest
24TempleAmerican15-12host #97 UCF
25Western KentuckyCUSA20-7Hosts #316 Charlotte

A warning - there are 10 spots available for this team without any tournament spoilers, most notably if Middle Tennessee or Nevada were to but upset in the Conference USA or Mountain West Tournament than those two conferences would likely get two spots, but there really are not too many spoilers most years. Based on this measure, Marquette is the "5th team out" as the 15th best team among the Middle 25 vying for 10 spots.

The good news is that was going into the St. John's game, and that win was coupled with all four teams in action in the 6th to 15 spots (the "Middle 10" with Marquette) having bad nights - though Providence could still salvage their night with a comeback in the game they need to finish at Noon Thursday. So if ESPN's resume and/or the Bracket Matrix is close, Marquette's chances likely improved somewhat substantially last night in beating a St. John's team that was undefeated in February including the upsets of Villanova and Duke.

Alabama, Louisville, Syracuse and Providence having setbacks and Marquette's win also improving its standing against the three idle teams just in front of them - Nebraska, UCLA and Maryland - give plenty of potential for movement. We will see how many nudge Marquette into their brackets or at least the next teams' out.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Wait, playing a single small guard and a 2-3 zone worked? Why didn't we think of that???

We are absolutely going to take that win and run with it, but it left us with a lot of questions, some of them angry. First, at the time of recording we knew nothing of the prognosis for Markus Howard so instead of going all local news and having a Sunday night news teaser that made it sound like we know what was going on with him but it turned out we had no idea whatsoever......we aren't going to do that[rant off/]. So we talk about the injury and what we know as well as the possible impact it could have on the rest of the season. We also talk about why did it take Howard's pelvis exploding for Wojo to actually go to a line-up/defense that made sense for this team? Finally, we talk about the next week of basketball and whether #mubb can win two more. It's gonna be an interesting week to be sure, so listen up and get ready for a roller coaster. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Have you ever seen the rain comin' down on a sunny day? #mubb edition

We went with a little CCR for the pod title because we are trying to unpack what we just experienced with the saddest 1-1 week that included a road win over a top 40 opponent. What do we make of the win against Seton Hall and then watch Wojo get out coached by Chris Mullen? I'm not saying we're having an existential crisis but we certainly aren't not having an existential crisis. We break down the two games and talk about what we learned and how it projects for the last 5 games of the regular season. We talk about what, if anything, Wojo actually does different over the next 5 games and how much we can actually look at positively from the season to date. We make some predictions on the Creighton game and how that may foretell the rest of the season. We close out by talking about an old friend, Duane Wilson, and the unfortunate end to his season. Maybe CCR was singing about the #mubb defense: 'Til forever, on it goes. Through the circle, fast and slow. I know! It can't stop, I wonder. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, February 05, 2018

It was a bad week, was it the worst one in the Wojo era?

Not much of a synopsis this week. We basically have a long therapy session about the state of the program under Wojo after a very bad week of basketball against Butler and Providence. It's a tough pod but hopefully one that helps us get our heads right. Enjoy Download this episode (right click and save)

Monday, January 29, 2018

It was a rough, but not unexpected week for #mubb

Well, it wasn't the week we were hoping for (especially against Xavier) but it also did nothing to damage #mubb tournament chances. We start with the most recent game against Villanova (most because neither one of really wanted to talk about the Xavier boondoggle). We talk about what the performance against Villanova and whether the loss is the fault of the officiating (spoiler alert, they didn't help but they weren't to blame). We also discuss why we can't get the Tres Amigios to play well at the same time. To cleanse the palate a little we highlight the continuing improvement from Harry Froling and Sacar Amin, who both had an excellent game. To wrap up the podcast we spend some time analyzing the up coming week with critical home games against Butler and Providence. We give predictions, one us thinks the team goes 2-0 and it's not who you think. As always, enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Break is over, time to get back to the grind for #mubb

It was a seemingly very long 9 day break from Marquette basketball, but they're back this week and so is the podcast. For having 9 days off we sure have a lot to talk about. First, we have the pleasant surprise of Joey Hauser (you may know his brother) 2018 commit actually enrolling in school this semester and taking a voluntary red shirt so he'll have 4 years of eligibility starting in the fall. We spend talking about that and whether it's a good or great thing. We then spend as little time as possible reviewing the actual DePaul game which may have been the worst game #mubb played all season. Then we talk about the tough upcoming week with a road trip to Xavier and a big home clash with national #1 Villanova. We discuss what we expect to be different in these repeat match-ups and look ahead to the rest of the schedule to determine just how important this week is. We close out by giving our predictions and highlighting the need for one of Marquette's own Tori McCoy. As detailed by Anonymous Eagle() Tori needs a kidney transplant and Marquette has started a GoFundMe(GoFundMe) to support her. If you can please support Tori in her time of need. On that note, let's go out and one at least one of these games and start the second half of the conference season off on a great note. Enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

We got what we needed out of the past week, let's beat DePaul and rest up

#mubb went 1-1 this week and looked great against Seton Hall while reverting to defensive form against Butler so we're going to declare that a successful but not spectacular week. We're going to start with the good and discuss they shockingly great defensive effort against the top team in the Big East(at the time) Seton Hall. We try to understand what changed and how it can be carried into future games. What is clear is that #mubb would not carry it into the next game against Butler where the interior defense was more useless than the Maginot line (yes that's a WWII joke, whatever). We discuss the Butler game and what went wrong and what positives we can take away from it. A positive we can take away from that game and the season really, has been the play of Sam Hauser. Seemingly lost in the flashy play of the lead guards for Marquette, Sam has managed to put together a strong offensive game while also being our best interior defender if not best defender period. So we talk about how efficient his offense has been. We also have a shotout for Matt Heldt, most efficient man in the NCAA. We wrap up the podcast with a discussion of the DePaul(just don't lose to them) and some odds and ends. As always, enjoy! Download this episode (right click and save)