"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

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Hall nightmare scenario plays out with 85-72 win, but MU should still make NCAA with 1 BE win

Wow, not a good way to finish the regular season. Seton Hall picked up where they left off in the blowout of St. John’s going 11 of 18 on treys IN THE FIRST HALF to dominate MU in the regular season finale.

MU had a spirited comeback to get it back to single digits and almost foul out the Pirates entire team, but then ran out of gas for their second double digit loss of the season, 85-72. The press looked good but it was once again too much reliance on Jimmy Butler, who went 11 of 13 from the line to generate another 20 points to follow-up his 30 point performance vs. Cincy. Dwight Buycks 4 of 6 on treys was good too, but other than that it was a poor performance except for some scrappiness in the second half.

Before the South Florida game I painted the nightmare scenario that MU could go into Seton Hall 9-8 against a Seton Hall team that had been as good as MU since Hazell returned with a loss meaning a potential opening round matchup against a South Florida team that we don’t match up. Lose those two games and MU would fail to get the 10th Big East win I’ve said we needed since January to make the tourney.

Unfortunately it has played out so far, and depending on the late games, the foe could be a South Florida team that almost beat MU.

And I still believe what I’ve said since January – 10 wins and MU is in, 9 and they go NIT. The opening round of the Big East is likely an elimination game.

Opening round BE win gives MU bid on 4 of 5 criteria

If MU wins their opening round game against South Florida or Providence, they should still be in the tourney. I know you will count 6 criteria here, but really Good and Great wins are one criteria and I’m splitting them out. In fact, if we take the criteria one at a time, MU would actually still be a 9-seed or better on every criteria except RPI.

1. NIT based on RPI. Luckily the RPI has been dwindling in weight for several years, as it is the only factor on which MU is out of the tournament. A win would have given MU a final RPI of about 55, just out of the tournament but easily overcome by the other factors. However, the loss drops MU to an RPI of about 67th. Problem now is they will stay about the same even with an opening win in the BE tourney, while two wins would get them back up to about 56th. Lose in the opening round an MU probably drops out of the Top 80 in RPI, and that is too much to overcome despite how strong all the other criteria are.

2. 9-seed based on computers/eyeball test. I’m lumping the computer rankings and the eyeball test together because they really are similar. All the close losses against top teams make viewers believe a team belongs, and they are also the reason MU is 32nd in Pomeroy and even after dropping a few spots due to today’s loss should be top 36, or a 9-seed.

3. 8-seed based on Strength of Schedule. MU should finish with the 32nd best SOS in the country.

4a. 7-seed based on Good wins. Only 23 teams have more wins against Top 50 RPI teams than Marquette’s four over WVU, at UConn, Syracuse and Notre Dame. The other teams tied with MU with four top 50 wins are Cincinnati, Marquette, Memphis, Missouri, Texas A&M, UNC and USC, so put MU in the middle of that group and MU is a 7-seed.

4b. 3-seed based on great wins. What gives MU real bragging rights is that all four of those wins are against Top 25 teams. Only 13 teams can match MUs four wins over Top 25 teams, and about the same have even one road win against a top 25 team, so MU fits in as a 3-seed based on great wins.

5. 6-seed based on ZERO bad losses. The only tiny silver lining today is that Seton Hall is in the Top 100 due to their blowout of St. John’s so MU remains one of only 23 teams without a bad loss (non-top 100 team). Put MU at the end of this list and they are still a 6-seed; Cincinnati, Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Georgia, Kansas, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, San Diego State, Syracuse, Temple, Texas, Texas A&M, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Don’t get me wrong. With one win in the BE tourney there is a good chance MU slips to one of the play-in games as one of the last four teams selected. Further, this assumes the typical 2 to 3 spoilers win conference tournaments, but if 6 or 7 spoilers won their tourneys it could eliminate MU. So we definitely want to regroup and win two in the tourney to sleep easy, but the odds really are that one win gets us in.


Unknown said...

I hope you all read my comment on your post from prior to the SH game. There was no question MU was going to get blown out. Buzz is a bad coach and our players are complete morons. Even if we get into the NCAA tournament we will most likely get destroyed on an even bigger stage which will hurt the program. Pathetic year. But, what can you expect from a squad build on misfits and a lousy coach?

Beaver said...

Just pathetic. What is going on at MU?? We haven't seen this since pre-Tom Crean. Buzz is a great recruiter, but not a game coach. He clearly can't get the troops fired up, either. They have no heart, no toughness, no leadership. I'm very, very concerned at this point. I hope there is a contingency plan to replace Buzz. We're flirting with disaster right now. The team is going backwards for the first time in 10 years, and it's sickening.

Unknown said...

It is easy to criticize the team and Buzz. I have done my share. But it is even easier to be a bottom feeder in the BEAST. If you want to get rid of Buzz, you better have a much better coach and recruiter lined up and ready to sign a contract or we will be slugging it out with DePaul for worst in the conference. Think of the good times of players tranfering, uncertaininty, hoping players stay, recruits decommitting. Those good days may be right around the corner for you folks.

JohnAK said...

I'm just amazed by the lack of perspectives sometimes by Marquette fans.

@James: "I hope you all read my comment on your post from prior to the SH game." I did not, and I generally don't ever read your comments. I've noticed that you consistently and ONLY post after a Marquette loss to bash Buzz. Okay, he deserves criticism, but get a life, man.

@Beaver: "We haven't seen this since pre-Tom Crean." Right, except for the three seasons Crean finished 8-8 or 7-9 in Conference USA and went to the NIT. Two of those were after the final four run, by the way-- a backwards slide if ever there was one. 9-9 in the BE is a better season than 8-8 in Conference USA.

Look, this has been a disappointing season, and we all had high expectations, but it's too early to pull the plug on Buzz Williams. Programs go through ups and downs-- this is a down year. Villanova and UCONN are also 9-9 and I doubt anyone is talking about firing Jay Wright.

Unknown said...

John, Buzz has rightly deserved criticism and this should be a forum to express that. By get a life do you mean live in the fairy tale land you're in where this season was acceptable? I am tired people willing to settle for mediocrity. You're ok with .500 play and that's what is wrong with our program, fans like you.

Buzz is clearly unequipped to handle coaching in the big east. In the future he might be ready but not now. When you blow as many leads it's because you were out coached. His recruiting is subpar, we will not win with a team of juco players. They cannot compete with big east elite. Marquette could have gotten a big named coach. We have the facilities, history, and conference to be an elite program..

Sorry bro, but my prediction was 100 percent on target. The team failed miserably. Like it or not, my posts have reflected the current stats of affairs with MU basketball.

Unknown said...

The switching over to a new coach is a traumatic as a heart transplant. More time than not it leads to a complete reject by the patient. If Buzz can get to 9-9 with a bunch of JUCOs (and I am being sarcastic because I will take a Jimmy Butler, DJO, Crowder anyday) then give him time to develop some 4 year players. Junior, Vander, Erik, Jones, Wilson, Gardner, Otule and the new recruits can turn into very good players. Examples of coaching change disasters are the Vikings and Wake Forest. Examples of sticking with head coaches and mangement through adversity were the Red Wings with Scotty Bowman, Ted Thompson of the Packers. Boy we love to cry when we can't get every win.