To continue to build on Tim pointing out that four of our last five games are projected as 1-point affairs, and Alan’s projected MU bracket, I ran the Total Value calculations again for the Big East through tonight’s games. I also ran the numbers for all of the players on the six teams we would have to beat in the NCAA tournament to win the National Title.
Obviously the projected opponents will not match the actual Big East and NCAA tournaments, but the point is to get an idea of how Marquette’s 7-man rotation matches up against other 7-man rotations at every step of the tournament to see how possible a Big East title and deep NCAA run would be. The following is a quick summary of the 14 games that would get us there, followed by the Total Value rankings of Marquette’s top 7 as well as the top 7 of each of these team’s in our path:
at Uconn, computer says lose by 1
The teams look pretty even on Total Value if both healthy. Unfortunately it sounds like Davante (#28) may not be ready for Saturday, while Jeremy Lamb (#5, 6-foot-5) and Andre Drummond (#31, 6-foot-11) looked completely recovered against DePaul last night. Could be tough to get a third straight win at Connecticut.
vs. Rutgers, computer says win by 13
You can’t take any conference games for granted, but MU is the only Big East team besides Syracuse with five of the Top 50 players in the Big East, and Rutgers has only one (Dane Miller, #34, 6-foot-6).
at WVU, computer says lose by 1
Kevin Jones (#2, 6-foot-8) has dropped just below Jae Crowder in Total Value to rank as the 2nd best player in the Big East statistically. Darryl “Truck” Bryant (#38, 6-foot-2) is his only teammate in the Top 50 though. While Deniz Kilicli (#82, 6-foot-9) is a tough match-up inside, and it’s hard to beat Huggins at West Virginia, MU clearly has the better talent and could grab a road win.
At Cincy, computer says win by 1
While they don’t match MU, Sean Kilpatrick (#16, 6-foot4) has been close to DJO’s level statistically, and Cashmere Wright (#36, 6-foot-0) and Yancy Gates (#41, 6-foot-9) give them three that could certainly win at home.
I know the 16-point win looked good, but beware. Under Buzz, MU has played a team at the Bradley Center and away from the Bradley Center in the same year, and seven of those times there was more than a 16-point swing against MU (Nova 7 pt win at Bradley Center but 19-point loss on the road, Gtown 3-point win but 23-point loss, Providence 30-point win but 3-point win away, DePaul 21-point win after 1-point loss, Seton Hall 9-point win but 13-point loss, ND 22-point win but 5 pt loss and Norfolk State 31-point win but 2-point win).
Gtown, computer says win by 1
While they can’t match MU’s five players in the top 50, Georgetown has the best trio in the conference with three of the best 11 players (6-foot-2 Jason Clark #8, 6-foot-8 Hollis Thompson #9, 6-foot-8 Otto Porter #11), backed up by 6-foot-10 Henry Sims at #30. A serious threat to hand MU another senior day loss.
Big East Tournament Opener – Cincinnati, computer says win by 5
Right now it shapes up that MU, Notre Dame and Georgetown would get Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida in the third round. If Pomeroy were to play out, Cincinnati would win the tie-breaker for 5th seed, and Marquette would lose the tie-breaker to the other two to fall to 4th seed. We switch from Pomeroy to Sagarin for the predictions since you can use his numbers to predict match-ups not yet set, and MU comes in as a 5-point favorite vs. Cincy on a neutral court.
Syracuse, computer says lose by 5
People can say they are only seven deep, but when your top 7 are all in the top 32 of the conference, and 7-foot Fab Melo would rank higher than 29th if he hadn’t miss games, you are left with a tough but winnable Big East semifinal.
Georgetown, computer says lose by 1
See above on match-ups, but if MU were to get to Georgetown in a Big East final, Sagarin says we would come in as only 1-point underdogs. However, this would be MUs third game in three nights, and as I posted earlier this year, we have struggled mightily in those situations since we rely on such aggressive defense.
VCU #14 seed, computer says win by 6
We now shift to Alan’s projected bracket from Monday, which has MU as a #3 seed facing #14 seed VCU. The Rams have no one at the level of Crowder or DJO, but 6-foot-9 Juvonte Reddic would rate one spot ahead of Gardner at #28 if he played in the Big East, and they do have three other players in the Top 50. Coming off their Final Four run last year, certainly a nervous match-up, but one in which MU would have the clear talent edge.
Murray State #6 seed, computer says win by 7
With one bad loss playing in a very weak conference, Murray State has slipped from #7 in the country to a projected #6 seed. However, even after adjusting for competition, Isaiah Cannan would rank as the 4th best player in the Big East, and Donte Poole wouldn’t be far behind at #15. So they match up with our duo of DJO and Crowder, BUT at 6-foot-0 and 6-foot-3, the don’t pose the big inside threat. While 6-foot-7 Ed Daniel (#47 in the Big East) would rank pretty even with Vander Blue and Jamil Wilson, those two players are moving up the ranks pretty quickly, so basically MU would need to contain two great guards to win and go Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
Duke #2 seed, computer says lose by 2
This summer the Total Value system said Kentucky, Ohio State, North Carolina and Duke looked like the teams with the best shot at the Final Four, and Duke may have finally jumped in with the other three after the win at UNC. As explosive as they are, Duke is only the 73rd best defense in the country, and you can see below their defensive ratings really hold down their total value. However, in a matchup to try to go to the Elite 8, the big problem is that Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee would rank in the Top 10 among Big East players, and at 6-foot-11 and 6-foot-10 they would provide the same kind of nightmare scenario that we almost got through against the Lopez brothers at Stanford. With Austin Rivers (#37 if in Big East, 6-foot-4) lobbing it into them and 6-foot-10 Miles Plumlee (#27), MU would have to force them to play small to win.
Kentucky #1 seed, computer says lose by 7
I know we have the history on Kentucky, but Anthony Davis would rank as by far the Big East Player of the Year with an incredible 12.45% value to Kentucky. That means that that hypothetically MU could beat Kentucky 71-70 without Davis, that Davis’ presence would change the score to 75-67 Kentucky – a 9-point swing. Which is not to ignore the fact that Kentucky has three other players that would be in the Top 10 of the Big East. We’ve done a good job of getting opposing big men in foul trouble – that’s how Indiana beat Kentucky and MU could do the same.
Ohio State #1 seed, computer says lose by 8
Jared Sullinger was the preseason Player of the Year based on Total Value, and if he hadn’t battled injuries earlier he would be close to Davis for the honor. However, while the computer ranks OSU a slightly tougher game than Kentucky, when looking at the five top players of each – OSU is clearly not quite at the level of Kentucky. Even with the injuries, 6-foot-9 Sullinger would rank as the third best player in the Big East, and 6-foot-2 Aaron Craft isn’t far behind at #13.
Syracuse #1 seed, computer says lose by 5
And if we somehow ran the gauntlet and the other seeds played out in Alan’s bracket, that would leave MU playing Syracuse for the national title – and hoping for a repeat of the magic in Cleveland last year.
Below is a list of the top 7 players in the Total Value system for all of Marquette’s players as well as all of the opponents in this hypothetical run. The offensive figure is the percent the player increases his team’s scoring by over the course of the season, and the Def number is the percent of points he takes away from opponents. The Total Value is the combination of the two. For non-Big East players, a listed where they would rank if they played in the Big East.
|Other Top 20 Big East||Team||Ht||Off||Def||Total|