It is unlikely that Marquette will have a chance to join Michigan State, Kansas and Missouri as the only teams in the country with two road wins over Top 25 opponents, but MU still has one of the best six resumes when visiting a team in Pomeroy's Top 25.
Of the other teams to win a road game vs. a Top 25, only three teams in the country have stayed within single digits in two other road Top 25 match-ups (MU at Syracuse and Georgetown, Vandy at Louisville and Florida, and Miami at Virginia and Florida State).
The fact is that when a team visits a top 25 opponent, they have only an 8.5% chance of winning the game, and a 73.1% of losing by double digits. As the table below shows, even Lunardi’s 1 through 4 seeds have won only 30% of their road games vs. the Top 25 and been blown out by double digits 40% of the time. So Marquette looks better than your average top 4 seed with the performances at Wisconsin, Georgetown and Syracuse, and even if you do include the one blowout loss at Notre Dame (not in the Pomeroy Top 25, but in the new AP and ESPN).
While my colleagues here at Cracked Sidewalks have mounted an imaginary banner in the Bradley Center (look closely at the background photo) to commemorate how excited I got when MU pulled the rare feet of going a whole season without a double digit loss with Lazar, the fact is that keeping teams like Georgetown and Syracuse within single digits on the road is a huge boost when seeds are being handed out.
In fact, UNLV and Baylor are down as a 4- and 3-seed respectively, and have lost by double digits EVERY time they have played a road game vs. the Top 25. In fact, they join K-State and a total of 270 teams (78% of all teams) who have yet to stay within single digits of a Top 25 team on the road. The table below lists every team who has at least stayed within single digits in one Top 25 road game, and teams are ranked by; 1) road wins over a Top 25, 2) staying within single digits against a top 25, and finally 3) as a tie-breaker the fewest number of opportunities on the road vs. a Top 25.
When it comes to strong performances on the road vs. the Top 25, Marquette has the 5th best resume in the country, and even if you count the double digit loss at Notre Dame, Marquette is still in a 5th place tie with Miami with one win, two games within single digits and one double digit loss.
One more top 50 road win in remaining three chances could lead to 4-seed or better
While MU will not play another Top 25, we do have three more opportunities to pull off a road upset against a Top 50 team. If we win one of those three games – today at UConn at 11 a.m., next Friday at West Virginia, or February 29 at Cincinnati, the road resume will be very strong. According to Pomeroy (which does not account for Gardner missing tomorrow), MU is a one-point underdog in all three, so we do need to win one of them. Win two and the sky is the limit, lose all three and we drop several seeds.
So the next time you hear someone criticizing Marquette for not having more big road wins, show them the table below (unless they are wearing a Missouri, Kansas or Michigan State shirt of course):
|Team on road vs. Top 25||Top 4 seed||Win||Stay within single digits||Lose by double digits|
|All teams||32 (8.5%)||69 (18.4%)||275 (73.1%)|
|Total Top 4 Seeds||12 (30%)||12 (30%)||16 (40%)|
|Michigan St. (best record)||2||2||1||0|
|New Mexico State||1||0||0|
|San Diego State||1||0||1|
|Long Beach State||0||2||1|
|College of Charleston||0||1||0|
|K-State & other 267||0||0||213|