After updating the Value Add database today, I immediately simulated a season in which Marquette went 23-13 (including 3-11 against NCAA-bound teams) to earn a 2-seed in the NIT where we lost at Stanford in the quarterfinals or to Syracuse in the semis at MSG.
Henry Ellenson (7.4 points in Value Add) and Duane Wilson (5.27) makes MU 12.67 points better per game than they would be without either - and they join Butler, Providence and Xavier with two players in the top 5% of all players. The only team with more is Villanova (5 players in top 5%).
Winning those two would revenge past heartbreaking NCAA losses to both and give us a shot at South Carolina for the NIT title. Obviously just a couple of extra wins turn a 2-seed in the NIT into an NCAA team, so hopefully MU is back in the Big Dance.
The following is the game-by-game giving the team with the higher Value Add the win once adjusting for home court advantage and the fact that young teams like MU improve more during a season than more experienced teams. This is why I have MU as a Big East 6-seed defeating Xavier as a 3-seed in the opening round of the Big East tournament. I also have MU as the best team in the NIT tournament, but with the overall record justifying a 2-seed, MU would play AT Stanford and then in MSG vs. Syracuse to lose home court advantage.
For MU and then each opponent I list the team's National rank based purely on the sum of their players' Value Add (Marquette is the 55th best team based on 28.28 in total Value Add and Belmont is 133rd based on 16.25).
"NBA" is how many NBA players the team will likely have, so MU has a 1.0 based on Henry Ellenson having a 91% chance and JJJ and Duane Wilson having a small chance to make the NBA. The only opponent with more potential NBA talent is LSU with a 1.4 as the rounded sum of Ben Simmons (96% chance), Tim Quarterman (34%), Craig Victor (8%), Elbert Robinson (4%) and Josh Gray (4%). In other words, we expect LSU to produce 1.4 NBA players like we expect the average American couple to produce 1.9 children.
MU's first opponent Belmont would win the OVC to get the bid and a 16-seed based on Value Add, giving MU three projected NCAA opponents in 10 days with Iowa (11-seed) and LSU (7-seed). While a big underdog against LSU the first game in New York, MU would have the edge in the second New York game November 24 - whether it be against NC State or Arizona State.
Obviously the March opponents in the NIT, NCAA or any other tournament could be anyone, and I laid out the extra tournament games in both the Big East and NIT, even though under this scenario MU would be eliminated before facing Nova for the Big East title or Syracuse or South Carolina in the NIT Final Four.
|Nat'l||Team||Pred||Value Add||NBA||Conf||Bid||Seed||MU vs.|
|27||Louisiana St.||L||38.76||1.4||SEC||1 NCAA||7-seed||11/23/2015|
|62||North Carolina St.||W||27.17||0.2||ACC||2 NIT||3-seed||11/24/2015|
|296||San Jose St.||W||5.77||0.0||MWC||12/8/2015|
|51||Seton Hall||W||29.38||0.3||BE||2 NIT||1-seed||12/30/2015|
|51||Seton Hall||L||29.38||0.3||BE||2 NIT||1-seed||2/3/2016|
|159||Weber St.||W||14.15||0.2||BSky||2 NIT||7-seed||3/17/2016|
|50||South Carolina||L||29.68||0.1||SEC||2 NIT||1-seed||3/31/2016|
|23-13 (Nova, Syracuse, SC)|
Ellenson ranks in the top 60 of all players. Remember, even though he is one of the best 10 players based on mock drafts, players are drafted based on how good they will get to be - so always be patient with freshmen! The huge improvement for most players is during the offseason between freshman and sophomore seasons.