"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

Friday, March 09, 2018

Waiting in Auburn in MU Jersey for Noon Tip-off: 13 Teams for 7 Spots

We may take an extended lunch today in the office with four people in Auburn gear, one in Alabama gear, and then me in the Jae Crowder Marquette jersey. The Auburn and Marquette interests are aligned today, as Auburn can hurt the chances of their rival Alabama and in turn help Marquette.

Tipoff is in half an hour and my preseason selection of Auburn as the No. 11 team in the country (while another sports writer picked them to go 4-14) won reviews from local press. However, the 23-3 team I predicted could go as far as the Final Four then lost one of their only players with height, Anfernee McLemore, and is 2-3 since. They are still a 6-point favorite.

If you average the subjective brackets of CBS Sports' Jerry Palm, ESPN's Joe Lunardi, the composite Bracket Matrix, and the two most accurate Mathematical predictors (ESPN's Strength of Record, and Dance Card) Marquette averages as next to last team in the tournament and Alabama as the next to last, so a win from Alabama may push Marquette down another spot:

(updates new Friday Bracket Matrix - Alabama moved up 4 spots to 5, UCLA up 2 spots to 1, MU drops 2 spots to 12 and MTSU drops 4 spots to 8). On the overall average of these 5, that leaves Marquette within one point of MTSU 6.0, Lville 6.2, Alabama 6.4, MU 6.9 prior to the Auburn game)

up to 7 bids of 13   PalmLunardiMatrixSORDanceAve.Today
Alabama10551116.4Auburn Noon +6
Arizona State910713119.8Done
Notre Dame11913101311.2Done
Oklahoma State138105129.8Done
Saint Mary's234785Done
USC6131265.4Oregon 10:30 pm -3
UCLA121873.8Arizona 8 pm +3

However, while averages are nice, the fact that Marquette ranks everywhere from 2nd to 12th in trying to claim seven spots shows that we do not know - Alabama could be easily ahead of Marquette already or could be far enough behind that even another win does not get them past Marquette.

Tonight's games for USC and UCLA could also be important. Most have them both ahead of Marquette, but not all. Even Lunardi, the least favorable for Marquette, stated at the beginning of the conference tournament that either team could be eliminated if they lose in the semifinals.

Marquette fans should root for Auburn, Oregon, and Arizona tonight, and would then want Arizona to win the Pac-12 title over Oregon to avoid have the Ducks take a spot and only allow six of the 13 above make it.

Six other games cold matter today, as they three conferences that would "steal" a bid with a surprise champion are the Mountain West, Atlantic 10, and American Athletic. The nightmare scenario would be Oregon winning the Pac-12, someone besides Nevada winning the MW, someone besides St. Bonaventure or Rhode Island winning the A10, and someone besides Cincinnati, Wichita State or Houston winning the AAC. If all four of those things happened, then only three of the 13 teams above would logically make the tournament.

All the teams we are rooting for are favored from between 4 and 9 points today.

Need to winConfToday
NevadaMWSD St 8 pm -4
Rhode IslandA10VCU 11 am -8
St. BonaventureA10Rich 5 p.m. -9
CincinnatiAACSMU 11 am -8
Wichita StateAACTemple 6 pm -9
HoustonAACUCF 8 pm -8

Auburn is a disaster. About to drop to 2-4 since the injury to Anfernee McLemore.

Turning my attention to possible spoilers, I guess I see up to 5 conferences that theoretically could have one - so will root against these teams, though some still need to play each other.

updated Saturday after the relief over Rhode Island and Cincy rallying to stop spoilers - only one spoiler (New Mexico or San Diego State with Nevada out) and only one possible additional - Davidson if they beat both St. B's and Rhode Island.

Conf Possible Spoiler
A10 Davidson - sat vs. St. B's 2:30 p.m Sat
A10 George Mason - gone
A10 Richmond - gone
A10 Saint Joseph's - eliminated semis by RI
A10 Saint Louis - gone
Amer Memphis - eliminated semis by Cincy
Amer Temple - gone
Amer Tulsa - gone
Amer UCF - gone
MWC New Mexico or San Diego state WILL steal bid
MWC San Diego St. - see above
MWC Utah St. - gone
P12 Oregon - gone
SEC Georgia - gone
SEC Mississippi St. - gone

Nothing is set in stone, the Selection Committee could have some other team in or out, but it looks like these 12 are competing with Marquette. Thanks TAMU Eagle and wisblue for your posts on MUScoop to help me narrow this down.

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