"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

Sunday, March 19, 2023

What is at stake today when Marquette plays Michigan State today

A spot in the Sweet 16 is the most obvious thing on the line when Marquette takes on Michigan State. Here are some other things at stake…

Marquette has never beaten Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament. MSU beat MU in the 1959 regional semifinals and the 2007 first round.

The Golden Eagles have never beaten Tom Izzo. Marquette has played the legendary coach twice. The aforementioned first-round victory in 2007 was a teacher vs. student showdown. Izzo easily defeated his former assistant, Tom Crean, 61-49. Although, Marquette did not have Jerel McNeal available. Marquette also lost in the 2014 Orlando Classic to the Izzo-led Spartans.

This Golden Eagles team has a chance to be the first squad in program history to win 30 games.

Shaka Smart has only won one second-round game. That victory came when he guided VCU to the Final Four in 2011. He led the Rams to three more appearances in the second round from 2012-2014.

If Marquette wins today, it would be the most wins in a season Shaka has had.

Marquette has never beaten a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Tyler Kolek needs 10 more assists to break Tony Miller’s single season record of 274. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

The biggest demon has been exorcised and we gotta react

#mubb has won when it matters for the first time in a decade, you bet your bottom dollar we're gonna react to it. We talk the game, the bracket, vibes, and the fighting Joey Hausers. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/7p3siq/ScrambledEggs_Editted_031723.mp3

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Why not us and why not now??!?

Join us while we splash around in the good vibes pool for #mubb. We talk record seeding in NCAA tournament for MU as well as first round match up against Vermont. We also revisit the joy of MSG and talk about the sliding doors that got us here. Last we talk overall bracket and try to wrap our heads around "is this really a chance to go F4 and beyond?" Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/k8gcuv/ScrambledEggs_Editted_031323.mp3

Sunday, March 12, 2023

2023 Bracketology Final

Selection Sunday is here, and so is our final S-Curve and bracket projection. Very few changes this week, including for the team most of our readers take interest in. A few final thoughts:

  • Gonzaga and Marquette remain on the 3-line behind Baylor. While I do feel Baylor might not be as deserving of that spot, the Selection Committee voted the top two lines on Wednesday and historically they don't make changes on Saturday night regardless of results. I would be happy to be wrong and see Marquette (or even the Zags) land on the 2-line, but if I'm making a projection based on their history, I don't think it will change.
  • Tennessee/UConn for the last 3/first 4 and Florida Atlantic/Arkansas for the last 7/first 8 were some of the most difficult decisions. I stuck with Tennessee because of the trend mentioned above. I went with FAU over Arkansas because last year I underestimated Murray State's seed, and FAU is basically Murray State with a better NET. While my number has them lower, there is historical precedent that I'm working off of.
  • The bubble came down to four teams for two spots. NC State, Pittsburgh, Nevada, and Oklahoma State were the last teams truly considered. I went with both of the ACC teams. The Wolfpack have the metrics and no real disqualifying factors. Pitt has some great wins, including away from home which the Selection Committee showed a preference for. If I were making the call, I would have Nevada in, but I have overestimated the Mountain West in the past and their bad losses have mounted recently. Oklahoma State at 18-15 simply doesn't have enough good. They went 0-8 against the protected seeds in the Big 12 and no team has got in with 15 losses that didn't also have at least 19 wins. Just not enough there.
  • If there are any surprise inclusions, it might be Clemson, who has a nice top of the resume but a ton of bad losses (like last year's first team out, Dayton) or New Mexico, who has great top-end wins but just took too many hits down the stretch. I don't expect any of the top-44 teams to miss. Maybe a Providence or Utah State falls to Dayton, but I strongly expect them to be in the field.
  • Finally, regarding Marquette, sticking with them to Columbus as my expectation. If they do get up to the 2-line, Des Moines is still possible, but Columbus has felt most likely. If nothing else, this team thrives on feeling slighted, so being a line lower than fans expect might continue to fuel their "F*** 'em" attitude.

Here is the final S-Curve and bracket. We don't expect any changes regardless of the results in the American and Big 10 Tournaments.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

The Eve of Madness

Marquette's celebration is underway as UConn falls at the Garden

Photo by John Minchillo | AP Photo

With Selection Sunday just one day away, it's time to look at what the field looks like a day before the official bracket comes out, and covering a few discussion points.

Marquette in the Big East Final

For the first time in quite awhile, Marquette has taken over as the presumptive Big East Champion. While Marquette fans will certainly hope this means ascension to the 2-line, I'm still pessimistic on that. The 1's and 2's were voted on by the Selection Committee on Wednesday. In order to change that, 7/12 voters would have to agree to rescrub one of the last 2-seeds. Arizona is still alive, so they aren't likely going anywhere, and if a team were scrubbed off the 2-line, it would probably be Baylor. But then we get to metrics and knowing that all of the WCC games mattered. If anyone moves up to the 2-line, it would more likely be Gonzaga.

Bid Thieves and the Bubble

Right now, we feel pretty good about everyone through Rutgers at #44. Nevada and Pitt are both in position to be knocked out by a team like UAB, Vanderbilt, or Ohio State. We added Vandy to the Still Considering list, but they feel a lot like Texas A&M last year, whose SEC Tourney run was too little, too late. If there's any team not on here that might sneak in, New Mexico is a team with some awesome Q1A wins that the Committee might surprise us with. If any bid thieves do make it in, expect them to show up on the 11-line (like Virginia Tech last year) with Providence and USC most likely to fall to Dayton.

Autobid Rescrub

We did a deep dive into the 12-16 lines again with most of the automatic bids awarded. If there are unexpected winners, most likely the underdog would go to the same seed as the current favorite. The 16-seeds felt very secure. The toughest decisions were the last 15 (Kennesaw, Colgate, UCSB considered) and the last 13 (Furman and Louisiana). If there are unexpected winners here or if UAB is a bid thief, don't be surprised to see Charleston pushed up to the 11 line if that becomes necessary.

Here's the updated S-Curve:

Friday, March 10, 2023

Dreaming of a Marquette March

The good news, we know Marquette will be in the NCAA Tournament, and they look to have solidly locked up a 3-seed. With that in mind, we're going to dig into the teams Marquette might see the first weekend and see who would give the staff nightmares and which teams they are dreaming of playing. Let's dig in:

 Greg Williams traded his St. John's gear for nearly identical Louisiana gear

Photo by Benjamin Massey | Louisiana Athletics


Nightmare: Louisiana

Marquette has six losses all year long, and four of those came to teams ranked in the top-30 of Offensive Rebounding Rate. This isn't just a team that does damage inside, though, the Ragin' Cajuns are top-50 in 3PFG%. They are also anchored by down-transfers. Big man Jordan Brown came from Arizona, wing Terence Lewis from North Texas, and guard Greg Williams came from St. John's, where he once scored 17 points in a win over Marquette. Don't be mistaken, if this game happens, this is still a game where Marquette will be favored, but Louisiana has some high-major talent and their strengths are areas where they can take advantage.

Dream: Vermont

The Catamounts are always an upset darling, but they haven't played a top-100 kenpom team since December and went 0-5 against such opposition, losing by an average of 18 points. They are terrible on the offensive glass and the worst defensive team in the mix for a 14-seed. Vermont has stayed close to NCAA opponents in recent years, but John Becker is 0-4 in Thursday/Friday NCAA games and this doesn't look like the year he breaks that streak.

Buzz Williams' intensity level hasn't diminished since leaving Marquette

Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel | USA Today Sports


Nightmare: Texas A&M

If nothing else, Marquette fans would be terrified just of the idea of facing Buzz again. As sweet as the victory would be, it would be equally crushing to see a season end to the man who brought Marquette to three consecutive second weekend trips a decade ago. On the court, it would be a tough matchup. A&M is top-10 in offensive rebounding and has a wealth of physical bigs they could throw at Oso Ighodaro. They aren't a great shooting team, but they out-physical teams on the glass to create second chances. Defensively, they will challenge you inside and dare you to beat them at the arc. This is a tough matchup physically for Marquette and psychologically for Marquette fans.

Dream: TCU

Honestly, I'm not sure there is a dream 6-seed, but the team that Marquette matches up best with is the Horned Frogs. Offensively, they don't rebound as well as the others on that line, they are a poor three-point shooting team, and their health questions could make them vulnerable. Defensively, they aren't great at stopping teams inside the arc, so Marquette's bread and butter offense takes advantage of their weakness. How the Big 12 teams will be seeded will be interesting, but if the choice is Duke's wealth of offensive rebounders or Oscar Tshiebwe, TCU seems like the most attractive option.

Nevada big man Will Baker once played for Shaka Smart at Texas
Photo from Nevada Athletics


Nightmare: Pittsburgh

The team best built to outscore their opponents on the 11-line are the Pitt Panthers. They can put four shooters around their rim-protecting big and can beat you in multiple ways. They are comfortable playing through either of their two point guards, Jamarius Burton or Nelly Cummings, run a tight, established rotation, and know their roles. In addition, no Marquette fan wants to send fan favorite Greg Elliott home. Pitt is prone to the occasional blowout loss and it's certainly a team Marquette would be favored against. However, they have played 10 games decided by 4 points or less, so this is a team that knows how to keep it tight down the stretch and have the ability to make for a nervy final few minutes for any team they come up against.

Dream: Nevada

The Wolfpack is fine, but not great in any regard. They have good size across the board, but don't take advantage on the offensive glass and aren't an outstanding shooting team. Defensively, they slow the pace but again don't have a calling card. They're just kind of okay at everything. But where they aren't okay is away from home. Per T-Rank, Marquette is the 7th best team in the country in road/neutral games while Nevada is 64th. It seems unlikely they would last to even play a 3-seed, but if they did, don't expect this to be a Sweet 16 team no matter who they face.

A few notes on where we stand. The 1's and 2's were voted on Wednesday. It is very unlikely those will change, which is why we feel confident about the placing of Purdue on the 1-line and keeping Gonzaga and Marquette on the 3-line. Most of the seeding feels set, but we are still looking at the last 4-seed (Virginia, San Diego State, Miami, Iowa State all considered), the last 6-seed (Texas A&M, Northwestern, Creighton), and whether Florida Atlantic can win Conference USA and move up to the 7-line.

On the bubble, it came down to 6 teams for the final three spots. We looked at Rutgers, Nevada, Pittsburgh, Clemson, NC State, and Oklahoma State. Teams like Wisconsin and Michigan largely played themselves out of contention, which opened the door for Rutgers. Nevada stayed in despite their loss because of the overall body of work. Oklahoma State was knocked out because they simply didn't have enough wins to offset their 15 losses (no team with 15 losses has ever got in with fewer than 19 wins). That left one spot for the three ACC teams. Each of them had positives. Clemson was 4-0 against NC State and Pitt, but their #333 NCSOS is simply awful. NC State had a slightly better NCSOS, but we couldn't justify putting them in over a Clemson team that beat them three times. That left Pitt, who had mediocre metrics, but 4 Q1 wins (more than NC State) and only 2 losses outside Q1+2 (to Clemson's 4). Pitt was the least offensive of the three. That said, keep an eye out for bid thieves, because a surprise win in Conference USA, the American, or any of the high-major conferences could shrink the field and knock those last four in to the other side of the bubble.

Apologies for no bracket today, but the snow day in Milwaukee means it's hard enough getting this out with two kids here that were supposed to be in school. Here's the current S-Curve:

Thursday, March 09, 2023

BE Champs, Lots of Awards, and Meaningful March games

Welcome back to the unofficial podcast of your Big East Champion #mubb! We have a wide ranging podcast for you this week. We talk championship and Big East awards and recognition. We then talk about the Big East Tournament and how much we really should or should not care about it. We then turn to the tournament everyone cares about, NCAA and where MU may end up seeding wise, etc. Get ready for the serious basketball games and enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/65cwzu/ScrambledEggs_Editted_030823.mp3

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Scrubbing the Top-16 and Beyond


Alabama won in November, but Houston has moved up to the overall 1-Seed

Photo by Bob Levey | Getty Images

This week we go down the top-4 seed lines going team-by-team with explanations as to why everyone lands where they do. There's a change at the end of the 1-line, a difficult decision at the end of the 2, and reasoning why these teams are where they are. Finally, we look at the last teams in and why they landed where they did, inside and out.


  • 1. Houston: Do wins or losses matter more? Historically, the answer has always been wins. The Cougars have the best record in the country, the best Q1 win percentage, the best Q1+2 win percentage, and are tied for the best RAP (Resume average And Predictive Average) Score. Typically, the Predictive metrics have more influence on seeding and Houston is #1 in all three predictive metrics. They also have more Q1+2 Away wins than any other team fighting for the top line. Houston is tied for the most road wins in the country while also being undefeated on the road. Houston did better in the opportunities they had than either #2 Kansas or #3 Alabama. They do have a Quadrant 3 loss, but considering how well they did in the first two quadrants that 13-1 winning record offsets the one bad loss. Looking at #2, Houston has a better winning percentage (or more wins with an equal undefeated percentage) in Quadrant 1A, Quadrant 1B, Quadrant 2A, and Quadrant 2B than #2 Kansas does. Since the week of the Top-16 Reveal, Houston is the only team that was on the top line that has not taken a single loss. If wins matter more, Houston's record at the top of the resume should put them atop the S-Curve.
  • 2. Kansas: The Jayhawks are the popular pick to be #1 overall and they were our leader until the latest scrub. They have a record 15 Quadrant 1 wins and winning records in every sub-quadrant, which is not the case for #3 Alabama. Against the nation's toughest schedule, Kansas answered the bell repeatedly. Because they were behind Houston at the Reveal and have lost since, it's hard to put them ahead of the Cougars, but their top-of-the-resume work is better than anyone else. Both Alabama and Kansas have taken knocks since the reveal, but Alabama's poor play even in victories pushes Kansas ahead.
  • 3. Alabama: The Tide are tied for the best Resume Average and RAP Score. Those numbers give them clear separation from #4 UCLA and #5 Purdue. Their 9 Q1 wins, win at #1 Houston (the best win any team can claim), and 16-5 Q1+2 record with no losses outside Q1 is what you want in a 1-seed. This is where the divide is between the clear and definite 1-seeds and the teams fighting to join them on the top line.
  • 4. Purdue: The Boilermakers have 9 Q1 wins to UCLA's 7, 16 Q1+2 wins to UCLA's 15, and have done so against a tougher schedule. That's the rationale I think the Selection Committee will use, but it's not the real reason Purdue lands on the 1-line. It's because one of the 1-seeds has to play on Friday to accommodate the play-in game on Wednesday. Houston, Kansas, Alabama, and UCLA, by virtue of playing in Birmingham, Des Moines, and Sacramento, will all be playing on Thursday. That means someone from the 2-line has to come up to be the last 1-seed. Purdue should be the top 2-seed, but because of bracketing, they land as the last 1-seed and the Selection Committee will justify their inclusion in that spot.


  • 5. UCLA: The Bruins have the best RAP Score by far of any remaining teams. There's a strong case for them as the last 1-seed, but it's impossible due to bracketing, so they get the top 2-seed. There is a gap between them and the rest of the 2-line.
  • 6. Texas: The biggest difference between the Longhorns and #7 Baylor are the metrics, where they have the same Resume average of 6.0 but Texas has a better Predictive Average (7.3 to 12.7) and RAP Score (6.65 to 9.35). Both have 11 Q1 wins, 15 Q1+2 wins, and zero losses outside the first quadrant, but Texas has the better winning percentage in those areas.
  • 7. Baylor: Baylor is neck and neck with Texas. While #8 Gonzaga has a better RAP Score and Predictive Average, the 11 to 5 Q1 win disparity, 15 to 10 Q1+2 win disparity, and no losses outside Q1 while Gonzaga has a Q3 loss keeps Baylor ahead.
  • 8. Arizona: This is one of the most difficult decisions so far. The positives for Arizona are the 8-2 Q1 record, the 10.6 RAP Score (ahead of #9 Marquette-15.1 and #10 Kansas State-16.1), and knowing the Selection Committee had them #6 at the Reveal. The 4 losses in Q2 is a problem, but they already had 3 of those at the Reveal and were still well ahead of the teams they are competing with. Wins trump losses in this case. It gets much more interesting if they are scrubbed against Gonzaga, who is metrically superior in every regard, but it feels like Gonzaga was too far back to land this high.

Tyler Kolek has led Marquette to the top of the 3-line
 Photo from Marquette Athletics


  • 9. Marquette: It's close with #10 Kansas State, but Marquette's edge in Q1A (4-3 to 4-5) and having added a Q1A road win (at Creighton) mitigates the advantage at the Top-16 Reveal. Marquette hasn't lost since the week of the Reveal while K-State has two losses. And while Marquette's worst loss is a Q3 loss to bubble team Wisconsin, K-State's worst loss is at Butler, a team below .500 and not even in NIT consideration. This is a place where the Quadrants say one thing, but anyone looking at the actual result (especially considering K-State's 12-point loss at Butler compared to Marquette's 16-point win in the same building) will again mitigate the impact of those losses. Finally, Marquette's outright Big East Championship is an extra feather in the cap compared to the Big 12 3-seed.
  • 10. Kansas State: Kansas State has just 3 road wins all year, but two of them are at Texas and Baylor, teams on the 2-line. Their 9 Q1 wins is the most of any team not already in the field. The drawback is neither their Resume nor Predictive averages are as good as #11 Gonzaga, but the value placed on true road wins at the Reveal keeps the Wildcats ahead.
  • 11. Gonzaga: The drawback for the Zags is starting further back than the competition. They have RAP Score edge not just on every team left in the field, but also the three teams ahead of them. However, since the Reveal the only real win of substance they added was St. Mary's at home. Even if they win the WCC Final, that is a neutral court win and wouldn't seem to tip the scales more than the Alabama and Xavier wins they already have on neutral courts. Their placement here seems secure, but the only reason to move them up is metrics for a Committee that clearly placed value on the true road wins Gonzaga just doesn't have.
  • 12. Tennessee: It's another razor-thin decision between #12 Tennessee and #13 UConn. The Volunteers have the slightly better RAP Score (9.25 to 9.65), the slightly better Q1 record (7-6 to 6-6), and the slightly better best road win (NET 46 Mississippi State to 59 Florida). The real deciding factor was record against the field. Tennessee is 9-6 while UConn is just 5-5. In addition, we know Tennessee was a 3 at the Reveal while UConn was outside the Top-16, so it's a much higher hill to climb for the Huskies. It's possible the Zakai Zeigler injury will knock them down, but they did already beat Arkansas without him, so we aren't going to punish them for that just yet.


  • 13. Connecticut: Metrically, UConn's 9.65 RAP Score is far better than anyone else at this point (Xavier is next best at 16.85). Their 4 Q1A wins are as many or more than anyone else being considered here but they also have just one loss outside Q1, which is fewer than #14 Xavier, #15 Indiana, or #16 St. Mary's. UConn is the last team in contention for a 3-Seed, while everyone behind them seems capped at a 4.
  • 14. Xavier: Since the Reveal, Xavier has added their two best road wins, Q1 results over Providence and Seton Hall. Their 13-6 Q1+2 record is better than #15 Indiana or #16 St. Mary's. They have the highest remaining RAP Score. While the recent news of Zack Freemantle's surgery isn't helpful, they have already shown their ability to succeed without him.
  • 15. Indiana: The Hoosiers are largely held aloft by their sweep of Purdue, though true road wins at Xavier and Illinois are also incredibly valuable. That overall body of work has them ahead of #16 St. Mary's, who has zero Q1 road wins. One word of warning for the Hoosiers, no team with 11 losses has reached the 4-line since 2016 Iowa State. Without a Big 10 title, that would describe Indiana. Sheer volume of losses could see them fall to a 5 behind a team like Virginia or San Diego State.
  • 16. St. Mary's: Winning the WCC Tournament would likely secure this spot. St. Mary's win over San Diego State compares favorably to #17 Virginia's Baylor win, and the Gonzaga win St. Mary's has is much better than anything else on the UVA resume. Metrically, the Gaels also have a better RAP Score than #18 San Diego State or #19 Kentucky, and it leans on their better Predictives, which are more seed dependent.

Jalen Pickett & Penn State are on the right side of the bubble

Photo from Penn State Athletics

The Bubble

  • 40-Utah State: Only 1 Q1 win, but 9-5 v Q1+2 and a stellar 21-5 v Q1-3 while being better in both Resume and Predictive averages than anyone else on the bubble.
  • 41-Mississippi State: The Marquette win is huge and everything else is good enough. With virtually everyone having fatal flaws, the Bulldogs simply don't.
  • 42-Penn State: Two wins over the field in the past week moved them up significantly. 5 Q1 wins, 6 v the field, and metrics that finally match an at-large pedigree. They just avoid Dayton.
  • 43-Nevada: Their opportunities are few, but 4 Q1 wins, 8-7 v the top two quadrants, and 17-9 v the top three separates them from the field, especially with zero Q4 losses.
  • 44-NC State: Their resume is not great. The numbers check out, but 2 Q1 wins and 7-9 v the top two quadrants isn't exciting. Zero losses in Q3/4 helps, but if there are bid thieves they are in danger.
  • 45-Wisconsin: This is the team I just can't get out of the bracket. 6 Q1 wins, 5 against the field's top-40, and 3-2 against other bubble teams. Their resume numbers are good enough, but barely. They could play their way out with an early loss in the Big 10 Tourney.
  • 46-Arizona State: The last team in is only here because of the half-court buzzer beater over Arizona. They have multiple losses in the Q1A, Q1B, Q2A, and Q2B, but their only loss outside that is a true road loss in Q4. This is another team that could play their way out.
  • OUT-Pittsburgh: Rescrubbing, their resume is not very good. 7/10 losses are to non-tourney teams and their Resume Average isn't good enough to prop up two barely Q1A wins. They are close enough that if there are no bid thieves and someone in the final few spots plays their way out, Pitt could still sneak in.
  • OUT-Rutgers: Last year they got in with a similar Resume average and Q1 win total, but most of those wins were Q1A, whereas this year they only have 2 located there. They have been a different team since losing Mawot Mag, and that has to matter.
  • OUT-North Carolina: 1-9 vs Q1 really says it all, but it was more palatable when they were perfect in Q2. They are 1-3 in Q2 since February 1, and that 7-12 Q1+2 record isn't good enough. They need the ACC Tourney title to get in.
  • OUT-Oklahoma State: While their quadrants look similar to West Virginia on the 8-line, the computer numbers aren't enough and 5 of their 9 Q1+2 wins are against teams outside the at-large pool. Ultimately, 15 losses (which they will have without the auto-bid) are too many for a team without much of a margin to start with.

Here's the complete S-Curve as it stands:

Thursday, March 02, 2023

First Week Bid Thieves


Oral Roberts star Max Abmas is no stranger to March success

Photo by Maddie Meyer | Getty Images

March is finally here. We greet the month with a Marquette team that has already secured a Big East title, a head coach that is going to win the Big East Coach of the Year and possibly the National award as well, and the likely Big East Player of the Year in Tyler Kolek. It's the time when college basketball boasts the most excitement, the most drama, and the best month in all of sports.

This is also the time of year that fills bubble teams with dread as potential bid thieves stand at the ready to steal bids expected to go to teams that are just trying to stay alive. This week we will focus on a few teams that have some bid thief potential, though this feels like a relatively safe year for bubble teams, at least until we get to full-on Championship Week. Here are the teams programs on the bubble should be rooting for to win their tournament so they can't sneak in through an unexpected at-large bid, focusing in particularly on two teams with at-large aspirations and one that might unexpectedly cut nets:

Unlikely Candidates: Liberty (2-Seed, ASUN), Sam Houston (2-Seed, WAC), Bradley (1-seed, MVC), Kent State (2-Seed, MAC)

We're mentioning these teams because they all have some criteria that might get them a brief glance from the Selection Committee, but none of them look to have the profiles of at-large teams. First of all, all of these teams have sub-70 Resume Averages and the record for the lowest Resume Average ever for an at-large was 57.5 for Rutgers in 2022. Liberty's predictive metrics are the best of this bunch, but they have no Quadrant 1 wins and 3 losses outside the first two quadrants. Sam Houston has a pair of Quadrant 1 wins, but those are both against teams projected out of the field and they have two bad losses to offset that. Bradley was the best team in the Missouri Valley, but has zero Q1 wins and went just 2-6 against the first two quadrants. Finally, Kent State put scares into Houston (lost 49-44) and Gonzaga (lost 73-66) but they still lost those games and went 0-4 against the top two quadrants. None of these teams have enough.

Charleston (2-Seed, CAA)

Record: 27-3

Resume Average: 52.0

Predictive Average: 64.0

Quadrant Records: 0-3 Q1 / 1-1 Q2 / 9-2 Q3 / 16-0 Q4

Championship Game: March 7

At a glance, the lack of quality wins looks disqualifying, but that might be deceptive. If Charleston wins their first two games, they will finish at worst 29-4. Since the field expanded to 65, no team has been left out of the at-large field with 29 or more wins. Charleston's metrics aren't great, but the resume average of 52.0 is better than the 52.5 typically needed and well ahead of last year's Rutgers. And while they did lose their biggest game at North Carolina, it's some of the wins they got that are worth looking at. They beat Virginia Tech in their home MTE. They beat Chattanooga. They tried to schedule up, playing A-10 teams Richmond and Davidson in addition to Mountain West team Colorado State, and they won all of those games. All five of those teams played in the NCAA Tournament last year. This is a team that tried to play tough competition and won those games, but due to misfortune all the tourney teams they scheduled (including UNC) finished well below expectations. If the games listed above had held quadrants from last year, Charleston would be 2-1 in Q1 and 4-0 in Q2 with two Q3 losses. That would likely have them in the field, and when the Selection Committee debates their resume, may be discussed. If Charleston makes the CAA Final and loses, don't be shocked if they still sneak into the field.

Oral Roberts (1-Seed, Summit)

Record: 23-4

Resume Average: 62

Predictive Average: 64.3

Quadrant Records: 0-4 Q1 / 1-0 Q2 / 5-0 Q3 / 17-0 Q4

Championship Game: March 7

The Resume Average would indeed be unprecedented, but there are just seven teams in the entire NCAA with zero losses outside Quadrant 1. Those teams are projected 1-seed Alabama, 1-seed Kansas, 2-seed UCLA, 2-seed Texas, 2-seed Baylor, (oddly) 9-seed Missouri, and Oral Roberts. So five of the six teams with loss profiles like ORU are likely to be on the top two seed lines and the other is also a projected single-digit seed. In addition, ORU boasts a star in Max Abmas who has NCAA experience, having led 15-seed Oral Roberts to a Sweet 16 in 2021. That said, we are very hesitant to recommend a team primarily on their loss profile. 2019 UNC-Greensboro similarly had zero losses outside Q1 and they even boasted two Q1 victories, but they were still left out of the field. ORU might get some sentimental consideration, but they're a long shot to get in if they don't win the Summit automatic bid.

BYU (5-Seed, WCC)

Record: 17-14

Resume Average: 123.5

Predictive Average: 80.0

Quadrant Records: 1-6 Q1 / 2-3 Q2 / 5-4 Q3 / 7-1 Q4

Championship Game: March 7

BYU is more of a true bid thief than the ones above in that they would be stealing a bid by winning their conference tournament. St. Mary's and Gonzaga are locks to make the NCAA Tournament, so the question becomes who has the best chance to win the WCC other than them and get the league a third bid? The popular pick will be Loyola Marymount, who beat both of those teams this year, but BYU will be the betting favorite over LMU and the WCC powers are less likely to see BYU coming. While LMU got those two big wins, they also lost to both of those teams by double-digits. Every game BYU played with the big boys was within single-digits and BYU aslso beat LMU by 28 in their most recent encounter. The structure of the WCC Tournament makes any bid thief incredibly unlikely, but if there is one, watch out for the Cougars.

We'll have more potential bid thieves next week when the big boys get started, but for now, let's get on to the S-Curve and new Bracket:

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 9

Big 12: 7

SEC: 8

ACC: 5

Big East: 5

Pac-12: 4

Mountain West: 3

American: 2

WCC: 2

Monday, February 27, 2023

A live #mubb champion AND pod

We are coming to you live from Phil's murder basement to talk 'ships for #mubb. We review the Creighton game and then pivot to the good stuff, the win over DePaul which results in MU having at least a share of the Big East Conference Title. We then talk the significance of this season and what we think the rest of the season looks like.....we spend very little time analyzing Butler and St John's for the record. It was a fun pod to record so we hope you enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/mksskx/ScrambledEggs_Editted_022623.mp3

Bracketology What If?

Uatu is here to ask...What If?

Marvel fans are familiar with the concept of What If? The stories explore how events may have been different by changing the answer to one question. While that's easy to do in fantasy worlds, Mark Strotman raised the idea of doing What If? in the Marquette Cinematic Universe. With that in mind,we'll look at how Marquette's resume might be different if the final few minutes of some Marquette losses had played out differently. Where one question changes everything, today we ask...What If?

 What if Iggy had finished off Bully?

What If...Marquette had beat Mississippi State in Fort Myers?

This win might be the most intriguing because of the multiple reverberations it would have had. Not only would it turn a Quadrant 1 loss into a win, it would turn the Quadrant 4 Georgia Tech win into a Quadrant 2 Utah win. This assumes Marquette and Mississippi State both would have won the next night. This would improve Marquette's Q1 record from 5-5 to 6-4, improve their Q1+2 record from 9-6 to 11-5, and give them another win over the field. Playing Utah instead of Georgia Tech would also have improved the non-conference strength of schedule and overall SOS. That would've been enough to push them ahead of Indiana at the Reveal, and Marquette would have moved solidly on to the 3-line at worst with Iowa State's recent miscues.

What If...Marquette had won the final minute at Xavier?

After Oso Ighodaro's jumper tied the game at 72, Xavier took a timeout with less than a minute to play. Souley Boum scored on the ensuing possession and Xavier outscored Marquette 8-4 in the final minute to hold on in Cincy. Had Marquette won that game, they would've claimed a share of the Big East title on February 22nd with Providence's fifth loss. Marquette's Gold Out win over DePaul would've clinched the outright title.

In terms of resume, this would have had two impacts. First, it would've knocked Xavier out of the top-16 reveal, opening the door for UConn to replace them. Second, it would've given Marquette a road win the likes of which they didn't have at the time of the reveal. In all honesty, though, turning the Xavier loss or Providence loss to a win would've had the same impact, adding a Q1 road win and moving Marquette up slightly. Winning the Wisconsin game would've had a similar impact. While it wouldn't add the quality of win, it would take away Marquette's worst loss and the only one with potential to drop to Q3. While any of them would've moved Marquette up a spot or two, they weren't the most important narrow miss. 

 What If Purdue Pete had run out of steam?

What If...Marquette had held on to beat Purdue?

Marquette led 58-49 with less than 10 minutes to play, but the deciding moment likely came at about the 8 minute mark. Purdue started to get some momentum, but was still trailing by 6 when Brandon Newman turned the ball over. Chase Ross attempted a three in transition and missed. Kam Jones got the rebound, kicked it out, and Ross missed again. Oso Ighodaro collected yet another offensive rebound, the ball got back to Ross, and he missed another three. Newman secured the rebound, turned the ball up court, and David Jenkins hit a transition three to cut the lead to just 3. But what if Ross had hit one of those threes, Marquette re-established the 9 point lead, and was able to get the defense set instead of giving up a transition three opportunity? In our scenario, Marquette holds on and beats Purdue at Mackey.

We know what happened after that. Purdue dominated Duke and Gonzaga in Portland and spent much of the season ranked at the top of the AP Poll. Not only would Marquette have been ranked sooner and likely held on to their rankings through later losses, their resume metric average would be single-digits currently, their predictive metrics would be better, and they would have a second Q1A road win to go along with the Creighton victory last week. At the reveal, the only thing that separated Marquette from Kansas State and Iowa State on the three line was Quadrant 1A road wins. Having the Purdue win would've given Marquette clear metric and win quality superiority over those teams. They would have been no worse than 11 at the reveal. Further, the subsequent losses by Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Baylor, and Texas, coupled with the Creighton win would have pushed Marquette near the top of the 2-line.

Perhaps most important, however, would be the impact this had on Purdue as they have struggled of late. Add another loss to their resume and we would be comparing 23-6 Purdue to 24-5 Marquette. Marquette would have the better record in Q1A, the better Q1A road wins, the better away record, and closer metrics. The Selection Committee noted at the reveal that Alabama was ahead of Houston because of their head-to-head win, which mattered that high up on the S-Curve. It is reasonable to think that had Marquette beat Purdue, that would resonate with the Selection Committee and be the reason why Marquette would at this moment be angling for a 1-seed instead of a 3-seed with an uphill climb to move any higher.

Now...we move back to reality as we know it. First, a few notes on our new S-Curve and bracket:

  • At 10 on the S-Curve, Marquette may be stagnating there due to K-State's favorable schedule  while everyone on the 2-line is stronger in terms of quality wins (current 2's all have at least 13 Q1+2 wins to Marquette's 9) and average metrics (RAP Scores between 5.7 and 9.2, compared to Marquette's 14.0). A reminder, RAP is the average of the Resume average And Predictive average from the team sheet. Teams line up within one seed line of that score 80% of the time.
  • There is a viable way for Marquette to improve their Quadrant 1+2 record, but it's outside their control. Currently Villanova (#78 NET) and Seton Hall (#80) are right outside the magic #75 number. Marquette has a 4-0 record against them, which provides two Quadrant 2 road wins (76-135) and two Quadrant 3 home wins (76-160). If they move up a few spots though, all of those games shift up a Quadrant, which means the Q2 total remains the same, but the resume effect turns those Q3 games into Q1. Today, Marquette is 5-5 in Q1 and 9-6 in Q1+2 combined. Moving those games up would change that to 7-5 Q1 and 11-6 in Q1+2.
  • The 75-rank swings both ways. If Villanova and Seton Hall moved up while #73 Colorado and #75 Washington State dropped down, Arizona would lose a Q1 win and add a Q3 loss while UCLA would effectively see two Q1 wins drop to Q3. What happens to those four teams could determine what happens on the 2-line come Selection Sunday.
  • Lots of movement from familiar names. Arkansas and Kentucky have moved up significantly of late, while Iowa State and Providence are sinking down.
  • The bubble is a mess. Wisconsin, Penn State, New Mexico, and the Big 12 bubble schools all took losses this weekend. Teams like Michigan, North Carolina, and Clemson are trying to knock on the door, but so far haven't done enough to get in. We have added Utah State and Arizona State to the field. At the end of the day, you have to put 68 teams in.

Here's the latest S-Curve and bracket:

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 8

SEC: 8

Big 12: 7

Big East: 5

ACC: 5

Mountain West: 4

Pac-12: 4

American: 2

WCC: 2

Friday, February 24, 2023

March Travel Plans

We have your travel breakdown for those looking to fly into March with Marquette
 Photo from gomarquette.com

Now that Marquette's NCAA Tournament fate is no longer a matter of if, it's time to start talking about potential destinations. Marquette moves up to a 3-seed in our latest bracket and the likelihood of playing relatively close to Milwaukee is improving consistently. The NCAA Tournament is broken up into eight first weekend destinations and 4 second weekend regions. With Marquette in mind, here are the travel distances to NCAA sites:

Let's go through the sites and see which are most likely and which probably won't come into play. We'll also look at potential geographical nightmares. The NCAA doesn't allow geographic disadvantages for seeded teams against opponents who are within 50 miles of the venue, but we do look at teams Marquette could see in the first weekend that are close but outside that 50 mile circle.

1. Columbus, OH (452 miles)

This is Marquette's second choice location and where they would land if the tournament started today. Purdue will almost certainly be here, but of the other teams fighting for a top-4 seed, only Indiana and Xavier have it as their first choice, and only Tennessee and Virginia have it as a top-two choice (both are likely to go to Greensboro). If Marquette started losing games, they could lose Columbus as a preference, but at this point Columbus is our pick for Marquette's opening weekend destination. Geographical Nightmare Draw: No one wants to be a 3-seed headed to Columbus to play the Dayton Flyers. The NCAA doesn't allow protected seeds to play any school within 50 miles of the site, but Dayton's campus is 70 miles from Nationwide Arena. Flyer fans would pack that venue and have all the hometown fans on their side.

2. Des Moines, IA (373 miles)

This is Marquette's first choice location, but it is also the first choice for Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Creighton, as well as second choice for Baylor. As a probable 1-seed, Kansas seems locked into Des Moines, which means the other teams are playing to be the team to join them. While it's only second choice for Baylor, the Bears' first choice is Birmingham, which is likely getting Alabama and Houston, so Baylor is one of the favorites for Des Moines as well. For Marquette to get to Des Moines, they need to get to the 2-line and get past both Baylor and Kansas State. That seems highly unlikely. I don't think Des Moines is likely to host Marquette. Geographical Nightmare Draw: The Iowa Hawkeyes are currently on the 9 line, but if they played their way to a 7-seed, that could create a 2017 South Carolina situation as Iowa's campus is 114 miles away from Wells Fargo. If Iowa is here, it would be packed with diehards and Wal-Mart fans alike.

3. Albany, NY (911 miles)

If Marquette falls back to the 4 line behind Indiana, then Albany becomes likely. That's because Birmingham and Sacramento will likely fill with one and two seeds, Greensboro will go to teams that would likely pass Marquette in the process of falling down a line, and if Marquette was high enough to get Denver, at least one of their preferred options above would be there. There is a positive to getting Albany, as there could be a strong Big East contingent if UConn earns a protected seed and lands there. Geographical Nightmare Draw: It would be bad enough being a 4-seed having to face Rick Pitino in the first round, but Iona is 148 miles away from Albany's MVP Arena. This site would give Iona not just a coaching edge but a crowd edge against almost any opponent they see.

4. Orlando, FL (1,253 miles)

If Marquette is at the end of the 4-line or on the 5-line, Orlando is a very real possibility because this site will almost certainly have two 4-seeds as the least desirable location for most teams. This site has gone from highly likely to pretty unlikely as Marquette has moved up the S-Curve, but if things go bad, it's still a realistic opening weekend destination. Geographical Nightmare Draw: It's entirely possible a 4-seed could get sent to Orlando and have to take on the home state Miami Hurricanes in the second round. At 234 miles, this is Miami's first choice destination

We're not going to focus as deeply on the second weekend because with more limited options, everyone is competing for the same few spots so it's harder to isolate where a team might land based on who else is around them. Marquette's top choice would be Louisville, a little under 400 miles from campus. Instead, let's move on to the new S-Curve and bracket:

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 9

Big 12: 8

SEC: 8

ACC: 5

Big East: 5

Mountain West: 3

Pac-12: 3

American: 2

WCC: 2

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Talking good crowds, Creighton, and titles

We're back to talk about your sole possession of first place in the Big East, #mubb (that's a lot, but I love it). We start off with a quick discussion of the Xavier game and the intensity of the crowd and the win itself. We then turn to the next big milestone and the biggest game of the season to date, a road game against Creighton. If you are superstitious you might want to knock on wood or something cause we're talking path to the Big East title. We then prep for Joe's first trip to the Fiserv and get a little silly(ier). Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/d6p5xf/ScrambledEggs_Editted_022023.mp3

Top-16 Reset


The NCAA revealed their Top-16 teams on Saturday, and the general reaction among bracketologists was one of confusion. There have been a number of comments about what the Selection Committee got wrong, where they were inconsistent, and where they flat out didn't make sense. But why was there so much confusion?

Matt Norlander on the CBS Sports Eye on College Basketball shared this from his interview with Selection Committee chairman Chris Reynolds: "They put about 22 hours of work into this top-16 this week...they got together on Monday, long day on Tuesday, a little more on Wednesday." This feels incredibly important for a few reasons. First, they were done selecting, seeding, and placing their top-16 by Wednesday. That means the Marquette win over Xavier, Tennessee win over Alabama, Indiana loss to Northwestern, and Maryland win over Purdue were not factored into the Top-16 at all. Norlander also mentioned "there was no other team in contention for a one-seed." We'll discuss this timing later, but this information seems incredibly important and might clearly explain the confusion from bracketologists.

In terms of results, Cracked Sidewalks had 15/16 teams correct (Our #12 UConn was out, our #18 Xavier was in). In terms of seeding, we had 11 exact and 5 within one seed line (including Xavier, though UConn was two off). However, to support the "decisions were made without factoring this week" theory, our bracket from Sunday was even more accurate. 15/16 were still correct, but 13/16 were exact seeds and the other 3 were within one seed line. Had we just gone with our bracket from before this past week's games, we would've been better than we were after the games. That supports that this past weeks games didn't matter. So what did we learn? Let's dig in.

1-Seeds: Alabama, Houston, Purdue, Kansas

We had all the teams right, but our order was off, with our #2 Kansas and #4 Houston flipped. Most likely, the Selection Committee voted on the 1-seeds and 2-seeds on Monday. At that time, Alabama had not yet lost to Tennessee and Purdue had not yet lost to Maryland. Despite that, it seems metrics were prioritized for Houston. The teams did fall in exact order of the RAP score on Monday night. Had they voted these on Friday, the order likely would've changed. But if they voted Monday and put heavy stock in Houston's predictive numbers, this makes sense.

2-Seeds: Texas, Arizona, Baylor, UCLA

We correctly placed 3/4 here, and said we could understand Arizona supplanting Tennessee, which is what happened in terms of teams, but again the order was wrong. This really seems to be down to timing. If the 2-seeds were voted in on Monday, Texas had the best RAP score and zero losses outside the field. That night, they took a loss to Texas Tech while Baylor got a win over the field against West Virginia. Two nights later, 3-seed Tennessee added a win over the top overall seed, Alabama. That win was a big part of why we put Tennessee on the 2-line. It seems UCLA's lack of quality wins hurt them and not factoring in results Monday or later impacted the order here. This will be considered in our new S-Curve.

3-Seeds: Tennessee, Virginia, Iowa State, Kansas State

This is the first line that shocked us, mainly because of the inclusion of Iowa State and Kansas State. Metrically, this line went perfectly with RAP Score of these teams, but Gonzaga, Marquette, and Indiana all had better RAP Scores than ISU or KSU. Metrically, there is a huge gap between Tennessee and Virginia to the rest of this line. The other thing that stands out is wins over the top two lines. Tennessee, Iowa State, and Kansas State all had three wins over teams on the top two lines while Virginia had one. What this tells us is that as we get further down the S-Curve, quality wins are more important than raw metric numbers. However, we also know that on Tuesday, Kansas State lost to Oklahoma, on Wednesday, Tennessee beat Alabama, Marquette beat Xavier, and Iowa State beat TCU. We do not believe these results were factored into the Top-16.

4-Seeds: Indiana, Marquette, Gonzaga, Xavier

The biggest surprise here, depending on who you ask, was either Indiana's inclusion (though we predicted them as a 4) or UConn's exclusion (that was surprising). What surprised us about Indiana was their placement ahead of Marquette and Gonzaga, During the week, both Marquette and Gonzaga improved their position with significant wins while Indiana hurt their own standing. Xavier added a loss that may not have hurt much, but opens the door for the teams behind them. Indiana does, however, have three true road wins over tourney teams, which is three times as many as Marquette, Gonzaga, and Xavier combined. We continue to see the importance of true road wins over tourney teams (something Marquette should bear in mind Tuesday night).

Presumed 5-Seeds: Creighton, Miami, St. Mary's, and UConn were mentioned in alphabetical order. Reynolds specifically said this was not the actual order of those teams. One thing that's notable is Creighton, St. Mary's, and UConn were the three highest NET and Predictive Metric Average teams not included. Further, of all the teams considered with five or more Q1+2 wins, Miami and St. Mary's had the best winning percentages. This shows a pretty straightforward mix of computer numbers and quadrant performance. So as confusing as this Selection Committee looks, it's probably more straight forward than people assume.


  • Road wins over tourney teams are gold: Whether it's the placement of K-State and Iowa State or the inclusion of Indiana, the teams that outperformed their metrics are the ones that got big wins on the road. Looking down the bracket, this is good news for teams like Kentucky, Wisconsin, and New Mexico.
  • Metrics alone are not enough: UConn and to a lesser extent St. Mary's not making the cut shows that just having gaudy predictive numbers won't be enough. Teams like North Carolina and Memphis shouldn't feel safe, but this reveal only makes it worse.
  • Championship Week (again) won't matter: If they made these decisions with 4-5 days of results not factored in, it's highly unlikely they'll allow the results of Championship week to matter. We saw it with Texas A&M's exclusion and Virginia Tech's seeding last year. Championship Week isn't worth considering when it comes to selection or seeding changes.
  • The Bubble shrunk: It looked a lot more wide open a week ago, but the weight of road wins over tourney teams really helps the competing Big 12 schools and high-majors like Mississippi State and Wisconsin while hurting teams like North Carolina and Arizona State. Ultimately, the final two spots came down to just four teams, with USC and Wisconsin edging out New Mexico and Penn State. The further we go into the season, the more clear the bubble becomes.

 Let's look at the updates.

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 9

Big 12: 8

SEC: 8

ACC: 5

Big East: 5

Mountain West: 3

Pac-12: 3

American: 2

WCC: 2

Friday, February 17, 2023

Top-16 Reveal Preview

Shaka Smart has Marquette in the Top-16 Reveal in his second year in Milwaukee

Photo by Mark Hoffman | JS Online

The NCAA's annual Top-16 Reveal will be released Saturday morning and for the first time since 2019, Marquette should expect to hear their name included in that group of teams. Today Cracked Sidewalks looks at what we expect to see tomorrow, as well as where there might be debate along the seed lines.

1-Seeds: Alabama, Kansas, Purdue, Houston

The teams here seem relatively certain. Alabama should be the top overall seed, and we have Kansas ahead of Purdue due to the sheer volume of Quadrant 1 wins. The Jayhawks metrics have largely caught up with their gaudy resume as well. Purdue's loss at Maryland dropped them to three overall, with Houston the final 1-seed.

Where we're prepared to be wrong: The order may be different, but it would be truly shocking for any other teams to be on the 1-line. Baylor's overall resume comes up short, UCLA doesn't have the quality wins, and no one else has a legitimate case for the top line.

2-Seeds: Baylor, UCLA, Texas, Tennessee

While Baylor is our top 2-seed, if they show up on this line it would be unprecedented. Never before has a team outside the top-11 in the current NCAA metric been included in the top two seed lines at the reveal. We're standing by the Bears due to their Quadrant 1 work, and they were in the top-11 of NET earlier this week before Gonzaga's win at LMU. UCLA and Texas look very solid here as well. Tennessee was a tough call, but they have a RAP score of 6.25, which is 6th best in the country and their top-level wins (including the recent win over Alabama) really shone through.

Where we're prepared to be wrong: It isn't unprecedented Baylor but rather Tennessee we have the least confidence in. It wouldn't be shocking to see Arizona ahead of the Vols due to their 5-0 Quadrant 1A record. However, Arizona's RAP score of 9.6 just doesn't match up and they have two losses worst than Tennessee's worst loss. In fact, all of Arizona's losses came to teams outside the field. However, Arizona does have a home win over Tennessee. Last year the Selection Committee did cite head-to-head in the Reveal, so that could play in here. It's close between those two, but we're sticking with the Volunteers.

3-Seeds: Arizona, Virginia, Gonzaga, Connecticut

As mentioned, this is as low as Arizona could fall. Virginia looks very solid for the 3-line with a 9-4 Q1+2 record, zero losses outside Quadrant 1, and good metrics, but then it gets a bit murky. We went with Gonzaga and Connecticut. Gonzaga had the best RAP score, the best Q1+2 record, the best individual win (Alabama on a neutral), and the best road record. UConn got the nod because of their stellar metrics. While there are some questionable losses, the Selection Committee has consistently shown they value wins more than losses, and UConn's wins over Alabama and Iowa State on neutral courts as well as Marquette and Creighton at home are better than anyone else below them can present.

Where we're prepared to be wrong: Bracket Matrix has Marquette ahead of both Gonzaga and Connecticut, and we would be ecstatic for them to be right and us to be wrong. Last night, we joined the Delphi Bracketology podcast, and both of the other bracketologists also had Marquette on the 3-line. So why is this Marquette blog lower on Marquette? Their RAP score lags behind the Gonzaga and Connecticut teams they were being compared to. Their three best wins are all at home and they don't have a single win away from home over a team currently in the projected field. Marquette's resume is good and they've been great in Big East play, but that doesn't nullify what Gonzaga and UConn did in non-conference play. At this point, Marquette just doesn't look like a 3-seed yet. Beat Creighton on Tuesday and that would almost certainly change.

4-Seeds: Marquette, Iowa State, Kansas State, Indiana

Marquette and Iowa State were easy choices to be here. After that it was very difficult. Historically, 96.9% (93/96) of the teams included in the reveal were in the top-22 of the current metric. Both Indiana (17) and Kansas State (20) met that criteria. Kansas State boasts three wins against teams on the top-two seed lines, and two of those were in true road games. The Wildcats' predictive metrics (31.3) drag down their RAP score and limit how high they can be placed, but their overall body of work warrants a 4-seed. Indiana was a tougher call, but adding a win over Purdue to their wins at Xavier and Illinois really help. Their RAP score is consistent with this range and they have a winning Q1+2 record with no losses outside those Quadrants.

Where we're prepared to be wrong: Not on Marquette, unless they are higher than we project them. Ultimately, 5 other teams were considered for the final Top-16 spot that went to Indiana. In NET order, they were St. Mary's, Creighton, San Diego State, Xavier, and Miami. It isn't unreasonable to think any of those teams could sneak into the reveal. All of them, however, have some issues. In terms of RAP score, four of the five are behind Indiana, with only St. Mary's ahead of them. In terms of bad losses, four of the five have at least 1 Quadrant 3 loss, with St. Mary's having two and only San Diego State being unblemished there. Indiana is tied for the most wins against the field (6) with Xavier. Indiana is also the only team here with a win over a projected 1 or 2-seed, with their win over Purdue. It wouldn't shock us to not see Indiana, but in basically every category that mattered, the Hoosiers were either the best or right there, and they didn't have any borderline disqualifying blemishes, like St. Mary's two Quadrant 3 losses, Creighton's 30.5 resume average, or the sub-22 NET of #26 Xavier and #30 Miami. San Diego State also didn't have anything disqualifying but the 5-2 Quadrant 1 win edge, the 6-2 wins over the field edge, the 18.85-20.15 RAP scores, and like it or not, the Big 10-Mountain West league affiliations all played in Indiana's favor.

Other things to watch: Where Houston falls on the 1-line could be telling. They have a skimpy resume in terms of quality but excellent metrics. That could bode well for teams like Kentucky and North Carolina on the bubble. Similarly, if Kansas is closer to the top with their mass of Q1 wins, that could be good for teams like Wisconsin and Oregon who have nice wins but mediocre metrics. St. Mary's is another to watch. If their NET gets them into the Top-16 despite their bad losses, that could bolster the hopes of teams like FAU and Clemson, though for different reasons.

Our Bracket: We have a full S-Curve and bracket below. We're getting closer to the time when these things start to more closely mimic what we'll see in less than a month. A few things to remember. First, automatic bids will change the 12-16 lines significantly. Because many of these projected teams will lose in their conference tournaments, the odds of the teams here (especially in the 13-15 range) showing up exactly where predicted if they make it is unlikely. Don't put much stock in where a Bradley or Iona is today, that will likely change if they get in.

The 7-line made things very difficult because it consisted of 4 Big 10 teams. That led to moving one of the 11-seed play-in games down a line. The at-large play-ins need to be on different days (one plays Tuesday, one Wednesday), which meant a play-in had to go to Sacramento. However, it was impossible to put a non-SEC team there opposite Auburn, and despite numerous efforts to shuffle the 6-seeds, the best option was to move Charleston up to the 11 line and put a 12-seed play-in in Orlando.

Finally, Marquette's draw was interesting. Former Marquette player and assistant Brian Wardle and Bradley to open things up, the winner of St. Mary's and Sam Houston (who owns two Q1 wins), and likely overall top seed Alabama in the Sweet 16. If they advance past that, either Texas or Tony Bennett would be the likely impediments to a Final Four. Of course, plenty will change between now and Selection Sunday, but it isn't too early to start thinking about some of these matchups. Let's get on to the results of our latest bracket scrub:

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 9

Big 12: 8

SEC: 8

ACC: 5

Big East: 5

Mountain West: 3

Pac-12: 3

American: 2

WCC: 2

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Mixed results, but #mubb is in the hunt for a title

We are back for another #ScrambledEggs podcast to discuss the week that was and what will be for #mubb. First we chat about the UConn loss and dissect how bad it was. We spend as little time as possible talking about the Georgetown game since it was essentially a buy game for MU. We then talk progress for the team and what to expect against a short handed Xavier game. Finally, we play a "how likely is it" game with season awards, etc. As always, enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/krn3dz/ScrambledEggs_Editted_021123.mp3

Saying No to the NCAAs

Kentucky fell out of the field after losing to Georgia
 Photo by Tony Walsh | Dawg Nation

It's starting to feel like the NCAA Tournament no one wants to play in. The weekend's chaos started with New Mexico losing at Air Force, dropping the Lobos to the 11-line. Then came Saturday. Penn State lost at Maryland, Kentucky lost at Georgia, Clemson lost at North Carolina, Florida lost to Vanderbilt, Wisconsin lost at Nebraska, USC lost at Oregon State, Seton Hall lost at Villanova, Oregon lost to UCLA, and Utah State lost at San Jose State.

Any of those teams could've conceivably been in the field with a win. While North Carolina won, beating Clemson at home was more a case of not hurting themselves than actually helping their resume. A Quadrant 2 home win is better than a loss, but not enough to lift the Tar Heels into the field. For weeks, I've been high on this bubble, feeling like there were more teams that I wanted to put in than I was able, but this weekend shifted that and we are back to the seemingly omnipresent soft bubble territory.

There were other teams that helped themselves. Nevada, Pittsburgh, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Memphis, and Arizona State picked up wins that got their heads above water. The toughest call came down to the final spot. It came down to Kentucky, North Carolina, USC, Clemson, and Wisconsin. Here are the comparative resumes, sorted by NET. Green highlights indicate the best in a category, the red indicates the worst:

A few things to consider at this point. Typically, it's hard (but not impossible) to get selected with a NET in the 70s. Second, teams usually need to be at least +4 in the overall win column to make it in. Resume-wise, teams below 52.5 average rarely get selected. Another non-obvious factor is that it's uncommon to see teams with a losing record in Quadrants 1-3 get selected.

Let's analyze the resumes:

Kentucky: The NET and predictive metrics love them, but having only a single Quadrant 1 win in 8 attempts is poor. It's great that the win is at Tennessee, but doesn't stand out as much with Tennessee sliding and UCLA (USC's best win) and Marquette (Wisconsin's best win) moving up.

North Carolina: Middle of the pack in NET, Record, and computer rankings. Then you get to their Quadrant breakdowns and the only thing they have going for them is a 9-0 record against Q3 and Q4. When the best thing that can be said about you is "they didn't lose bad games" that's not a ringing endorsement. Digging deeper, their only Q1 win is over an Ohio State team that is falling faster than a Chinese spy balloon. Simply put, their resume is gross and doesn't belong in the field.

USC: This feels like an incredibly under the radar resume. NET and record are both good enough. Resume numbers are great, particularly Strength of Record (31) which seems to be a major deciding factor. Their Q1-3 total is 13-7, which is very good, and their 3 wins against the field are tied for best among this group.

Clemson: Their record is very nice, but the NET and resume average are borderline disqualifying. Having the worst predictive numbers as well, along with as many losses outside the first two quadrants as the other four teams combined pushes them over that border. Clemson is not a tournament team.

Wisconsin: I've had a really tough time knocking this team out. Their NET sucks, but their Q1 win total is similar to Rutgers last year, who got in with a 77 NET. While they don't have Rutgers' Q1A wins, they also don't have any bad losses. They're also the only team here with a winning record away from home. They also have 3 wins over the field, tied for most, and only 2 losses outside the field, tied for fewest.

This was a difficult decision. Ultimately, Clemson was eliminated because of poor computer numbers, bad losses, and nothing in terms of great wins that made you say "this team has to be in." North Carolina was eliminated because when you're pointing more to lack of losses than quality of wins, you aren't getting in. Kentucky was eliminated because while the computers like them, there just isn't enough quality beyond the Tennessee win.

That left me with USC and Wisconsin. And of course, this brought in the extra factor that Wisconsin did beat USC on a neutral court. Despite that, I went with USC. Nothing about their resume has the "borderline disqualifying" that Wisconsin's NET, overall record, and Q1+2+3 record does. As of this morning, USC makes it as the last team in while Wisconsin is the first team out.

This also creates a difficult bracketing decision. Because all of the 3-seeds are scheduled to play at sites on Friday/Sunday, one of the 11-seed play-ins had to be moved to the 12-seed line. In addition, Arizona State and USC were the last two teams in, but as they are in the same league couldn't play each other. I also hoped to avoid any of the Pac-12 teams meeting before the Elite Eight. Memphis was matched with Arizona State and sent to the 12-line in Orlando against San Diego State. That should have pushed Charleston (the 12-seed moving up) up against Illinois (the strongest 6), but that would've meant USC could meet Arizona before the Elite Eight, so Charleston went to Denver to play Miami (the second strongest 6) while the play-in game went to Illinois.

Let's look at the S-Curve and bracket:

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 8

Big 12: 8

SEC: 7

ACC: 5

Big East: 5 

Mountain West: 4

Pac-12: 4

American: 2

WCC: 2