"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

Monday, February 05, 2024

Bracketology: Resume Fine Lines

Tyler Kolek floats a shot over Creighton's defense

Photo from gomarquette.com

After a chaotic weekend, Marquette finds themselves at #7 on our overall S-Curve and are a safe 2-seed, but the difference between the last 1-seed (#4 Kansas) and the first 3-seed (#9 Wisconsin) is razor thin. All of the teams between 4-9 can be argued for any position and have pros and cons to their resumes that give them 1-seed upside depending on what the Selection Committee values. Kansas came out on top because despite not having the best metrics, they have 2 wins over other 1-seeds (UConn, Houston) and an additional win over a 2-seed (Tennessee).

If Marquette keeps winning, they can certainly get to the 1-line, though they likely cannot afford more than 1 loss between now and Selection Sunday, including the Big East Tournament. Another factor that could help would be seeing the quality of their current wins improve. Here are some Marquette opponents that could help the resume look better by moving up in the NET rankings (which matter more for your opponent than yourself).

Creighton Blue Jays (NET 16, 1 spot from Q1A): A week ago, Marquette had 4 Quadrant 1A wins, but Creighton being at 16 instead of 15 due to the Butler loss takes them out of the Q1A category. They could start that progression up on Wednesday when they travel to Providence.

St. John's Red Storm (NET 43, 3 spots from Q1A): The Johnnies were a Q1A win last week, but their heavy loss to UConn took them out of the top-40. They remain in Q1, but fell out of both Q1A and the field due to mounting losses. Thrashing DePaul on Tuesday would help get them back on the right side of 40.

Villanova Wildcats (NET 45, 5 spots from Q1A): Beating Providence soundly took Villanova from 51 to 45 and has them close to Q1A territory for Marquette's road win at the Finn. Next up is a trip to Xavier, where a win might be enough to get the road game back into Q1A.

Texas Longhorns (NET 31, 1 spot from Q1): Texas was flirting with Q3 earlier this year, but winning 3 of their last 5, including double-digit wins on the road over Oklahoma and TCU have them on the verge of Q1. This would be a big boost to Marquette, pushing them ahead of Kansas and North Carolina in terms of total Q1 wins.

UCLA Bruins (NET 124, 24 spots from Q2): The young Bruins have won 5 of 6 and seem to be figuring things out. It's easier to make big moves when you are outside the top-100, so if they can beat Stanford and California on the road this week, it could be enough to turn this into a quality win. If Marquette could add a 9th win in the first two quadrants, it would match or exceed every other team on the 2-line (along with 1-seed Kansas).

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (NET 168, 8 spots from Q3): This is the least important of these, but if UCLA moved up, it would be nice to have one fewer game in Q4, especially as the upcoming DePaul home game will certainly add a Q4 game to the schedule. While the Irish have lost 8 of 9, they have been more competitive than they were at Fiserv and keeping it close this week at Duke and against Virginia Tech could move them up a quadrant.

Let's check in on the updated S-Curve and bracket after a wild weekend of basketball:

Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 10

SEC: 9

Big 10: 6

Big East: 5

Mountain West: 5

ACC: 4

Pac-12: 4

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