"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