"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, January 17, 2022

Resume Watch

 

Tyler Kolek's steal and lay-up to beat Illinois is resume gold

Photo by Aaron Gash | AP Sports

For Marquette fans, it's been a good past 96 hours. In addition to racking up a Quadrant 1 win over Seton Hall in nailbiting fashion, St. Bonaventure thrashed VCU, which moved the Bonnies from a bad Quadrant 3 loss up to Quadrant 2. Kansas State scored an upset of Texas Tech, moving up to 75 in the NET and Quadrant 1. Those results give Marquette four Quadrant 1 wins; only Baylor and Wisconsin (5 each) have more in the entire country. Shaka Smart's team also has no bad losses. As a result, they have effectively moved off the bubble as they are no longer one of the last eight teams in.

In terms of things to watch, keep an eye on Illinois. Marquette's top-10 win is better than anyone on the bubble except Arkansas can claim and the Illini are undefeated in league play and favored per kenpom to win the Big 10. They are up to a 4-seed here but have the potential to be a 2-seed come Selection Sunday, meaning Tyler Kolek's steal and lay-up from November 15th might end up being the play of the year when it comes to seeding.

In terms of Quadrant cut-lines, Seton Hall (#30) and Kansas State (#75) are the exact last teams to qualify for Quadrant 1 wins, so MU will hope to see them move a bit higher up. Providence (#33, cut-off 30) could move up to Quadrant 1 while Ole Miss (#115, cut-off 100) isn't far from being Quadrant 2. Both are favored to win this week and could help the cause by exceeding the spread.

1-Seeds: 1-AUBURN 2-ARIZONA 3-GONZAGA 4-BAYLOR

2-Seeds: 8-VILLANOVA 7-PURDUE 6-Kansas 5-Lsu

3-Seeds: 9-DUKE 10-Texas Tech 11-Wisconsin 12-Michigan State

4-Seeds: 16-Illinois 15-Xavier 14-Iowa State 13-Ucla

5-Seeds: 17-Kentucky 18-HOUSTON 19-Tennessee 20-Connecticut

6-Seeds: 24-Seton Hall 23-Usc 22-Providence 21-Ohio State

7-Seeds: 25-LOYOLA CHICAGO 26-Alabama 27-Byu 28-Colorado State

8-Seeds: 32-Texas 31-St. Mary's 30-San Francisco 29-West Virginia

9-Seeds: 33-Iowa 34-Marquette 35-San Diego State 36-MURRAY STATE

10-Seeds: 40-Oklahoma 39-Wake Forest 38-Belmont 37-Creighton

11-Seeds: 41-Indiana 42-Tcu 43-Mississippi State 44-North Carolina 45-Oregon 46-Arkansas

12-Seeds: 50-CHATTANOOGA 49-WYOMING 48-UAB 47-DAVIDSON

13-Seeds: 51-IONA 52-GRAND CANYON 53-OAKLAND 54-WAGNER

14-Seeds: 58-TOWSON 57-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 56-TOLEDO 55-VERMONT

15-Seeds: 59-NAVY 60-PRINCETON 61-UC IRVINE 62-LIBERTY

16-Seeds: 68-NORFOLK STATE 67-GARDNER WEBB 66-TEXAS SOUTHERN 65-NICHOLLS STATE 64-TEXAS STATE 63-MONTANA STATE


Last Four Byes: Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Indiana, TCU

Last Four In: Mississippi State, North Carolina, Oregon, Arkansas

NIT 1-Seeds: Cincinnati, St. Louis, Miami, Virginia Tech

NIT 2-Seeds: Texas A&M, Florida, New Mexico State, Boise State


Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big East: 7

Big 10: 7

SEC: 7

Pac-12: 4

WCC: 4

ACC: 3

MWC: 3

OVC: 2

 


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Moving a Metric Ton

Tyler Kolek led Marquette's romp over Georgetown

Photo by Tommy Gilligan | USA Today Sports

Our last time out, we discussed how the largest problem for Marquette were their computer numbers. It's amazing what a 2-0 week with a combined 60-point margin of victory over high-major opponents will do to change that. In kenpom, Marquette improved from 85 before the Providence game to 48 the morning after the Georgetown win. In the NET, Marquette improved from 83 to 45 in the same span. According to T-Rank, Marquette was the #1 team in the country over the course of the past week.

As it's the most consistent metric over the past decade, I went back to see what Marquette's improvement in their kenpom rank means for their tournament odds. To do so, I broke down the number of at-large bids earned vs available in each 10-spot data range from 31 to 80. The available number rules out automatic bids as there is no way to know if they would've earned an at-large or not. I also included the lowest kenpom team in each year to earn a bid. It might be interesting for Marquette fans that the lowest kenpom team to ever earn an at-large bid was ranked #83 in 2011, the VCU Final Four team coached by Shaka Smart. Here is the data:

Year 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 Low Bid
2021 6/9 5/10 3/9 0/9 1/8 74
2019 4/7 5/8 3/9 1/9 2/7 78
2018 6/10 6/7 2/8 2/10 0/7 69
2017 8/10 4/8 3/8 0/7 0/9 60
2016 8/10 3/8 4/8 1/9 0/8 62
2015 7/9 7/9 1/9 0/9 0/8 52
2014 4/8 6/9 3/8 0/9 1/7 72
2013 4/7 7/9 4/8 0/8 0/10 60
2012 6/6 4/9 4/8 1/7 1/10 77
2011 7/9 5/8 3/9 1/10 0/10 83
Total 60/85 52/85 30/84 6/87 5/85 68.7
Percent 70.6% 61.2% 35.7% 6.9% 5.9%

At 85, Marquette's odds of earning an at-large bid were next to nothing, but in the 40s they skyrocket to 61.2%. As of this writing, Marquette is #51 thanks to the movement of other teams over the weekend. Regardless, the two blowout wins have put Marquette squarely in the NCAA Tournament discussion thanks to their metric improvement.

One note for this year, I am using the highest ranked NET team to determine autobids. Using the highest ranked team by the NCAA's own evaluation tool insures the in-theory "best" teams are selected rather than allowing outlier results to dictate selection. Let's take a look at the full S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-BAYLOR 2-Auburn 3-ARIZONA 4-GONZAGA

2-Seeds: 8-Kansas 7-PURDUE 6-LSU 5-Michigan State

3-Seeds: 9-Usc 10-VILLANOVA 11-DUKE 12-Ucla

4-Seeds: 16-Tennessee 15-Texas Tech 14-Xavier 13-Iowa State

5-Seeds: 17-Wisconsin 18-Seton Hall 19-Ohio State 20-Connecticut

6-Seeds: 24-HOUSTON 23-Providence 22-Alabama 21-Illinois

7-Seeds: 25-LOYOLA CHICAGO 26-West Virginia 27-Byu 28-Oklahoma

8-Seeds: 32-Colorado State 31-Texas 30-Kentucky 29-San Francisco

9-Seeds: 33-St. Mary's 34-BELMONT 35-Iowa 36-Creighton

10-Seeds: 40-Marquette 39-Minnesota 38-Indiana 37-San Diego State

11-Seeds: 41-Wake Forest 42-Memphis 43-Murray State 44-North Carolina 45-Miami 46-TCU

12-Seeds: 50-UAB 49-WYOMING 48-CHATTANOOGA 47-DAVIDSON

13-Seeds: 51-IONA 52-OHIO 53-OAKLAND 54-NEW MEXICO STATE

14-Seeds: 58-TOWSON 57-VERMONT 56-WAGNER 55-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

15-Seeds: 59-UC IRVINE 60-NAVY 61-PRINCETON 62-LIBERTY

16-Seeds: 68-HOWARD 67-GARDNER WEBB 66-TEXAS SOUTHERN 65-NICHOLLS STATE 64-TEXAS STATE 63-MONTANA STATE


Last Four Byes: Minnesota, Marquette, Wake Forest, Memphis

Last Four In: Murray State, North Carolina, Miami, TCU

First Four Out: VCU, UCF, Florida, Virginia Tech

Next Four Out: St. Louis, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Texas A&M


Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big 10: 8

Big East: 7

SEC: 5

ACC: 4

WCC: 4

Pac-12: 3

MWC: 3

OVC: 2

American: 2

Monday, January 10, 2022

This is fun, like super fun

#mubb had something to say this last week, and boy so do we. The podcast is back to talk about the mollywoppings from Marquette against Providence and The Fighting Patrick Ewings. We talk about what changed in the last couple of games to generate these results and whether it's sustainable. We turn to the upcoming game and the never ending weirdness that are games against DePaul. We then pivot to Saturday's game against a likely ranked Seton Hall team which ends up generating a discussion on most disliked Big East fans. We finally close out the pod with some predictions and some #mubbTMM. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/fuw4iq/ScrambledEggs_Editted_010922.mp3

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water

Let's get right to it, not fouling when up 3 was a bad choice and not in a revisionist history sort of way, in a very real time everyone knew it sort of way. However, one bad choice also shouldn't sink the whole of year one for the Shaka era. We're back to talk about the disappointing result against Creighton and preview the games against Providence and Georgetown. Bottom line, panic isn't necessary but the frustration is understandable, and we think this week is the week to right the ship. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/6f4ri4/ScrambledEggs_Editted_010322.mp3

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Return of Team Bubble Watch

Shaka Smart is no stranger to the NCAA bubble

Photo by Morry Gash (AP Sports)

When Andy Glockner wrote Bubble Watch for Sports Illustrated, Marquette was dubbed "Team Bubble Watch" in 2009-10 as they rallied from an 11-8 start to an eventual 6-seed before returning to the NCAA Bubble the next year as an 11-seed and one of the last teams in the field. Interestingly, that 2011 season was also when Shaka Smart brought VCU to Dayton as another of the last teams in. This year's Marquette team looks to be right back in that bubble mix based on early returns.

Marquette debuts in the first Cracked Sidewalks S-Curve of the year as an 11-seed that would be playing in Dayton. The real killer for this team are their computer numbers. They are currently 75th in the NET and 83rd in kenpom. They do have a decent Strength of Record at 54th which helped their case. The real positives, however, are the big wins they have. Marquette is 2-4 in Quadrant 1, including wins over Illinois and West Virginia. Four of their five losses come to teams on the top-6 seed lines, with the St. Bonaventure loss being the biggest anchor to their resume.

Looking at teams in their range (10-seed to NIT 2-seed) Marquette's two Quadrant 1 wins were only equaled by Creighton and Monmouth. Marquette and Oklahoma were the only two teams with three Quadrant 1+2 wins. The Selection Committee has shown they value proven wins, and of the teams considered for the field but left out, none had a single Quadrant 1A win (like MU's win over Illinois) and only Memphis had as many Q1+2 wins as Marquette. Before digging into the full S-Curve, a few thoughts on the field:

Non-Baylor Texas teams drove me nuts: Ignoring the single-bid conferences, the state of Texas had four at-large worthy teams aside from Baylor. Those were Houston, Texas Tech, Texas, and TCU. Those teams went a COMBINED 1-6 in Quadrant 1 games. That's right, Marquette has twice as many Q1 wins as those four teams combined. They are also a combined 36-0 against Q3+4 opponents. Apparently, the way to schedule in Texas is to only play and beat up on crap teams. Because of that, they are generally seeded lower here than they are elsewhere. If you want to be seeded as highly as your computer numbers say you deserve, beat someone of note. There's no other way to convince the Selection Committee you aren't a fraud.

The Pac-12 outside of Arizona, USC, and UCLA is awful: I didn't end up seriously considering any Pac-12 teams for inclusion other than those three. That isn't to say I didn't look at their resumes, I did, but they are ghastly. The other 9 teams are a combined 2-18 against Q1. The only three top-100 NET teams (Utah, Washington State, Oregon) outside that top three each have more Q3+4 losses than Q1 wins. And aside from one of those teams getting multiple wins against the top-3, it's virtually impossible to see any other at-large candidates emerging because the quality win opportunities simply aren't there.

The WCC isn't just Gonzaga: The Pac-12's woes open up the door for other teams because you have to put 68 teams in the field. San Francisco and St. Mary's have both picked up Q1 wins in non-con and while BYU hasn't done that, their 5 Q2 wins are enough that only two teams (Auburn and Michigan State) have more Q1+2 wins than the Cougars. If those three teams can keep their losses in league amongst themselves, there's a real chance the WCC could be a 4-bid league.

1-Seeds: 1-BAYLOR 2-ARIZONA 3-Auburn 4-DUKE

2-Seeds: 8-Michigan St 7-Kansas 6-PURDUE 5-GONZAGA

3-Seeds: 9-Iowa State 10-LSU 11-Usc 12-Alabama

4-Seeds: 16-Providence 15-VILLANOVA 14-Tennessee 13-Ucla

5-Seeds: 17-Minnesota 18-Seton Hall 19-Wisconsin 20-Connecticut

6-Seeds: 24-West Virginia 23-Ohio State 22-Xavier 21-COLORADO ST

7-Seeds: 25-HOUSTON 26-San Francisco 27-LOYOLA CHICAGO 28-Illinois

8-Seeds: 32-Wake Forest 31-Byu 30-Kentucky 29-Texas Tech

9-Seeds: 33-Iowa 34-North Carolina 35-St. Mary's 36-Texas

10-Seeds: 40-Creighton 39-Tcu 38-Virginia Tech 37-Oklahoma

11-Seeds: 41-Cincinnati 42-San Diego State 43-Florida 44-Marquette 45-Michigan 46-Mississippi State

12-Seeds: 50-WAGNER 49-IONA 48-BELMONT 47-DAVIDSON

13-Seeds: 51-UAB 42-CHATTANOOGA 53-OAKLAND 54-TOLEDO

14-Seeds: 58-NAVY 57-VERMONT 56-TOWSON 55-UTAH VALLEY

15-Seeds: 59-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 60-TEXAS STATE 61-PRINCETON 62-SOUTHERN UTAH

16-Seeds: 68-HOWARD 67-NICHOLLS STATE 66-TEXAS SOUTHERN 65-CAMPBELL 64-UC IRVINE 63-LIBERTY

 

Last Four Byes: TCU, Creighton, Cincinnati, San Diego State

Last Four In: Florida, Marquette, Michigan, Mississippi State

First Four Out: Murray State, Arkansas, Clemson, UCF

Next Four Out: Indiana, Northwestern, Wyoming, Monmouth


Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big 10: 8

Big East: 7

SEC: 7

WCC: 4

ACC: 4

Pac-12: 3

AAC: 2

Mountain West: 2

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Post hoiday basketball is getting weird

Hope everyone enjoyed their time with family at Christmas, we certainly did. We came back to the pod ostensibly to talk UConn vs #mubb game result and preview the St John's game.....welp, the St John's game isn't happening. So we talk about the UConn game and then pivot to what the next couple of weeks could look like generally. Then to lighten the mood we turn to your questions, which were fantastic. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/fik3py/ScrambledEggs_Editted_122821.mp3

Monday, December 20, 2021

Conference season opens with a not unexpected loss

Welcome to Big East conference season, glad you could join us! #mubb had a single game this week against Xavier. Team started well for once but couldn't sustain. We talk about the game and what it might mean going forward. We also talk about the only game this week, a match-up against UConn at home. We close out the pod with an unplanned topic. We hope everyone has a merry Christmas. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/na57dt/ScrambledEggs_Editted_121921.mp3