"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

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Move Fast & Break Things

Justin Lewis promoting Uncle Buck's Duck Nachos
Photo from @jusbuckets on Instagram

The era of Name, Image, and Likeness is here for college basketball, and it seems like Marquette is mostly taking a wait and see approach. We are here today to say why that is categorically a mistake and that the University should be pulling every string possible to push the limits of NIL if they want to thrive in this era. Marquette is in a rare position where they should be as proactive as possible because by moving fast and not being afraid to test the boundaries, they can do so with virtual assurance that there will be no repercussions when they do try to innovate in this space.

We are going to look at this from four different angles. First, the ethics and laws around it. Second, how NIL could be used to help Marquette's roster building under Shaka Smart. Third, what other programs are doing. Fourth, why NIL opportunities should be considered not just viable but part of the foundational culture at Marquette and what possibilities they could investigate. Finally, we end with a plea to the fans if Marquette still isn't willing to lead of its own accord. Let's get started.

Ethics and Laws

From the NCAA's own release when NIL passed, they stated "College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness." Essentially, the message was "go ahead, we aren't going to stop you and aren't going to regulate this." According to the April 24, 2022 Business of College Sports update, no legislation has been introduced in the state of Wisconsin. That article lists the NIL status of 42 different states. Of those 42 states, Wisconsin is the ONLY ONE that does not have legislation that is passed or pending. So what does that mean? There are no regulations in terms of what Marquette can do when it comes to NIL opportunities for their athletes. To reinforce how important the lack of laws is, look no further than Alabama, which was one of the first states to enact NIL legislation on July 1, 2021, but repealed that legislation earlier this year because the NCAA stance was even more lenient than the state's was. “When we were in session last year, we were under the assumption that the NCAA would allow state law to prevail,” Alabama State Representative Kyle South said. “In the case that we did nothing, then our student-athletes may or may not have been able to use the NIL and be compensated for name, image, and likeness. So we adopted a set of standards. Later in the summer, the NCAA went back and adopted their own set of standards that are less restrictive than what we adopted back in the spring.”

While that could change in the future, we exist in a time period where neither the NCAA nor the state have passed any legislation, which means anything Marquette does would be legal. The NCAA in abdicating a position on how to run things has shown they are not going to stop programs. And while a change in Wisconsin law could alter compliance, nothing Marquette did RIGHT NOW would violate any law, which means they can come in line if and when such a line ever exists. I cannot stress enough, without laws on the books, Marquette is in one of the strongest positions in the country in terms of NIL. Marquette shouldn't wait for the state, they should take advantage of the state's inaction. This is exactly why a state like Alabama repealed their law, which gives their flagship universities free rein to provide maximum freedom to their student athletes.

In addition, we have seen in the past what the NCAA does when something happens they disagree with but is being done by too many programs to regulate. Once upon a time, "don't tweet at recruits" was a thing. Yet any time a high-profile recruit posts on social media, fans of programs like Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and countless others flood the posts with likes and responses. No action has ever been taken against programs in regard to fan accounts interacting with these posts. They may take action if it's a coach, but nothing is done when it comes to fans. Yet at Marquette, when a recruit is active on social media, our fanbase is full of crickets because "don't tweet at recruits" was drilled into us over the course of the past decade.

This isn't to advocate 30 and 40-somethings climbing into the mentions and DMs of their favorite recruits. But if a motivated group of 15-20 students wanted to "show love" to recruits, or a bot farm was generating positive Marquette feedback to recruits, however it was set up or whoever had the controls, it might help prevent social media posts like the above from Marquette targets and commits. Like it or not, we live in an attention-driven world, and when high-profile basketball recruits expect attention, it's best to just "show love" as a demonstration of fanbase passion because no matter how high-and-mighty Marquette fans or administration might want to be, this is unquestionably happening at other schools, being asked for by the players we recruit, and I assure you has not gone unnoticed by our own basketball staff.

Roster Building

Shaka has spoken recently about how he wants to build his roster. "I love the opportunity to develop relationships with guys while they're still in high school...to help them become full-fledged, grown men. The problem with that is retention...there's a whole lot of guys in college basketball moving around...We're still going to build our program primarily through high school kids. That doesn't mean we would never take a transfer, I think it would be irresponsible to not at least look." I'm sure as fans and Marquette's administration see the Pack deal, they think about how NIL doesn't apply, but that would be a huge mistake.

As Smart said, players are moving around for various reasons. If you have a strong NIL foundation that makes sure your players are financially taken care of throughout their Marquette careers, that will lessen their need to look elsewhere, whether that elsewhere is another program or the professional ranks.

Consider first Justin Lewis. He is largely projected as a second-round pick, which Paint Touches recently showed is fairly unreliable in terms of guaranteeing a big payday. If Justin were drafted in the second round, or went undrafted, but was offered a 2-way NBA contract, he would be guaranteed roughly half the NBA league minimum, or around $500,000. What if Marquette put together a NIL package close to that for Justin? Come back, make the same money you would on a 2-way, and instead of playing in front of sparsely populated G-League gyms and internet streamers most nights, you could play on national TV for another year in front of packed Big East arenas every night.

What if someone like Kam Jones, Oso Ighodaro, or Tyler Kolek has a star turn this year and could be the next Nijel Pack? Wouldn't Marquette be better served to try to uphold the retention Smart is calling for by making sure these athletes are taken care of before they have to make such a decision? Establishing a strong, vibrant NIL foundation will have Marquette in position to retain the players Smart wants to develop while also having the ability to reach out for those top transfers when they do fit the culture he is trying to build.

NIL Around the Country

Obviously Miami landing Pack through their partnership with Hurricane alum John Ruiz's LifeWallet is one of the biggest statements of the offseason, as is the return of Oscar Tshiebwe at Kentucky with a reported $2,000,000 payday. But it's worth noting that Caleb Love and Armando Bacot returning to North Carolina, Zach Edey to Purdue, and Hunter Dickinson to Michigan, among others, show that top players are willing to continue playing in college in this era. NIL may not be the only factor, but it is certainly one factor for guys that could just as easily be headed overseas to make money if the NBA wasn't going to offer them contracts.

The DYME app connects Arizona fans directly to athletes on an exclusive platform
 Image from @dymetv Twitter

A company offered a $1,000 stipend to all BYU scholarship and walk-on athletes in their football program. Arizona partnered with the DYME App to allow fans to have direct access to fans on an exclusive social media platform. Arkansas boosters have created a consortium connected to various non-profit organizations to provide opportunities for their players. Companies like Gatorade, Newegg, and Cash App have inked individual deals with athletes.

College basketball is retaining top talent in a way it hasn't in years. Programs are benefiting from that largely due to the opportunities NIL offers. And while this likely won't fundamentally change the everlasting reality that the blue bloods are best at attracting top players and marquee programs are the ones that win, there is clearly the opportunity for creative programs to carve a niche. Provided they are willing to move fast and not be afraid to break things. Because at this time, the NCAA doesn't have a clear prohibition and Wisconsin doesn't have any laws preventing it.

Marquette's NIL Role

There will be skepticism about what a relatively small Jesuit school in the Midwest can do when it comes to NIL. However let's not forget that the joint article The Case Against Steve Wojciechowski was published on March 18, 2021 and on March 19, Marquette had pulled together the estimated $6,000,000 it took to force Wojo to walk away. Marquette has wealthy donors that can put money in the pockets of players. And let's not forget, as of 2020 Marquette had the 8th largest basketball budget in the country. The money to fund that comes from donors.

It wasn't cheap for Marquette to dismiss Wojciechowski
 Photo by Dave Kallman | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

While you can debate how it compares to football schools that likely earmark facilities to that progam, there are a few facts worth looking at. First, Marquette's basketball budget is the highest of any non-football school. No program outside the high-major football programs and the Big East are ranked in the top-25 of budgets. And college basketball is king at Marquette, a sport that only has 13 scholarship players compared to the 85 that football has. If Marquette's alums want to be a major player in the basketball NIL game, they can absolutely do that.  Let John Ruiz pledge his $10,000,000 to Miami athletes, the bulk of that money will go to football players which opens the door for basketball-dedicated donors and fanbases like Marquette's to not just compete, but thrive because the cost of admission will be lower.

It's also important to consider Marquette's position both historically and as an institution. Many of the older fans like to point not to the 1977 National Championship team but the 1972 team that was ranked #2 nationally and undefeated when star center Jim Chones left the team in the middle of the season to enter the ABA Draft as Al McGuire's best. McGuire didn't begrudge the decision Chones made that seemed to kill Marquette's season. The Warriors were 21-0 when Chones left but finished the season 4-4 including a season-ending loss to a Minnesota team they had beaten by 15 earlier in the year. When asked about the decision, McGuire reportedly endorsed Chones' decision, "because I've looked in my ice box and I've looked in his." If Marquette supporters at the time had been able to offer NIL deals to Chones, might McGuire have won a National Championship five years earlier? In 1983, might Rick Majerus have convinced Doc Rivers to stick around for one more year and started his Marquette coaching career in different fashion, perhaps allowing Rick to grow into the coach he became in Milwaukee instead of Utah? Might Vander Blue have returned in 2013-14, giving one more season to a team that was loaded in the front court but suffered from a lack of back court shot creation? Generation after generation at Marquette has seen how much NIL could help with those difficult decisions of when to go pro.

Would Jim Chones have chosen the ABA if NIL was an option?
Photo from nasljerseys.com

Another factor worth considering is Marquette's motto of Cura Personalis. Literally translated, it means "care for the whole person." Should financial opportunities not be a part of that when there has never been any restriction on other students, such as dental students, law students, communications students, nor any others to earn money as they see fit throughout their college career? And using the Arkansas charitable consortium listed above as a model, couldn't Marquette donors find a way to not only provide financial opportunities to their student athletes but to do so in a way that benefits the community by working with local charities? This is also an educational opportunity for the University. Too often we hear about athletes who are not prepared for the repercussions of fame and money that comes with it. Marquette should be finding ways to vet the NCAA approved agents for their athletes, teach them how to identify and select opportunities that help them improve their situation, and make sure they have a thorough financial understanding so none of them find themselves in the situation Milwaukee native Latrell Sprewell did when the 13-year NBA veteran and 4-time All-Star had his yacht seized and home foreclosed on due to financial troubles despite career earnings of nearly $100,000,000.

The Oscar Tshiebwe deal brings up interesting visa questions, as student visas don't seem to allow NIL deals. Perhaps Marquette, with Olivier Maxence-Prosper already on campus and Ben Gold coming in, could find a similar way that Kentucky did to amend their visas and open the door for Marquette to become a more attractive destination for international recruits. That might be important when it comes to Washington State transfer Efe Abogidi, who could be viewed as a Justin Lewis replacement if Lewis stays in the draft and Abogidi, who has Marquette on his list of 12 schools he is considering, were to pick Milwaukee for the remainder of his college career.

Whether it is creating a floor for all players (scholarship at minimum), allowing fans to directly funnel funds large or small to the players, creating a consortium that can collect and distribute NIL opportunities, or working with individual companies, the options are there. Whether it is someone like Uncle Buck's or larger corporations in Milwaukee, the options are there. And when the NCAA is abdicating any responsibility and the state has no laws, there is absolutely no reason Marquette shouldn't be doing everything in their power to lead the charge in order to retain the players they have and attract the players they want. And considering Marquette's rich recent NBA history, might there be ways to get Wes Matthews, Jae Crowder, Jimmy Butler, or Dwyane Wade involved in these opportunities? If there are no state laws regarding NIL, why not use NIL as photo ops to put current Marquette players next to Marquette legends of the recent past and have everyone come away with a paycheck?

Now is not the time for Marquette to sit on their hands. It is not the time to say "fans, don't get involved" the way they did with social media interactions years ago. It is the time to be aggressive, to take advantage of what Wisconsin legislation hasn't done, to move fast and to break things if necessary. It is the time to lead, not the time to be left behind. If you have to make mea culpas later, if you have to adjust to laws later, so be it. In an innovative environment, the best possible thing you can do is innovate, not wait for others to innovate around you and play catch-up when it's too late to be a major player.

A Final Plea

If Marquette doesn't choose to be the driver behind NIL initiatives, that doesn't mean that fans and boosters cannot get this started on their own. I would encourage Marquette fans to look at ways to support their student athletes. I suspect if you are still reading this, you already support the Marquette basketball program in one form or another. If you are a business owner, could your advertisements include Marquette athletes? If you are one of Marquette's well-heeled donors, could you start a consortium that provides that floor for scholarship (or all) players? Even if you are just a fan, why not make sure the memorabilia you buy either comes from the athletes directly (such as the Morsell Blue shirt or custom jerseys that benefit the players)?

On whom does NIL responsibility fall? You, Marquette fan, it's you.
 Photo by Maggie Bean | gomarquette.com

At this time, in this state, the hope has to be that Marquette chooses to lead and not simply follow. But if they do not do that, it is incumbent on the donors to be the ones that push this ahead and make sure that Marquette as an institution has the donor support to drive this, even if they have to be brought along incrementally. For those of you that have the ability and desire to fund Marquette's basketball ascendancy, this is the time for you to take the reins, even if the University is slow to act.

Monday, March 28, 2022

#mubb season is over, let's review

We're back for the final "in-season" podcast for #mubb to review the NCAAT results (real bad) and the season over all(good to really good). We first discuss the blow out at the hands of North Carolina and why is it that Marquette is the launching platform for other teams to make Elite Eight or better tournament runs. We then talk about the roster construction and what we know, what we speculate, and what we hope for the roster next season. We also evaluate the 2022 campaign overall and how we feel about Shaka Year 1. We close out with some general thoughts on the state of college basketball. Enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/qw8imp/ScrambledEggs_Editted_032822.mp3

Friday, March 18, 2022

Season-ending observations for Year One of the Shaka Smart Era

We shared our thoughts on the 2021-2022 season in a Twitter thread, & figured we should post it here for easier reading and posterity. It's not TLDR; take a look and join us on Twitter @CrackedSidewlks for the conversation:


A wild ride this past #MUBB season was ... low expectations that were raised dramatically before achieving a laudable milestone and finishing with a thud. In preparation for Year One, Shaka threw together a roster in about 45 days and developed that bunch into an NCAA tourney/top half of the #BigEast team. A remarkable achievement. Because of our first rate Marquette education, we can believe two contradictory thoughts. The team both exceeded expectations and was disappointing.

The late season bitterness is made worse by previous recent program history, of which the present staff had nothing to do with, of course. But #MUBB fans are thirsty for sweet satisfaction in March, the program's present albatross. The next time #mubb plays in an NCAA game it will be >3500 days since their last NCAA victory.

This MU team peaked early & we all drank the Kool-Aid. Pre-season and in-season player development was extraordinary, the coaching staff did more w the talent, in different ways than expected, & it led to a successful season.

  • Kolek, Morsell, and Oso performed in ways their careers never indicated they could; this staff knows how to open up new avenues for success for players. Future transfers should and will pay attention.
  • #mubb developed players. Smart elevated the play of Lewis, coaxed promising frosh campaigns from Jones & Mitchell, and patiently developed an increasingly effective OMax
  • With the 10th youngest roster in the nation, #mubb played a top 25 schedule and made the NCAA in his first season. This is a remarkable achievement worthy of celebration. Nobody expected this.
  • MU was competitive in almost every game, they beat Q1 opponents, they beat many Q1 opponents. They had a top 25 defense at one point. For a 7 game stretch, we saw the future of #mubb.
Unfortunately, Shaka's 10 year streak of top 40 defenses came to an end. However, MU finished w the program's second-best defense of the past 8 seasons, topped only by the '19 squad. Yet the D got significantly worse late in the season, a concern the staff must address. #MUBB was either figured out, the players tuned the coaching staff out, or the talent is not quite there for Shaka.

There are legitimate coaching questions. In yesterday's game we saw Smart roll out and stick with a poor defensive lineup, despite hundreds of possessions since February proving its ineffectiveness. If we can see this, can't the staff see it? In addition, the coaching staff purposely ignored the value of rebounding on both ends. #mubb was the worst team in the BE at both ends by far. This lowered the ceiling for team performance. The truth is that Wojo did this kind of thing with TO%. It's a bad strategy to be terrible at anything, and it's worse strategy to be terrible at both ends. We believe that there is some thoughtful reasoning from the coaching staff behind these choices, but the questions remain.

Having said all that, more than anything the *juice* is back with #mubb. How many of us had increased group texts? Spent more time on #mubb Twitter? Smashed every single like button possible yesterday? MU is back big time.

Honestly, if you are selling your Shaka stock, #mubbpac will buy it. Our holdings are already substantial, however, because we believe in the future of #mubb. Comfortably finishing in the top half of the Big East, as a "solidly in" choice on Selection Sunday shows how far the program came in just one season.

Optimism should remain high; this program is going places. #WeAre #mubb

Monday, March 14, 2022

Joe's Guide to Fort Worth


After our recent podcast, I thought it might be useful to have my Fort Worth recommendations in article form. I may not be the best DFW tour guide, but considering I’ve lived here 10 years and many of you will be visiting for the first time, I can provide a few pointers to give Marquette fans an idea of what to look for.

Dickies Arena

Let’s start with the location for the game. The area immediately around Dickies doesn’t offer much. So, if you’re looking for a place a block or two from the arena, you’ll probably be disappointed. I’ll also add that food-wise, Dickies has only had the basics the few times I’ve been (granted, that was for high school games. Maybe this will be better). But, I wouldn’t expect much more than typical stadium food: chicken fingers, pizza, burgers, nachos. I’d highly suggest eating before and/or after your trip to the games. Where to do that? Allow me to offer places I like.

West 7th

Depending on your tolerance for walking, the West 7th area is either a healthy walk or a very short Uber ride from the arena. I confess I’ve never actually walked it, but it’s a little over a mile, and I’m going to imagine this is where a lot of the pregame and postgame partying will happen. This is a very popular area for the young professional crowd.

Varsity Tavern has a lot of TV’s, so if you want a game-watching spot, that should work fine. Trinity College Irish Pub will probably be very popular on St. Patrick’s Day, so that should be a good place to hang out. I’d also recommend The Social House, just a chill place for either drinks or a meal.

Rodeo Goat is a great burger spot if you’re hungry. There's not a ton of TV's in there if you want game-watching, but it'll do if your priority is to eat.


I know my audience here, so before I get to some other places to eat around Fort Worth, let’s talk beer. If you want to hit a brewery while you’re in town, there are several all over the Metroplex to check out. Here are a few I’d suggest.

Rahr & Sons - Rahr is probably the most popular brand that is from Fort Worth proper. I’d suggest their Texas Red.

Maple Branch -  a few blocks north of the West 7th area, it has a great beer garden if you just want to sit outside and enjoy some brews.

HopFusion Ale Works - Located very close to Rahr, this is a place to go if you like sour beers or fruity beers. HopFusion is one of the more creative brewers in the area. I’m personally not big on sour or fruity beers myself, but if you are, this is the spot for you. I will say, though, if you end up here and don’t want one of their unusual creations, their Feisty Blonde and Feisty Redhead will suit you just fine.

Martin House - Martin House is a fine brewery, but here's my favorite thing about it: it's right next to a Top Golf. If you know Top Golf, you know it's an awesome place to hang out, but the wait can be quite long. Putting your name in, going to Martin House and then going back to Top Golf to hit golf balls, watch sports, and eat? There are worse ways to kill an afternoon.

Revolver - Now, the brewery itself is located a long way away in Granbury, too far to make it worth your trip. However, Revolver’s Blood & Honey is my favorite beer in the DFW area. So, if you’re at a bar in Metroplex and can’t decide what to start with, order a Blood & Honey. It’s like a Blue Moon with more alcohol content. You’ll love it.

Dallas breweries – if you’re deciding to make a trip to Dallas (more on that later), there are a number of breweries over there as well that I’d recommend: Deep Ellum, Community, Oak Highlands, and Manhattan Project would all be worth a stop. Deep Ellum is one of the more popular ones in the area, especially their Dallas Blonde.

Elsewhere in Fort Worth

Okay, back to food. Sundance Square is a very nice part of downtown Fort Worth: plenty of restaurants (some local, some you've probably seen elsewhere like Mi Cocina or Texas de Brazil). There are some fine dining options if you want to break your budget and treat yourself (like The Capital Grille or Reata), but if you just want a bar to chill at, I'd suggest Buffalo Bros.

If you're looking for stereotypical Texas, a place to go wearing boots and a cowboy hat, go to the Stockyards: it's an area with cowboy bars with country music all over the place. Billy Bob's is a popular one. With a name like Billy Bob's, it has to be, right?

The number one place I'd have to recommend in the Stockyards area to eat is Joe T. Garcia's. It's a TexMex icon down here: good food, casual setting, an awesome patio. You may be in for a wait, but good things are worth waiting for. The good news about the wait: you can get a margarita pitcher from the bar, and bring it back to the line and start drinking while you wait.

If you want barbecue, Heim gets my highest recommendation, and there are a couple in Fort Worth. I also really like Hard Eight BBQ, but there isn't one anywhere near downtown Fort Worth. There is one near the airport, though. Something to consider on the way in or way home.

There isn't a Pluckers in downtown Fort Worth, but if you're elsewhere in the Metroplex and see one, that's my favorite sports bar in the area. Wings and beer and lots of TV's. It's like BWW, but better. Try their spicy lemon pepper wings.

One more place I have to mention that's not downtown but it has a few locations around the greater DFW area: Babe's Chicken Dinner House. If you eat here, you may not eat again all weekend because it's a ton of calories but my gosh is it good. Family-style servings of mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, creamed corn and your choice of fried chicken or chicken fried steak. Ignore the salad when they bring it because it's just lettuce and dressing. After that though? Oh man, nothing but good southern cooking and enough calories to last you two days. Not a place for game-watching, though, and it does NOT serve alcohol. This is a place to eat and eat and eat.

Fast Food and Fast Casual

Not everybody wants to sit down and be waited on. So, if you want your food a bit quicker - but don't want McDonald's or Chick-fil-A - here are some places you may not have where you're coming from.

Whataburger is a Texas icon. Patrick Mahomes missed it so much, he opened a franchise in Kansas City himself. We also have In-n-Out Burger here. Yes, that's a California thing, but we have it. But as a Texan, I have to tell you to get Whataburger. Heck, get both and compare for yourself if you want. Burgers are fine at both places, but the fries are the tiebreaker for me. Whataburger's are far superior.

I know Raising Cane's is making its way up north, but if you've never had it and like chicken fingers, that gets it done for sure.

Taco Bueno is for when you want Taco Bell, but you want something different than Taco Bell.

As far as fast casual TexMex, I'd recommend Torchy's Tacos, and there is one not too far from Dickies Arena. Fuzzy's Taco Shop is also good.  I think Torchy's is better, but Fuzzy's will save you a few bucks. There's a Fuzzy's near TCU's campus, which is just a bit south of Dickies Arena.

Touristy Stuff

Here's the thing about DFW: there really isn't a "must see" as far as tourist stuff, but it has some things that are interesting for out-of-towners, most of of it is in Dallas though (about an hour drive). I'd recommend looking into tickets in advance if you plan on any of this, but here are some ideas:

Sixth Floor Museum - This the location where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It is an interesting museum about that day and his presidency.

Bush Library - I'm not going to get into politics here, but regardless of what you think of George W. Bush, his presidential library is on the SMU campus and it is a piece of American history. 

Perot Museum - I've never actually been to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, but I hear kids love it. So, if you're looking to entertain kiddos on Friday, this is an idea.

Reunion Tower - It's the big green tower you see in the Dallas skyline. It offers panoramic views of the city, and there are places to eat and drink up there.

Arlington - If you don't want to go all the way to Dallas, Arlington is an option: it has Six Flags, first of all. It also has AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), Globe Life Field (home of the Texas Rangers), and the new Texas Live, which is a big entertainment complex built right between the stadiums. I would imagine Texas Live would be jumping with people watching games and getting drinks all weekend.

Fort Worth Zoo - Something for the kids that's not in Dallas. It's a zoo, and kids love zoos! I do have to say the Fort Worth Zoo is a good one. It's also close to the TCU campus if you want to see that.

Finally, an FYI

There is a lot of construction on I-35W, which leads you north out of Fort Worth up towards Oklahoma. The good news is most of you probably won't have any reason to get on this for too long. I-35W takes you to Texas Motor Speedway, which has an IndyCar Series race this weekend. So, traffic in that area should be brutal if you're driving into town from Oklahoma or Kansas or north of there. You've been warned.

Okay, I think I've covered plenty here. Surely you can find plenty to entertain yourselves. If you're going to be in town, come find me in Fort Worth! Let's go Marquette!

We Have a Bracket!

Greg Elliott is the returning Marquette player from last year's win at Chapel Hill
 Photo by Gerry Broome | Associated Press

The bracket was released yesterday and Marquette is headed to Fort Worth to take on North Carolina with the winner likely facing Baylor for a trip to the Sweet 16. You can check out your Scrambled Eggs podcast feed for the latest on the matchup and more Fort Worth tips from resident Joe McCann. If you need a place to stay, check out Joe's creepy Texas basement. I plan to have a preview of North Carolina as well in the coming days. But today, we break down how Cracked Sidewalks did in the prediction game now that the bracket is finalized.

The Results

Cracked Sidewalks finished 66th out of 211 brackets this year (69th percentile...nice). We correctly picked 66/68 teams. Regarding seeding, we had 46 teams seeded exactly correctly and 19 more seeded within 1 line of their actual seed. Our score of 355 came up just short of last year's 357 but was still good enough to place ahead of bracket luminaries such as Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm as well as some of the best current bracketologists such as Delphi Bracketology and the entire Fielding the 68 panel.

The Bubble

The two teams we missed were Notre Dame and Rutgers, picking Texas A&M and SMU instead. The A&M pick was one made by 94.8% of the brackets, so we're in fine company there, but it really reinforced what we said last year (and then went against this year) that you CANNOT play your way in during Championship Week. It can't be done. Not only A&M being left out, but Virginia Tech getting an 11-seed shows that if you aren't in when the week starts, you aren't getting there, period. You can play your way out (Wake, Xavier are examples of that) but you aren't going from out to in unless you cut nets.

It's hard to wrap our heads around Buzz Williams being left out this year
 Photo by Andy Lyons | Getty Images

So why did we miss ND and Rutgers? Simply put, both were unprecedented. Notre Dame was the first at-large team to not be ranked in the top-47 of at least one of resume or predictive metric averages on the team sheet. Not only did SMU and Texas A&M check both boxes, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, and VCU, all also left out, checked at least one and would've been a better pick than Notre Dame based on past precedent. Rutgers was even worse in both categories. The Scarlet Knights had a NET of 78 and resume average of 57.5. Both of those are the lowest numbers ever for an at-large selection. Yes, they had good wins, but we are told the entire season matters (which would've led Xavier to inclusion) and the entire resume matters (SMU). Clearly the Selection Committee did not believe that message.

That said...the Notre Dame/Rutgers winner got a pretty sweet spot on the bracket and either could make a run. 6-seed Alabama has 4 losses to sub-50 kenpom teams (both ND and Rutgers fit that mold). Good offense tends to beat good defense in March, so 3-seed Texas Tech could also be vulnerable, particularly to Notre Dame's attack. Just because these teams did not deserve to be placed in the field on merit from November through Selection Sunday doesn't mean they couldn't win some games now that the Madness is here.

Our Seed Miss

As far as seeding, we're very happy with our placement. 65 of the 66 teams we placed were within one line of their actual spot. Had we picked the other two at-large teams correctly, it would've been 67/68 as we had Texas A&M and SMU on the same 11-line that Notre Dame and Rutgers occupy. The only 2-line miss we had this year is one of the same we had last year. We gave Loyola-Chicago a 12 and the Selection Committee gave them a 10. I can't argue here, however. Our spreadsheet had Loyola-Chicago as a 10, but historically the Selection Committee places the bottom 22 autobid teams from the 12-16 lines. This is the first time since 2014 that an at-large play-in game is not on the 11 line.

Because of that trend, and because we had Loyola as a 6-seed last year and saw them unjustly given an 8-seed, we expected the Selection Committee to follow the 11-seed play-in trend as well as again picking the lowest autobid and dropping them to make that happen. Credit to the Selection Committee, it was the correct choice, even if not the one we expected.

Regional Thoughts

West: The seeding in the region is fine, but man does Gonzaga get a tough road. If you filter Torvik for the past 6 weeks (to January 28) three of top six teams in the country are in this region. Gonzaga and potential second round foe Memphis are two of them, while Texas Tech is another in the bottom half of the bracket. Also lurking in the bottom half are two teams that beat the Zags this year, Alabama and Duke. If Gonzaga makes another Final Four, they will have to earn it.

South: Seeding here is fine, but another tough region. Per kenpom, four of the top-11 teams in the country are here.

East: Don't be surprised if there's some chaos in Marquette's region. The 11-seed Virginia Tech, 12-seed Indiana/Wyoming winner, 13-seed Akron, and 15-seed St. Peter's were all underseeded, in our opinion. If you're looking to pick a double-digit seed, the East is probably the place for it.

Midwest: Kansas got what looks like the easiest region. 3-seed Wisconsin and 4-seed Providence both fit the profile of overseeded teams that would be expected to lose sooner than their seed indicates. One other team to watch here might be Iowa State. While they fell to an 11-seed, the Cyclones are a perfect 13-0 against teams outside the Big 12.

Final Thoughts

We had the Protected seeds all correctly selected, with only 3-seed Wisconsin and 4-seed UCLA placed on the incorrect lines. Nailing 65 teams within one seed line feels very good. Selection was frustrating, mostly because last year it seemed that the choices of Syracuse over Louisville and Utah State over Colorado meant metrics were more important than resume at the end of the cutline while this year the opposite was the case. It shows how sometimes you just guess the direction the Selection Committee is going to go and despite showing a history of zigging, sometimes they zag.

We're in the Endgame now

Selection Sunday has come and gone with us reacting to where #mubb is seeded. We talk about Marquette's seeding and breakdown the first game against UNC. We talk about the game with eyes wide open, as it will not be an easy game. We then talk about the bracket overall as well as what odds the Big East has in making a run as a conference. Lastly, Joe shares lots of insights into Fort Worth if anyone is making the treck for the game on Thursday. As always, enjoy! https://mcdn.podbean.com/mf/web/tytpcf/ScrambledEggs_Editted_031322.mp3

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Bring on the Madness!

Last update. Richmond stealing a bid knocked North Texas out. Davidson stays in the field and actually moves up to a 10-seed, being evaluated a little differently as an at-large. Richmond comes in on the 13 line and secures the play-in games being 11-seeds. This has almost always been the case, but it almost guarantees there will be some angst about Loyola-Chicago's placement again.

After further review, Michigan edged Xavier to get into the field. Despite Michigan's record, they are better in every metric the Selection Committee uses, have more top-tier wins, and fewer blemishes outside Quadrant 1. I may kick myself for that one, but it was always close between those two and I think Michigan has a little bit more.

Results of today's games won't have much impact. I think Tennessee was locked into a 3-seed yesterday because there's rarely movement this late in the process, which keeps Duke on the 2-line. The Big 10 and American results are similarly too late to matter.

It's been a stressful week with all the movement and meaningful late results that impacted the field from top to bottom. Bring on the Madness.

Here's the final S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-GONZAGA 2-ARIZONA 3-KANSAS 4-Baylor

2-Seeds: 8-Duke 7-VILLANOVA 6-Auburn 5-Kentucky

3-Seeds: 9-TENNESSEE 10-PURDUE 11-Texas Tech 12-Ucla

4-Seeds: 16-Providence 15-Arkansas 14-Wisconsin 13-Illinois

5-Seeds: 17-HOUSTON 18-Connecticut 19-Iowa 20-St. Mary's

6-Seeds: 24-Usc 23-Alabama 22-Texas 21-Lsu

7-Seeds: 25-Ohio State 26-Michigan State 27-BOISE STATE 28-Colorado State

8-Seeds: 32-North Carolina 31-MURRAY STATE 30-San Diego State 29-Seton Hall

9-Seeds: 33-Tcu 34-Memphis 35-Creighton 36-Marquette

10-Seeds: 40-Davidson 39-Iowa State 38-San Francisco 37-VIRGINIA TECH

11-Seeds: 41-Miami 42-Smu 43-Texas A&M 44-Indiana 45-Michigan 46-Wyoming






Last Four Byes: Iowa State, Davidson, Miami, SMU

Last Four In: Texas A&M, Indiana, Michigan, Wyoming

First Four Out: Xavier, North Texas, Notre Dame, Wake Forest

Three other great Marquette overachieving seasons

This year’s Marquette Golden Eagles defied expectations. Picked to finish no higher than ninth in the Big East, the Marquette Golden Eagles finished fifth. They are poised to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.

This is not the first time this century the Golden Eagles exceeded low expectations. There are three other seasons where Marquette surprised the college basketball world.

2001-2002: This is the season that kicked off Marquette’s run of success through 2013. Dwyane Wade was eligible after sitting out his freshman year as a partial qualifier. It was Travis Diener’s freshman season. The Golden Eagles had a senior class led by Cordell Henry that never made the NCAA Tournament.

There were rumors that Wade had a chance to be good but no one knew just how great he would be.

Wade’s coming out party happened in the Great Alaskan Shootout were Marquette beat Tennessee, Indiana, and Gonzaga.

Fans stormed the court after Marquette beat No. 4 Cincinnati at the Bradley Center. The Golden Eagles went undefeated at home. Marquette reached as high as No. 9 in the rankings. 

Unfortunately, Marquette’s season ended in the NCAA Tournament’s first round against Tulsa. Diener’s second desperation three fell short and Wade's put back attempt missed.

2005-2006: Marquette’s first year in the Big East was supposed to be rough. One local reporter had Marquette winning just three Big East games.

The Golden Eagles won three of their first five Big East game. Steve Novak introduced Marquette to the Big East in grand fashion with 41 points against No. 2 UConn. 

Freshman Dominic James and Jerel McNeal stellar play aided Novak towards a first Big East season that far exceeded expectations. Wesley Matthews and Joe Champan also provided solid contributions.

The Golden Eagles went onto a 20-win season but bowed out in the NCAA Tournament's first round to Alabama.

2009-2010: The James, McNeal, and Matthews trio graduated. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler had other plans despite all the early season bad luck.

Junior Cadougan, Chris Otule and Joe Fulce all suffered major injuries. Jerrone Maymon left the team after nine games. That left Marquette with a rotation player no taller than Butler and Erik Williams.

Yet, the undersized Golden Eagles could shoot like no other. They had Maurice Acker, David Cubillan, Dwight Buycks, and Darius Johnson-Odom bombing away from three.

Hayward played like a NBA first-round pick and Butler stepped up his game.

Marquette ended up with a 22-12 and made the NCAA Tournament but lost a heartbreaker to Washington in the first round.

One way this season can be better than those three seasons is avoiding being one-and-done.


Marquette is Dancing!

Shaka Smart & Justin Lewis led Marquette back to the NCAA Tournament
 Photo from JSOnline.com

It's Selection Sunday, and if you only take one thing away from this article, it's that Marquette will be learning their NCAA Tournament destination tonight. In a year when most fans were just hoping to see progress and a reinvigorated defense, this team is going to be playing on the biggest stage in the sport in the next week. There is no question. There is no doubt. Marquette is a lock.

Moving on, here are the tough decisions that came today:

The Protected Seeds: Arizona and Kansas locked in 1-seeds by winning conference tournaments, Baylor held on to the last 1-seed thanks to Auburn, Kentucky, and Duke all falling in conference tourney play. Tennessee has the best claim at the last 2-seed and could slip past Duke or Villanova. UCLA claims the last 3-seed thanks to Illinois and Wisconsin both losing early in the Big 10 tourney. Providence's stellar record allows them to hold on to our last 4, though I could see Houston passing them. It would be far more surprising to see Providence as a 3 than a 5.

The Mountain West: Resume-wise, Colorado State is the favorite. However, Boise State won both the regular season and conference tournaments. Meanwhile, San Diego State has the best predictive numbers (by far) and no losses outside the Quadrant 1. I ended up going with the champs first on the 7-line, with CSU joining Boise there and San Diego State a couple spots back as an 8-seed. I could see them coming out in any order. Wyoming also sneaks into the First Four, anchored down by their predictive metrics but making it in due to their 10-5 Q1+2 record.

Marquette's Seed: I haven't published all of my updates, but I've had Marquette on every line from 7-10 this week. Ultimately, their top end quality placed them as a 9-seed, just behind Creighton due to the 3-game sweep. I could see an argument for Virginia Tech being ahead of Marquette, but their lack of wins over the field kept Marquette ahead. If this proves correct, there is no one on the 8-line I would want to see, considering Seton Hall wouldn't be an option. San Diego State is probably Marquette's best matchup as they have an anemic offense that would almost guarantee a close game.

The Bubble, Falling Out: Teams like Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and Michigan that needed help to polish their resumes dropped their openers, which ultimately played their way out of the field. Wake's loss put them in a circumstance where their 338 NCSOS would have been unprecedented to select for Dayton. The Demon Deacons needed to be in the main field, because precedent was a killer once you get to Dayton. Notre Dame suffered from two different problems. First, before the week began two of their Q2 wins fell to Q3, leaving them with a 4-8 Q1+2 record that quickly became 4-9. There just isn't enough good to offset that mediocre record despite the NCSOS. Michigan fell out because their final record was 17-14. No team has made the tournament with a W/L margin of +3 or lower in a non-pandemic year since Georgia's 16-14 in 2001. That knocked Michigan out and kept Oklahoma from moving in.

The Bubble, Moving In: Typically, I don't move teams in on the basis of conference tourney results, but this year has been different for a few reasons. The teams above falling out meant going to find replacements. UAB winning Conference USA put North Texas into the at-large pool. The Mean Green's profile is nearly identical to 2019 Belmont which went to the First Four. In the NET, UNT is 46 and Belmont was 47. UNT is 6-4 in Q1+2, Belmont was 5-3. Both had 2 losses in Quadrant 3. UNT's NCSOS is at 57 and Belmont was at 43. Indiana moved in partially due to their wins this week but more because when the teams above fell out and they were Next Four Out while Florida and Rutgers didn't do anything to improve their fatal flaws. The last team added was Buzz Williams' Texas A&M. Their 3 wins this week, two in Q1, was unprecedented in teams trying to play in the past 5 NCAA years. The second reason is because the Committee was still voting on 6 teams for inclusion as of Saturday evening. With the Committee taking long to decide the field, it indicates these games will be valued more seriously. Finally, Xavier is still in. They are there because of their 5 Q1 wins, acceptable overall record, and good enough metrics. When looking at Michigan, Oklahoma, and Rutgers, all teams with quality wins as well, Xavier is the only team that doesn't have an obvious thing to keep them out (Michigan and Oklahoma's +3 win margins, Rutgers' unprecedented resume and NET numbers).

The Bid Thieves: Virginia Tech was really testing the "play your way in" theory but made it easy by knocking off Duke, while as mentioned, UAB put North Texas into the at-large pool. The only remaining bid thief is Richmond in the A-10. If they win, Davidson will earn an at-large, most likely pushing SMU or Texas A&M to Dayton and North Texas out of the field.

Here's the full S-Curve:

1-Seeds: 1-GONZAGA 2-ARIZONA 3-KANSAS 4-Baylor

2-Seeds: 8-Duke 7-VILLANOVA 6-Auburn 5-Kentucky

3-Seeds: 9-TENNESSEE 10-PURDUE 11-Texas Tech 12-Ucla

4-Seeds: 16-Providence 15-Arkansas 14-Wisconsin 13-Illinois

5-Seeds: 17-HOUSTON 18-Connecticut 19-Iowa 20-St. Mary's

6-Seeds: 24-Usc 23-Alabama 22-Texas 21-Lsu

7-Seeds: 25-Ohio State 26-Michigan State 27-BOISE STATE 28-Colorado State

8-Seeds: 32-North Carolina 31-MURRAY STATE 30-San Diego State 29-Seton Hall

9-Seeds: 33-Tcu 34-Memphis 35-Creighton 36-Marquette

10-Seeds: 40-Miami 39-Iowa State 38-San Francisco 37-VIRGINIA TECH

11-Seeds: 41-Smu 42-Texas A&M 43-Indiana 44-Xavier 45-Wyoming 46-North Texas






Last Four Byes: Iowa State, Miami, SMU, Texas A&M

Last Four In: Indiana, Xavier, Wyoming, North Texas

Still Evaluating: Michigan, Notre Dame, Wake Forest

Bid Thief Potential: A-10 (Richmond)

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Saturday Morning Madness

Virginia Tech & Xavier have gone from non-con battle to bubble battle
 Photo by Adam Hunger | AP

This has been an insane week on the bubble. Teams like Indiana, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech are really putting the "you can't win your way in" theory to the test. Teams like Wake Forest, Notre Dame, and Xavier seem eager to confirm the "you can lose your way out" theory. We have a new S-Curve this morning, with the caveat that this is all reacting to the results of the week. I also have some comments on the teams around the bubble that are still being considered. We'll start there.

Michigan, SMU, and Wyoming are the last teams we have safe. The resume metrics are all good for those teams. Michigan's Q1+2 isn't great, but they have enough Q1 wins and predictive metrics to be in, while Wyoming has a great Q1+2 record despite their weak predictives. SMU is just acceptable across the board.

In terms of last four in, Indiana benefitted from Wake and Rutgers slipping up early, while Xavier's 5 Q1 wins keep them barely in. I don't feel great about Xavier at all and they could easily still fall out. The last two in are VCU and North Texas. VCU's resume average of 31.5 would be unprecedented to leave out and despite a resume that doesn't blow you away, I still think their performance with Ace Baldwin is enough coupled with the resume for inclusion. North Texas looks stunningly similar to 2019 Belmont, who made the field. Nearly identical NET, Q1+2 records, and Q3 losses. It would certainly be in Dayton, but the Mean Green have a tourney type profile.

On the outside, Wake was eliminated on the basis of their non-conference strength of schedule, which came into focus when their early loss pushed them to play-in status. Rutgers falling in their first game puts them in a position where they simply don't have the NET to get in. For teams that are close, Oklahoma is like a worse version of Michigan in every way, so +3 in the win column doesn't do it. Notre Dame was hurt when two of their Q2 wins fell to Q3, but 4-9 against Q1+2 simply isn't good enough despite the Kentucky win. For Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, and Dayton, all of them warrant some consideration, but they can still play their way in. I'm continuing to reevaluate them as the games go by.

Let's get to that S-Curve:


2-Seeds: 8-DUKE 7-VILLANOVA 6-Auburn 5-Kansas

3-Seeds: 9-Tennessee 10-Purdue 11-Texas Tech 12-Ucla

4-Seeds: 16-Providence 15-Arkansas 14-Wisconsin 13-Illinois

5-Seeds: 17-HOUSTON 18-Connecticut 19-Iowa 20-St. Mary's

6-Seeds: 24-Usc 23-Alabama 22-Texas 21-Lsu

7-Seeds: 25-Ohio State 26-SAN DIEGO STATE 27-Michigan State 28-North Carolina

8-Seeds: 32-Tcu 31-MURRAY STATE 30-Seton Hall 29-Colorado State

9-Seeds: 33-Memphis 34-Iowa State 35-Creighton 36-Marquette

10-Seeds: 40-DAVIDSON 39-Boise State 38-San Francisco 37-LOYOLA CHICAGO

11-Seeds: 41-Miami 42-Michigan 43-Smu 44-Wyoming

12-Seeds: 50-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 49-UAB 48-North Texas 47-Vcu 46-Xavier 45-Indiana





Last Four Byes: Miami, Michigan, SMU, Wyoming

Last Four In: Indiana, Xavier, VCU, North Texas

At-Large Consideration: Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Dayton

Bid Thief Potential: ACC (Virginia Tech), A-10 (St. Louis, Richmond, Dayton), American (Tulane), SEC (Texas A&M)

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Seeding Primer, with Special Guest Marquette

Marquette's NCAA Resume
 Screenshot from WarrenNolan.com

I have been getting feedback about Marquette's current seed range, particularly0 why Marquette is behind Seton Hall on the S-Curve despite the season sweep. Let's dig into Marquette's position and where they could get. I apologize in advance, this is going to get a little nerdy.

When it comes to seeding the most reliable measure is found by taking the average of two different averages. When you look at a team sheet, in the upper left corner, there are 5 metrics provided. The Result-Based metrics are the Kevin Pauga Index and Strength of Record, shortened to KPI and SOR. The Predictive metrics are the Basketball Power Index, Pomeroy rank, and Sagarin Rating, shortened to BPI, POM, and SAG.

For Marquette, their Result-Based average uses the 30 KPI score and 37 SOR score for an average of 33.5. Their Predictive average uses the 52 BPI, 41 POM, and 44 SAG for an average of 45.7. Using those numbers, you can find what I call the RAP (Results And Predictive) score of 39.6. When you line those numbers up against the entire field, the RAP score predicts teams within one seed line 85% of the time. Let's look at the RAP scores of teams around Marquette:

NET Team R Avg P Avg RAP X Seed
33 North Carolina 27.5 28.3 27.9 7
34 USC 24 34.7 29.35 7
29 San Diego St. 32.5 27.3 29.9 7
31 Michigan 35 25.7 30.35 7
32 Seton Hall 29 32.3 30.65 8
40 Michigan St. 27.5 35.3 31.4 8
35 Memphis 40.5 25.7 33.1 8
24 San Francisco 39 28.3 33.65 8
28 Colorado St. 22 49 35.5 9
23 Murray St. 31 40.7 35.85 9
30 Boise St. 34 40.3 37.15 9
25 Loyola Chicago 48.5 28 38.25 9
38 Marquette 33.5 45.7 39.6 10
39 Wake Forest 46 35.3 40.65 10
41 Iowa St. 37.5 45 41.25 10
46 TCU 39 44.7 41.85 10

This shows pretty clearly why a number of bracketologists would have Seton Hall ahead of Marquette. Head-to-head only matters if it's close, and a 9 point RAP gap isn't exactly close. Marquette on the 8 line is seeded 2 lines ahead of where they are expected to be at, which would make them a positive outlier to that 85% figure listed above.

If you want to look deeper into these, I recommend either the team sheets from Warren Nolan or the Team Sheet Ranks on Bart Torvik's site. While I'm a huge Marquette fan, the members of the Selection Committee are not and their seeding will come down to math and resume, not emotion. I'd love to see a 7-seed or even 6-seed on Selection Sunday, but in my opinion the numbers say they have work to do to get there.

So what work is that? The RAP score is what the computers think of you, but the Selection Committee also looks at Quadrant records and Road/Neutral records. Quadrant 1A games are big feathers in the cap if you win and don't hurt much if you lose. Quadrant 1+2 record is how you played against postseason caliber teams. Quadrant 3+4 losses are the bad ones that can drag you down. Finally, Road/Neutral record shows how you play away from your home gym, which all NCAA games are. We're also looking mainly at Marquette and teams ahead of them on the S-Curve, because the discussion is about moving up. The teams here are ordered by current S-Curve position. I added in Iowa and Ohio State, as they are the last 6 and first 7, for context. The reason they are ahead and didn't show up on the last list is because their RAP scores are much better, at 22.65 and 25.1, respectively. Here's the comparison:

S-Curve Team Q1A Q1/2 Q3/4 Ls R/N
23 USC 1-3 9-5 1 12-3
24 Iowa 2-5 8-9 0 7-6
25 Ohio St. 3-4 10-9 1 6-7
26 Colorado St. 1-1 12-3 1 10-3
27 Seton Hall 2-6 9-9 0 7-6
28 San Diego St. 1-3 8-7 0 7-6
29 Murray St. 1-1 5-1 1 15-2
30 Marquette 4-5 10-11 0 6-8
31 Michigan St. 4-7 11-10 1 8-8
32 North Carolina 2-5 5-7 1 8-6

The reason Marquette is as high as they are is their 4 Q1A wins. That's a big number for a team as far down the S-Curve as they are, and it is a differentiator with other teams in the 8-12 range that has them near the top of that group despite their RAP score. The areas they can still improve in the Big East Tournament are the Q1+2 record and the Road/Neutral record. It's important to note the timeline for the Selection Committee. As of this writing, the top-16 is probably mostly set. Wednesday and Thursday will be spent hammering out the field. That is largely the reason that I don't put much stock in Championship Week results, even on the bubble, because as we noted last year teams are more likely to fall out with bid thieves or a particularly poor performance than they are to play their way in with a good one.

If the Protected Seeds and the bubble are mostly set, it's the middle of the field, the 6-10 range, that has the most opportunity to move. That said, I don't think there's room for a team to move much more than one seed line, largely because the S-Curve will be mostly set by Saturday, before games like the Big East Tournament final are played. But if Marquette were to notch a Q2 win over Creighton and Q1 win in the semifinal, suddenly they have a 12-11 Q1+2 record and an 8-8 Road/Neutral record, which combined with the 4 (possibly 5) Q1A wins they would have at that point could move them up to a 7-seed. I will also be clear that I don't think 1-1 will do anything for them. It would be a case of moving ahead an inch, then back an inch. I believe Marquette has to be playing Saturday night to see their seed improve.

I will also note that a few great bracketologists, such as Kevin Pulsipher, One Man Committee, and Dave Omman are both generally better at this stuff and higher on Marquette (7-seed) than I am, so if they are right, it's possible a 6-seed could also be in play. Let's get on with the full S-Curve:


2-Seeds: 8-DUKE 7-VILLANOVA 6-Kansas 5-Auburn

3-Seeds: 9-Tennessee 10-PURDUE 11-Texas Tech 12-Illinois

4-Seeds: 16-Arkansas 15-Providence 14-Wisconsin 13-Ucla

5-Seeds: 17-Connecticut 18-Alabama 19-HOUSTON 20-Texas

6-Seeds: 24-Iowa 23-Usc 22-Lsu 21-St. Mary's

7-Seeds: 25-Ohio State 26-COLORADO STATE 27-Seton Hall 28-San Diego State

8-Seeds: 32-North Carolina 31-Michigan State 30-Marquette 29-MURRAY STATE

9-Seeds: 33-Boise State 34-Iowa State 35-San Francisco 36-Memphis

10-Seeds: 40-DAVIDSON 39-Miami 38-Tcu 37-Wake Forest

11-Seeds: 41-Creighton 42-Michigan 43-Vcu 44-Xavier 45-Wyoming







Last Four Byes: VCU, Creighton, Michigan, Wake Forest

Last Four In: Xavier, Wyoming, SMU, Notre Dame

Not Dead Yet: Rutgers, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma