"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

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

6 teams still fighting for the last bye.

Its time to take a serious look at who's in the drivers seat for the first round byes in the Big East conference tournament.

Pitt and Georgetown appear to be in the drivers seat for two of them. Pitt, at 11-2, can finish no worse than 11-5 (if they lose to @Georgetown, @MU, and WVU). While there are a number of teams that could tie them with that record, only MU and UL would have clear seeding advantage. There may be some small mathematical possiblity that Pitt could miss a first round bye. If they win one more, they would erase that possibility.

Georgetown's schedule is a bit easier--besides a tough game with Pitt, and a trip to Syracuse, they play Cincy and Uconn. They could lose the first round bye if the end the season on a 4 game losing streak--otherwise, they're likely resting the first day.

UL is a third team in great shape with a 9-4 record and an easy remaining schedule. With remaining games against St. Johns, Seton Hall and UConn, they are certainy in the driver's seat for the third bye.

That leaves six teams--MU, DePaul, ND, PC, WVU, and Syracuse--in the hunt for the 4th first-round bye (not to mention 5th through 9th place in the conference).

MU doesn't quite control its own destity--even if they win out, Syracuse could tie them, and they have seeding advantage. However, two MU wins coupled with any Syracuse loss puts MU no worse than 4th seed.

DePaul is sitting 7-6 in conference and has 3 games left. With games @ ND, and USF and Cincy at home. If DePaul wins out, MU must win both remaning games to have advantage. If DePaul loses one, MU must finish 1-1 to have advantage.

Notre Dame is sitting 8-5 -- with a head-to-head game aginst MU. If MU wins, ND cannot top MU regardless of what MU does against Pitt. If ND wins, MU would need the Irish to lose their two other reamaing games (DePaul and Rutgers).

Syracuse (8-5) could conceivably sneak into the 4th spot, but based on their schedule it is unlikely. They have two tough road games--at PC and at VU, plus they face Georgetown at home.

Against WVU, MU has the advantage in a tie. The Mountaineers play @PC, @Villanova, and Georgetown at home. They would need to win out, and have MU lose both remaning games to have seeding advantage.

PC (6-6) has only two options to gain advantage on MU: Finish a game ahead of MU in the standings--possible if they win four straight while MU loses both. Or go 3-1 including a win over Syracuse AND have Syracuse finish ahead of Villanova in the standings.

MU already has advantage over Villanova regardless of what happens.

Could MU realistically finish with the 9th seed?


Assuming that MU and PC finish with 9-7 records, two of PC's wins are against WVU and Syracuse, and the other contenders all finish 10-6.

10-6: WVU wins two more--UC and PC
10-6: DePaul wins out
10-6: ND beats MU, Rutgers, loses to DePaul
10-6 Syrause wins two more

9-7: MU loses to Pitt and ND.
9-7 Providence: wins over USF, SJU and Syracuse, loss to WVU

In this case, MU and Providence are tied head to head and we start with the 1st place team until 1. MU or PC has the advantage:
2. Pitt: No advantage--MU is 1-1 vs. Pitt, PC is 0-1
3. Georgetown: no advantage--PC did not play
4. Louisville: No advantage--MU 1-1, PC 0-1.
5. WVU: No advangate if PC beats WVU, otherwise advantage MU
6. DePaul: No advantage: PC did not play
7. Notre Dame: No advantage, both teams lose
8. Syracuse: Advantge PC--PC won twice, MU lost once.

Two ways for MU to top PC:
a) PC loses to WVU--MU would have advantage in this case.
b) PC loses to Syracuse--PC loses its advanage, and the tie breaker would be the 10th place team--Villanova.


Anonymous said...

Wow, excellent analysis. Just as it was last year, it will be interesting to see what happens. But you have to believe in this team right now. Last night can give us all - especially the team - confidence going into these last two games. I have heard of many, many Marquette students traveling to ND this weekend to go to the game (maybe giving us a little advantage with more crowd support) and if they can win that, the setup is huge for us when we return home for College GameDay.

If you've ever used the cheer "God's on our side" before, make sure you're praying on that one for the next week and a half. He was definitely on our side last year!

Anonymous said...

I'm not flying to NYC until thursday. I've got my fingers crossed they get the 4 seed. Otherwised they could be eliminated by the time I get there!