"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, February 13, 2011

Marquette remains one of only 321 teams without a road win vs. RPI top 25

Several MU cynics agreed with the appraisal of former basketball great Len Elmore toward the end of today’s loss to Georgetown that MUs inability to knock off a quality opponent on the road could hurt their chances Selection Sunday.

The problem with that logic is that all of MUs road losses have been to teams in the RPI Top 25, and if you eliminate every team that has yet to win at an RPI Top 25 this year, then you are only left with a 24 team tournament. Here are the only teams to accomplish what MU failed to do today:

3 wins at RPI top 25 – Pitt
2 wins at RPI top 25 – Florida, Syracuse, Gtown
1 win at RPI top 25 – No. 1 Ohio State and 19 other teams
0 wins at RPI top 25 – Marquette and 320 other teams

Marquette is 3-0 on the road when not playing a top 25 team, so the “we just can’t win on the road” argument doesn’t work. Here is what has happened this year when a team has gone into the gym of an RPI Top 25 team, like MU did at Georgetown today:

67% - lose by double digits
24% - lose by single digits
9% - win

Yes, my colleagues tease me with the “no double digit losses” banner hanging from the rafters in the background of the Bradley Center on this page, but I wouldn’t be bragging about keeping it close if we were playing in Conference USA.

The “must win” games are not the games at Georgetown or UConn. Those are the games that propel you to a high seed if you become the 25th team in the country to pull one off this year.

The “must win” games are the road games and when the tough teams come into the Bradley Center – so our fans can’t jump on the “only win at home” argument.

Must Wins: Gtown loss doesn't hurt - SJU loss would
MU was an 8-seed before the Georgetown game and will be and 8 or 9 seed after the loss. MU will still be one of the Top 30 teams in the country in Sagarin and Pomeroy.

MU needs to beat a St. John’s team that just won at Cincy. A win in that game would make MU one of only eight teams with four or more wins against the RPI top 25 on any court. A loss in this game or any home game or at Seton Hall at the end of the year are the games that can drop MU from a middle seed to the bubble.

The five assists today are a concern. The +0 on turnovers against a team that usually loses that battle is a concern. The games played by Davante Gardner (12 points), Chris Otule (9 rebounds) and Vander Blue (4 rebounds, solid defense and handling the ball with no turnovers) are good signs.

The stars didn’t have great games, and as I wrote before the game, MU basically had to play it’s second best game of the year to win today. Tuesday, the pressure is on.


Unknown said...

Buzz gets out coached in 2nd half again. This team is a joke shows a clear lack of intelligence. Gee, think many of these guys coming from juco may have something to do with it?

Beaver said...

Jucos definitely can fill a role, but you don't want a team dominated by them. In my opinion, we have too many and they definitely have a lower bball IQ. In addition, the lack of leadership on the team is apparent.

Tuesday will be interesting, with the Johnnies improved play.

Beaver said...

It always could be worse, we could be Badger fans:


Reagan said...

Interesting, if true. But didn't ND beat Pitt at Pitt? I don't know what Pitt's RPI was at the time but I assume it was pretty high.

Unknown said...

@Reagan - Notre Dame is one of the 19 other teams (with OSU) with 1 RPI top 25 road win. The win over Wisconsin was neutral court (Old Spice Classic), and wins over Georgetown, Louisville, UConn, St. John's, Marq, and Cinci wins were all home. The Irish have a shot on Saturday against WVU at their place to move up a level.