"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, March 05, 2019

When the Luck Runs Out...

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about Marquette's seeding being propped up by unexpectedly good results in close games. Through the end of January, Marquette was 6-0 in two-possession games. Since then, they are just 1-3 in such games. As a result, their luck rating in Pomeroy has dropped from #26 as of the earlier article to #56 now. They still rate as a fairly fortunate team thanks to their 7-3 record in close games, but the last 7 games seem to indicate that Marquette was & is the team Pomeroy's system thought they were.

The loss to Creighton dropped Marquette off the 3-line & likely out of contention for a 2-seed. Even if they win out, it seems unlikely they will be able to pass six teams in front of them at this point. Winning out would almost certainly get them back to the 3-line. Even if they took another loss or two, they should safely be a 4 provided they don't completely collapse. There has always been a big gap between MU & the teams on the 5-line. I feel like a 2-2 record the rest of the way should be all they need to maintain a protected seed.

A few bubble thoughts. First, it's still awful. I listed every team that I think has a remote chance at an at-large bid. There are a couple places where I differ from the majority. Here are the 2 teams I disagree on & why:

UNC Greensboro: When looking at the Spartans' resume, one number jumps off the page. It's their average NET loss of 18. There is no team in the country ranked outside the top-7 in the NET with a better number. UNCG doesn't have the quantity of Quadrant 1 wins some other teams have, but they are perfect outside Q1, they do have a Q1 win, & they don't have a loss on their resume that any other bubble team would be expected to win. If they end up playing Furman (as expected) in the SoCon semifinals, that game could very well be for an at-large bid.

Arizona State: Right now, bracketmatrix.com has them in the field while I have them 5 spots out. When their Q1 record was 4-1, it was hard to justify keeping them out, but now that it stands at just 3-3, the rest of their resume looks pretty questionable. They have worse losses than a team like Seton Hall (who most have out but I have in) without the same caliber of wins. When you look at my First Four Out, those teams simply don't have the bad losses ASU does while they all have wins as good or better than the top of ASU's resume. At this point, I think the one-bid Pac-12 is a reality.

Big East: Right now, I have 4 teams in with Seton Hall as the last one. The Pirates probably need one more win this week to secure a bid (with MU & Nova coming to town). There are 5 more Big East teams from the cutline to my "Not Dead Yet" category. Any of them making a run to the BET final would at least get them some consideration. With DePaul challenging for a winning record, it isn't impossible that all 10 Big East teams could end up making either the NCAA or NIT, which would be an amazing accomplishment for the league, even if the top end isn't as strong as it has been in recent years. It's a near certainty that 9 Big East teams will at least be in the NIT.

1-Seeds: 1-VIRGINIA, 2-GONZAGA, 3-Duke, 4-Tennessee
2-Seeds: 8-Michigan State, 7-Michigan, 6-Kentucky, 5-North Carolina
3-Seeds: 9-PURDUE, 10-Texas Tech, 11-Kansas, 12-LSU
4-Seeds: 16-Wisconsin, 15-Virginia Tech, 14-Marquette, 13-HOUSTON
5-Seeds: 17-Florida State, 18-KANSAS STATE, 19-Iowa State, 20-Mississippi State
6-Seeds: 24-BUFFALO, 23-Maryland, 22-VILLANOVA, 21-WOFFORD
7-Seeds: 25-NEVADA, 26-Cincinnati, 27-Iowa, 28-Louisville
8-Seeds: 32-Baylor, 31-VCU, 30-UTAH STATE, 29-Auburn
9-Seeds: 33-BELMONT, 34-Mississippi, 35-WASHINGTON, 36-Syracuse
10-Seeds: 40-Texas, 39-LIPSCOMB, 38-Florida, 37-Ohio State
11-Seeds: 41-Ucf, 42-NC State, 43-St. John's, 44-Oklahoma
12-Seeds: 50-Seton Hall/49-Alabama, 48-Tcu/47-Unc Greensboro, 46-Minnesota, 45-Temple

Last Four Byes: St. John's, Oklahoma, Temple, Minnesota
Last Four In: UNC Greensboro, TCU, Alabama, Seton Hall
First Four Out: Indiana, Clemson, Furman, Georgetown
Next Four Out: Arizona State, Murray State, Creighton, St. Mary's
Not Dead Yet: Nebraska, Xavier, Providence, Butler

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