"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 08, 2022

Location, Location, Location

Andrew Rowsey wasn't enchanted with the road atmosphere in 2017
 Photo by Kevin C. Cox | Getty Images

The Top-16 reveal is less than 2 weeks away and we will have a bracket in a little over a month. Before we get to the S-Curve, let's think about location. Knowing the seven locations Marquette could open NCAA play at (as host they cannot play at Fiserv Forum) we decided to look at which locations are most likely, which are most desirable, and what circumstances would bring Marquette to one of those locations.

Placement occurs by assigning the seeds in order of their most desired location. So the top overall seed gets the spot closest to their campus, the second overall seed gets the closest to their campus, and it continues like this based on available spots. Only two seeded teams (top-4 seeds) can play at each location, so once the most desirable spots are filled, teams are farmed out further away from home. We're going to work under the assumption that Marquette will go no higher than a 2-seed and no lower than an 8-seed, assuming the bottom completely falls out. In addition, as Marquette is hosting, the NCAA tries to keep teams from playing games on the same day they host, meaning Marquette is most likely to play at one of the Thursday/Saturday sites, though this is not a hard and fast rule.

1) Buffalo, NY -- KeyBank Center (Thursday/Saturday)

Most Likely Seeds: Providence

Desirability Rank: 2

I feel that Buffalo is the most likely destination for Marquette. This is also a highly desirable spot. First, Providence is the only likely seeded team that has Buffalo as first choice, so it allows Big East fans to team up. It's also the third closest to Milwaukee, so not terrible from a travel perspective. Also, as Buffalo will be one of the least desirable for other fanbases, it seems likely there won't be any significant road environment. This site is most likely going to have a pair of 4-seeds as their marquee teams, which would mean 50% of the teams on the 4/5 lines playing here, hence why it's our #1 on the list. Marquette would most likely land here as one of the last 4-seeds or as a 5-seed playing into a team like Tennessee or Michigan State.

2) Portland, OR -- Moda Center (Thursday/Saturday)

Most Likely Seeds: Gonzaga

Desirability Rank: 3

Gonzaga being here is a lock. Chisel it in stone now. However, as this location is far away from almost everyone else, there's a good chance if Marquette went here it would be as a 4-seed. No one else in the mix for a 5/6 is particularly close, so a road environment seems unlikely (though a 4 playing a hypothetical 12-seed Oregon in round two could suck). It's also possible a collapse could have Marquette in an 8/9 game playing into Gonzaga, but considering the remaining schedule that seems unlikely.

3) Pittsburgh, PA -- PPG Paints Arena (Friday/Sunday)

Most Likely Seeds: Villanova 

Desirability Rank: 1

If your immediate thought is "why a Friday/Sunday spot instead of the other Thursday/Saturdays" the reason is because the other Thursday/Saturday sites will almost certainly both include two teams on the top-2 seed lines, and given the remaining schedule Marquette is unlikely to fall to the 7/8 lines. This would be an awesome place to play because it's the second closest to campus and will likely have a large Big East contingent as Villanova is likely to land here. Marquette would likely come here if they could get up to the 13th or better overall seed (3/4 lines) or as a 5/6 playing into one of those teams. That said, this seems less likely than the first two because it's the same days Fiserv is hosting.

4) Greenville, SC -- Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Friday/Sunday)

Most Likely Seeds: Auburn, Duke 

Desirability Rank: 4

Auburn is a virtual lock to land here, and while there are a number of teams for whom this might be the closest remaining spot when their number comes up, it feels like Duke will be here. That means almost certain road crowds in at least one, if not both opening weekend games. But on the upside, the weather should be nice and having a chance to end Coach K's career could be an eternal Trivial Pursuit answer we'd never forget. Marquette would only land here if they were in the 6-8 seed range. Like Pittsburgh, I don't think this is highly likely because Fiserv hosts the same day.

5) Indianapolis, IN -- Gainbridge Fieldhouse (Thursday/Saturday)

Most Likely Seeds: Purdue, Kentucky 

Desirability Rank: 5

I feel like this location screams "it's a trap" for Marquette fans. Yes, it is the closest to Marquette's campus, but both Purdue and Kentucky (currently projected as top-two seeds) also have this as first choice. That means if Marquette lands here, they are most likely a 6-seed at best and will have to face one of those monster front courts to advance. I know it's close, but for me Indy is a hard pass as it likely means Marquette has fallen to the 7/8 lines.

6) Fort Worth, TX -- Dickies Arena (Thursday/Saturday)

Most Likely Seeds: Kansas, Baylor, Houston 

Desirability Rank: 6

With apologies to Joe McCann, this is not the kind of spot Marquette should be hoping for. There are a ton of teams fighting for seeding (Texas Tech and Texas also have this as option #1) that would create a road environment no matter which region Marquette was in. In addition, the heavy Big 12 contingent might root against Shaka Smart's team no matter the circumstance. Add in that Marquette only comes here as a 7/8 seed and this is one location I'm glad feels unlikely.

7) San Diego, CA -- Viejas Arena (Friday/Sunday)

Most Likely Seeds: Arizona, UCLA

Desirability Rank: 4

I don't think it's very likely Marquette will play into UCLA since we saw them in the regular season (same goes for Illinois) so the only likely way we land here is playing into Arizona, which means most likely a 7/8 seed. If the Wildcats slip back to a 3, this location becomes more likely. It would also feature likely road environments, but the upside is a weekend in San Diego, and after a long winter that's always a win. Decent location, but I would be surprised if it happens, especially as it's on the same days Fiserv hosts.

Let's get to the updated S-Curve:


2-Seeds: 8-HOUSTON 7-Kentucky 6-ARIZONA 5-Baylor

3-Seeds: 9-VILLANOVA 10-Texas Tech 11-Duke 12-Wisconsin

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

5-Seeds: 17-Marquette 18-Michigan State 19-Ohio State 20-Alabama

6-Seeds: 24-Iowa State 23-Xavier 22-St. Mary's 21-Texas

7-Seeds: 25-Connecticut 26-Lsu 27-Arkansas 28-WYOMING

8-Seeds: 32-MURRAY STATE 31-Colorado State 30-Boise State 29-Usc

9-Seeds: 33-Seton Hall 34-Indiana 35-Tcu 36-LOYOLA CHICAGO

10-Seeds: 40-Byu 39-Iowa 38-DAVIDSON 37-San Francisco

11-Seeds: 41-Oregon 42-Notre Dame 43-Creighton 44-Wake Forest

12-Seeds: 50-IONA 49-UAB 48-West Virginia 47-Kansas State 46-Belmont 45-Miami






Last Four Byes: Oregon, Notre Dame, Creighton, Wake Forest

Last Four In: Miami, Belmont, Kansas State, West Virginia

First Four Out: Oklahoma, San Diego State, VCU, Stanford

Next Four Out: North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Mississippi State

Multibid Leagues

Big 12: 8

Big East: 7

Big 10: 7


ACC: 4

Pac-12: 4

WCC: 4

MWC: 3

OVC: 2

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