"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

Saturday, January 28, 2023

We Don't Talk About Marquette...No, No, No!

Let's hope no one talks about Marquette until after NMD

Photo from Disney's Encanto

The Three Man Weave podcast has raved about the Marquette offense. The Athletic has had numerous features on the program's recent ascension. When you are ranked #16 in the AP Poll, it tends to draw attention. But for the next 10 days, let's all hope the national media forgets all about Marquette. Why? Because the next three games at DePaul, against Villanova, and against Butler for National Marquette Day are all games in which kenpom.com has Marquette favored by double-digits. What that means is that the only reason the national media would be talking about Marquette is if something goes wrong.

Since Marquette is a 4-seed and at 16 on our new S-Curve, let's see what's in store for the teams ahead of them on the 4-seed and 3-seed lines. Maybe the national focus for the next 10 days can instead shift to teams that can help Marquette by losing while hoping the Golden Eagles help themselves to a trio of wins.

#15 TCU: at Mississippi State (1/28), West Virginia (1/31), at Oklahoma State (2/4)

The Horned Frogs are favorites to win all of these, but none will be easy games. They already lost to West Virginia and face a pair of tough road environments where kenpom gives them just a 1-point advantage. Mississippi State getting the win would be a double-bonus as that would help Marquette as the Bulldogs are one of just two Q2 losses on the resume.

#14 Kansas State: Florida (1/28), at Kansas (1/31), Texas (2/4)

The Wildcats will be home favorites against the Gators, but the trip to Kansas is tough and Texas projects as a coin flip game. If they could drop two of three, that would be ideal, particularly as Kansas and Texas being on the 2-line are a bit far ahead to think about passing just yet.

#13 Gonzaga: at Portland (1/28), Santa Clara (2/2), at St. Mary's (2/4)

It's unlikely either of the first two will be losses, but if the Pilots or Broncos can keep these to single-digits, that's a help. St. Mary's actually projects as a favorite over Gonzaga and while it wouldn't be a bad loss, it's one of just two Quadrant 1 games left for Gonzaga so a loss there would not just give Marquette a shot at passing the Zags, but put them in a position where they don't have many big time opportunities to rise back up.

#12 Xavier: at Creighton (1/28), Providence (2/1), St. John's (2/4)

In addition to hoping Xavier falls back on the S-Curve, a loss or two would go a long way toward helping Marquette gain control over their Big East Championship destiny. If Xavier dropped those next two and Marquette won the games they are supposed to, the Golden Eagles would be alone in first place in the Big East by the end of National Marquette Day.

#11-Virginia: Boston College (1/28), at Syracuse (1/30), at Virginia Tech (2/4)

The Cavs won't be losing to BC, but might face some difficulty on the road. While they'll likely be favored in both, their only losses in ACC play have come away from John Paul Jones, so keep an eye on how they perform in the short turnaround to Syracuse and their road rivalry game.

#10 Baylor: Arkansas (1/28), at Texas (1/30), Texas Tech (2/4)

While the Texas trip is tough, it would be surprising if Baylor dropped either of the home games. And despite the head-to-head victory, Baylor's quality of wins is stronger than Marquette's right now. This stretch might bring them back a bit, but it's unlikely Marquette will get past them in the next week.

#9 UCLA: Washington (2/2), Washington State (2/4)

UCLA's metrics look unsurpassable, but their actual resume isn't as impressive as the numbers indicate. Their only wins against at-large competition are against 9-seed Maryland and a pair of 11-seed play-in teams in Arizona State and Kentucky. They haven't taken any bad losses yet, but they struggled with Wazzu in December and if they did drop a game, their resume would be subject to more scrutiny. It might take more than one slip-up to bring them back to Marquette, but the Pac-12 is full of banana peels.

Now let's dig into the S-Curve and latest bracket:

Multibid Leagues

Big 10: 9

ACC: 7

Big 12: 6

SEC: 6

Big East: 5

Mountain West:4

Pac-12: 4

American: 2

WCC: 2

No comments: