Marquette’s victory over Creighton on Wednesday was quite the upset, according to KenPom and Vegas, and seems to have sparked a bit of life in what had become a dormant #mubb writer. However I don’t have enough time to fully research a column or deep dive, and instead will stick to a sort of stream of consciousness thought process to get it down on paper.
I Know Nothing
Look, I’m not a professional fortune teller, though I do play one on Twitter. Personally, I thought the wheels would fall off after the DePaul loss on January 18.
I’d seen this team implode in games time and time again after hitting a little adversity, and I thought that would be the tipping point. Boy was I wrong. According to Cracked Sidewalks’ analysis, Marquette is playing better than it ever has during this season.
Now, that does not mean that Marquette is suddenly a Tourney team, but it is projected to be in the NIT as of today. The DePaul loss is a large anchor, but it did not sink the ship.
Maybe a Little Something
I did tell you this team would be hitting its stride right about now. I even put it down in stone in a column earlier this year.
That’s not to say that I was right about the Belmont game being the most important of the season, but it is definitely playing a role in making Marquette a fringe NIT team instead of a fringe Tournament team.
Big East Anger
To flesh these Tweets out a bit, Marquette having an RPI of 99 instead of 101 isn’t going to be the one thing to keep a team from dancing in and of itself. But when you get down the the dregs of the bubble, having a loss against a team in the top-100 vs. one outside of it is a negative data point. It is something that is easily remedied, too.
In most years, with average scheduling, an 18-10 record in a high major conference will get you to a top 75 or so RPI ranking. Not great on its own, but at a place where you aren’t considered a bad loss. This is something completely within a team’s control. If I were a Big East team, I would be none too pleased.
Speaking of Big East teams, last night’s high profile tilt between Nova and Xavier was great to draw attention to FS1 and the conference, but the result might end up hurting the league come Tournament time.
There are two regional sites that are tailor-made for a deep postseason run for Nova and X this season. Philly is hosting the East Regional at Villanova’s home court while Louisville hosts the South Regional just 100 miles away from X’s campus. Both teams would have to get out of the first round for this to come into play, but assuming they both get a No. 1 or 2 seed, that should be expected.
Now, you ask how big of an advantage is playing so close to home? It’s huge. I was in Louisville in 2012 when Marquette took on Murray State and it was literally a road game. The 17,000 Kentucky fans in the building were all cheering Murray State on wildly, as if it was Big Blue. Marquette did prevail, but it played a role in keeping the game so tight. Had MU not been as poised and experienced, that would have spelled doom.
For Nova to land in the Philly regional it will either have to be a No. 1 seed ahead of Virginia/Nova/Maryland or a No. 2 seed in front of two of those three. Being the 4th No. 1 would mean getting sent out West to Anaheim, about as far from Philly as it can get. I’m not saying Nova should tank, as the committee doesn’t release standings, but there will be a relatively solid consensus by the Big East Tournament.
As for Xavier, the big win boosted them to a No. 1 seed, but it too would probably get sent out West with Kansas and Oklahoma both closer to Kentucky than California. If X doesn’t pass them up, being a top 2-seed would be a much better option.
I know that’s getting way ahead of ourselves. Lots of basketball is yet to be played by all teams. This is just meant to guide your rooting interests as March creeps in. And once again, no matter how well these teams do in the regular season, it will mean nothing without that sweet Tournament nectar.
I should be way past this, I know, but a conversation on Twitter opened some old wounds and led me down a Buzz leaving article binge. One of the main factors at the time, and something he still claims today, was the TV deal with FS1. He claimed, through Gary Parrish, that even if it was on TV, it felt like it wasn’t with such low ratings. He said this was affecting his recruiting.
So I went in and checked how much coverage VT is getting this season, as they are playing pretty well.
Total TV Games to Date: 6
Total Viewers: 783,000
Total TV Games to Date: 21
Total Viewers: 3,247,000
Those numbers speak for themselves, but in case you think this is a quantity over quality thing. Marquette has 3 times as many ESPN2 games as VT and had a better rating for all of those games.
As for recruiting, Wojo got a top-10 class in 2015 and already has 2 4-stars for 2016, with a borderline 5-star close by (Howard).
So much for not making excuses…
Be a Cool Kid
Some cool cats on Twitter got together and thought it would be cool to have an #mubb T-Shirt. Then Rubie Q went and made it happen. It’s awesome.
It’s also cheap ($15) and goes to a great cause (Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin for Donation to Al’s Run). So, even though you already have 50 Marquette Ts in your closet, be a cool kid and get yourself this limited edition print.