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Judging Marquette’s non-conference results

Team

Marquette Men’s Basketball

With the demolition of American complete, Marquette turned it’s sights to Big East play and the daunting challenge that will present. But we’re not quite ready to move on. We have a few days before Xavier rolls into town, so I felt it was appropriate to take a step back. 

Before a game was played, I surveyed 5 other “MU media members” (and myself) and had them lay out their game by game predictions. Of those 6, four predicted 3 non-con losses, one predicted 4, and one predicted 2, averaging out to 3 losses in the non-conference season. Going by this relatively simple exercise, Marquette performed exactly as expected.

All 6 respondents had Purdue and Wichita State winning, so dropping those match-ups may have been disappointing performance wise, but the results were not surprising. The biggest difference was trading results of the Wisconsin and Georgia games. All had Marquette beating Georgia, all but 1 had Marquette losing in Madison.    

Again, from a pure W/L perspective, Marquette pretty much met expectations. But expectations of 6 Marquette homers means very little when it comes down to it. I was more interested in seeing how the results might be judged come March.

Particularly as it relates to the new selection criteria.

Whereas before the teamsheets NCAA Committee members used had arbitrary RPI cutoffs at top 50, top 100, top 200 and sub 200 with no differentiation for location, the new teamsheets will be organized a bit differently.

“The breakdown will be as follows:
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Away 136-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-plus; Neutral 201-plus; Away 241-plus.”

And while the committee will still use the outdated RPI to rank teams this season, I decided to go with KenPom as I think it’s a bit more stable than RPI at this point, which still sees 20-spot swings on days where teams don’t play.

Quadrant 1: 1-2

Wins: Wisconsin (A)
Losses: Purdue (H), Wichita State (N)
Analysis: Altough the Georgia loss wasn’t good, per se, if Marquette was only going to win one of the two, winning at Wisconsin was the “better play.” Wisconsin hasn’t looked great, though and is battling season-ending injuries to important players. Although there will be plenty of opportunities in Big East play, it would still be in Marquette’s best interest to have Wisconsin finish in the top 75 of the RPI (currently at 77, but 62 on KenPom). Purdue and Wichita State are pretty much locked into Quad 1, so those are good losses.  

Quadrant 2: 3-1

Wins: VCU (N), LSU (N), Vermont (H)
Losses: Georgia (H)
Analysis: Despite boasting a nice record at this point, all 3 wins could easily end up in quadrant 3. VCU is most likely to finish in the top 100 of the RPI, but LSU will struggle in SEC play. And even though the opposition will be good/great, mounting losses could keep them out of the top 100. As for Vermont, they should roll in the America East, but one or two screw ups could knock them out of the top-75. As for Georgia, they are pretty much locked in to the top-135, so will remain an OK loss. 

Quadrant 3: 0-0

N/A

Quadrant 4: 5-0

Wins: Mt. St. Mary’s, EIU, Chi. St., NIU, American 
Losses: None
Analysis: Beating EIU, as ugly as it looked, was crucial and will be even more so come March. Don’t lose to DePaul or Georgetown at home and you got yourself a teamsheet free of terrible losses. 

Overall, Marquette met expectations and put itself in decent position to make the NCAA Tournament with 9 wins or so. It didn’t put itself in lock status by any means, but has a manageable road to hearing its name on Selection Sunday. On to the big show.

 

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