Below is Resident AE Bracketologist Mr. K's projection for Marquette's seed in the NCAA Tournament. He's typically pretty good at this stuff. Think you're better? After the field of 68 is announced tonight, head over to Yahoo!'s Tourney Pick 'Em page and submit a bracket in the SB Nation/Yahoo! Wisdom of the Crowds challenge. And while you're there, why not set up your own league and show us all how smart you are?
It seems like just yesterday, we were all getting fired up for Marquette Madness and getting our first look at the 2011-12 squad. It has been a long strange trip, but we have finally arrived at the day that everyone was aiming for back in October. Today we await our fate, as the NCAA Tournament selection committee determines the path that YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles will have to travel to reach New Orleans. That's right kids, today is Selection Sunday.
In the first 2 years of this site, we have looked at Selection Sunday from a place of thankfulness. Thankful that Marquette was even going to be included in America's greatest sporting spectacle. There were moments in each of those seasons when our inclusion in the Dance was highly uncertain. Last year, was an even closer call than we realized it was going to be. So, in light of those circumstances, I didn't really have the heart to compile too extensive a wish list for what the committee decided for us.
This year is a little different. Don't get me wrong, I am still grateful for the position we're in. After arriving at Marquette during some pretty lean times, I will never take for granted the position the program is in today. However, this year we aren't sweating it out with booze and antacids. This year YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles have compiled a pretty impressive tournament resume. A 25-7 record, 14 wins and 2nd place in the Big East, an RPI of 8 and a strength of schedule ranked 20th, all make a pretty good case for the committee to award MU with a pretty high seed.
Most of the people who attempt to predict the bracket have Marquette getting a #3 seed. According the folks at Bracket Facts, as of yesterday afternoon 98% of bracket projections see the Golden Eagles winding up in that spot. This would seem about right to me, and that is how I hope it shakes out. However, I have many memories of coming into Selection Sunday with a proper seed in mind, only to find out that the committee did not agree with me at ALL. Remember the 5 seed and the first round match-up with Tulsa in 2002? What about getting dropped to an 8 seed in 2007? And my personal favorite, getting a 6 in 2008, and then getting shipped out to California for a second round match up with Stanford - the only team in the entire field that we didn't want to see that year. So you can understand if my confidence in the committee is not overly high.
As I write this there appears to be 6 teams besides Marquette vying for the #3 seeds: Michigan, Baylor, Georgetown, Florida State, Louisville, and Wisconsin. Michigan and Baylor are pretty much consensus across the board. If we assume that those two are on that line already that leaves means the other 4 will be the ones that MU has to worry about leap-frogging them in the Bracket.
Who might be the stealers of our seed, after the jump
- Wisconsin - I just want to say that if Wisconsin gets seeded above Marquette, I am going to flip the f*ck out. The teams have similar resumes: MU has the higher RPI (8 vs. 21) and holds a victory over the Badgers in their head to head meeting this season. I don't think we have to worry about Bucky.
- Georgetown - The Hoyas resume has a few advantages over Marquette. They have a better non-conference SOS (25 vs. 73), they have 2 more wins against the RPI top 50, and one more win against the top 25. However, Georgetown also has 3 fewer wins overall, 2 more losses to sub-50 RPI teams and 2 fewer wins in the Big East. I wish our friends from DC all the best in the Tourney, but I'm not worried about them jumping over us in the bracket.
- Louisville - This would have seemed highly unlikely a week ago, but with last night's victory in the Big East Championship, the Cardinals have put themselves into the discussion for a #3 seed. Joe Lunardi currently still has the Cards on the 4 line, but others (like CBS's Jerry Palm) have moved Louisville up to the 3 line. Will the committee do the same? Will it be at Marquette's expense if they do? Being that the Cards finished 4 games behind MU in the regular season and have a millstone loss to Providence hanging around their necks, I think we'll be ok. Louisville might move up, but I don't think Marquette will get bumped to make that happen. Despite Thursday night's debacle.
- Florida State - As I write this, the Seminoles are about to knock off a John Henson-less UNC team, and claim their first ACC Tournament crown. If they complete this feat, I will be very leery of FSU. They bring a 12-4 record in the ACC, an RPI of 18 (before the NC game), a better SOS (10 vs. 20), non-conference SOS (35 vs. 73), and a better record against the RPI top 50. And though I know the committee says it doesn't take recent performance in to consideration, they're only human and a team knocking off Duke and UNC in back to back days to claim the ACC title is going to influence people. Though they do have 3 losses worse than any MU loss, including at Boston College (RPI 243). Hopefully the Tarheels can pull this one out, because I don't want the committee to be comparing FSU and Marquette for the final spot on the #3 line.
So that's my take. Keep in mind that I am not a licensed Bracketologist, but I am basing my reasoning off of the work of those that are. Come 5:00 Central, I will be keeping my fingers crossed an hoping for that 3 seed. I really believe the road to the second weekend will be easier from the #3 line than it would be from the #4. Hopefully the committee throws us a bone this year. From my recollection, they owe us at least one.
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