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Going Through Like A Million What-If NCAA Tournament Scenarios For Marquette

T-Rank Bracketology is a hell of a drug

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at DePaul David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll start with some sincerity. I’m going to go through an exercise to see where Marquette would be if a few things over the course of the season played out differently. The intent is partially to get you thinking about the full scope of the Marquette basketball season.

I will literally bet the citizenship status of my children that half of you thought about the close losses when you read that paragraph. That’s mainly what I want to address. Other things happened other than the close losses to Villanova and Xavier and we’re going to barrel through an insane combination of those events to see how different things could be, for better or for worse.

I also said that getting you thinking about the full scope of the Marquette season was partially my intent. By partially I mean it’s like 8% of the reason. The other 92% is to get you, the beloved reader, to get a poor night’s sleep tonight. I want you thinking about all the possible ways your life could be better or worse based on the performance of a basketball team.

Some people may say that playing the what-if game is a terrible way to go about your life and that moving forward after brief, meaningful reflection is the best way to find happiness. You may refer to them as “therapists” or “close companions” or “family members,” but they don’t know jack. Those people can go kick rocks and be burned at the stake as far as I’m concerned. Pondering endlessly over past events that you have no control over is the way of the future. Ride with me, my friends. Ride with me on this train bound for greatness.

I will use T-Rank’s addicting Teamcast tool to run my simulations. In T-Rank’s current simulation, aka “What if the selection committee made their announcement RIGHT NOW,” Marquette is the third to last team in the tournament thanks to some fortunate losses by some bubble teams this week. This will probably change by the time you read this. I don’t care.

I will start with some of the more tame scenarios to whet your beak a little, but I end up kind of going off the walls if I’m being honest. I’ve been in some humperdink town doing manhole inspections this week. Actually they’re not going to know I’m talking about them because they’re all like 98 years old driving Ford Rangers with their dogs all day. Waverly, Missouri is the town driving me to this.

What if Marquette beat DePaul, but lost to Seton Hall on the road?

We’re subbing out a good win in order to avoid a bad loss. Marquette does worse here. They’re the fourth team out of Dayton with less than a third percent chance to make it. Good wins are better than avoiding bad losses. Remember that.

What If Marquette Beat Providence On National Marquette Day?

The real question should be, “What if I won that scotch glass in the raffle that I bought roughly 30 tickets for on that day?” The answer would be drinking a balls-ton of scotch in a monogrammed robe looking like a goddamn champion. Instead I won a tumbler that I gave to my roommate as a ceremonial turning over of my fandom. I was checking projections an hour later.

The actual game was a heartbreaker and a waste of a good party. Markus Howard committed a turnover as he dribbled up the court with a chance to tie or win the game in the final seconds. But let’s say he hits a fadeaway three at the buzzer to win. What happens then?

Not much changes, but it’s enough for us to take a few deep breaths. They sit on the 11 seed line, one spot clear of Dayton. Providence takes a pretty big nosedive, though. They end up 10 spots out of the tournament in this situation. Hold onto your conference road wins, folks. They’re treasures.

The team affected most by that changed result other than those two teams is Mississippi State, whose chances would change by 4.8% to put their tournament odds at 24%.

What If Marquette Lost To Providence On National Markus Howard Day?

I should also say that these questions are independent of each other, so this question now assumes that Marquette still lost on NMD.

Pretty much the flipped result happens. Marquette is 12 spots out of the tournament and sitting at 7.7% odds, sitting between Oregon and Penn State. Hold onto your conference road wins, folks. They’re treasures.

Providence becomes an 11 seed here, and St. Bonaventure’s tournament chances fall by 4% on account of Marquette’s previous victory over VCU I guess, even though Rhode Island definitely beat Providence. I’m trying not to think too much about this.

What If Marquette Beat Xavier AND Villanova?

That’s right, nerds. We’re doing both. Play time is over. We’re cliff diving face first into this pile of absurdity. If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space. So what happens if Xavier didn’t pull ahead in the last few minutes and Villanova didn’t hold off Marquette’s attempted comeback?

Before this, can someone please tell me what The Blacklist is? It’s on in the background as I write this and I’ve never heard of it. Also some guy with small glasses and maybe the most wrinkles I’ve ever seen on a face is on a lot and I can’t stop looking. It’s mesmerizing.

The ticket has been punched for weeks now and it’s just a matter of seeding. Currently they’re an 8. Villanova is a 1 seed and Xavier is a 2. Temple’s odds have fallen 5%, leaving me to only wonder what Fran Dunphy could have done if he still had Juan Fernandez.

Oh my God, remember the Eastern Illinois game? Let’s add the Northern Illinois game too.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more mad at a win than I was for the overtime victory against Eastern Illinois. I had a meltdown. Let’s change this to a loss, even though I’ve tried my best to treat that game like that Simpsons episode where we find out Principal Skinner was actually named Armin Tamzarian and never talk about it again. Remember when Mad Men literally did that exact same storyline?

I remember making some jokes about how Marquette should never play directional Illinois schools again after struggling against Northern Illinois, so let’s add that. I’m also going to weave in a mention of the 2007 Southern Illinois Salukis team because they were amazing. Jamaal Tatum has my eternal loyalty. A true Missouri Valley legend.

Marquette is maybe fighting for an NIT bid now. They’re the 20th team out of the tournament, behind Old Dominion and UCF, which shouldn’t even be allowed to play basketball games because without Tacko Fall there’s no reason to ever watch them. Their odds are at 0.6%. All hope is lost. Arizona State benefits for some reason.

What if Marquette lost to Eastern Illinois and Northern Illinois AND Beat Xavier and Villanova?

My god. This doesn’t even make any intuitive sense anymore. Screw it, we’re rolling with it.

Their odds have increased by 13.3%, moving them a total of one spot up. They’re still in Dayton.

What if Marquette lost to American?

You think I can’t play God? I just turned a 39 point win over the 329th ranked team in the country to a loss, just like that. I can’t be stopped. There’s no hope in even containing me.

12th team out of the tournament. 7.7% chance.

They’ve won every single game except for Chicago State.

1 seed. 99.9% tournament chance. Alabama sneaks into Dayton. Butler does not.

President Trent Johnson

America’s only fuel source is the 2008 Stanford team.


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Black sun. Dust encompasses the Earth. Bob Huggins pullover.