On Saturday, we found out where the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee stands on their top 16 seeds. Turnabout is fair play or something, which meant that on Monday night, we got a reveal of the women’s basketball top 16 seeds from their respective selection committee. As befitting a team ranked in the top 10 in the country in the Associated Press poll, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles find themselves as a #3 seed in the Chicago region.
The Golden Eagles are joined in the Chicago region by Louisville as the #1 seed and Stanford as the #2 seed. Iowa State turns up as the #4 seed, and lemme tell you, it’ll be a hoot if Marquette and Iowa State are paired up in any fashion in both tournaments. ISU is the #4 over in MU’s region on the men’s side of the aisle.
For the men’s bracket, they just laid out the top four seeds in each region and didn’t go any further with first round locations. That’s not the case for the women’s tournament, where each of the top four teams in each region will be the hosts for the first two rounds. With Marquette coming in as the #3 seed in the region, they’re very clearly on track to stay in the top 16 and end up hosting games at the McGuire Center in March. In theory, this means that Marquette could get to the Final Four by playing two games in Milwaukee and two games at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. That’s not terrible, not even in the slightest. Marquette’s biggest competition for spots in the Chicago region will be Notre Dame and the two Iowa schools. This could mean that it’s actually in Marquette’s interest to end up as a #3 seed and make use of the location.
As I said about the men’s bracket, I truly don’t like that the committee is doing this bracket reveal. There is absolutely nothing about this that the committee is beholden to come Selection Monday. If Maryland, for example, loses their next six games, they aren’t going to be anywhere near a #3 seed. On the flip side, if Texas, for example, runs the table, they’re going to come flying into the top four picture in a hurry. This is being done just to put things on television, just like the college football playoff committee puts together a show every week down the stretch of their season. Things can wildly change from week to week, and none of the reveals mean anything other than the one that actually matters.
Through games played on February 10th, Marquette has an RPI ranking of #8 in the country. Their strength of schedule is ranked #17, and the Big East as a conference is ranked #6. The bad news for the Golden Eagles is that they’re 0-3 in games against teams ranked #1-#25 in the RPI. The good news is that Marquette is undefeated in literally every other game, including a 6-0 record against #26-#50 in the RPI, aka “bubble teams.” I don’t think I’m asking all that much for St. John’s (#110), Creighton (#116), Providence (#117), and Seton Hall (#120) to pull their acts together and drag themselves into the top 100 of the RPI in order to give Marquette, DePaul, Villanova, and Butler (all top 50 teams) a little bit of a hand.
As things stand right now, Marquette only has one top 50 game left in the regular season: Their home game against Butler. Everyone else left on the league schedule is ranked outside the top 100, including both teams that MU will face this coming weekend when they go to the New York City area on their second to last road trip of the season. First up is St. John’s on Friday night, with the broadcast on that one coming to you via the Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go.