The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee released a list of their top 16 teams on the morning of Saturday, February 9th, and yes, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are in the top 16. Specifically, they turned up as the #3 seed in the East Region.
Marquette is joined in the East Region with Duke Blue Devils as the #1 seed overall in the tournament, Michigan Wolverines as the #2 and #6 team overall, and Iowa State Cyclones in the four spot and #13 overall. That’s as far as the committee laid things out right now, as they did not dive deep enough to determine what location any of the teams would be going for their first round games, much less who their first round opponents might be.
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 Sunday. If Houston, for example, loses their next six games, they aren’t going to be anywhere near a #3 seed. On the flip side, if Villanova, 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 8th, Marquette has a NET ranking of #21 in the country. Their schedule ranks #57 in the country in terms of overall strength. They have a 7-3 record in Quadrant 1 games, and a 2-1 record in Quadrant 2 games. MU has three games expected to be Q1 games left on the schedule (both games against Villanova and a road trip to Seton Hall) and five games expected to fall into Q2 (home against Creighton, Butler, and Georgetown, and on the road against Providence and DePaul).
Marquette has three games that have already been played to watch in terms of their placement in Q1 and Q2 as the season goes on. Buffalo is currently at #26 in NET, while Kansas State is currently at #30. That #30 spot is exactly the cutoff for home games in Q1, so it would be to MU’s benefit if both of those teams trend towards #25 instead of towards #31. The road win at Georgetown is the third. The Hoyas are sitting at #72 in NET, and #75 is the road cutoff for Q1.
Marquette starts their quest to hold one of those top 16 spots in the bracket rankings when they tangle with Villanova this afternoon. Tipoff is set for 1:30pm, with the broadcast coming through your teevee on Fox.