Welcome to Selection Monday, everyone.
It’s a slightly different Selection Monday than we were expecting to have for Marquette women’s basketball back on February 14th. Back then, Marquette was 21-3 and riding high. The NCAA had done a bracket preview, and the Golden Eagles were cleanly in the top 16 and poised to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament at the McGuire Center.
And then they lost to St. John’s in their next game.
At the time, not that big of a deal. First loss of league play, first loss since 2019 started. That’s fine, especially on the road.
Then, a week later, Erika Davenport blew out her knee, ending her season and collegiate career in a game where Marquette let an eight point lead in the fourth quarter slip through their hands and lost at home to Butler. Again, contextually, not the worst thing. Injury in the game, Butler is the third best team in the league.
And then, a week later, Marquette lost on the road to Creighton in the final week of the regular season.
They went from 12-0 in Big East play to 15-3 by finishing 3-3 down the stretch. Thankfully, that was still enough to win the Big East regular season championship outright, so that still goes into the record book. However, those three losses may have cost Marquette the chance to host the first two rounds of the tournament.
Marquette did reach the Big East tournament title game, but ended up losing a tightly contested game to DePaul. That’s not a bad loss by any means, as the Blue Demons would have been in the NCAA tournament even without the automatic bid that they earned. But Marquette probably needed the win to be in the top 16.
Here’s what Marquette’s NCAA tournament profile looks like heading into the Selection Show:
Her Hoop Stats Ranking: #6
RPI Ranking: #12
Strength of Schedule: #22
Record vs RPI 1-25: 2-4
Record vs RPI 26-50: 2-0
In a projection updated at 10pm Central on Sunday night, ESPN’s Charlie Creme has Marquette as the #5 seed and headed to College Station, Texas, for the first round. In a bit of hilarity, he has them matched up against Quinnipiac, the team that beat MU in the first round back in 2017. For the purposes of making interesting tournament games year in and year out, I would hope that the committee does not do that. Russell Steinberg over at High Post Hoops put a brand new bracketology up on Monday morning, and he also has MU as a #5 seed. Here, it’s Missouri State as the #12 seed, and this game is set to be played out in Corvallis, Oregon. I would prefer that Marquette not travel to Oregon for the first round, but when you end up as the #5, you go where the committee tells you to go.
2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show
Date: Monday, March 18, 2019
Time: 6pm Central