Happy KenPom.com Release Day to all that celebrate.
The 2023-24 KenPom preseason data went live on Sunday afternoon, which is smart counterprogramming to a healthy day of NFL action.
We’re here to get a handle on where Marquette stands heading into their Big East regular season and tournament title defense. Let’s just get right to it: Marquette starts off the year as the #11 team in the country.
I’m going to say it again, because it’s fun: Marquette is the preseason #11 team in the country according to the KenPom computers.
The algorithm sees the Golden Eagles as the #6 offense team in the country heading into the season and the #28 defense. For context, they were #11 in the country heading into last year’s NCAA tournament and when everything came to a rest in April, the Golden Eagles were #10 overall. They were ranked #7 in the country in the Offensive Efficiency metric, and #43 in the Defensive Efficiency metric.
Let’s get to where the Golden Eagles stand in the Big East:
An important thing to remember as you look at these: The algorithm can not adjust for coaching changes, at least not in the way of porting over the new coach’s style of play to things. We learned that over Marquette’s first two years under the direction of Shaka Smart and the Golden Eagles were seemingly undervalued, so think about that when you look at Providence, St. John’s, and Georgetown and remember that’s really just assessing recent program history and the roster at hand right now. Ken Pomeroy wrote on his Substack that the preseason numbers do take into account injuries that are expected to affect things through the start of conference play, so it’s very interesting to see Xavier sitting at #34 with the expectation that Zach Freemantle will not be suiting up for the Musketeers. Is that a little bit of Sean Miller effect after just one season?
Onwards to the game projections!
The algorithm says that Marquette is going to go 21-8 overall this season and 14-6 in Big East play. Yes, that’s missing two of the games in the Maui Invitational, but that’s because you can’t project a result when you don’t know the two teams involved. For the record: Four of the other teams in the Maui field, including Marquette’s potential second round opponent, are all in the top 10 of the rankings, ahead of the Golden Eagles. 14-6 in the Big East projects to be one game behind Connecticut’s 15-5 atop the standings, tied with Creighton, and two games ahead of Villanova’s 12-8 mark.
That’s the overall projection. Going game-by-game, Ken Pomeroy’s computers project Marquette to end up at 24-5 with a 17-3 record in the Big East. The projected losses are exactly what you think they are: Road trips against the three best teams in the league not named Marquette.
Because these are projections, there is a certain amount of leeway and give involved here. For example, the algorithm says Marquette is projected to lose on the road to Illinois.... but that’s only a 44% chance and a one point game, 74-73. These kind of things are coin tosses in the computer projection world, games projected to be decided by one possession, and there’s more than one on the Marquette schedule. There’s three games between 40% and 50%, meaning projected losses, and three games between 50% and 60%, which means projected wins. If the narrow losses tilt to wins and everything else is the same.... that’s 27-2 and 18-2 in the Big East.
If the narrow wins tilt the other way and everything else is the same, that’s 21-8 and 15-5 in the Big East. Still a very good season, by the way!
Got questions? Got thoughts? That’s what the comments section is for, so fire away!