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Let’s Look At Marquette’s NCAA Tournament Selection Profiles

We’re officially into January, which means it’s time to start thinking about bracketology. First, let’s set the table to know what we’re looking at as March creeps closer.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Hello and welcome to 2024. You know what that means? We’re officially over the line where it’s okay to start thinking about bracketology. Before the first of the year, you had situations where the Joe Lunardis of the world were letting preseason expectation affect what they thought their bracket projections should look like, and that’s not how that is supposed to work. Your wins are your wins, and you have to project the bracket that way.

But now it’s January, everyone’s got more than 10 games to their names, we have real data to look at, and so the bracketology is going to start getting real. We’re not going to take a spin around the bracket world this week, but instead, we’re going to set the table for future looks at bracket mock ups.

What we’re doing here is taking a look at Marquette men’s and women’s basketball’s NCAA tournament selection profile as of the morning of January 2, 2024. This is all information straight from the NCAA’s team sheets, which are always publicly available for you to peruse. We’ll highlight some of their specific data, and then we’ll get into the teams’ records against the categories that the NCAA has set down for them. We’ll also show you how many games they have remaining against each category, but remember: The rankings can change. Thus, opponents can slide in and out of categories as the season goes along. All I’m telling you is how many games they have left against that category right now.

Let’s go!

Men’s Basketball

Record: 11-3
NET: #10
NET Strength of Schedule: #20
NET Non-conference Strength of Schedule: #19

Quadrant 1: 3-3
Q1 Games Remaining: 8 (2 vs UConn; 2 vs Villanova; @ Creighton, St. John’s, Butler, and Xavier)

Quadrant 2: 1-0
Q2 Games Remaining: 5 (@ Seton Hall; Home vs Providence, St. John’s, Butler, and Xavier)

Quadrant 3: 2-0
Q3 Games Remaining: 2 (Home vs Seton Hall; @ Georgetown)

Quadrant 4: 5-0
Q4 Games Remaining: 2 (2 vs DePaul)

I want to say this about Marquette’s non-conference schedule, because it’s weird to say: St. Thomas is currently a better win for Marquette than UCLA. Facts are facts. The Tommies are #131 in the NET, and the Bruins are #144. Both are plunked pretty much right in the middle of their home/neutral breakdown for the Golden Eagles and so are probably going to stay there for a while.... and so beating UST is a better win than beating UCLA. If anything, that gap might improve because St. Thomas is projected to win a bunch of games in the Summit League and UCLA is projected to lose a bunch of games in the Pac-12.

There’s nothing that’s right on the line of moving one way or another in the quadrants right now, but a run of wins or losses for anyone could obviously change that. Even DePaul is pretty much stuck in Quadrant 4, as they would need to jump nearly 40 spots in the NET to move MU’s game at Wintrust into Q3. It would require a jump of over 100 spots to get the Fiserv game there, so we’ll write that off as a lost cause.

Women’s Basketball

Record: 12-1
NET: #35
NET Non-conference Strength of Schedule: #308

NET 1-25: 1-1
1-25 Games Remaining: 2 (Home vs UConn, @ Creighton)

NET 26-50: 0-0
26-50 Games Remaining: 4 (2 vs Seton Hall & Villanova)

NET 51-100: 4-0
51-100 Games Remaining: 5 (2 vs St. John’s & DePaul; Home vs Georgetown)

NET 101+: 7-0
101+ Games Remaining: 5 (2 vs Butler & Xavier, at Providence)

Yes, it’s weird that there’s not a regular Strength of Schedule item on the women’s team sheet. There is Average Opponent NET and Avg Opp NET Rank, where Marquette is at 158 and #118 respectively, but that’s not SoS.

For entertainment purposes, I’m going to do the same home/neutral/road breakdown for the Quadrants that men’s basketball uses. I don’t know why the NCAA doesn’t do that for women’s basketball now that they’re using the NET instead of RPI, but they’re not, and that’s not a new problem.

Anyway, here’s what MU’s Quadrant breakdown would look like.

Quadrant 1: 1-1
Quadrant 2: 4-0
Quadrant 3: 1-0
Quadrant 4: 6-0

As always, this doesn’t mean that Marquette is getting screwed over by the lack of home/neutral/road breakdowns because everyone else would get to sort their games this way. However, it is clear that Marquette’s schedule does look better when you sort it that way.

With the way they are doing things, Marquette’s biggest problem right now is Creighton’s NET rank of #20. The Golden Eagles need them to stay in the top 25 since they are likely to stay MU’s best win. Next biggest item: Villanova is at #49, and it would be very helpful if the Wildcats stayed in the top 50. Next: Illinois Stats is at #96, and keeping that road win in the top 100 instead of in the “yeah, whatever, it’s sub-100” column would be very good.

This came up in the Big East Whip-Around, but I want to point at it here: Marquette has to play not one but two buy game caliber Big East contests because of Xavier’s current NET rank of #320. That’s worse than everyone on the schedule except for IUPUI and Saint Peter’s, and at least Marquette played IUPUI on the road. We will get a very good look at exactly how much of an impact that game will have on MU’s NET ranking on Sunday morning after things update following the MU/XU game at the McGuire Center this coming Saturday.

Thoughts? Questions? That’s what the comments section is for.