Monday, March 7, 2011

Where Should Marquette be Seeded?

First of all, congrats are in order for DJO making Second Team All Big East and Jimmy Butler getting an Honorable mention.  Well done guys, if I had it my way you'd both be on the First Team.

Now onto the important stuff.  To those of you that follow Cracked Sidewalks, you've probably seen this already but there's a website called The 2011 Bracket Matrix, which you can see here.  This is a pretty neat site, in that it compiles bracket projections from all different types of websites, from the big guys like ESPN and CBS to other sites like Bracketography that do nothing but predict the 64-team field.  All of the seedings are summed up and averaged so you can see the consensus seed for each team.

This site was last updated this morning so it's about as recent as we're gonna get.  With that in mind, believe it or not, MU is currently a 10-seed on it.  Of the 81 brackets on the site, here's our breakdown in terms of seed projection:
Seed# of Brackets% of Total

Not bad.  5% have us out of the dance, and 85% have us as an 11-seed or higher.  However, if you go to the site, you'll see one major caveat, which is that not all of the brackets are updated as of 3/7, some are about a week old.  Here's a table showing the "As of" dates:

Date# of Brackets% of Total

Could be better, but it looks like about 70% of the brackets are completely up to date, 30% are missing the loss to Seton Hall, and about 15% don't include the loss to Cincy.  There's some decent information coming from this site, but take it with a grain of salt until at least all of these brackets are updated through 3/7.

With that in mind, let's take a look at a few other factors the Committee is going to look at:

Record: 18-12
Conference Record: 9-9
Record over last 10 games: 5-5
RPI: 68
Strength of Schedule Rank: 31
Record against Top 25 RPI: 4-6
Record against Top 50 RPI: 4-11
Record against RPI 50-100: 3-2
Record against RPI over 100: 11-0
Out of Conference RPI: 122

Pretty mixed bag of figures here.  Here's the way I see it:

- Record against Top 25 RPI.  Going just under .500 against the cream of the crop looks very good, and those 4 quality wins against West Virginia, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and UConn will look very favorable in front of the Committee.  They want to see that we're both capable of winning big games and winning on the road, and we've done both of those with this stat.
- Strength of Schedule.  31st toughest schedule will show that we're tournament tested and won't be intimidated by anyone we'll face if we make the dance.  Heck, the Big East Tournament is practically a NCAA Tournament with 16 teams and a ton of talent.
- Record against RPI over 100.  No bad losses is good news for MU.  Seton Hall's RPI is 91 so we just snuck in there with an unblemished record against bad teams.

- Record against Top 50 RPI.  Compare this to the record against the top 25, and it basically says we've gone 0-5 against the 26-50 in the RPI.  These teams are the complete cream of the crop, but they're pretty close.  Hopefully the Commitee puts more weight on the top 25 than the top 50.
- Record over last 10 games.  The Committee likes to see who's on a hot streak, and at this point we're anything but.  Had we beaten St. John's, Cincy, and Seton Hall we'd be in a different boat, but at this point we just look flat, if not worse.
- Out of Conference RPI.  The Comittee, especially over the last few years, has put extra emphasis on the entire body of work, from mid-November to mid-March.  Our weak RPI from November to December won't look very good to the Committee, and this could be the difference between a 12-seed and NIT.

Enough with the numbers Dan, what seed are we getting, if any???

Tough to say at this point, as the Big East Tournament is a big factor in deciding our future.  At this point, I'm assuming we beat Providence, and fall to West Virginia in the second round.  Between our quality wins and tough schedule, I think the Committee will look favorable on us.  Along with this, there's the "soft bubble" that the media has been talking about.  What this means is that the Butlers and Gonzagas of the world aren't as good as they've been in recent years which means they won't get high seeds and push power conference teams to higher seeds, as well as other power conference teams out of the tournament.  This means there's more room for the bubble teams like ourselves (and yes, that's a good thing).  With this in mind, I think when it's all said and done we'll have done enough in the Committee's mind to come out with an eleven seed.  I'll readily admit I've been wrong before (just look at my pre-season predictions), but that's my prediction-du-jour and I'm sticking to it until I decide to change my mind.

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