The Bracketology Report: Marquette
Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.
Week in review
Marquette (No. 96 RPI, No. 260 SOS through Jan. 5) has yet to play in 2004. Its most recent games were victories over the hardly imposing duo of Sacred Heart (No. 203 RPI, No. 259 SOS) on Dec. 29 and Florida A&M (No. 319 RPI, No. 282 SOS) a week before that.
The Golden Eagles used Travis Diener's 22 points to down Sacred Heart, but, troublingly, had difficulty landing the knockout punch. Against the Rattlers, though, Marquette coasted, riding Steve Novak's 19 points for the easy win.
Tom Crean's crew will look to shake off the rust when they take the floor for the first time in the new year while also beginning play in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles launch their defense of the 2003 title by tipping it off at Houston (No. 122 RPI, No. 179 SOS) on Wednesday, then welcome Saint Louis (No. 113 RPI, No. 165 SOS) to Milwaukee on Saturday.
The Cougars don't figure to give Marquette too much difficulty, while the Billikens are projected as a middle-of-the-pack C-USA squad. A match-up with Cincinnati (No. 20 RPI, No. 152 SOS) lurks next week, though, so the Golden Eagles must take care not to look ahead.
The Golden Eagles are No. 37 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. That makes Marquette a No. 10 seed, as well as the fifth Conference USA team in the projected NCAA field.
Marquette's disappointingly soft non-conference slate won't win much support among Selection Committee members. To cite just one example, how can a defending Final Four team schedule a Division II opponent (Northern Michigan) and then win by just 12 points? Several such punching bags litter Marquette's early season lineup, and the Golden Eagles have had way too much trouble with a few of them.
Wins against C-USA's best -- think Cincinnati and Louisville (No. 3 RPI, No. 12 SOS) -- will go a long way toward convincing folks that the Golden Eagles are again for real.
Games of the Week Marquette fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS. For Mich. St. @ WISCONSIN (Sat.)
California @ ARIZONA (Thur.)
Against CINCINNATI @ Tulane (Wed.)
LOUISVILLE @ South Fla. (Sat.)
Inside the Numbers Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include: "Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) NONE
(vs. RPI 26-50) NONE
(vs. RPI 51-100) NONE
(vs. RPI 101-200) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-200) NONE
Record vs. projected field (0-2)
Loss: @Arizona, @Wisconsin
Record vs. at-large pool (n/a)
Win: does not yet apply
Loss: does not yet apply
Reason(s) to SEED Marquette
- 8-2 vs. Division I
- tougher competition coming up
Reason(s) to DROP Marquette
- No. 260 SOS
- zero wins vs. RPI Top 100
Season breakdown (9-2, 0-0)
All RPI data through Monday, Jan. 5
Date Opponent Result Opp.RPI Opp.SOS 11/13 @St. John's 52-45 121 27 11/21 Savannah State 79-41 295 127 11/22 Valparaiso 75-70 197 91 11/24 North. Michigan 70-58 (D-II) N/A N/A
12/1 Notre Dame 71-58 167 278 12/5 Grambling 71-55 271 22 12/13 @Arizona 75-85 (L) 4 17 12/15 Canisius 68-65 165 77 12/20 @Wisconsin 59-63 (L) 15 33 12/22 Florida A&M 83-63 319 282 12/29 Sacred Heart 77-72 203 159
1/7 @Houston 122 179 1/10 Saint Louis 113 165 1/14 Cincinnati 20 152 1/16 Southern Miss 95 81 1/20 @Charlotte 50 145 1/24 DePaul 87 103 1/31 @Louisville 3 12
2/3 TCU 166 65 2/7 @DePaul 87 103 2/14 Memphis 31 99 2/18 @Saint Louis 113 165 2/21 Tulane 170 234 2/26 @South Florida 123 148 2/28 @UAB 33 5
3/3 East Carolina 158 305 3/6 Louisville 3 12
Joe Lunardi's forecast (Jan. 6)
Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 15 percent
Chance of NCAA bid: 60 percent
Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 50 percent
Chance of NIT bid: 35 percent
Chance of missing post-season: 5 percent
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