The Bracketology Report: Marquette

Updated: January 28, 2004, 12:36 PM ET
By By Tom Durso | Insider Bracketologist

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
In desperate need of a win, Marquette (RPI No. 67, SOS No. 117), playing at home last Saturday, had to thrash and tear its way back from a 12-point first half deficit before putting away DePaul (RPI No. 68, SOS No. 53), 70-62. The victory halted a three-game losing streak and kept the Golden Eagles from dropping four straight for the first time since 1998-99.

Travis Diener, returning from a frightening neck injury sustained in a Jan. 20 to Charlotte (RPI No. 45, SOS No. 51), netted 15 points and dished 12 assists, while freshman Dameon Mason, whose pregame migraines also had him listed as questionable, scored a game-high 21. The Golden Eagles won despite being outshot, 54 to 44 percent.

Coming up
The game of the season for Marquette is Saturday, when the Golden Eagles travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals (RPI No. 1, SOS No. 12). Making an already difficult task even more daunting is the potential return of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who left the team earlier this week to seek help for an undisclosed medical ailment. Pitino's presence surely would boost the frenzy at Freedom Hall to new heights.

Next Tuesday, Marquette returns to Milwaukee to face TCU (RPI No. 147, SOS No. 43). At first glance the Horned Frogs don't look to pose much of a challenge, but by Tuesday it may not matter as much for the Golden Eagles. Without a win at Louisville-- or at least a very strong performance --last year's Final Four surprise could be this year's disappointing flameout.

"Bubble trouble"
The Golden Eagles are No. 68 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart, joining fellow C-USA squad Charlotte as two of the "last four out" of the projected NCAA field.

When last we pondered Marquette's chances in this space, we noted that the Golden Eagles had compiled a non-conference schedule that only a pastry chef could love, and we warned that wins against the cream of the C-USA crop would be needed to prove their legitimacy. Well, a three-game losing streak a couple of weeks has rendered Marquette's game Saturday against Louisville about as "must-win" a contest as a team can play in January.

How's that for a challenge?

Games of the Week
Marquette fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS.
For WISCONSIN @Ohio State (Wed.)
ARIZONA @ Washington St. (Sat.)
Against CHARLOTTE @ Cincinnati (Sat.)
E. Michigan @ W. MICHIGAN (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) Notre Dame, Saint Louis, DePaul
"Bad" losses
(vs. RPI 101-200) NONE
(vs. RPI sub-200) NONE
Record vs. projected field (0-2)
Loss: @Arizona, @Wisconsin
Record vs. at-large pool (2-1)
Win: Notre Dame, Saint Louis
Loss: @Charlotte
Reason(s) to INCLUDE Marquette
  • 5 upcoming games vs. RPI Top 100
  • Reason(s) to EXCLUDE Marquette
  • SOS No. 117
  • 2-4 road/neutral record
  • Season breakdown (12-5, 3-3)
    All RPI data through Sunday, Jan. 26

    Date      Opponent          Result      Opp.RPI      Opp.SOS
    11/13     @St. John's       52-45         149          10
    11/21     Savannah State    79-41         301          124
    11/22     Valparaiso        75-70         173          148
    11/24     Northern Michigan 70-58        	N/A          N/A

    12/1 Notre Dame 71-58 81 63 12/5 Grambling 71-55 308 223 12/13 @Arizona 75-85 (L) 8 15 12/15 Canisius 68-65 208 202 12/20 @Wisconsin 59-63 (L) 11 18 12/22 Florida A&M 83-63 293 319 12/29 Sacred Heart 77-72 263 302

    1/7 @Houston 65-52 153 102 1/10 Saint Louis 61-59 85 149 1/14 Cincinnati 73-85 (L) 12 59 1/16 N-Southern Miss 61-83 (L) 61 9 1/20 @Charlotte 76-84 (L) 45 51 1/24 DePaul 70-62 68 53 1/31 @Louisville 1 12

    2/3 TCU 147 43 2/7 @DePaul 68 53 2/14 Memphis 41 100 2/18 @Saint Louis 85 149 2/21 Tulane 158 105 2/26 @South Florida 119 62 2/28 @UAB 29 16

    3/3 East Carolina 165 185 3/6 Louisville 1 12

    Joe Lunardi's forecast (Jan. 28)
    Chance of NCAA top seed: 0 percent
    Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 5 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