Dave Klinger (Photo: Marquette Athletics)
Who are we playing? How good are they? Who’s going to win, and why?
In this exercise we tried to answer these questions, rating each game in the schedule by difficulty and predicting the outcome.
“A” game = top-50 opponent (away), or top-25 (home)
“B” game = top-100 opponent (away), or top-50 (home)
It takes our modest projections of each team and adjusts it by location. It’s the same model KenPom.com uses to rate the difficulty of a game. For example…
Below we included in parentheses each team’s KenPom ranking at the end of last season. It may not line up with the game’s “A” or “B” rating. That’s because some teams look like they’re going to be better or worse this season.
W vs. Vanderbilt (25) at Navy Alumni Hall in Annapolis, MD (B)
W vs. Howard (330)
W vs. Michigan (50) at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY (B)
L vs. SMU (16) or Pittsburgh (36) at MSG in NY (B)
W vs. IUPUI (207)
W vs. Houston Baptist (277)
W vs. Western Carolina (195)
L at Georgia (71) (A)
W vs. Fresno State (108)
L vs. Wisconsin (38) (A)
W vs. St. Francis (299)
W vs. SIU Edwardsville (312)
W vs. Georgetown (62) (B)
W at Seton Hall (29) (A)
W at Villanova (1) (A)
L vs. Seton Hall (29) (B)
W vs. DePaul (182)
W at Butler (30) (A)
L at Creighton (40) (A)
L vs. Villanova (1) (A)
W vs. Providence (44)
L at St. John’s (211)
W at DePaul (182)
W vs. Butler (30) (B)
L at Georgetown (62) (A)
W vs. Xavier (12) (A)
W vs. St. John’s (211)
W at Providence (44)
L at Xavier (12) (A)
L vs. Creighton (40) (B)
Final: 21-10 (11-7 conference)
These results are calculated with no scientific means. They are solely based off how Marquette performed in “A” and “B” games last year.
Last season, Marquette finished 3-8 in “A” games and 4-2 in “B” games. This season, I think Marquette will win 1-2 more “A” games” and lose 1-2 more “B” games.
Here’s why Marquette will win more “A” games:
- They return talented, experienced players
- Entering last season, Marquette returned 42% of its minutes. Entering this season, the team returns 79% of its minutes. Those returning players–like Haanif Cheatham, Jajuan Johnson, and Luke Fischer–do many good things.
- They add talented, experienced transfers
- Katin Reinhardt and Andrew Rowsey were significant contributors for their former teams. They’ve also logged thousands of minutes in college basketball.
- They’re going to shoot more threes
- The team returns all four guys who shot over 34% from three and adds Reinhardt (37%), Rowsey (37%), Markus Howard (48% on 37 shots in 5 games for U17 Team USA), and Sam Hauser (43% in senior year, 50% in junior year at SPASH).
So, we chose the Golden Eagles to split with Xavier and Villanova.
And here’s why Marquette will lose more “B” games:
- They’ll live and die by the three
Without a high-usage Detroit Piston under the hoop, Marquette will have to rely on the three ball more often. The Golden Eagles will win games they shouldn’t and also lose some they shouldn’t.
So, we chose Marquette to lose a handful of “B” games: Creighton at home, Seton Hall at home, and SMU/Pitt at MSG in NY. (Last year’s “B” game losses were Creighton at home and Seton Hall at home.)
And here’s why we chose Marquette to lose to St. John’s:
We lost to DePaul at home last year. Before that, we lost to Nebraska-Omaha at home.
No one could’ve predicted those losses.
Expect the unexpected.
That’s a pretty good projection for Marquette. Will they make the NCAA Tournament?
With a record like that? Well, yeah. More wins would get them a higher seed, and more losses would push them onto the bubble or out of the postseason.
But I don’t know what’s going to happen and neither do you. This exercise only sets an idea of expectations, which are subject to debate.
If you think we’re wrong about something, feel free to tweet your thoughts or comment on Facebook at @mubbnation. (Trust me, we hope we’re wrong about the Wisconsin game too.)
Tweet us your thoughts at @mubbnation, or comment below.