Bracketology: NCAA Bid Case for Marquette vs. Nebraska

Doug Upstone

Friday, February 9, 2018 2:20 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 2:20 PM UTC

We are at the time of year that it finally makes it tolerable to listen to ESPN's Joe Lunardi when it comes to Bracketology. With this, we are adding a new feature that provides a head-to-head battle.

What we want to look into which team at this time is more deserving of being the NCAA Tournament. We will break it down for easy understanding and include college basketball odds that add to the intrigue.

According to Lunardi and others, who study the art of building brackets and how the selection committee usually works, at this juncture, neither team is part of the field or in the group of the 'Next 4 In'. That means they have work to do.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Conference: Big East (2nd, according to Sagarin Ratings)

Record:14-10 SU (11-11-1 ATS)

Current RPI: 55

Best Wins: Seton Hall (twice)

Worst Losses: Georgia (at home)

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: 30,000 to 1

NCAA Tournament History: 41-32 SU

Key Games Remaining: Home/Away with Creighton

Marquette's path to the tournament is a long shot at best, but there is one path. The Golden Eagles schedule is weak outside of playing Creighton twice, thus, they must win at least five of the six contests still on the schedule, though 6-0 would have more an impact. The perfect scenario would be to win the Big East Tournament to secure a bid, however, reaching the Finals at worst should have Marquette on a short list.

The Golden Eagles have essentially beat who they should and lost to who they were expected to, which keeps the excitement level down on them. At the present time, Marquette has the No.12 strength of schedule which helps them, but they will slide with what is on tap. The highly respected KenPom.com rankings have coach Steve Wojciechowski's squad 49th in his rankings, but there are three other 10-loss teams ahead of them. Bottom line, Marquette has to be nearly perfect the rest of the season. They face St John's this Saturday at noon.

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Nebraska Cornhuskers

Conference: Big Ten (5th)

Record:18-8 SU (18-6 ATS)

Current RPI: 53

Best Wins: Michigan

Worst Losses: St. John's and Central Florida

5Dimes Odds To Win NCAA Tournament: 38,000 to 1

NCAA Tournament History: 0-7

Key Games Remaining: Maryland

The Big Ten is down this year and that will not help Nebraska's case. Nevertheless, the Cornhuskers will play four of their final regular-season games in Lincoln. Beating Maryland at home does not sound like a big deal, but the Terrapins are in the same group as the Huskers, so beating them knocks the Terps down.

If they win those and avoid an upset at Illinois, they start helping their case and having the fourth-best record in the Big Ten still means something. From there, Nebraska has to reach the conference tournament semi-finals. Reaching the championship game would be ideal, but if they lost to Purdue, Michigan State or even Ohio State by three or fewer points and passed the eye-test, that would help.

KenPom.com has the Huskers at 57, with a mediocre strength of schedule of 109. The Cornhuskers face Rutgers this Saturday.

Does Either Team Have a Chance of Being In Big Dance?

Realistically, both clubs will have a difficult time unless they get a real roll. Though Nebraska has a few elements working against them, their overall situation is more favorable moving forward based on schedule and if they can secure fourth-seed in the Big Ten. I would give the nod to the Children of the Corn if they do what is needed.

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