How Marquette Gets to the Final Four
Marquette Golden Eagles might have been a sneaky Final Four team for some prior to their four-game losing streak. If the Golden Eagles go 2-2 to finish the season, they’re probably a four or even a three seed. Due to their losing streak, it knocked them down a few seeds but thanks to an aggressive non-conference schedule, Marquette remained a five seed. Can they get to the Final Four? If Markus Howard is healthy and he finds beast mode, there’s a chance. If the Marquette big man stay out of foul trouble, there’s a chance. Marquette is a top 30 KenPom team with an elite point guard, they can do it. Here’s the path assuming there’s no major upsets.
Round 1: 12th seed – Murray State -> There is a ton of hype around Murray State heading into Thursday’s matchup for the Golden Eagles. Marquette’s run can end in the first round without question, but Murray State is flawed. Ja Morant is the only guy on the team. They do not have a second banana and have struggled against Quad 1 teams this season.
Round 2: 4th seed – Florida State -> Things get very tough in Round Two. Florida State is a bad matchup. They’re like St. John’s on steroids. They have athleticism oozing out of their system. Seminoles have a KenPom offense that is nearly top 30 with a top 10 defense. Noles are damn good including Terrance Mann who can be a complete killer down the stretch. It’s worth noting that Leonard Hamilton’s teams haven’t been great in the Tournament. Florida State has found ways to lose in the past.
Round 3: 1 seed – Gonzaga -> I said on the podcast with Mitch yesterday that Marquette would likely be a 10 point underdog if they face off against Gonzaga. I don’t think enough casual fans give them credit for good of a team this is from the outside to the inside. Marquette has not seen a team like the Bulldogs. They are the highest-scoring team in the country, and while Marquette’s defense is better than it was last year, this would be a massive challenge for them.
Round 4: 2 seed – Michigan -> Because it’s basketball, Marquette finds a way to take down Gonzaga. Maybe the team deploys what St. Mary’s did and they advance to the Elite Eight. What makes things tougher for the Golden Eagles is they have to completely change their game for the Elite Eight. Michigan is a grind-it-out tough defensive team. Michigan has the size inside to match what Theo John and Ed Morrow bring to the table. The one thing I will say about this matchup is Marquette gets hot, the Wolverines are not a team that can come back from a large deficit.
Degree of Difficulty – 10/10: I’m not going to sugarcoat this for Marquette. If they found their way to the Final Four playing the best teams in the West Bracket, it would be an amazing accomplishment for the team and Steve Wojciechowski. I don’t see it happening unless there are upsets all over the region.