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Can Marquette still make the tournament?

The Big East has a chance to put seven teams in the tournament, but the Golden Eagles are hanging on the edge.

NCAA Basketball: Butler at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Marquette laid an egg. (This is not a bird pun). Hanging on the edge of NCAA selection, the Golden Eagles got crushed by Butler at home. A 92-72 home loss is going to do nothing to impress the selection committee, but Marquette is far from eliminated already the beauty about the Big East are the chances it gives each team. Tonight, we’ll take a brief step outside the Xavier bubble to check on our neighbors in Wisconsin.

For starters, we’re going to use Joe Lunardi’s bracket projections, with an assist from our own Chris Dobbertean. Both have seven Big East teams in as of right now, and both have Marquette as the last of those teams. Well, they did. At this time of year bracket projections aren’t up to the minute, and as of two days ago Marquette was in. That was before the Golden Eagles took such a hiding last night. Anonymous Eagle thinks the Eagles need 11-7 in conference to make it, right now they stand at 4-6.

The first thing Steve Wojciechowski’s boys need to do is avoid the disaster loss. They can probably take two losses if those losses come to quality opponents. Seton Hall or Creighton away are respectable losses, and even Creighton at home isn’t devastating in a vacuum. What can’t happen is a loss to both DePaul and Georgetown. Either of those can be survived if Marquette wins every other game. Losing both of them leaves the Golden Eagles with serious work to do in the Garden.

So what is the good news for Marquette? The teams around them don’t play in the Big East. Joe Lunardi has the Golden Eagles sandwiched between Houston and SMU. Both of those are AAC teams and, in addition to not having the big win chances Marquette does, even some of their remaining wins are going to be absolute garbage. Both have multiple games left with sub 300 teams. That’s not helping at all, and it could be an absolute dream crusher for either team. Lagging just behind are teams like Western Kentucky, St. Bonaventure, and Utah. None of them play in a league that will give them the big win chances Marquette still has left, and all have far more chances for the resume crippling loss.

So, for now, the Golden Eagles seem to hang just on the positive side of the bubble. Getting crushed again won’t help, losing to the two bottom dwellers won’t help, but there are far more positives left for the team than there are negatives. If, of course, they learn how to play defense. How hard can that be on the fly?