Friday, March 8, 2013

Bracketology: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Gonzaga on No. 1 line

I was a huge proponent of Gonzaga not being on the No. 1 line for a few reasons: The Big Ten is so good this year that three teams could have laid claim to a No. 1 seed. Then you have two ACC teams (Duke and Miami), two Big East teams (Louisville and Georgetown) to go with Kansas as "big boys" who have played a tougher schedule throughout the season and, without stumbles, would definitely have better resumes.

Then last week happened. Michigan lost at Penn State. Michigan State lost at Michigan. Indiana lost at home to Ohio State. Georgetown fell at Villanova. Miami lost at Duke. The compilation of those losses means there just isn't any way to keep Gonzaga off the No. 1 line (not today and not on Selection Sunday if Gonzaga wins the WCC Tournament).

Duke, by virtue of not being swept by Miami and by having arguably the toughest schedule in the country (Kenpom has MSU No. 1 and Duke No. 11) not only gets a No. 1 seed but, at the moment, would be the No. 1 overall seed.

I'm on record saying Indiana can lose at Michigan and in the Big Ten quarterfinals and should still be a No. 1 seed. The overall body of work is there and Indiana's wins stack up with any other team's. Now, could Indiana be the last No. 1 seed? Of course. But I just don't think, given my worst-case scenario, that the selection committee could justify putting four teams ahead of the Hoosiers on the S-curve.

The other No. 1 seed goes to Kansas. The biggest head scratcher as to how the committee will judge the Jayhawks is the TCU loss. It's, by far, the worst loss by any No. 1 seed contender. Then again, Kansas has been dominant as of late and a 27-4 record speaks for itself in a solid Big XII.


At this point, most of the debate centers around the "Last Four In." It's not that those teams don't matter but, seriously, those teams don't matter. There will be four "bid stealers" so if you're in a "First Four" game right now you need to play your way in. I have Iowa State, Tennessee, Virginia and Temple as those teams right now. 

Kentucky has two "good" wins this season: vs. Missouri (No. 8 seed) and vs. Ole Miss (projected First Four out). That isn't exactly the kind of resume you want to show the committee in hopes of a NCAA bid. Therefore, there is no debating the defending champion Wildcats are NIT bound at the moment.

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