Sunday, March 12, 2017

Penultimate Bracketology - 3.12.17 (AM)

The NCAA Tournament has never had a No. 1 seed with 8+ losses. Duke has a great case to be the first. That is just one story from a super Saturday of basketball. Our count of automatic bids is now at 26 with just six more to go on Sunday (We're waiting on you, AAC, A-10, Big Ten, Ivy League, SEC, and Sun Belt).

NO. 1 SEEDS: It took one day for me to regret my "The No. 1 seeds aren't changing" comment. The more you compare resumes, the more you could make a case for UNC and Duke as No. 1 seeds. Gonzaga did everything you'd want a powerful mid-major team to do (besides going 33-0). It has great nonconference wins with three neutral site wins in three tries against Arizona, Florida and Iowa State. If Gonzaga doesn't get a top seed it'll be a travesty. So, that leaves the last No. 1 seed (South) up for grabs between Duke, UNC, and Arizona. My money's on the ACC Tournament Champion Blue Devils (which will evoke plenty of emotions from fans everywhere). 
LAST FOUR IN: USC, Wake Forest, Kansas State, Rhode Island
FIRST FOUR OUT: 
Illinois State, Syracuse, California, Iowa


ACC: Duke came unglued in stretches in its ACC title game bout with Notre Dame, but this team is so talented and, luckily for Coach K & Co., it is playing its best heading into the NCAA Tournament. Duke won four games in four days, beating Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame in the final three, to claim its 20th ACC Tournament Championship. It'll be interesting to see how the selection committee defends its seeding of Duke (No. 1 seed with 13 RPI Top-50 wins, Coach K's seven-game absence, player injuries, etc.). A No. 2 seed seems like the floor, but could anyone not argue for Duke over UNC or Arizona for the final No. 1 spot? 

BIG TEN: The hottest team in the Big Ten (Michigan) takes on the Big Ten's hottest early-season team (Wisconsin) in the title game. Funny how things change. Just three weeks ago many were questioning whether Wisconsin would win another game this season. Now, Wisconsin has a chance to win its fourth Big Ten Tournament Championship on Sunday. Both teams are safely in the field. Both teams are in the 6/7 seed range, and while I have Wisconsin as a No. 6 right now, I'm not sure Michigan would have the complete resume to swap with the Badgers and bump Wisconsin down to a No. 7. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time the Big Ten Tourney final's result didn't affect seeding. 

BIG XII: Iowa State won its third tournament title in four years by beating West Virginia. The Cyclones are one of those 3/4/5 seed line sleeper teams with the guard play and star power in the post that could make a splash in Phoenix. 

BIG EAST: Villanova claimed the Big East Tournament Championship, effectively locking up the No. 1 overall seed. The last defending champion to lock up the No.1 overall seed the following year was Florida in 2007. And yes, those Gators went back-to-back. Just a thought... 

PAC-12: The biggest news came before tip-off, when Oregon's Chris Boucher was lost for the season with a torn ACL. No, this isn't Kenyon Martin-esque (Oregon has the nation's top JuCo player who will fill in for Boucher's backup), but it might affect Oregon's seeding and Final Four/title chances. Arizona took advantage, getting revenge for a thumping at the hands of the Ducks earlier in the season. Arizona, at 30-4, is such an intriguing team in terms of seeding and a ceiling. This could be Sean Miller's first Final Four team, regardless if it's a No. 1 or No. 2.

SEC: Kentucky is doing Kentucky things. In many other years, Kentucky would be a lock for a No. 1 seed with a win Sunday. Instead the Wildcats are really a No. 2 seed regardless of the SEC final result vs. Arkansas. Still, it doesn't mean the Wildcats are any less dangerous. This is a great team that can win it all. Speaking of Arkansas, is there another team getting less attention out of a major conference than Arkansas? The Hogs have won eight of nine - albeit not coming against SEC heavyweights - and they are pretty much an 8/9 game lock, right? 

1 comment:

  1. I see that some good and tough teams are there in the group stages. It will be a tough competition and interesting to watch. Keep us updated about it in future.

    ReplyDelete