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Blog Entry

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:11 am
Edited on: February 21, 2011 12:11 pm
 


Posted by Matt Norlander


Four, five, even six teams had valid claims and evidence they should be No. 1 in today's polls.

But that's a vapid, empty debate which means nothing in regard to what's really important: who's lining themselves up for a 1-seed. Regardless, the chatter of the rankings is ironically inevitable at a time of year when rankings couldn't mean less. It's already happened for the duration of the past 24 hours in preparation for the polls' release. And I've been cranky about the wasted talk on No. 1 before. So let me do my best to steer the conversation toward March — anybody home? Selection Sunday is 20 days away — where we've got quite a horse race developing for the overall No. 1 seed and the other three that will join atop the quadrants.

This is turning into a really fun chase for the top seeds. Let's look at the evidence collected and compare resumes.

San Diego State (27-1). The only one-loss team left in college basketball. I love when a non-Big Six team makes a run (and gets) a 1-seed. Fortunately, no one considers SDSU a fraud, which is refreshing. You know the only loss is to Brigham Young. The best wins are against Gonzaga, Wichita State, Saint Mary's and a sweep of UNLV. Strength of schedule is 41 and it is 3-1 against the top 50.

Brigham Young (27-2). The Aztecs and the Jimmers meet this Saturday to decide who gets the inauguration for the 1-seed bid out of the Mountain West. If SDSU wins and remains a one-loss team, the Cougars will play for a 2 at best, one they can get if the win the MWC tournament. BYU's SOS: 31. Record against the top 50: 6-1. Utah State, Saint Mary's, Arizona, a sweep of UNLV and that win over SDSU is what this team boasts; other loss is to UCLA. Saturday's going to be great. Parrish will be on site to write about it.

Duke (25-2). Duke's been expectantly slashing teams (exception: North Carolina) since it was humbled in a public, uncomfortable fashion against St. John's three weeks ago. Its SOS is 43rd, and it's 6-2 against the top 50, but only has one top-25 game. Nolan Smith (above) and the Blue Devils definitely aren't a shoo-in right now. Their win tally over notable teams reads like a standard bubble watch: Marquette, Kansas State, Michigan State, Butler, UAB, Maryland, Boston College, North Carolina.

Ohio State (25-2). No doubt OSU's still a 1-seed as of today. That's across-the-board thinking, right? The Buckeyes' two losses have come to teams who haven't dropped a home game this season. Way to pick your spots, guys. Wins over likely/possible tournament teams include Florida, Morehead State, Florida State, Oakland, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State (who hasn't beaten MSU?) and a sweep of Minnesota. That 24-0 start has tremendous shelf life. It's going to take four losses, minimum, for the Bucks to bump to the 2 line. SOS: 28; 9-2 vs. top 50.

Kansas (25-2). Jayhawks lose at home to Texas and on the road to K-State and somehow they're lost in the shuffle, don't you feel? Bill Self's team has defeated Arizona, UCLA, Missouri ... oh, and not much else. And I now we see why. Memphis, Valpo, Colorado State and middling Big 12 teams are cast across KU's slate. 'Hawks are 7-2 against the top 50, but won two of only three games against top 25 foes. It's still plenty 1-seed-worthy, don't get me wrong, but other teams have better cases as of today, even if Kansas is rated at the top in the overrated RPI. Good news is, KU's in no danger of dropping below 2; it shoots the ball better than anyone in the country. Teams don't lose that ability late in the year, in terms of multi-game stretches.

Pittsburgh (24-3). The Panthers have beaten more quality teams than anyone in the field, and they remain above the toughest conference in the country — that's why they're still a 1 as of today. Pitt's gone 10-3 against the top 50 and 7-1 against top-25 teams. Its strength of schedule is only 26th, but that's the second-highest of any team listed here. The win over 1-seed contender Texas is the most vital. No bad losses also will be handy.

Texas (23-4). Funny how so many still consider a four-loss team to be the best in the nation right now. Nothing wrong with it, but I am a bit surprised. Would I have Texas as a 1 today? That's a tough call. I think your seeding should be as much about what you did, who you beat, what you proved, how you tested yourself (and needed to almost universally pass those tests) as it is how good you are as of Selection Sunday. Texas' SOS is 39th with a 7-3 record against the top 100. Losses to Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Nebraska are by an average of two points. The 73-56 loss to USC defines aberration. Illinois, Michigan State, at Kansas, a sweep of A&M and beating Missouri is Texas' scalp collection. This is a team more impressive in numbers and on-screen domination than schedule.

Purdue (22-5). Oh, you better believe it. Now, the Boilermakers are the furthest out in the 1-seed solar system, but that win over Ohio State puts them in this conversation, my conversation. Previous to that win was a beatdown of Wisconsin. Well-played, Matt Painter. Oakland, Virginia Tech, Alabama and Valpo are all non-con conquests for Purdue. They're also all bubble teams. But the Boilers have the 11th-toughest schedule in the country, putting them tops in these digs. Purdue is 7-5 against the top 50 and 2-3 against the top 25. Only Pittsburgh's taken on a higher dose of respectable opponents. It'll take other teams falling around them, but the Boilermakers are now in position to make a late-season sprint toward a 1. A Big Ten tournament title is definitely part of the equation.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Feb 19, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:16 pm
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

Just curious, what has sold you on Duke?  KU and SDSU both deserve consideration over Duke.  Duke has beaten NO ONE besides UNC this year in a game that UNC frittered away themselves.
Duke's being battered for "not playing anyone" when they had a top 10 SOS at the beginning of the year. It's not their fault KState, Michigan State, Marquette and Butler all ended up fizzling out after getting stomped by the Blue Devils.

Plus, Duke has a potential NPOY and last year's Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Not to mention the fact that all signs are pointing to Kyrie Irving returning in time for the ACC tournament.

And, you're clearly uninformed if you honestly believe UNC "frittered away" that game by themselves. Duke dominated the second half because Nolan Smith and Seth Curry completely took over the game. UNC had no one who could guard those two. That, along with Duke's stifling defense in the second half, was the difference.

All the Duke haters can continue to hate. I remember the skepticism after Duke got blown out by Georgetown last year. People were saying they wouldn't make it out of the second round. They then went on to lose only one more game the entire season. We all know how that turned out.



Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:31 pm
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

Personally I am not yet sold on Kansas or SDSU

Just curious, what has sold you on Duke?  KU and SDSU both deserve consideration over Duke.  Duke has beaten NO ONE besides UNC this year in a game that UNC frittered away themselves.



Since: Feb 21, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2011 8:14 am
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

All the speculation is fun, but Duke and Kansas will still be playing on April 4th.  Big East teams kill each other during the season, Texas always falls short of expectations, and Big Ten teams are vastly overrated.  San Diego State and Brigham Young are OK but they won't last long.  In any event, the tournament is the greatest show on earth, and I can't wait for it to start.



Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:22 am
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

Personally I am not yet sold on Kansas or SDSU
OSU, Texas, Pitt, and Duke will likely be the 1 seeds, with OSU being the overall 1 (unless texas loses to kansas in the big 12 tourny)
2 seeds will be Kansas, BYU, SDSU, and Purdue or the next big east team. 



Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:51 am
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

I'm enjoying all the talk about how bad the top teams are this year. Ohio State, Duke, and Kansas only have two losses. Pitt only has three despite being in the Big East. Texas is beating the snot out of every Big 12 team not named Nebraska. And we even have two mountain west teams that only have 3 combined losses. I'd say the top looks pretty good.



Since: Nov 8, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:57 pm
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

Seriously?!  With a post like that you show that you are simply a Buckeye hater.  Wisconsin and Purdue are both beasts at home and both ranked in the top 15.  Buckeyes very well could get the overall #1 seed.  And they would deserve it.  What really matters, though, is that when tourney time starts, they continue to win.  Go BUCKS!!!


Finland_Lenny
Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 7:36 pm
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

Can you honestly tell me the bump and grind bad shooting teams that get extra props because of ntheir TV markets would do the same in the MWC.  NO!  Frankly, your arrogance is disgusting.  I like Purdue and Ohio State.  Wisconsin is a fair team.  The BIG-EAST outside Notre Dame and PITT play extremely average fundamental basketball.  If it were not for the excessive eastern bias and Dicky-V lack of knowledge of anything outside either Tobacco Road or West of the Ohio Valley, the BIG EAST would be a collection of good teams with belove average shooting, ball handling and fundamental skill.  They get pound-it-out officiating and they play good defense, but really - a good shooting team will defeat that most of the time.  See them play at altitude and wilt.  Kansas, Duke, BYU and St Marys are good shooting teams....Notre Dame and Pitt shoot well.  The rest of the Big-EAST is a l,oy of over-hyped layground grunt and grind ball. Sorry, I like basketball, not playground ball.

 




Since: Feb 8, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:32 pm
 

A fun race has evolved for the No. 1 seeds

I actually think OSU or PITT deserves the number#1.


Finland_Lenny
Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:26 pm
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Post Deleted by Administrator



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