Will Kansas Get a Number One Seed? Handicapping the Race…Posted by KoryCarpenter on March 4th, 2013
Less than a month ago it seemed ridiculous to mention ‘Kansas’ and ‘#1 seed’ in the same breath. They had lost three in a row for the first time in forever and dropped a game to the worst team in a power conference, falling to #14 in the AP poll on February 11. But then things started happening between then and now that needed to happen for Kansas to be in the discussion for a top seed so late in the season. Teams ahead of the Jayhawks started losing. Butler lost three times. So did Michigan State. Arizona and Syracuse each lost three games. Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, and Miami (FL) lost twice, as did Duke (although they were without Ryan Kelly in both instances). Kansas, on the other hand, is 6-0 since losing to Oklahoma on February 9. Louisville and Gonzaga are the only other teams from the top 14 in the AP poll three weeks ago that are undefeated since. And neither Louisville nor the Zags have the resume of Kansas in that stretch. The Jayhawks have beaten then #10 Kansas State at home and #14 Oklahoma State on the road — both RPI top 50 wins — as well as Iowa State on the road, a likely NCAA Tournament team with a #53 RPI ranking.
Barring two losses through the Big 10 Tournament (between three and five games), Indiana is a virtula lock for a #1 seed. Here’s what the other top teams look like, with resume boosters in bold and resume killers in italics.
- 25-4 overall
- SOS: 13
- RPI: 4
- 9-3 in road/neutral games
- 9-3 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: St. Louis (RPI #30), at Ohio State, at Oklahoma State, Kansas State (twice)
- Bad Losses: TCU
- Remaining Games: Texas Tech, at Baylor
- 23-5 overall
- SOS: 4
- RPI: 3
- 10-5 in road/neutral games
- 6-2 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: at North Carolina State, North Carolina (twice), Michigan State, Duke
- Bad Losses: Wake Forest, Florida Gulf Coast, Indiana State
- Remaining Games: Georgia Tech, Clemson
- 24-5 overall
- SOS: 44
- RPI: 11
- 7-5 in road/neutral games
- 7-4 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: North Carolina State, Ohio State, Kansas State, at Minnesota
- Bad Losses: Penn State
- Remaining Games: at Purdue, Indiana (#7 RPI)
- 29-2 overall
- SOS: 71
- RPI: 9
- 14-1 in road/neutral games
- 5-2 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: at St. Mary’s, at Oklahoma State, Kansas State
- Bad Losses: None
- Remaining Games: WCC Tournament
- 25-4 overall
- SOS: 1
- RPI: 1
- 10-4 in road/neutral games
- 8-2 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: Miami, Louisville, Ohio State, North Carolina State, VCU, Minnesota
- Bad Losses: Maryland
- Remaining Games: Virginia Tech, at North Carolina (#21 RPI)
- 23-5 overall
- SOS: 23
- RPI: 6
- 9-5 in road/neutral games
- 4-3 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: Marquette
- Bad Losses: Arkansas, Tennessee
- Remaining Games: Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
- 23-4 overall
- SOS: 33
- RPI: 10
- 8-3 in road/neutral games
- 7-3 vs the RPI top 50
- Good Wins: Louisville, Marquette, at Syracuse, UCLA
- Bad Losses: South Florida
- Remaining Games: At Villanova, Syracuse (#16 RPI)
A few thoughts
- Obviously, Gonzaga has to win the WCC Tournament to have a shot at a #1 seed. They’ll have a double-bye into the semifinals.
- Michigan probably needs to beat Indiana next Sunday for a legitimate chance at a top spot. If they lose to the Hoosiers, (and assuming they beat Purdue on Wednesday) it would be five losses in 10 games.
- For whatever reason, Georgetown screams “#2 seed” to me.
- Kansas has more top-50 wins (nine) than any other team on the list.
- Duke‘s #1 Strength of Schedule and RPI as well as its 8-3 record versus the RPI top 50 is impressive as well. As is its undefeated record with senior forward Ryan Kelly, who returned over the weekend from a foot injury.
If Kansas wins out through the Big 12 Tournament, they’ll have a resume worthy of a #1 seed and should have no problem receiving one. Duke is in a great spot as well. There were plenty of questions surrounding the Blue Devils as Ryan Kelly returned from an injury against Miami on Saturday. His 36 points said enough. If everything plays out close to form the next two weeks, expect Indiana, Duke, Gonzaga, and Kansas to be your four #1 seeds this year.