By Dennis Berry
As we head into the weekend all the major conferences are having their conference tournaments. Some teams are playing to improve their seeding. Others are playing just to get the automatic bid that comes with it.
A few other teams are fighting for a number one seed in the tournament. When Gonzaga – ranked number 1 in the polls – won the West Coast Conference tournament they locked up a number one seed. The Bulldogs will likely be the top seed in the West Regional, which will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
So which teams still have the best shot at a number one seed? These three teams appear to be in the best position to get the remaining top seeds.
The Hoosiers came into the 2012-13 season with high expectations. They have lived up to the hype. They went 26-5 during the regular season and 14-4 in the Big Ten to win the regular season title. They would seem like a lock to get the top seed in the Midwest Region, which happens to be in Indianapolis. Yet they come into the Big Ten tournament with just a 3-2 record in their final regular season games.
As long the Hoosiers make it to the Big Ten Championship game, they should get a top seed. An early exit could mean that they slip to a two seed.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils did not win the ACC regular season title, they finished second to Miami. They can still make a case for a top seed, though. That is this – Duke did not lose a game when they were healthy. They lost Ryan Kelly on January 8th with a foot injury. All four of their losses this year came without Ryan Kelly in the lineup. Since he came back it appears Duke is back to being dominate.
Still, to be sure that they get a top seed they should win the ACC Tournament. They cannot afford an early exit or for Miami to win it. If they win the ACC Championship, they will almost certainly be the top seed in the East Region – Washington, D.C.
Louisville was another team that came into the 2012-13 season a favorite to win the 2013 national championship. They started out the year12-1 going into Big East play, but struggled in the middle of the season. They went 3-4 during the stretch from January 19th to February 9th.
Since then, the Cardinals are on a seven game winning streak heading into the Big East Tournament. They have won 26 games and have a RPI ranked third. If they win the Big East they will probably be the top seed in the South Region – Arlington, TX.
Here are three other teams that could slide into one seeds if they play well and one of the teams listed above has trouble in their conference tournament.
You know that the Hoyas would love to be the top seed in the East Region and play at home in DC. Sadly the rules will not allow that to happen. Still, the Hoyas have a shot at a top seed.
They have won 24 games and went 14-4 in the Big East to win the regular season conference title. They have a RPI in the top ten and have a strong record against the RPI Top 5 (8-4). If they had not lost at Villanova on March 6, they would probably be more in the mix. If they make the Big East Finals, they could be playing for a number one seed against Louisville.
I know what you are thinking, “Kansas? Didn’t they just get throttled by Baylor?” Well yes they did. But you know what else? They also won a share of the Big 12 title for a ninth straight season. At one point they won 18 games in a row.
They do have that loss to Baylor and a loss at TCU, but they still have a good resume. They have a RPI in the top ten (6th), are 5-2 against the RPI top 25 and 11-3 against the RPI Top 50. It would be a long shot, but if they win the Big 12 Tournament and all the other teams on this list lose early, they could be a one seed.
It seems like Miami gets left out of number one seed talk. They did win the ACC regular season championship. They have a really good resume as well. They rank fourth in the RPI. They went 6-2 against the RPI Top 50. If they would have won at Duke on March 2nd, they would probably be talked about more.
So what does Miami have to do? Win the ACC Tournament. If they win it and defeat Duke in the process it should be enough to move them to a one seed.
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.