Around the Rim: How injuries impact selection/seeding
Losing Dominic James to a broken foot certainly hurts Marquette. He was part of a dynamic three-guard offense and an exceptional defender. You hate to see any player injured – it’s especially tough when the player’s a senior on a team having an excellent season. We wish him a full recovery.
Just how does James’ injury affect Marquette come Selection Sunday? That will depend largely on how the team plays without him over the next couple of weeks. Not only is it bad timing because of the NCAA Tournament, but the Golden Eagles are also entering the toughest part of their schedule. As the Selection Committee accounts for James’ absence, they will have to not only evaluate wins and losses, but assess the team’s overall performance without James. If Marquette performs well, seeding effects will be minimal. Should the Golden Eagles struggle, where best to place them in the Bracket will be a much tougher decision. Will they be a four seed? Five? Or without James are they a six or seven seed? Hard to say. We’ll know a lot more prior to the Big East Tournament in New York.
While there’s no question Connecticut misses Jerome Dyson, the Huskies’ win at Marquette (even without James playing most of the game) is a good indication (for now) that UConn is still in line for a No. 1 seed. That’s one advantage of an injury occurring when the team has time to re-adjust and show what they can do post injury. You probably remember Kenyon Martin’s injury during the first round of the Conference USA Tournament in 2000. A loss to St. Louis cost the Bearcats a No. 1 seed. He was a significant part of the team’s offense and defense, and Selection Committee members had no chance to evaluate Cincinnati without him. As a group, they dropped the Bearcats to a No. 2 seed and identified Martin’s absence as the biggest reason.
As we fly toward Selection Sunday it will also be critical for St. Mary’s to get Patty Mills back. The Gaels haven’t been the same team without him. Their odds of an at-large bid right now aren’t looking good – even with the win over Utah State in the Bracket Busters.
Haven’t heard a final word on David Lighty at Ohio State – but he is practicing again. The Buckeyes would (will) be more dangerous if he can return and be effective. As for NCAA selection or seeding, any benefit from his return would only be considered if he plays -and makes an impact – before Selection Sunday (say in the Big 10 tournament).
It should also be noted that Dayton has lost a key starter again. Guard Rob Lowery is out for the season and has already missed several games. The Flyers will have plenty of chance to be evaluated without Lowery in the lineup, so how they do down the stretch is even more important. One of their best wins (Marquette – neutral court) came with Lowery in the lineup.
Have thoughts? Send me a Rebound – Dave the Bracketguy.