Quick Takes: Re-evaluating Arizona and Creighton
Allonzo Trier returned from suspension on Saturday and the Arizona Wildcats looked the part of a potential No. 1 seed while beating UCLA on its home floor. In its first game with Maurice Watson, Jr., Creighton fell at home to Marquette, giving up over 100 points to the Golden Eagles. These are single games on each team’s resume. But two important questions arise for Selection Committee members: How do they evaluate Arizona (with Trier back) and Creighton (with Watson, Jr. out for the season)?
The first consideration is two-fold. One, Trier was suspended, not injured. Thus, Arizona’s resume will stand on its merits – meaning the Wildcats will likely not receive consideration for Trier’s absence in their two losses (Butler, Gonzaga). Two, Watson, Jr. is injured, sadly, and will miss the rest of the season. Thus, Committee members will have to evaluate Creighton’s performance from here to Selection Sunday. They’ll have a month or so monitor the Bluejays as it relates to possible seeding.
Additional thoughts on the No. 1 seed race…
- Arizona is 5-0 in true road games. Arizona is 8-2 away from home (adding in neutral-court games)
- By comparison, UCLA is 4-1, with their road loss by two at Oregon. UCLA is 8-1 away from home.
- Villanova continues to lead (by a wide margin). The Wildcats composite score (1.83) is vastly ahead of No. 2 Kentucky (4.50) and No. 3 Kansas (5.00)
- Florida State has seven (7) Top 25 RPI wins, most of any team, same for Top 50 wins (9). The only thing holding back the Seminoles is a home-friendly schedule thus far and a rather weak NC SOS. FSU has played just two true road games (1-1) with a huge win at Virginia and a loss at North Carolina.
- Baylor has the second most Top 50 wins (7) and the Bears lone loss is at West Virginia.
On a follow-up note, I am working on an additional Quick Takes related to the No. 1 seed line – running the numbers, resumes, and yes (composite rankings) for nine teams. Kentucky was No. 5 on the Seed List heading into Saturday. Gonzaga was No. 6. The larger question is … how might the Committee handle this situation if both teams were considered equal? My intuition tells me the Committee would think regionally and make Gonzaga a No. 1 seed in the West Region and place Kentucky as the No. 2 seed in the South. That’s assuming, of course, they wouldn’t have Kentucky (or someone else) ahead of say a team like Baylor or Kansas (who were No. 2 and No. 3 on our Seed List).
This will play itself out, but it’s an interesting conversation, for sure.