Florida State keeps piling up quality wins. After beating Duke in Tallahassee on Tuesday, the Seminoles are 4-0 in the ACC and have seven wins against the Top 50 of the RPI – the most of any team in the nation. The only remaining question is this: Can FSU take it on the road? We ask because, to date, the Seminoles only true road game has been their win at UVA. Next up, a trip to Chapel Hill. There’s also a three-game road swing at the end of January. Navigate those and FSU will be in the No. 1 seed discussion as the calendar flips to February.
No real surprise that Baylor lost at West Virginia. The margin might be a little surprising, but the Mountaineers are a tough matchup, particularly in Morgantown. We’ll see how the Bears respond. Read more…
It’s New Year’s weekend. Conference play has started. The race toward March is upon us, and with it, the race for No. 1 Seeds. Today, those slots belong to Villanova, Kansas, Baylor, and UCLA. Villanova’s survival against DePaul, and UCLA’s last-second loss at Oregon do not change those team’s positions. Opinions vary, of course, but the next four spots on the Seed List look like this: Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Gonzaga. If you have a different order, that’s fine. For me, UCLA’s win at Kentucky still trumps a one-loss Duke team, whose best win is Florida on a neutral court.
Indiana and Texas AM take the biggest slides. When the Hoosiers are good, they’re really good – as noted by wins over Kansas and Carolina. But IU has also been inconsistent and played a rather ugly non-conference schedule for a team with its roster and pedigree. The result? IU has an RPI of 122 (as of this posting), with the loss at Fort Wayne and then at home to Nebraska. The Hoosiers are too talented to be concerned, but a protected seed has to be earned. With that in mind, Louisville awaits on Saturday. Read more…
Given the Christmas season, it’s appropriate that Saturday is wrapped with an extravaganza of college hoops. You can start with the Crossroads Classic and meander through a variety of resume-worthy matchups.
Visit the Schedule page for a complete list of games worth tracking.
Here’s a quick peek at a few of the more important resume games on tap …
Utah vs. Duke – After a drubbing at the hands of Wichita State (with Fred VanVleet in the lineup), the Utes are searching for a signature win and this is their last chance before Pac-12 play begins.
Wichita State at Seton Hall – The Shockers certainly look like a different team with VanVleet on the court. But with four early losses on the docket, every quality win counts. As for Seton Hall, beating a healthy(ier) WSU team would add another notch to the Pirates’ profile that already features wins over Ole Miss and Georgia. Read more…
Syracuse and Xavier are among the biggest Seed List movers as December arrives. Ahead of an exciting Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the Orange sit at No. 10 (a three-seed) and Xavier at No. 13 (top four seed).
It’s certainly been a wild couple of weeks in college hoops. We’ve already written about the Monmouth Hawks, one of several mid-majors to put notable non-conference wins on their resumes. The challenge will be maintaining momentum in the weeks and months ahead. Fast starts do not always equate to strong finishes.
It’s early, so the Seed List will continue to ebb and flow. We’ve seen unexpected slow starts from teams like Indiana, California, and LSU. Not to mention Wichita State, which has been devastated by injuries and a heap of early losses.
With such a small sample size, it’s too soon to draw lasting conclusions. But November has certainly left several power-conference teams with work to do in December. We’ll see how it plays out. As a quick reminder, SMU is not listed on the Seed List because the Mustangs are not eligible for post-season play. Enjoy another week of hoops!
Ask someone which ACC-Big Ten Challenge game they are most looking forward to and you’ll likely hear a common answer: Duke at Wisconsin. That’s certainly the headliner, with two projected No. 1 seeds battling at the Kohl Center.
But let’s dig a bit deeper – because barring a collapse, both the Blue Devils and Badgers will be Dancing as high seeds. This is a much more important event for teams like Florida State, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Purdue, and NC State. Let’s take a look:
Nebraska at Florida State – The Seminoles have staggered out of the gate, at one point losing three straight to Northeastern, Providence, and Massachusetts. A victory over Nebraska would begin to rebuild a non-conference resume that finds a victory over Manhattan as its best asset. For the Huskers, who dropped an OT decision at Rhode Island, a road win at FSU would build some momentum ahead of a date with rival Creighton on Sunday. Read more…
1 – Florida Gulf Coast: This was an easy choice. No 15-seed had ever made the Sweet 16 at the NCAA tournament until this year. Perhaps the Eagles were underseeded, but that’s not really the point. This is a team that beat Miami early in the season and has captured the Cinderalla spirit with its wide-open pace and fun-loving personalities. Will FGCU continue its run and beat Florida? Collectively, we’ll be watching. And if it’s a close game in the final minutes, anyone in North Texas who’s not a Gators’ fan will take a ride on the Eagles’ wings.
2 – Michigan State vs. Duke: When it comes to March, it’s hard to ignore a matchup between Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski – two of the NCAA tournament’s Goliaths. It will also be a contract in styles. MSU will try to use it’s size and bulk to pound the glass and score in the paint. Duke will counter with its quickness, guard play, and Ryan Kelly’s ability to stretch the floor. Whichever team establishes its style and makes the other adjust likely wins.
3 – A 1987 Flashback: Indiana fans well remember Keith Smart’s shot to beat Syracuse in the 1987 National Championship game. While Bob Knight has long since departed the IU sideline, Jim Boeheim remains at Syracuse. In an ESPN Radio interview this week, Boeheim said that Smart’s game winner still resonates. At various times this season, both the Hoosiers and Orange were ranked in the Top 5. This is a Final four type matchup with a lot at stake. Indiana was a preseason favorite to cut down the nets in Atlanta.
4 – Oregon Ducks: When the brackets were released on March 17, one of the biggest surprises was finding Oregon as a 12-seed. While the Ducks did not boast a high number of marquee wins, they went 12-6 in the Pac 12 regular season (with point guard Dominic Artis missing significant time), and won the conference tournament. Since, they’ve won two NCAA tournament games by an average of 15 points – beating Oklahoma State and Saint Louis, a team many considered to be a Final Four sleeper. Oregon’s run may end against top-seed Louisville, but the Ducks are peaking at the right time.
5 – La Salle Explorers: While Gonzaga had its doubters, there probably weren’t many brackets that matched Wichita State and La Salle together in Los Angeles. A First Four participant, La Salle already has three NCAA wins – more than any other team in the Sweet 16. It harkens memories of 2011 when 11-seed VCU made its run from the First Four to the Final Four. Now a victory over the ninth-seeded Shockers is all that stands between the Explorers and the Elite 8.
Going into today, the biggest question was whether Louisville or Indiana would be the overall No. 1 seed. Great arguments can be made either way. Indiana won the Big Ten outright and had some very strong road wins. Louisville won a share of the Big East regular-season title and won the conference tournament in spectacular fashion. Both resumes are impressive. Indiana led the Midwest Region in our early morning update and ultimately the Hoosiers stayed put. If the Selection Committee ranks Louisville above them, I have no issues. It was a coin-flip. As for the rest of the top line, Duke and Kansas join the Hoosiers and Cardinals. Gonzaga had a stellar season and was also deserving of a No. 1 seed. Miami-FL was in the mix, too. But there are only four spots available.
FINAL 2013 BRACKET PROJECTION | March 17 – 5:00 p.m. ET
FINAL S-CURVE Rankings | March 17 – 5:25 p.m.
Ole Miss earned its ticket by beating Florida in the SEC title game. It took what could have been a tough decision out of the Committee’s hands. It’ll be interesting to see how the Committee handles this year’s group of bubble teams. Every resume has holes. It would be great to see the Committee reward Middle Tennessee. In a tough call, MTSU is one of our first team’s out. We’ll all know soon enough.
It’s been another great season, and the tournament is sure to provide us with excitement, great games, and remarkable story lines. Thanks for your continued interest. The journey is what makes it fun and worthwhile.