Earlier today, I ran a poll using a blind taste test to determine the #1 seeds, listing just the record against opponents ranked at various levels in the RPI. You have spoken, and, well, I think your choices have very little chance of actually happening on Sunday. It seems pretty clear that readers do not care about bad losses when it comes to the #1 seeds, because Miami and Kansas were among the leaders, and dinged teams from tough conferences who had near .500 records against the top opponents but dominated the rest of their schedule. Here is who each of the profiles represented:
Alligators = Indiana, if they won the Big Ten Tournament
Bartenders = Louisville, if they won the Big East Tournament
Camels = Miami if they won the ACC Tournament (over NC State and North Carolina)
Dinosaurs = Michigan State if they won the Big Ten Tournament
Elephants = Kansas if they won the Big XII Tournament
Fish = Gonzaga
Gnus = Duke
Hippos = New Mexico if they won the Mountain West Tournament
Iguanas = Georgetown
Jaguars = Indiana, if they lost to Wisconsin in Big Ten semis
Indiana, if they had won the Big Ten tournament, would have been one of the top vote getters, but alas, that didn’t happen. The top vote getters still alive were Kansas, Duke, Miami (if they win the ACC tomorrow), and New Mexico. Gonzaga was fifth. Louisville didn’t even rank, and well, I actually think they will now be the top overall #1 seed.
Here, by the way, are the top 20 teams in my W.A.M.A.L. (Wins Over Median At Large). I can understand why voters would look at, say, New Mexico’s RPI profile and put it ahead of Indiana. However, the nature of those Top 25 games (vs. Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, compared to UNLV, Colorado State, San Diego State) are different. The teams in italics can still improve their rating with games tomorrow.
I know the committee does not use this measure explicitly, but I think they take a closer look at things and this is a good approximation. Will the Kansas Jayhawks get a #1 seed after winning the tournament title and sweeping Kansas State in three games? I think they have a chance.
In my opinion, Louisville is the clear #1 overall choice after winning the Big East tournament. Gonzaga should hold on to a #1 seed based on how the other conference tournaments played out. Indiana will still likely get the third based on winning the Big Ten outright. The fourth? Duke or Kansas. How much will the committee consider the TCU loss, versus Duke not winning the ACC regular season or tournament. We shall see tomorrow.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]