Syracuse lost at home to Georgia Tech, 67-62 Tuesday night.
Duke lost on the road to Wake Forest, 82-72 Wednesday night.
Both teams were in the mix to possibly grab a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if either had won the ACC Tournament. That’s not happening now. Virginia – winners of 13 in a row – has an outside shot at a No. 1 seed, but it’ll have to win the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. The Cavaliers last captured that tournament title in 1976. To pull that off next week, UVA would likely have to go through two of these three: Syracuse, UNC and Duke.
So after Arizona, Florida and Wichita State – assuming the Shockers don’t slip up in the Missouri Valley Tournament – who are the strongest candidates for the last No. 1 seed?
Kansas? The favorite because of a) talent and b) toughest schedule in the country. But Joel Embiid’s back injury is cause for concern. If Kansas wins the Big 12 tournament, it’ll probably get a No. 1 seed.
Villanova? Don’t laugh. The best team in the watered-down Big East only has three losses (all by 14+) and neutral court wins over Kansas and Iowa. Their only losses are to teams in the RPI Top 25. The Wildcats’ RPI: 4. Strength of schedule: 45. Ken Pom strength of schedule? 17. If Kansas slips up in the Big 12, and Villanova can finally beat Creighton … Jay Wright could get a No. 1 seed.
Louisville? The Cardinals are 25-5, swept by Memphis, but swept SMU. Close out the season against UConn. Win that and win the American Conference Tournament and the Cardinals might have a shot, right? Probably not. RPI strength of schedule: 96. Non-conference SOS: 155. Ken Pom strength of schedule: 112.
Michigan? How could this be? Without Mitch McGarry? Ahead of Wisconsin? RPI: 13. Strength of Schedule: 4. (Wisconsin is narrowly better in both categories, split with Michigan, but didn’t win the Big 10.) The Wolverines have 10 Top 50 wins – tied for second best with Arizona (Kansas has 12). Ken Pom has Michigan’s strength of schedule as 3rd. If Michigan wins the Big 10 tournament title, it’ll be tough to deny the Wolverines a No. 1 seed.
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