With a No. 6 national ranking in what has been called the deepest college basketball conference in the history of the world, the Louisville Cardinals are one game away from finishing their regular season after a 95-78 win on Wednesday night over Seton Hall.
Though the Cards control their own destiny for a No. 2 seed (with a shot remaining for the No. 1 seed) in next week’s Big East Conference Tournament, many bracket prognosticators have already anointed Connecticut and Pittsburgh as the de facto No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament.
Today, we will look at four factors that can help play key roles in determining Louisville’s potential for a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance.
1. The Big East Tournament
This will likely be the biggest determinant of Louisville’s seeding in the Dance. Even if the Cards lose out, a No. 4 seed is likely the worst-case scenario, and even that may be extreme. Though a Big East Tournament Championship should give the Cards a No. 1 seed, a trip to the championship game (especially if the Cards have to knock off UConn or Pitt in the semifinals) may be enough to propel UofL to the top line.
2. The Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
The scenarios that come along with the culmination of ESPN’s love affair with the ACC can really shake up the bracket. For UofL’s purposes, only two teams matter: Duke and North Carolina. A UNC championship will give them an automatic No. 1 seed because they are Carolina and nobody else is (it really is a sad situation).
Anyways, say Duke knocks off the Heels on Sunday afternoon and then proceeds to win the ACC Tournament with another victory over UNC in the finals. Both Carolina and Duke would have five losses (which is the current number of losses the Cardinals have). Would the Selection committee really give Tobacco Road two No. 1 seeds? If so, the Cards could be screwed, especially if...
3. Oklahoma Wins the Big XII Conference Tournament
This irks me more than anything this side of Memphis. How can the committee not punish the Sooners for finishing second in the conference because Blake Griffin gets a little woozy in the light, but they go ahead and reward Kansas for beating the Griffin-less OU? Missouri exposed the Sooners last night, but if Oklahoma wins the conference tourney, they probably deserve a No. 1 seed with only four losses.
As a Louisville fan, I still see Oklahoma as the same team Earl Clark pounded on during the NCAA Tournament last season, and the Cards would match up very nicely with Boomer Sooner.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane. It’s 2005. Louisville just completed a 29-4 season (with losses to Iowa at Conseco Fieldhouse, home against Kentucky, at Houston in the conference opener, and at home to Memphis in a sleepwalker of a game), capped off with a Conference USA Tournament Championship.
What does the NCAA selection committee do? They give the Cards a NUMBER FOUR SEED! And that was with a C-USA that included Cincinnati, Marquette, Charlotte, and Saint Louis (not Marshall, Texas El-Paso, and Tulsa).
It is absolutely unbelievable that John Calipari is able to con the selection committee into getting a No. 1 seed. At 12-3 overall (I don’t count any part of their 15-0 Conference USA schedule because a random sampling of straitpinkie.com readers can go out and finish 11-3 in the good ole C-USA), the Tigers are just sitting back waiting for some upsets in the big conference tourneys.
All the while, Memphis gets to host the C-USA Tournament in their building for the fifth straight season and gets to pound on the likes of Southern Miss, Tulane, and don’t forget Rice!
If the Tigers manage to get a No. 1 seed, I would venture to guess every Louisville fan would be salivating over getting a No. 2 seed in that region.
Well, we will see how this all plays out. As an interesting side note, since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, Louisville has never had a No. 1 seed. Four more wins should secure one, but as always, when you think you know how it all works, you really know nothing. The selection committee has proven that before.
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