Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
New Mexico as a No. 4 seed has to be some sort of practical joke, right? The Lobos are fifth in RPI, fourth in SOS and tied for second in RPI Top 100 wins, with 11. By every traditionally meaningful metric, they are, at worst, a No. 2 seed.
What am I missing here? Was the loss at San Diego State really THAT bad? Yes, they scored a grand total of 34 points in the game, but the Aztecs are No. 25 in RPI. And if I’ve learned anything this season as a Duke fan, it’s that one bad night does not define your entire season.
Are we considering the loss to South Dakota State a resume killer? That’s hardly fair, because the Jackrabbits are a solid team, Nate Wolters played out of his mind, as usual, and no team should be penalized for losses that occur within three days of Christmas.
Then it must be the 14-point loss at Saint Louis on New Year's Eve? I’ll admit, I was a little concerned that they only scored 13 points in the first half, but these things happen. And Saint Louis is a good team that’s only getting better.
That’s the end of their list of losses, all of which came against the RPI Top 100. Ohio State is 6-5 against the RPI Top 100, but that's worthy of a No. 3 seed? This is definitely a joke.
Okay. That’s enough griping about a seeding that will fix itself if the Lobos keep playing the way they (mostly) have been playing for the past month. Let’s explain in two words why I think they could win it all:
The seven-foot sophomore can single-handedly alter the outcome of a game just by staying out of foul trouble. He’s been terribly inconsistent, but in the win over UNLV, he scored 23 points, grabbed nine rebounds and held super-frosh Anthony Bennett to one of his worst outputs of the season.
No doubt Kendall Williams and Tony Snell will need to put together a string of great games in order to make a deep run, but they’ve been the consistent members of the Lobos trio. If Kirk starts firing on all cylinders, he’s a matchup nightmare for just about every team in the nation.