NCAA Tournament 2013: Projecting the No. 1 Seeds at Week 18
Let's take the teams still in play for a No. 1 seed, put them in a hat and blindly draw four names.
The predictive success rate of that approach would probably be as good as any bracketologist could tell you at this point.
It's 2013, a year of unpredictability across college basketball.
Gonzaga is the closest thing to a lock, as the team's only real chance to slip up will be in a likely WCC tournament final against Saint Mary's.
Other than that, a lot could happen to change the current situation. Here is a look at the four teams that would probably end up with No. 1 seeds if the season ended today.
USA TODAY Sports
KenPom.com Rank: 7
Sagarin Rating: 4
Record: 25-4 (13-3 Big 12)
The Case for Kansas: The Jayhawks keep winning as of late and everyone else is losing. The one awful loss for KU was at TCU, but if there was a year where a bad loss for a No. 1 seed would be accepted, this is it.
The Jayhawks are 13-3 against the RPI top 100, have two non-conference wins that still look really good (at Ohio State and against Saint Louis on a neutral floor) and are 3-1 against the other top teams in the Big 12 (Kansas State and Oklahoma State).
KU also has a favorable schedule left with a gimme at home against Texas Tech and a road game at Baylor.
If the Jayhawks win both of those games and the Big 12 tournament, they should get a No. 1 seed. Even with one more loss, they might still have a chance.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
KenPom.com Rank: 6
Sagarin Rating: 5
Record: 25-4 (12-4 ACC)
The Case for Duke: The committee takes injuries into consideration, and that's great news for the Blue Devils.
Even if Ryan Kelly had never been been injured and the Blue Devils had their current resume, they would still be on the one line. Being able to play that 16-0 with Kelly on the lineup card only strengthens their case.
The best record that Duke can flash is its 5-1 mark against the RPI top 25. The Blue Devils also have the best non-conference resume of any team with neutral court wins against Minnesota, VCU, Louisville and Temple.
All four of their losses have come on the road, and if the committee wants to debate what would have happened had Kelly played in those games, it's reasonable to assume at 2-2 record at the least.
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KenPom.com Rank: 4
Sagarin Rating: 6
Record: 29-2 (16-0 WCC)
The Case for Gonzaga: It might be asking a lot of the committee to not only look at games that a team won, but how that team won those games.
The argument against Gonzaga is a weak schedule, but a closer look shows the Zags did everything they could to play a strong non-conference schedule. For a more in-depth analysis of their performance against good teams, read this.
Strictly looking at win-loss record, Gonzaga has a strong case. The Zags are 11-2 against the RPI top 100, which is the best winning percentage against the top 100 of any team in consideration.
Gonzaga's losses (at Bulter and Illinois) are not terrible, and the defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs could have easily gone the other way.
If you want to picture the Zags in a major conference, they took on the best the Big 12 had to offer (other than Kansas and Iowa State) and went 5-0.
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KenPom.com Rank: 2
Sagarin Rating: 1
Record: 25-4 (13-3 Big Ten)
The Case for Indiana: The Big Ten is the strongest conference in the country and deserves a No. 1 seed. Indiana is the best team in the conference, making the Hoosiers the obvious choice.
Indiana also has two quality non-conference wins (Georgetown on a neutral floor and North Carolina at home) that are looking better and better.
The Hoosiers could easily lose the distinction as the Big Ten's best choice this week, as they play Ohio State at Assembly Hall on Tuesday and then travel to Michigan on Saturday.
On the bright side, those games are opportunities to really boost their resume, and a perfect finish—or a win in the Big Ten tournament—would make a strong case for the top overall seed.
Win out and Indiana is a lock for a No. 1 seed. Lose a couple and another Big Ten team could steal the spot.