Breaking Down Kansas' Case for No. 1 Seed in NCAA Basketball Tournament
Barring a setback, Kansas should grab a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last seven years.
The Jayhawks still must indirectly battle nearly a dozen teams for one of those four No. 1 seeds, and nearly all of them have bigger resume-boosting opportunities left in their conference tournaments.
Gonzaga, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Miami (FL), and maybe Michigan State or Ohio State could have legitimate cases for those coveted top seeds. The Spartans or Buckeyes would likely have to win the Big Ten tournament to do so.
In reviewing KU's tournament resume, you will see a bevy of good—but not great—wins. They hold the No. 5 RPI, defeating Ohio State (16), Kansas State twice (21), Oklahoma (24) and Oklahoma State (27). Unexpectedly, their 29-point blowout win over Belmont will carry decent non-conference weight as the Bruins have the 22nd best RPI in the nation.
Their only bad, albeit horribly destructive, loss outside the RPI top 30 came at TCU (230).
Furthermore, the Jayhawks' strength of schedule checks in at a decent 24th, while their opponents' SOS is No. 13.
Both numbers are unlikely to improve significantly, as they prepare to face a self-imploding Baylor team in their season-finale, followed by potential matchups with Oklahoma and either Oklahoma State or Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament.
Kansas must only beat out seven of those 10 teams listed, and because both Michigan State and Ohio State cannot win their conference tournament, the number drops to six.
Duke, Miami and Michigan State are the only teams ranking in the nation's top 10 in both RPI and SOS. While Gonzaga isn't far off from the RPI top 10 at No. 11, they do have a paltry SOS of 97 in the weak West Coast Conference.
Indiana and Duke are the only teams holding more than five top-25 RPI wins, as Michigan and Miami both have five wins. Florida and Gonzaga only have two, while KU has five.
Kansas likely does not to worry about Duke, who should roll to a No. 1 with their strong non-conference RPI (3) and strength of schedule (3), along with at least one win in the ACC tournament.
Tuesday's home loss, and subsequent odd net-cutting ceremony, puts Indiana back on the No. 1 bubble and in direct competition with the Jayhawks, same thing goes for Michigan State and Florida.
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However, a Big Ten tournament title from Indiana would actually help KU, as it should eliminate both Michigan State and Ohio State from contention.
What does it all mean?
It means Kansas must beat Baylor on Saturday and defeat either Kansas State or Oklahoma State en route to the Big 12 tournament title.
Losses from Florida, Louisville and Miami, specifically, would help. A loss from Gonzaga would officially dwindle their competition to five teams.
While KU has a nice case for No. 1, they don't have a near-flawless case like they had in four of the last six seasons.
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