It is Championship Week in college basketball. A team's performance this week can make or break their whole season. Some teams will play their way into the tournament or considerably improve their positioning within it. A perfect example is last's years Syracuse team.
The Orange went from being on the proverbial bubble with about five games to go in the regular season to a No. 3 seed in the "Big Dance" by winning their last four and having a deep run in the Big East Tournament.
Some teams enter Championship Week with their name in Bracketologist Joe Lunardi's mock bracket, but find themselves watching the madness unfold from their couch in their dorm rooms instead of a front row seat on the bench.
Teams that fit this mold are the Clemson teams of the last couple of years who have started the season out in incredible fashion before progressively getting worse, ultimately leading up to their demise in the ACC Tournament.
Other teams, like Ohio State this year, are comfortably within the field of 65, but have the chance to impress the tournament selection committee and hopefully be awarded with one of the top four seeds.
As I see it, if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten Tournament and Duke does not win the ACC Tournament, regardless of what Kansas State does in the Big 12 tourney, Ohio State no question should be the fourth No. 1 seed. Kansas, Kentucky, and Syracuse being the other three.
What if the tournament started today? Would the Bucks be a one seed?
The answer to that is yes. If the NCAA Tournament selection committee would consider a few noteworthy facts, they too would be drinking the Scarlet & Gray Kool-Aid. "Ohhhh Yeah"
Looking around my empty room and listening to Jay Bilas present a "homeristic" point of view about why his beloved Dukies should be the fourth No. 1; I do not see anyone else stepping up on behalf of The Ohio State University.
Therefore, I would like to nominate myself... Hang on Dick Vitale is on ESPN, I wonder who he thinks should be the fourth No. 1????
Oh, imagine that. Dickie V said, "Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils should be the last No. 1 seed BABY. Jon Schyer is something special. He is a PTPer. A prime-time player."
Enough of this Blue and White crap. Here is why the Scarlet & Gray should be one of the top four seeds come Selection Sunday.
PRETENDERS AND THE ILL BEHAVED
Before I even have to explain why Ohio State should be the fourth No.1, I can show the selection committee that some schools in the discussion just do not belong.
Kansas State: I ask that the selection committee take into account a team's performance in the friendly confines of their own arena.
The Wildcats have lost four games in Manhattan this season (Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Iowa State). In order to be regarded as one of the nation's best you have to protect your home court.
The other three No.1 seeds combined have only lost three games all year at home. All three losses are Syracuse's and I am even counting the embarrassing exhibition loss to Division II Le Moyne.
Kansas State does not belong with them.
Purdue: Now, I realize that the Boilermakers shared the regular-season Big Ten crown with Ohio State and Michigan State and only have four losses. They also beat the Buckeyes in Columbus, but I feel that win cancels out with the loss they suffered at the hands of Ohio State in West Lafayette.
Really, Purdue should only be eliminated from consideration for one reason and one reason only. The precedent for how the selection committee handles a top team who loses their best player right before the start of March has already been set.
Remember the 1999-2000 Cincinnati Bearcats? They were No. 1 in the country for much of the year, but in their first game in the C-USA Tournament star player Kenyon Martin fractured his leg and the Bearcats would go on to lose the game and their place as a No. 1 seed in the tourney.
The selection committee placed UC as No. 2 seed which is right where the Robbie Hummel-less Boilermakers belong.
West Virginia: West Virginia is a formidable team. They even have the head-to-head advantage over Ohio State, winning in January over the Buckeyes 71-65 at home.
With that being said, they should not even be in a position to be compared head-to-head to Ohio State. They are not even the best team in the Big East, and depending how you look at it, may not be the second or the third best seeing how they are in a three-way tie with Pittsburgh and Villanova for second in the conference.
I also ask the selection committee to take into account in-game behavior. I ask them to recall a game between the Mountaineers and the Pitt Panthers on February 3 in which unruly West Virginia fans threw debris onto the court and one such item, a coin, struck a Pittsburgh assistant coach in the face.
This is not the kind of behavior that should be exhibited for a team and their fans who want to be in the upper echelon of NCAA Tournament worthy teams.
Duke: Honestly, the only other team that is worthy of a No.1 seed besides Ohio State is Duke. As much as I hate to agree with Bilas and Vitale, they are right. The Blue Devils are worthy, but should not get it.
I would like to point out a couple reasons to the selection committee as to why this is the case.
First, I ask the selection committee to look at each team (Ohio State and Duke) as a whole and take the injury of Evan Turner into account just as they are going to do with the current state of Purdue without Hummel.
The Blue Devils are 26-5 on the year and ACC regular-season champions. Similar to Ohio State's situation in the Big Ten, Duke shared the ACC title with Maryland.
All five of their losses were games on the road, protecting their home-court like a No.1 seed should.
They beat their hated rival North Carolina, a team that Ohio State lost to, twice.
Duke also has a Player of the Year candidate, although not likely to win, in Jon Scheyer.
All these qualities usually make up the resume of a No.1 seed. A resume that I cannot say is unworthy of a No.1 seed. I can, however claim that another team is more deserving of that No.1 seed.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are a healthy 24-7 on the 2009-2010 campaign. They are 17-1 at home, fitting the home-court protection qualification. Although they have two more losses than their competitor, three of them were without, likely Player of the Year, Evan Turner.
Turner missed six games from early December into early January. The Buckeyes were three and three without him and the three losses occurred on the road.
The road losses without the services of No. 21 included Butler and Wisconsin. Both teams are tournament bound and the losses should be pinned as quality losses if there is such a thing, especially without Turner.
Wisconsin also handed Duke a loss in Madison in a game that was part of this year's ACC-Big Ten Challenge; an event that the Big Ten won for the first time. This alone, perhaps, signifies that the Big Ten is better than the ACC this season. That challenge has to count for something in determining whom the last No.1 seed should be.
I also ask the committee to not look so much into Ohio State's early season loss at the hands of North Carolina. At the time, the Tar Heels were ranked fourth in the nation and no one in the country could have predicted what was ahead for Roy Williams' squad. By the time the Blue Devils got their chance at UNC, the Tar Heels were demoralized and a completely different team than the one the Buckeyes lost by four to in November.
In my eyes, having the best player in the country should give bonus points in determining a No.1 seed. Turner's only true competition is John Wall. As Kentucky's point guard, Wall has put up incredible numbers as a freshman leading the Wildcats to a No. 1 seed. Averaging 16.8 points per game with four rebounds and six assists.
Turner and Wall should both be playing in March as members of one seeds. An honor that each of them, along with their teams have earned.
Taking away the losses the Buckeyes suffered without Turner, Ohio State is left with four blemishes. One less than Duke's five, who never faced the sort of adversity that the Buckeyes faced this season.
I believe that you should even be able to take away Ohio State's lost to Minnesota, as it was only Turner's second game back from breaking his back.
With Turner in the line-up, the Buckeyes are 21-4. That is a winning percentage of .840. Take away the first two games back from injury that Turner played in not being at a hundred percent, Ohio State is 20-3 with its line-up at full strength. 20-3 is a winning percentage of .870.
In contrast, Duke who has not had a significant injury all year has a winning percentage of .838.
With a healthy Evan Turner, the Buckeyes are better than the Blue Devils and wins on the road versus two top three seeds in Michigan State and Purdue, solidify Ohio State's position as a deserving No.1 seed.