Share this article

print logo

Seedings set up well for Duke
Villanova, Baylor, Purdue have questions

One bracket, 65 teams and plenty of questions. Here are some of the answers.

1. Any chance for complete bedlam?

Not likely. Three of the top four seeds -- Kansas, Kentucky and Duke -- all won their conference tournaments and the only one that didn't (Syracuse) lost to Georgetown, which is a No. 3. Also, history tells us order is usually restored by the big boys. Last year, for the first time since seeding began, all No.1-No. 3 seeds made it into the Sweet 16 and, for the third consecutive time, all No. 1 seeds advanced to the Elite Eight.

2. Who has a legitimate beef?

UAB, left out at 23-8. But, Florida gets in with a 1-8 record versus teams with a top 25 RPI. Beating Butler, Virginia and Arkansas has to account for something but maybe the Blazers shouldn't have dropped their last three games to Memphis, UTEP and Southern Miss.

3. The Big East has received more love lately than Jeff Bridges, but how will they do in the NCAAs?

Take a look at Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Villanova and Georgetown -- which lost a combined nine games outside of league play. But the most interesting team is Louisville, the team that beat the Orange twice this season. Not everyone can book a flight to Indy, but the Sweet 16 is another matter.

4. Is Kansas ready for its moment in the sun?

Sure, why not? Unlike last season with North Carolina, there's no unconquerable juggernaut in college basketball but the Jayhawks are the closest to it. They've lost two games, both on the road, and have a senior point guard in Sherron Collins who has been here before. Xavier Henry is the best freshman not named John Wall (of Kentucky) in the country.

Still, if No. 6 Tennessee somehow slips into the Elite Eight it apparently has the formula to beat the Jayhawks. The Vols dropped them by eight points back on Jan. 10.

5. Any highly ranked teams look particularly susceptible?

Hate to break it to Orange fans, but there's Syracuse. Not only does the severity of Arinze Onuaku's injury place the Orange in question, but freshman point guard Brandon Triche hasn't exactly been lighting it up lately.

Freshman point guards and NCAA Tournament success generally don't mix, unless you have players like Derrick Rose and Wall. It's probably not a coincidence Rose (at Memphis in 2008) and Wall were coached by the same guy, Kentucky's John Calipari.

Also, keep an eye on No. 2-seed Villanova. Most coaches would love to have Scottie Reynolds running their team, but there's something muddled about a team that has lost five of its last seven.

6. Is Temple for real?

A 29-5 record would indicate yes and there was a one-point loss against Georgetown back in November and a seven-point loss to St. John's in the same month. But there was also a 32-point blowout loss to Kansas and a 17-point loss at Richmond. People will point to the three missteps against the big boys, but at least they lost to quality teams. KU is the No. 1 seed overall and the Hoyas are a No. 3. And they haven't lost since Richmond, which was 10 games ago.

7. Who's is this year's mid-major Cinderella?

Temple really isn't a mid-major and Siena found out that a 17-1 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference will get you no better than a No. 13 seed against No. 4 Purdue. Steve Alford and New Mexico are a strong No. 3 and to be a true Cinderella you can't really be seeded higher than No. 9. So let's go with No. 13 Murray State (30-4) which has lost once in this calendar year.

8. Is this Duke's year?

If you look at the bracket it would certainly seem that way. The Blue Devils are the No. 1 seed in the South Region and No. 2 Villanova is as shaky as they come. No. 3 Baylor is new to the spotlight and No. 4 Purdue is playing without Robbie Hummel. If Duke doesn't advance to the Final Four, its famine will be six years. The Blue Devils' last national title? That would be 2001.

9. Who's the best player in the tournament?

Hard to pick against Kentucky's Wall, who will be the No. 1 pick in June's NBA Draft but Ohio State's Evan Turner will be No. 2. And if Turner went to either Duke or Kentucky, people would be talking about him becoming the next Grant Hill. But let's go with Wall because he's the best point guard college basketball has seen since Jason Kidd.

10. Which upsets can we look forward to?

UTEP over Butler. Minnesota over Xavier. Washington over Marquette. Not much to choose from, is it?

But there hasn't been much bedlam in a while.

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment