The race for the #1 seeds

Being a #1 seed isn’t crucial, but it is important. Seventeen of the last 29 national champions were #1 seeds, so being a top seed would seem to give a team inside track on a title. (However, these are the top teams in the country, so we expect them to perform well.)

SI’s Seth Davis, who by the way I’ll be interviewing next Tuesday, discusses the current projected #1 seeds and how things can change over the next two and a half days.

Are Kansas, Kentucky and Syracuse all going to be No. 1 seeds even if they lose their first game in their conference tournaments?

Not necessarily. You’ll recall that back in 2007, UCLA entered the Pac-10 tournament as everybody’s overall No. 1 seed. The Bruins lost to California in the quarterfinals and ended up as a 2 seed. It obviously didn’t cause much of a problem for them as they still reached the national championship game (where they lost to Florida), but if any of the Big Three repeat that feat, I’d say there’s a better chance than not they would fall to the 2 line.

Does Duke have the inside track to a No. 1 seed if it wins the ACC tournament?

Not necessarily. Kansas State could ring a few bells if it upsets Kansas en route to the Big 12 title, but the real threat to Duke’s claim to a No. 1 is West Virginia. My colleague Andy Glockner is the only bracket expert I’ve seen to peg West Virginia as a 1 seed right now, but while I disagree with that assessment as things stand today, the Mountaineers would almost assuredly vault to a 1 seed if they win the Big East tournament, especially if it includes a victory over Syracuse. Heading into their respective conference tourneys, Duke is 7-4 against the top 50 of the RPI and 15-4 against the top 100, while West Virginia is 6-4 and 15-6. Duke’s worst loss is at No. 104 N.C. State while West Virginia’s is at home against No. 61 UConn. Throw in a win over Syracuse and the Mountaineers would — and should — come out on top.

Incidentally, the other candidate, Villanova, would probably not vault over Duke if the Wildcats win the Big East tournament. Villanova is 5-5 against the top 50 and 13-6 against the top 100.

Syracuse’s #1 seed is in some jeopardy after dropping its game to Georgetown. It’s not often that a team enters the tournament as a #1 seed after losing two straight (or three of its last seven). After losing to Louisville at home, the Orange did beat Villanova and Georgetown before losing to Louisivlle to end the regular season and dropping its first Big East tourney game against the Hoyas. It would be tough for the committee to give West Virginia a #1 seed (over the Orange) seeing as Syracuse beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown, 72-71.

Kansas and Kentucky look safe. We can cross Villanova off the list of potential #1s after the Wildcats lost to Marquette in the Big East Championship. That leaves Duke, West Virginia, Purdue and Kansas State. If any of those teams go on to with their respective conference tournaments, a case could be made that they should get the fourth #1 seed.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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