Three quick ideas as we draw close to the NCAA tournament Selection Show. In less than two hours, we will see if the committee agrees.
The top four seeds should go to Louisville, Kansas, Gonzaga and Indiana. Louisville has earned the overall No. 1 seed by sharing the Big East regular season championship and winning the Big East tournament again – just like last season. That really comes as no surprise since we had Louisville as our preseason No. 1 in our power rankings. The Cardinals are the most dangerous team in the field because of their defense and experience. Actualy, the resumes of Louisville and Kansas aren't that much different. In fact, the Jayhawks have 13 wins against teams in the projected field – that's the most of any team. Bill Self said this after the Jayhawks won the Big 12 tournament: "We had one bad week." He is right and those losses to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and especially TCU will cost KU the overall No. 1. Miami made a strong case but the Hurricanes have just eight wins over RPI Top 50 teams. If Miami jumps from the two line to the one line, it might be at the expense of Gonzaga.
Louisville wins the geography exam. When Indiana was the No. 1 seed overall, the Hoosiers figured to have a path through Dayton and Indianapolis on the way to the Final Four in Atlanta. The Hoosiers blew that by losing to Wisconsin in the Big Ten semifinals. Now we should see Louisville going through Lexington to Indianapolis and Indiana starting in Dayton with the hope of moving on to Washington, D.C. So here's the geography we expect for the No. 1 seeds: Louisville in Indianapolis (Midwest), Indiana in Washington (East), Kansas in North Texas (South), and Gonzaga in Los Angeles (West).
Ole Miss busted some bubbles. Others will disagree but I think Ole Miss had to win the SEC tournament to make the NCAA field. With the upset of Florida, the Rebels get the automatic bid from the SEC. And that's real bad news for teams hanging on the bubble, specifically Middle Tennessee. Stephen F. Austin and Middle Tennessee had great seasons but they need stronger schedules to survive their conference affiliation. The Blue Raiders (28-5, 19-1 Sun Belt) and Lumberjacks (27-4, 16-2 Southland) can prove themselves in the NIT. Sad for them, but that's the way the system works.