Ohio State has to go to Michigan while UCLA will hit the road against Washington and Washington State. But let’s assume that even with a loss, these two teams will remain number one seeds. UCLA’s impressive record against the Top 25 in the RPI (5-0) is tough to overlook. The Buckeyes certainly helped their bid for a one-seed with last week’s home win against Wisconsin, and they are currently second in the RPI.
That leaves two top spots up for grabs, and who should earn those two top seeds makes for an interesting conversation.
After dropping two straight games, I’m ruling Wisconsin out of the one-seed chatter. 7-3 in their last ten is not overly impressive, but even more glaring than that is the loss of forward Brian Butch. The Badgers are sixth in the RPI but are only 6-4 vs. the top 50 in the RPI. Bo Ryan’s team is a likely two seed.
So what happens with the defending champion Florida Gators? A team that looked like a certain one-seed all season long, has lost three of its last four, and suddenly looks extremely vulnerable. Just remember, Florida lost three in a row at this time last year. If it comes down to Kansas or Florida for that last top seed do you take the Jayhawks? Florida is 5-4 vs. the top 50 in the RPI while Kansas is 3-2. Hmmm…not sure that’s enough to make the call. KU is an important 1-0 vs. Florida, and that’s a valid point in this conversation. These two teams are fairly close in overall numbers. KU is 12-3 against the top 100, while Florida is 14-5. Kansas played a tougher non-conference schedule than Florida, but the Gators play in a much tougher SEC. How about this? Right now Kansas is simply playing better basketball. KU is 9-1 in its last ten while Florida is 7-3 in its last ten games, and it could’ve/should’ve been worse if not for some incredible comebacks during that stretch.
But hey, maybe neither team is a top seed.
What about North Carolina? Another team that seemed to be a one-seed iron-pipe lock for most of the year but the Tar Heels have lost two of their last four. UNC is third in the RPI but again, 7-3 in their last ten. Like Florida, Roy Williams’ squad is also 14-4 against the top 100.
How about Memphis? The Tigers are the quietest 25-3 team in the country. Problem with Memphis is that 17 of those wins came against teams with an RPI of 100 or higher. Tough to make John Calipari’s team a top dog knowing that.
If it’s a case of “what have you done for me lately?” the Jayhawks may win this battle. They’ve won lately and won big. With the exception of two tightly contested road games Kansas has been dismantling the opposition.
If Kansas wants a one seed, beating Texas on Saturday will help and so will getting to the conference tournament finals. If the Jayhawks were to face the Aggies there, it’s likely the winner would get the one seed. By the way, have you ever seen a less talked about number six team in the country then A&M?
It’s too early to decide but Kansas could very well play itself to one of the tournament top seeds.