The cards are set for a #1

By the time the carnage was over on Friday night, the Pittsburgh Panthers emerged in better shape for a coveted #1 seed than anyone could have ever expected.<br><br> Last week, I said that for the Panthers to have a shot at a #1 seed, a host of outcomes had to occur:

Florida must not win the SEC tournament.
Well LSU took care of that with a 65 - 61 upset over the Gators.

Marquette must not win the Conference USA tournament.
UAB, the UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM, of all teams, pulls off a huge upset Thursday over what I feel was a flavor of the month team to begin with.

Wake Forest must not win the ACC tournament.
They barely survived Florida State yesterday afternoon. I don't think they can play that poorly and beat Duke, let alone a North Carolina team that has won 12 straight in Greensboro Coliseum.

Oklahoma and Kansas must not reach the finals of the Big 12 tournament.
Okay, so this one doesn't have to happen anymore. I'm not convinced Oklahoma was a #1seed to begin with. Kansas is destined with the season they had.

Heck, even Xavier lost last night. So, the selection committee can scratch David West and Co. off the list.

Texas, however, is a unique case. Texas lost by 11 to Texas Tech; but many, including Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas, believe that even though the Longhorns looked disinterested, they'll still be a #1 seed based on their season achievements. I don't buy it.

I firmly believe that, for many teams, the conference tournaments can either solidify or destroy a team's seeding. Just ask Notre Dame, who will probably fall to a #6 seed when one win would have guaranteed at least a #4 seed.

Ask Syracuse, who looks surprisingly like the Orangemen of the first half of the season - a team relying too much on freshmen phenoms. Their chances at a #2 seed are gone. They're probably destined for a #3.

Xavier is set for a probable #3 seed. Florida most likely lost a stranglehold on a #2 seed. Marquette will fall to a #3 or even #4 seed based on further events, as the tournaments play out.

Granted, Arizona won't lose a #1 Seed, but Kentucky will get the top seeding out of the 65 teams playing (thus theoretically receiving an easier bracket pool).

My gut feeling tells me the final #1 seed, which would lie in the East Region at this point, will come down to Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, or Wake Forest.

Pitt, with all the upsets, seemingly has a lock on a #2 seed. They won convincingly over an overmatched Boston College team and won despite an ailing Chevy Troutman and Brandin Knight.

But, should they beat Connecticut and Wake Forest does not win the ACC, then the Panthers might just be headlining the East bracket.

--John Biles

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