Friday, March 13, 2009

Two More Potential 1 Seeds Go Down

Oklahoma State 71, #7 Oklahoma 70
There were still going to be doubts about Oklahoma State's NCAA chances if they had lost here. No longer, as Travis Ford will have his kids in the Dance in his first season in Stillwater. You knew that they were going to get blown away on the boards, and they were, but I have to say that they did as good of a job at playing Blake Griffin as they could have. Their defense was outstanding, including forcing 19 turnovers. Like Texas, they may only be 9-7 in the Big 12, but their overall resume is very good. The RPI is now up to 18th, and it's unheard of for a team in a BCS conference to miss the Tournament with an RPI anywhere inside the Top 30. That goes for the Sagarin rating as well, where Oklahoma State should be safely inside the Top 30 when the numbers come out tomorrow. As for Oklahoma, they were sitting pretty for a 1 seed when Kansas got knocked out of the Big 12 tournament, but they still have not recovered their form since that Blake Griffin injury. You've got to be nervous about picking them as a Final Four team after what they've showed lately. And with the loss here they are likely looking at a 2 seed now.

West Virginia 74, #2 Pittsburgh 60
I was asked earlier today whether I thought that Villanova had a chance at a 1 seed, and I said that even with a Big East tournamen title "I don't see any plausible scenario for them getting a 1. They would need several teams ahead of them to have clunkers in their own conference tournaments." I figured that there were so many teams ahead of Villanova that would need to lose early in their conference tournaments that there just was no way. Well while the top story tomorrow morning will be the remarkable Syracuse/UConn game (yes, I've written about four blog posts while watching that game... which is currently in the fifth overtime), the real story for me is the remarkable number of potential 1 seeds that have gone down. Kansas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh... and UConn might go down before the night is over. What a remarkable turn of events. Pitt will probably drop to a 2 seed, although they still might get a 1 seed if this string of losses continues. They did have the second best resume in the nation (behind UNC) heading into the conference tournaments. West Virginia, meanwhile, is steadily climbing up the bracket. I'll go more into their numbers when they finally lose (if they lose... since they're obviously going to like their chances against an exhausted Syracuse/UConn team tomorrow), but right now they will get no worse than a 6 seed. I see them as a 5 seed at the moment, and they will keep moving up if they keep winning.

#13 Villanova 76, #21 Marquette 75
You've got to feel for a Marquette team that just cannot get anything to go their way. They finally looked good in crushing St. John's, their first win since Dominic James went down with injury, and they might have finally collected one marquee win before entering the Tournament. But it was not to be. At this point they have probably fallen into the range of a 7-8 seed, and possibly could even drop another line or two if the Selection Committee discounts the wins with James (they aren't supposed to, but they're human). As for Villanova, just look at what I said a little bit higher up this post. With all of the carnage among the top seeds, they actually might possibly earn that 1 seed. The key will be the game tomorrow against Louisville. If they can win that they'll probably be favored in the Big East final (assuming that West Virginia can walk over the exhausted winner of the UConn/Syracuse epic... now in its sixth overtime). If they can win the Big East tournament, then they're still going to need some help to get that 1 seed. But even without any help they'd be a lock for at least a 2 seed. Even if they lose to Louisville they should still get a 3 seed.

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