Maybe I'm too hung on conspiracy theories, or maybe I'm one of those overly defensive fans who feels like his team never gets as much respect as some of its peers do. Maybe I'm wrong - maybe when the selection committee meets the table is cleared of preconceptions and the data comes to the forefront. Of course even if that is true, data is often as relative as conjecture. If one poll says we're 4 and one poll says we're 5, which one is right? And what do all of the seeding variables mean to UofL?
CardsFanTx says the selection committee doesn't put as much weight behind the conference tournaments as they do the regular season. But when you have a conference as interlocked as the Big East is, it stands to reason that the tourney will provide natural breaking points to use as seeding benchmarks. With that said - If Louisville wins the season then loses its first game of the tourney, the committee will pair that up with some of our uglier losses and give the 1 seeds to UConn and Pitt.
I don't think the door swings both ways though, if either Uconn or Pitt wins the regular season I think THEY could lose early in the tourney and still score a 1 seed since both of those squads spent some time at no. 1 this year while we never cracked higher than our preseason 3 (4?). Of course one of those teams is going to lose again, which helps . It is conceivable that if we win out our last 3 games but UConn beats pitt and wins the regular season title, that perhaps we can still snare a 1 seed as long as we make it further than Pitt in the BET.
I also think that despite what the committee says, it is going to use whatever measuring sticks it has available to make the case for the sexiest 1 seeds. The committee will do whatever it wants unless there are very serious flaws in the logic, hell sometimes it'll do what it wants in SPITE of serious logical flaws.
So then in my mind it comes down to this: There are 7 or 8 teams that I think have one-seed potential. UNC, OK, UConn, Pitt, Memphis, UofL, Duke and possibly Mich. St. (MSU seems at first blush to be a long shot, but their RPI is almost exactly the same as UofL's and at some point someone is going to raise a stink that RPI, Sagarin & KenPom all rate the Big 10 as tougher than the Big East. It's a crock of shit, but it could easily get brought up). Which of those teams does the committee like better? Which make the most marketable brackets? In my mind the committee would prefer things to shake out like this for purposes of storyline:
1) UNC 2) UConn 3) OK 4) Pitt.
The NCAA, ESPN and those involved have spent a lot of energy this season talking about these 4 teams because they each have highly marketable, newsreel-ready stars. Hansbrough, Thabeet, Griffin and Blair. They can hang tons of effortless coverage off these big guys. The legwork has already been done, furthermore these guys have been set up all year as the NCAA's major players, the drama comes naturally. But these lousy teams are messing up the NCAA's shit up by losing late season games they are supposed to be winning. So if the committee can't have its fave four who do they want?
Of the remaining four contenders Duke is the sexiest, but they probably have the most work left to do to atone for their late -season missteps. I think Louisville is the logical next best option. We've gotten a lot more national airplay and SportsCenter coverage than Memphis & Mich St. so there is a familiarity. Mich. St. would be the third choice to rope in Big Ten country. Memphis represents the weakest conference in the discussion and overall the smallest fanbase though they are much closer to a top seed than Duke and certainly MSU.
Which of these teams is the most likely to get the 1 seed? Well, that depends entirely upon which of the Fave Four falters.
- If either Pitt or UConn drop, Uof L is the natural, deserving replacement.
- If Pitt & UConn hold strong and OK drops off, the sooners probably get replaced by Memphis, even though the Tigers biggest wins are over UT & Gonzaga (both of whom are horrible this year, and when you consider that Georgetown and Syracuse both have W's over Memphis, this is a sickening 1-seed but I don't see a world in which the Big East gets three 1 seeds.
- If UNC ends up losing two more games (one to Duke) then Duke's stock will rise to the point that it will replace UNC as the 1 seed. NCAA bylaws state that 1 ACC team must have a 1 seed - preferably UNC.
- If more than two of the Fave Fours and two of the second choices stumble and the rivers run black and the locusts come, they will bring with them a 1-seeded spartan team.
- For any marquette apologists out there who wonder why I've ignored them, allow me to es'plain - the only way Marquette gets a 1 seed is if they Beat UConn tonight, UofL in the Hall on Sunday and Pitt at PEC next wednesday. Don't get me wrong, the Golden Eagles could beat any of the aforementioned and win one, even two of these games. But in the pantheon of unlikelinesses I place them stringing together those 3 wins in 8 days somewhere between Earl Clark coming back for a senior year and Jim Calhoun willingly taking a 50% paycut.