North Carolina’s win over Duke yesterday vaulted the Heels a No. 1 ranking in this week’s ESPN/USA Today poll, and also likely a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
I expected Pitt to take over No. 1 in the following a second win against UConn this season, but the Heels got the nod. I also expected Duke to fall in the polls after finishing third in the ACC. The Blue Devils still manage to receive a higher ranking than ACC runner-up Wake Forest. Go figure.
Pitt deserves the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, having defeated the No. 1 team twice this season and without any bad losses. North Carolina’s resume is very strong, but the Big East is much stronger than the ACC.
The Heels are a lock for a number #1 seed, leaving several teams vying for the remaining two top spots.
Big East champ Louisville has the best chance to earn a #1, unless UConn knocks off Pitt in the Big East tournament semifinals. Don’t expect Big East teams to occupy three of the four top spots, meaning it will likely come down to Louisville or UConn.
Michigan State doesn’t have an overly strong non-conference resume, but the Spartans dominated a good (albeit boring) Big Ten and deserves strong consideration for a #1.
Kansas and Oklahoma are certainly in the conversation, but need to win the Big 12 tournament to receive strong consideration.
Memphis has continued to rise in the polls and has an outside chance, with quality non-conference wins over Tennessee and Georgetown. But Conference USA is just awful this season, so the Tigers will likely be a #2.
Don’t forget about Washington. The Pac-10 is considered to be down this season, however as many as five teams could make the NCAA tournament. The Huskies won the Pac-10 title, and could be in the conversation if it manages to win the Pac-10 tournament. Washington has been underrated all season and is finally in the top-10 this week.
Conference tournaments will once again play a huge role in determining the remaining two #1 seeds. Let the madness begin.