Thursday, February 24, 2005

Calling all teams: # 1 Seeds Still Available

Um, does anyone besides Illinois and North Carolina want and, more importantly, deserve a #1 seed right now? Promptly following Illinitalk's prediction (well, really mine, not sure if Chief agreed with me) of #1 seeds last week, Kansas proceeded to lose 2 more games to make it 3 losses in a row with Oklahoma State coming up this weekend. Kentucky also lost in the past week as did Wake Forest, Oklahoma State (to Nebraska? Are you kidding me?), and Boston College.

At this point, I really don't know who to project as the number one seeds. ESPN's power rankings came out today with Illinois, North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Kentucky (although just barely) as their #1 seeds followed by Arizona, Boston College, Duke (but they just lost point guard Sean Dockery to a MCL tear), and Oklahoma State as #2 seeds. However, there were some mixed opinions from their experts. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn has Illinois, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Arizona, Kentucky, Boston College, and Oklahoma State at the top of his power rankings (in that order). As you can see, people are starting to become enamored with Arizona but I haven't watched them or other Pac-10 teams play very much this year.

Realistically, I don't think anyone can predict all four #1 seeds at this point. The final week and a half of the regular season and the conference tournaments are going to go a long ways to determining who gets to be a #1 seed. If you twisted my arm and made me pick right now, here is what I would go with:

Midwest: Illinois (clearly the overall #1 seed, even if they were to lose a game before the tournament)

East: North Carolina (right now, they deserve to stay closer to home and I think it would be a shame to put them in the south, which plays the midwest in the national semi-finals. If they and Illinois are to meet, it should be for the title)

South: Boston College (I was all set to give this to Oklahoma State before their loss to Nebraska. Boston College probably isn't getting quite the respect it deserves and only has two losses this year, both of which were close games on the road. However, to get this seed, they need to win out. Otherwise, it could go to Oklahoma State or Kentucky if either of them wins out)

West: Wake Forest (Once again, they probably just about have to win out to get this seed. Otherwise, look for one of the teams under the south section, or possibly Arizona, to grab it. You could also argue that Wake Forest could get the south seed and BC the west seed)

Other than Illinois in the Midwest and (probably) North Carolina in the East, this is all just a guess. I think Illinois is pretty well locked in barring something completely shocking and unexpected. North Carolina still has a tough game at home against Duke plus the ACC tournament so things could change for them but they might hold on to the #1 seed in the east even with a loss, depending on when and how it happens. If any of you have other thoughts, feel free to post in the comments section. Don't be surprised if our predictions change again next week.

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