Teams that have, don’t have, shot at top seeds
by Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY Sports
After Indiana, then what?
With less than three weeks until selection Sunday, at least 10 teams harbor realistic hopes of joining the top-ranked Hoosiers as No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.
The combination of Miami’s loss at Wake Forest, Georgetown’s victory at Syracuse and Kansas steering its season back on course in recent games has clouded the picture near the top of the seed lines.
“I don’t think there’s that much difference between the best teams and others,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Though there is a clear No. 1 team in the eyes of most, there is less of a lock, or near lock, for a second top seed than there has been at this point in recent years.
“It’s maybe a little more clustered, but not ridiculously so,” said analyst Patrick Stevens, who projects the NCAA tournament field for USA TODAY Sports. “There was a least a little separation in the past. In some ways, maybe the one line is not as secure or as stout as it might be. But the two and three lines are really, really good.”
If Indiana is one No. 1 seed, in alphabetical order, the top contenders for the other three slots:
For: The Blue Devils clearly pieced together the nation’s best nonconference profile. They also rank first in RPI and second in strength of schedule.
Against:They are not the same without injured forward Ryan Kelly, whose return date remains unclear.
For: The best part of Florida’s rèsumè? Early victories against Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee and Marquette.
Against: A Southeastern Conference schedule this season does not offer an abundance of opportunities to beat quality opponents.
For: The Hoyas have already beaten the other Big East teams contending for No. 1 NCAA tournament seeds, Louisville and Syracuse.
Against: A 6-3 record against top-50 RPI teams is solid but not outstanding enough yet. The Hoyas also lost to South Florida, which has an RPI of 131.
For: The Bulldogs have beaten Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor. Their losses came to NCAA tournament teams in Butler and Illinois.
Against: No fault of their own, but the Bulldogs have not played anyone of … [For more on Why 10 teams have, and don't have, a shot at No. 1 seeds, click here.]