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A Chance UK Wins Out But Doesn’t Get #1 Overall Seed

Mmmmmmm.  Those are some mighty fine seeds…wait, what?

Sunflower seeds are delicious (especially those BBQ-dusted ones).  But as a diehard Kentucky fan, I prefer different type of seed – number one overall seeds in the NCAA Tournament.  They are my favorite.  In fact, they are empirically the best.  They provide you with the best statistical chance (theoretically, if the selection committee does their job well) to win the National Championship.

With the Wildcats sitting atop the all the top-25 polls for the fourth straight week, any logical person would assume that sweeping the rest of the SEC season and winning the SEC tournament in New Orleans would lead to an easy number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Right?  Of course.

Not so fast my reasonable friends.

The good folks over at The Big Lead threw up this post today asking whether Syracuse would be more deserving of the #1 overall seed in the selection committee’s mind, in that case that both UK and ‘Cuse win out.  At first this may seem ridiculous – how could the consensus  number one ranked team in America not get the highest seed in the greatest sports event of the year?!  Well, apparently the term ‘concensus’ is open to debate.  The selection committee’s criteria involves taking into account much more than just the public’s and coaches’.

The Big Lead broke down the resume of each team, including the selection committee’s often criticized criteria.  Take a look:

RPI: Syracuse 1, Kentucky 3

Strength of Schedule: Syracuse 11, Kentucky 73

Non-conference Strength of Schedule: Syracuse 30, Kentucky 113

Record vs. RPI Top 25: Syracuse 5-0, Kentucky 4-1

Record vs. the RPI Top 26-50: Syracuse 3-1, Kentucky 2-0

Kentucky’s best four wins — vs. UNC (at Rupp), vs. Kansas (neutral in November), vs. Louisville (Rupp), vs. Florida (Rupp). Best road win so far? Vanderbilt.

Syracuse’s best four wins — vs. Florida (home), vs. Marquette (home), vs. Georgetown (home), vs. Louisville (road). Best road win so far?  Louisville.

TBL consents that, right now, UK’s best two wins of UNC and Kansas look much better than Syracuse’s wins against Marquette and Georgetown.  Also, they bring in the KenPom numbers.  Pomeroy’s algorithm currently shows 1) OSU 2) UK 3) KU 4) MSU 5) Wisky 6) Syracuse, which is another factor that play’s into UK’s factor.  Everyone knows the RPI is a skewed and overvalued number, but so much talk revolves around it come Selection Sunday.

But let’s be honest.  This Kentucky team is damn good.  As the most talented team in the country, they shouldn’t fear anyone.  I have faith in these Cats against any team in America if they play anywhere near their potential.  But therein lies the rub – the NCAA Tournament is an event in which teams can play both well above and well below their abilities.  Throw in a bit of luck (which is another factor that makes it the best sporting event in America), and you’ve got a formula that says there’s a good chance your on-paper dominance doesn’t matter.

This is why having the number one overall seed is important to ultra-elite teams like the Wildcats.  In order to give themselves the best chance, they need that top seed so that they don’t end up squaring off against the best #2 seed, #3 seed, etc.  Yes, theoretically, this team doesn’t need the help of seeding.  But anything can happen in March, especially when you’ve got a target on your back.

What do y’all say?  I think it’s clear that, if both teams win out, UK is more deserving of the top seed.  Take your silly numbers like RPI and downplay their significance, selection committee.  This isn’t about what the computer says.  While stats are important, a dominating season like the one put on by the Kentucky Wildcats if they close out an undefeated SEC season cannot be challenged for the nation’s top spot.

Here’s a look at the probable #2 seeds at this point according to TBL: Michigan State, UNC, Duke, and Kansas.  All of them would be tough outs, so playing the lowest seeded one at the time would be nice.  This all probably doesn’t matter, though – the selection committee is sure to blow the seeding this year, just as they did last year by throwing OSU, UNC, and UK into the same regional.


Article written by Chris Thomas

44 responses to “A Chance UK Wins Out But Doesn’t Get #1 Overall Seed”

  1. gottodoit

    Give me a number 2 seed.

    You can have the top seed.

  2. biggity

    I don’t think it matters if Kentucky is the “#1 overall seed” or not. Either way, the committee will put the best 2-seed in our bracket and try to screw us over, like last year. There is no way, even before the SEC tourney, that we were the fourth best 4-seed. For that matter, UNC wasn’t the lowest 2-seed last seed (they were being considered for a 1-seed), yet they were put in Ohio State’s bracket. It’s all hogwash, we just have to win no matter who we’re paired with.

  3. DB11

    It doesn’t matter what seed you get, but what bracket you’re in

  4. Cousins Fake Tooth

    I dont see how Cuse is #1 in the RPI. Look at their schedule then look at ours.

  5. DB11

    The past two years the overall #1 seed has had the toughest bracket

  6. Bob Day

    I say only sissies, like Syracuse fans, worry about these sorts of things. Champions don’t give ’em much, if any, thought at all.

  7. Ruppeat Offender

    I don’t even think that Syracuse will won the Big Least. I’ve watched A LOT of b-ball this year, and A LOT of Big East games – G’town, Marquette and West By God Virginia could all beat ‘Cuse on a given night. I just don’t think they’ll make it through the Big East tourney unscathed. Even if I try to put aside my homer tendancies, I truly believe that UK will win out from here on. I think the overall #1 is ours to lose.

  8. Will Totten

    As long as UK plays Louisville-Atlanta-New Orleans I could care less about the overall #1 seed. You have to beat the best to be the best, isn’t that what coaches always say?

  9. Mudcreekmark

    2) You stole my post. That is exactly what I was going to say.Every year, they make it as hard as possible for us to make it to the final four. Last year was the worse ever.

  10. yitbos

    The #1 overall seed seemed to work well for OSU last year. I could care less if we get the overall #1, all that matters is who wins the last game!

  11. Gabe

    Why would we necessarily want the #1 overall seed? Why wouldn’t we want to play in Louisville instead of Pittsburgh. It’s not necessarily an easier route I mean look at what Ohio St. had in it’s bracket. They had UNC, US, West Virginia, and Syracuse. Thats not a cake walk. Compare that to Kansas last year who had Georgetown, ND, and Lousiville, non of which made the Sweet 16. So having the #1 seed doesn’t mean anything in my opinion. I’d rather play in Louisville.

  12. chipper34

    Agreed. This is not important. We are UK so the set of rules the committee normally operates by does not apply to us no matter what seed we are. A waste of time worrying about this

  13. Jubrho

    By then we’ll have a win at Florida too. We can’t help that Kansas, UNC, and Lville haven’t helped our RPI as much as they should have.

  14. Great to be UK

    #11if we are a1 seed we will be in louisville

  15. Andre Chapman

    Yeah, I agree with post #10 & #11. The history of having the overall #1 seed has not been good to teams. Florida in 2007 was the only team to win the championship from the overall #1 spot. That means 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009,2010, and 2011 did not have the same result from that spot. 1 out of 8 tries. I don’t like those odds, so I would rather be any other #1 seed playing in Louisville. Let the Orange have it!

  16. BigblueJon

    Branding Knight looking good on ESPN

  17. Wow

    Lin just won the game at the horn. Has 27 points and like 13 dimes. Wow!! who is the better value, Lin or Wall. Both were in the same draft. Hate to say it but Lin > Wall. Lin was not drafted, no hype and no swag.

  18. Ares

    I don’t care if we are numer 1 overall going into the tournament I just hope we are number1 overall coming out of the tournament!

  19. CommonSense

    The problem is the committee tries to keep the top four seeds closest to home. Therefore the East and South regions are always top heavy while the west is usually weak, especially with the Pac12 sucking. I don’t know how things will improve unless the committee does what they are supposed to do and make it completely a snake type selection, where the strongest 1 plays the weakest 2. Teams like UK, Duke, UNC, Ohio State, and the strong Big East teams will always stay in the east/south, even though some of them should be shipped out west for competitive balance.

  20. BigBlueSkyDog

    It doesn’t really matter if we’re #1 or #2 overall. I just hope we’re in the Atlanta regional. Regardless, the committee is going to stick us with the toughest road. In ’96 we were the #2 seed overall behind UMass and as I remember, things turned out quite well.

  21. JimmyMack

    I say let ‘Cuse have #1. It will all shake out in a few weeks.

  22. BigBlueCats

    Whats with all this negativity on KSR today. ‘What if we dont get Shabazz’ ‘What if we dont get the number one overall seed’. How about we just worry about it when it happens.

  23. Will Totten

    22. People tend to find little things to complain about when absolutely everything is going right

  24. bmt22033

    Tons of ratings/rankings comparisons here:

  25. Car89

    We will get the most difficult path out of our region. Puke and the Heels will have as clear a path to to their regional finals as the committee can make for them same as every year. Yet another thing completely out of our control. Go Big Blue.

  26. Justin

    The RPI is out of date, ITS OVER 30 Years OLD!!!

  27. Mattgray

    Only stat that matter is Kentucky 2-0 against top ten teams and ex-cuse is 0-0. SOS my ass

  28. Hung

    Im still trying to figure out why our SOS is so low,esp our non-conf SOS(113????? WTF). We played 4 teams that at one point or another have been ranked in the top 10.

  29. Yesterdays

    Noone tried to screw us last year. They might have tried to screw osu or unc, but not us. If you arent a #1 seed or a #2 seed, you have little to complain about. With Ohio State losing, we are virtually assured of playing at the Chicken Bucket in round 1. Then we pray that we get sent to Atlanta to play. Although if the Heels are in ATL, our home court advantage will diminish somewhat. Id prefer Ohio State to be our #2 seed. Sullinger would struggle against Davis, and other than that, they arent that great. MKG and Darius would likely dominate anyone osu could throw at them- smith or buford.

  30. catsfan65

    We want Duke as no 2 seed. They have worst def by far in top 20 and perimeter players who can’t guard anyone. They always have shooters chance, but they are by far the weakest of the teams mentioned as 2 seeds unless Baylor creeps bck into mix. RPI is next to worthless as guage of team performance. Toward end of season it gets closer to kenpom, sagarin but still far inferior.

  31. stevie

    I would like for Syracuse to receive the top seed ahead of UK (considering they both win out). It would be really great for UK to stick it up the NCAA’s arse, like they did last season. This might very well motivate our team even more.

  32. AJH

    Again – the NCAA has proven that the number 1 overall seed isn’t always of any importance. Ohio State got screwed very hard last year.

  33. stafford

    Exactly. And we’ve had the (supposed) #1 overall seed before and gotten screwed as well like in 2003. #1 Overall is a myth. They use it to give a team a cherry path when they WANT to and completely disregard it the next year. Like Duke’s ridiculous run to the championship two years ago.

  34. AJH

    #25 Carolina got screwed last year too. #19 hit it square. They dont balance out the brackets enough, especially the West Region (where you typically see Duke falling)

  35. bigwhody

    A major part that plays in this is that Syracuse only loss came w/out Fab Melo. The new BPI system they have looks at that kind of stuff. But regardless, its UK and we will get screwed over in the brackets anyway.

  36. stafford

    35 is right. They’re going to make sure they don’t do us any favors regardless.

  37. OneWhoKnows

    Several above keep saying they’d rather play in KFC YUM versus having the #1 overall seed….what do you think the two have to do with one another? Nothing. As far as I know, with the pod system, no certain seeds are guaranteed certain venues, etc. Personally, I’d rather play in KFC YUM/Catlanta but COULD CARE LESS which #1 seed we might get (hell, we were a #4 last year). Playing close to home is a huge advantage for the Cats, but seedings and pairings are always going to have some oddities that we can debate and disagree about. I don’t believe all the conspiracy theory about the committee trying to screw UK, almost every fan base says that every year (grass is always greener effect). March is all about who’s playing the best for the last 10 games or so (end of Reg Season, Conf T’s and the Big Dance). Cats were living proof of that last year. Just win.

  38. CATNTN

    #24 – That just makes my head hurt. #35 – If the BPI takes into account the absence of Melo, shouldn’t it take into account that the Cats lost early in the year, in their first true road game, and with a sack full of freshmen?

  39. Rixter

    It doesn’t make a bit of difference who is the overall # one, who is the second # 1, etc. It would be an absolute logistical impossibility to match up the overall # 1 with the fourth #2, the fourth # 3, the fourth #4, etc.
    And if you were a 2 seed, wouldn’t it maybe be to your advantage to be in the same regional with the overall 1?, because everybody else in your region is the weakest at their seed, and you don’t have to worry about that 1 seed until the Elite 8??

  40. Andy P.

    Non-Conference Strength of Schedule: Syracuse 30 UK 113?

    What? That can not be right. The Cuse played 4 non-conference teams from major conferences – Virginia Tech, Stanford, Florida, and at NC State.

    UK played 7 non-conference teams from major conferences – Kansas, Penn State, St. John’s, North Carolina, Indiana, Stanford, and UofL.

    No one in their right mind could say the Cuse played a tougher non-conference schedule than UK.

  41. Wildcat in TX

    Kentucky will get a #1 seed, so it really doesn’t matter. What I want to know is how does Kentucky’s non-conference schedule rank 113, especially when Syracuse’s is 30. I personally think that UK played better major teams. When talking about the mid-majors, Bucknell is the only decent one that Syracuse played, and Bucknell lost at home to Loyola (MD). Yes, the same Loyola team that UK beat. Can anyone explain the discrepancy there?

  42. anrbob

    #40 – UK played Samford, not Stanford. 6 non-conference teams from major conferences

  43. Raazoul

    I’m dumbfounded at how anyone could possibly think OSU is on the same level as UK or even Cuse. Their only good wins are Florida and Duke, both at home. They only played a few other decent teams and lost them all. At Indiana, @ MSU, @Kansas and @Illinois. They are a 5-10 ranked team at BEST. I would not mind at all if they were in our region. They can only score around the paint when they face weak interior defense, they have no outside game. They would struggle to score 50 against our defense. These rating systems are moronic….just WATCH SOME DAMN GAMES!!! It’s clear we are the best team.

  44. Raazoul

    And of course we want the number 1 overall seed. In 2010 if we were seeded right we would of played Butler, not WVU, like Duke did. They then won the title. Last year we got screwed again, still nearly won it. Seeding is everything.