With both #1 Kansas and our beloved Cats losing today, not to mention a depleted Purdue team taking on #14 Michigan State tomorrow and Syracuse and Villanova facing off as we speak, it looks like the top of the polls could be a little different on Monday. It had been 3 years since the #1 and #2 ranked teams lost in the same day and we could even see Syracuse all the way up to #1.
Beyond the fact that we always want to win every game (is that really so much to ask?), at this point Kentucky is playing for that #1 seed. Obviously there is still a lot of basketball to be played before Selection Sunday and conference tournaments always shake things up, but let’s take a look at the top 12 (according to the voters, the projected 1-3 seeds at this point) and their remaining games:
1. Kansas – Loss today @ Ok St. ,#6 Kansas St., @ Missouri
2. Kentucky– Loss today @ #19 UT, @ Georgia, Florida
3. Purdue-Tomorrow vs. Michigan St, Indiana, @ Penn St.
4. Syracuse-Tonight vs. #7 Villanova, St. John’s, @ Louisville
5. Duke– Tomorrow @ Virginia, @ Maryland, North Carolina
6. Kansas St.-Tonight vs. Missouri, @ #1 Kansas, Iowa St.
7. Villanova-Tonight vs. #4 Syracuse,
8. West Virginia-Win today vs. Cincinnati, #13 Georgetown, @ #8 Villanova
9. Ohio State-Win today vs. Michigan, Illinois
10. New Mexico-Win today @ BYU, TCU
11. Georgetown-Loss today vs. Notre Dame, @ #7 West Virginia, Cincinnati
12. Pittsburgh-Win today @ St. John’s, Providence, Rutgers
According to Jeff Goodman, Kansas should stay at #1 even with a Syracuse win tonight, the Orangemen should move up to #2, and Kentucky should be #3 or #4 dependent on the Purdue game.
Though the polls matter very little, it will be interesting to see how the dust from this weekend settles. For projection’s sake, let’s say that Syracuse wins tonight and Purdue goes down tomorrow as expected. That puts UK, Kansas and Syracuse all with two losses a piece. Comparing the three losses:
Kentucky- Losses: @ South Carolina,@ Tennessee
Kansas-Losses: @ Tennessee, @ Ok St.
Syracuse-Losses: Pittsburgh, Louisville
I think Kentucky and Kansas’ losses are comparable: both on the road, one to Tennessee and the other to fired-up, middle-of-the-road team on their home court. While Syracuse has looked good down the stretch and have wins over 8 tournament teams, their losses have both been at home to weaker competition. I like Syracuse to do well in the tournament, but if you can’t win at home, where can you win?