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Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/14/2008 01:50:00 AM

Day 3: The Battle For One-Seeds, And Another Facebook Pool Plea

Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK -- It's technically now Day 3 of this marathon, since it's after 1 a.m. in the Madison Square Garden press room, and all that's left are the bloggers and folks with nowhere else to go. (Many of you will contend that those classifications are one and the same, but I'd like to believe I have some options in my home city.) This daily dispatch will usually come in the morn', but the alternative -- waking up 12 hours before Georgetown and West Virginia meet in the Big East semifinal to write -- is far less attractive.

From now until the brackets are announced Sunday, here are the five questions that I think matter most:

1. Memphis is winning the Conference USA tournament. That we know. But should one of the other currently projected No. 1 seeds -- UCLA, Tennessee or North Carolina -- not win its conference tourney, can Kansas jump up and steal the final top spot if it rolls through the Big 12? Especially if the Jayhawks avenge their loss to Texas, this seems like a reasonable scenario.

2. What will the selection committee do with Duke and UNC if the Blue Devils win the ACC tournament -- by beating the Heels in the process? Will they both get No. 2 seeds? Or will one be a 1 and another a 2? I'd be inclined to give Duke a No. 1, if it beats Carolina for a second time.

3. Can last year's runner-up, Ohio State, play its way into the bracket by beating Michigan State today? If that happens, the Buckeyes will have strung together three nice wins -- one over Purdue and two over the Spartans. The 0-4 run Ohio State went on directly before might still ruin its bubble hopes, though.

4. Will Kent State play nice and win the MAC tournament? The Golden Flashes are the last mid-major left with the capability of stealing an at-large bubble spot. KSU's 25-6 record and No. 26 RPI ranking puts it in pretty good shape; should the Flashes get to the finals of the MAC tourney and lose, say, to Western Michigan, they could take a spot away from a team like Arizona State.

5. How far can Pitt climb? Our resident bracketologist had the Panthers as a No. 7 seed on Monday, but Thursday's win over Louisville could boost them up to at least a No. 6. A dark-horse run to the Big East tourney title -- a completely plausible scenario, given how well Pitt is playing -- and it could be in the conversation for a No. 5. Remember: While the Panthers are just 23-9, they have a "hardship" argument with the selection committee. They can make a decent argument that they'd be more like a 26-6 team had point guard Levance Fields been healthy all season.

And now for some very important blog business: the daily reminder about the third-annual Tourney Blog Pool. Join up now.

1. The pool has made the leap to Facebook this year. Don't freak out: It's easy. Click here to join in advance of the bracket announcement. Then find the invitation to "Luke Winn's Tourney Blog Pool" on the "Home" page of the SI Bracket Challenge Application.

2. We're up to 163 entrants as I write this. With your help, I think we can crack 1,000.

3. All Tourney Blog Pool entrants should friend this blogger on Facebook. My newly created SI profile is right here.

Our tourney playlist, curated by the folks at Gorilla vs. Bear (who are still hunkered down at South by Southwest), rolls on, one free mp3 at a time:

Day 3's track is Band of Horses' The Funeral. In honor, obviously, of Maryland and Florida's NCAA tournament hopes.


posted by Luke Winn | View comments (4) |


Posted: March 14, 2008 10:20 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
The number one seed Georgetwon Hoyas have a record tying performance in the Big East Tournament and they don't get mentioned? Also, they only have 4 losses, 3 to highly ranked teams on the road and they don't have a chance to get a number one seed if they win the Big East Tourney, arguably the deepest conference in basketball??!!
Hey Luke good column. May I add something? I think being a 1 or a 2 is mostly inconsequential, so the most intriguing seed to be determind is the final two seed. Duke, UNC, KU, Tenn, UT, Memphis, UCLA are the first 7. So who is the last two...the survivor of the Big East (ND, Gtown, Lville), is it Xavier or Wisconsi assuming they win their tourneys?
Their best non-conference win is vs. Alabama.
Posted: March 14, 2008 7:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Personally I think Texas and Kansas will be playing for a 1 seed if one of the top 4 falls. Luke doesn't mention Texas as a possibility, but why not them? Assume they win the Big 12 tourney, beating Kansas in the title game. They'd have wins at UCLA, Baylor, and Kansas State and over Tennessee (by 19 points at that), Kansas twice, and Saint Mary's. What other team in the country has a resume like that?
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