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Six OT's Later, What Now?

After awaking to the news that Syracuse had defeated Connecticut in six overtimes last night (in reality early this morning), yesterday could go down as the craziest day of conference tournament action in recent memory.  Consider this: the top two seeds in the Big 12 lost, two of the top three seeds in the Big East lost, the number five seed in the ACC lost to the conference's last place team (Georgia Tech's upset win over Clemson)... what more could you ask for as a Duke fan?

Well, unfortunately for Duke, the consensus of most experts is not much has changed, even with Connecticut's loss.  Even though three of the most likely No. 1 seeds (Pittsburgh, Connecticut, and Oklahoma) lost, most writers don't seem to foresee any major shakeup in the bracket, with the exception of Louisville claiming the fourth No. 1 over Oklahoma.  Indeed, not much has changed in Andy Glockner's lated projected NCAA bracket, for the field or for Duke.

However, Thursday's chaos does leave Duke an opportunity to impress the selection committee and improve their Tournament chances.  Wake Forest now appears to be the Blue Devils' only roadblock to a No. 2 seed and playing the first two rounds in nearby Greensboro.  Furthermore, it is now conceivable, although still a long-shot, that an ACC Tournament Championship could merit Duke consideration for a No. 1 seed (my colleague and editor Ben Cohen seems to agree).  With Oklahoma seemingly out of the picture for that No. 1 seed, the committee may be hard pressed to place three Big East teams in those top slots if Duke claims the ACC Title, especially if that includes solid wins over Wake Forest and inevitable No. 1 seed North Carolina.  How the committee responds to such a hypothetical could shed a light on which conference they really feel was the best this season.

So what should Blue Devil fans watch during today's action, besides Duke's quarterfinal match with Boston College?  First, keep an eye on Michigan State versus Minnesota (ESPN at noon).  The Spartans could lay claim to the last No. 1 seed with a Big 10 tournament title, but Minnesota still needs a marquee win to feel secure with their at-large bid.  A Michigan State loss should not only eliminate them from the running for a No. 1 seed, but should solidify Duke's claim as a No. 2 even before its tournament run begins.

Also, take a look to see if the Big East's top seed, Louisville, will follow Pittsburgh and Connecticut out the door.  A Cardinals victory over Villanova (ESPN at 7:00 pm) would seemingly secure their No. 1 seed, but if the Wildcats were to pull another upset, it would be Louisville's sixth loss, the same number that Duke would have if it wins the ACC Tournament.

In short: a lot needs to happen if the Blue Devils want to eke out a No. 1 seed, but first and foremost they must take care of their own business tonight versus Boston College and throughout the ACC Tournament.

What do you think, loyal readers?  Can Duke pull off a miraculous ACC Tournament run to claim a No. 1 seed?  How amazing was the six overtime game between Syracuse and Connecticut last night?  And, once again most importantly, does anyone actually agree with my analysis here?

Expect another edition of "Wannabe Bracketologist" sometime tonight, hopefully with some more upsets to report.


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