Selection Sunday is upon us, which means that today we learn which programs get to dance this month and which ones will see their season come to an end. More importantly for Duke fans, today is the day that the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament are to be announced. Duke joins a group of six teams holding out hope for four slots at the top of the bracket. Here's a breakdown of all the teams—listed alphabetically—in the running for a one seed.
Duke (27-5, 14-4)
Key wins: Louisville (neutral), Ohio State (home), Miami (home)
Bad losses: Maryland (road), Virginia (road), Maryland (neutral)
Argument for a No. 1 seed: The Blue Devils have the No. 1 strength of schedule this season thanks to early season matchups with then-No. 3 Kentucky, then-No. 2 Louisville and then-No. 4 Ohio State. Duke then beat another top-five team when then-No. 5 Miami visited Cameron Indoor Stadium during ACC play. The Blue Devils also have just one loss with Ryan Kelly in the lineup—that loss being the ACC tournament dud against Maryland. The selection committee could consider Duke with Kelly as a different entity than Duke without Kelly.
Argument against: While Indiana got bounced from its conference tournament by a potent Wisconsin team that is expected to occupy a No. 3 or 4 seed in the tournament, Duke was bested by unranked, bubble-sitting Maryland—for the second time this season. The Blue Devils have lost three of their last eight to teams that may or may not hear their names called at all during tonight's selection show.
Gonzaga (31-2, 16-0)
Key wins: Kansas State (neutral), Oklahoma State (home)
Bad losses: Illinois (home)
Argument for a No. 1 seed: Gonzaga has been No. 1 in the AP poll for the last two weeks and did nothing make the selection committee question that standing after winning the West Coast Conference. The Bulldogs' only losses this season were a result of the unlucky No. 13, losing twice to the team with that ranking in the AP poll—Illinois and Butler. Additionally, Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk is one of the best players in the nation. Standing at 7-feet tall, Olynyk is shooting a blistering 65.2 percent from the floor.
Argument against: The strength of schedule argument. No one is going to confuse the WCC with the Big 10. The only other WCC school with an RPI better than 50 is St. Mary's, who's RPI sits at 31. The Gaels didn't pose much of a competition for the Bulldogs however, losing all three times the two teams met. Gonzaga has played some good teams this season, but the fact that it isn't from a powerhouse conference will hurt its candidacy for a No. 1 seed. They appear to be in pretty good shape for a top spot, though.
Indiana (27-6, 14-4)
Key wins: Georgetown (neutral), Michigan State (twice), Michigan (twice), Ohio State (road)
Bad losses: Wisconsin (home)
Argument for a No. 1 seed: Indiana has been at the top of the AP poll for much of the season, even though recent scuffles have knocked them from that perch. Things working in the Hoosiers' favor are their tough conference and their star power. The Big 10 has five teams ranked in the top-25 and another two that have spent time in that club at points this season. Indiana has two of the best college basketball players in the nation in Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo—the former was the preseason favorite for Player of the Year and the latter is a current favorite for the award.
Argument against: Much like Duke, Indiana is scuffling at the wrong time. The Hoosiers have dropped three of their last six games, including an early conference tournament exit—again like Duke. Indiana doesn't have any egregiously bad losses to their record—all six losses came against top-40 RPI teams—but the losses began to pile up in a hurry late this season.
Kansas (29-5, 14-4)
Key wins: St. Louis (neutral), Ohio State (road), Kansas State (twice), Oklahoma State (road)
Bad losses: Texas Christian (road), Baylor (road)
Argument for a No. 1 seed: Kansas has hit its stride at the exact right time. After a three-game swoon in early February had head coach Bill Self calling out his team in post game press conferences, the Jayhawks have rattled off wins in 10 of their last 11, including winning the Big 12 conference tournament earlier this week.
Argument against: That TCU loss is just so bad. The Horned Frogs won just two games in the Big 12 this season and has a 234 RPI. Additionally, while the Jayhawks have beaten some good teams this season, they haven't beaten the cream of the crop the way Duke has. Kansas has faced just one top-seven team this season (Ohio State), compared to the four top-five teams Duke has played.
Louisville (29-5, 14-4)
Key wins: Syracuse (twice), Marquette (home), Notre Dame (twice)
Bad losses: Villanova (road)
Argument for a No. 1 seed: Much like Kansas, Louisville underwent a three-game losing streak, but the Cardinals bounced back better than ever. The only loss Rick Pitino's club has in its last 14 games is a five-overtime thriller at Notre Dame. Louisville also doesn't have an exceptionally bad loss this season. Sure they should have beaten Villanova, but the Wildcats also upset the rest of the Big East, including Syracuse, Marquette, and Georgetown. The Cardinals also emerged as the Big East champions, despite the deep and talented field.
Argument against: Louisville had that mid-season swoon. The team worked hard to overcome the slide, making much of America forget the three straight losses, but will the selection committee forget about it too? The Cardinals have lost their fair share of games to the top teams in the Big East, but could any of these other No. 1 hopefuls have run the table against that talented a conference? Still, they appear to be a major contender for the No. 1 overall seed.
Miami (27-6, 15-3)
Key wins: Michigan State (home), Duke (home)
Bad losses: Florida Gulf Coast (road), Indiana State (neutral), Wake Forest (road), Georgia Tech (home)
Argument for a No. 1 seed: Miami owned the ACC through much of the conference season—until late season losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech opened things up a little bit for the rest of the conference. Shane Larkin has emerged as a premier point guard in the NCAA while Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott make for excellent second and third options on offense. Miami rebounded nicely from its late-season slip-ups however, besting North Carolina in the ACC conference finals.
Argument against: Miami simply has more bad losses than good wins. North Carolina and North Carolina State are good teams, but they aren't the teams people expected them to be in the preseason. Miami's wins over Duke and Michigan State were good wins over excellent teams, but can the selection committee really forgive all of those bad losses? Even the one on the Hurricanes' home floor?
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