CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- There are no guarantees a week away from Selection Sunday.
Let me say that first.
But Pittsburgh's 70-60 victory over Connecticut should be enough to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens going forward because it:
- pushed the Panthers' record to 28-3 overall, 15-3 in the Big East.
- ensured the Panthers will finish no worse than second in the Big East.
- made the Panthers 7-2 against the top 25 of the CBSSports.com RPI.
- made the Panthers 9-2 against the top 50 of the CBSSports.com RPI.
- made the Panthers 15-3 against the top 100 of the CBSSports.com RPI.
- gave the Panthers two wins over another possible No. 1 seed (Connecticut).
- strengthened the Panthers' hold on the top-rated RPI.
That last point is key because the school entering Selection Sunday with the top-rated RPI has been awarded a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament 10 of the past 13 seasons. The only times it didn't happen were in 2000 when Cincinnati got a No. 2 seed despite being No. 1 in the RPI, in 2005 when Kansas got a No. 3 seed despite being No. 1 in the RPI, and last season when Tennessee got a No. 2 seed despite being No. 1 in the RPI. And when you consider that Cincinnati didn't get a No. 1 seed in 2000 only because Kenyon Martin broke his leg in the C-USA tournament, the reality is that a No. 1 RPI has translated into a No. 1 seed 11 of the past 13 seasons.
In other words, book it.
And if you want a prediction, the prediction here is that the four No. 1 seeds will be comprised of two Big East teams (Pitt plus UConn or Louisville), an ACC team (North Carolina or Duke) and either Oklahoma, Michigan State or Memphis (with OU being the most likely, at this point). Another possible scenario (that would drive college basketball fans insane) would be for Duke to beat UNC on Sunday, then for those two to play a close game in the ACC tournament final, which could then lead to the top seeds being UNC, Duke, Pitt and either UConn or Louisville.
Yep, two ACC teams and two Big East teams.
If Duke wins here Sunday, get ready for it.