Blog Entry

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Posted on: January 30, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 4:34 am
It's funny how the conversation consistently shifts in college basketball. For instance ...

Old question: Will Duke go undefeated this season?

New question: Will Duke even earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament this season?

We were debating the first question three weeks ago, but Florida State put it to rest on Jan. 12 with a 66-61 win over the Blue Devils. Now it's time to address the second question, and the answer might surprise you because it's possible the answer is that, no, the Blue Devils will not get a No. 1 seed because they're going to be lacking quality wins to offset bad losses like the blowout loss they took Sunday at St. John's.

Final score: St. John's 93, Duke 78.

And I don't care where St. John's sits in the RPI, it's a bad loss when you lose by 15 points to a team that had already lost eight games, including games to St. Bonaventure and Fordham. Can it be explained? Sure. The Blue Devils were 5-of-26 from 3-point range while committing 17 turnovers; good luck beating anybody of quality with those stats. So, yeah, I understand why Duke lost Sunday. What I'm having a more difficult time understanding is how the Blue Devils are going to earn a No. 1 seed with no great wins and at least two questionable losses.

That's the real problem with the ACC being down in relation to Duke.

(Contrary to what some would have you believe, Duke didn't lose to St. John's on Sunday because the ACC is weak and the Big East is great any more than St. John's lost to St. Bonaventure last month because the Big East is great and the Atlantic 10 is whatever. One, quite simply, has nothing to do with the other. Duke lost to St. John's on Sunday because Duke is a flawed team that played poorly and St. John's is a better-than-its-record team that played well. As for the Big East and ACC in general, the bottom line is this: The Big East is awesome and the ACC stinks. But those are two things we knew yesterday, i.e., before St. John's-Duke even tipped. My advice: Don't ever draw grand conclusions about leagues from the outcome of any one game ... unless it's a football game between SEC and Big Ten members. In that case, feel free to draw whatever conclusion you like. But I digress ...)

The lack of quailty in the ACC won't "fail to prepare" Duke for the 2011 NCAA tournament any more than the lack of quality in the Horizon League failed to prepare Butler for the 2010 NCAA tournament. But what it might do is prevent Duke from earning a No. 1 seed because the quality wins just aren't going to be available. The Blue Devils beat Marquette, Kansas State, Michigan State and Butler early, but only the Marquette win can reasonably be considered a quality win now. Making things worse is that no team on Duke's past or future schedule -- except for maybe Marquette and/or North Carolina -- figures to be ranked when the AP poll is updated Monday. So whereas Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Kansas and Texas still have plenty of chances to stack nice wins, all Duke can really do is stack OK wins or bad losses.

That's a tough spot.

Does it mean Duke can't win the national title?

Of course it doesn't mean that.

It's important to remember Duke was 17-4 and coming off a 12-point loss to Georgetown on this day last season, and the Blue Devils ended up winning that national title, which is why dismissing them as a legitimate candidate this season because of what happened Sunday would be equal parts premature and stupid. But what's neither premature nor stupid is to wonder whether a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament is possible. If it doesn't happen, it won't necessarily be because the Blue Devils aren't good enough. Rather, it'll likely be rooted in the fact that their body of work will lack quality wins because their schedule doesn't provide many, if any, opportunities to record them.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Duke, St. John's

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:04 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

And yes i would like to compare minnesota, michigan and penn st to pitt west virginia and nova

Did I just read that correctly? That's a joke, right? Penn St is playing better ball right now, but look at some of their losses earlier in the season....@ Mississippi, who may be the worst team in a down SEC, home vs. Maine (yes, Maine!!!!!!), and a 23 pt home loss to Maryland. You can't put a team with those blemishes on their resume in the same class as Villanova or Pitt. That's insane.

Michigan and Minnesota fattened up on a weak non-conference schedule and have bad home losses to UTEP and Virginia (Yes, God-awful Virginia) respectively. Neither Pitt or Nova have losses that are anywhere near that terrible (and both have many more quality wins).

Look, I'm not one of these people that are going to tell you Ohio St stinks because they barely beat NW. Ohio St was close to blowing NW out of the gym until the technical foul led to a seven point possession for NW. Ohio St is legit.....and I'll grant you Minnesota being better than WVU since they beat them head to head....and WVU has some bad losses (Marshall), but don't sit here and try to say that Michigan, Penn St, or Minnesota are anywhere close to teams like Nova and Pitt. That's just nonsense.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:02 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Lol, and Arizona (Pac 10) fan talking crap, the 7th rated conference in the RPI!!  Arizona played two top 100 teams OOC and lost to both.  BYU spanked them by 22.  The Pac 10 will get what they deserve, 2 or 3 teams in the tourney.

Since: Apr 8, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:44 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

I totally agree with with your argument, but how do you explain last year. Duke got a number 1 seed despite beating only one team who ultimately got a 6 seed or better, which is a good approximation of the top 25. That team was Maryland at home, who they also lost to on the road. While the bottom of the bracket gets scrutinized with every single win and loss, the top seems to be filled more on the human polls and "eye" test. We'll see where that leaves us in March.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:24 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

That's a legitimate argument, Sullinger, regarding dictating the pace.  That can usually be negated with a good back court, full court press, and tight perimeter defense.  That being said, however, the BE has a Big Ten team called Notre Dame and darn if they haven't had success this year doing that very thing.

And I agree that anyone that goes undefeated through an entire season deserves a No. 1 seed.

As for Duke, they will be a No. 1 seed, as well.  Even with a down ACC, I think NC, Maryland and Fla. St. are decent teams.  Still, I don't expect Duke to have many more losses from now to the end of the season as the teams that will win their respective conferences.    

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:22 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

BOOM!! grate post

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:22 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Sully you're at it again. The reason no one gives Penn St. Mich, and NW any credit, is because they don't deserve any. They, like the Big 10, suck. You can try as you might to believe in your mind that the Big10 is good, but they aren't. OSU is the best team, but who can you brag to about that? Who did they barely survive against the other day? That's right Northwestern. A huge one point victory over a team whos best win is against Mich.  Now I know why you're trying to say they are better than they really are, because they nearly beat your buckeyes. After undefeated OSU, who is the next best team in the Big10?? Mich St? Purdue?? Come on, neither team deserved the preseason rankings that they got. If it weren't for those preseason rankings, neither would be ranked now. MSU has quality wins against who?? No One. Same with OSU, Purdue, Minnesota, whomever else you want to brag about.

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:13 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

They are not a 1 seed at this point, but the media and NCAA will give them a 1 seed or make them a 2 seed in garbage bracket. 

Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:46 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Is Ohio State an imposing No. 1 seed without quality wins?

If you go unbeaten in the big ten period those are quality wins. The big east isn't the toughest conference anymore. And they are by far not the most impressive. And yes i would like to compare minnesota, michigan and penn st to pitt west virginia and nova. I'd give the big east a possible prayer of getting out of town with one win against either of those teams., Why? The big ten controls the game. It doesn't matter what your back court looks like when you play a big ten team your averages are out the window because your going to grind at THEIR pace. 
Case in point: Syracuse averaged mid 70's in ppg and Kansas averages mid 80's in ppg. Lets see what they did against their big ten opponent michigan who they quote unquote could control the tempo against. Yeah syracuse scored 53 and kansas scored 67. Hmm, looks like michigan grinded them down to their pace. I'm just saying i don't care what your backcourt looks like when you play a big ten opponent your averages go down 30 percent in every category because its a rough tough knock around conference. I'm not trying to discredit the big east because i'll be the first to admit they are an impressive conference. 
But when you play the big ten. You can't control the pace of the game unless you're another big ten school.

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:45 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

How soon we all forget that last year ..sameo Duke is not a #1 seed etc etc when
they were 17-4 now being what 19-2 aint good enough...lord


A #1 seed and DUKE not   lol  you are ALL WRONG

Duke will go all the way AGAIN
The rankings mean NA NA
and this was over a CINCINATI TEAM THAT WAS 30-1 who happened to lose THEIR
center MARTIN in the conference finals and lost  so the ncaa GAVE MICH ST THE CROWN
IZZO HAS NEVER REALLY WON ONE cause you all know that a 30-1 team should have been
given the seen not MICH ST

I know GARY will rank TEXAS above DUKE now even tho DUKE has the better RECORD..

I"M gonna love it when the bigeast goes out in flames like last year but I will say this
any CONFERENCE THAT PUTS 10 or 11 teams in like everyone says is a JOKE to this
TOURNAMENT>>why... THAT GIVES THE BIGEASSTTT  10 chances to win it all ..yet another
conference only gets 1 or 2 in  hmmmm  sound BIASED TO ME there should be a new rule

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:29 am

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Piper Im not going to take personal shots at you because this is a  sports website so I dont know why you are attacking me but for the record didnt Butler beat Syracuse, and we beat Butler for the Title so whats your beef, Syracuse should have beaten Butler. And then they could have played Duke for the Title, Now I dont know who would have won that game Syracuse very well could have beat Duke or Duke could have beaten Syracuse. But the reality is Duke down the stretch beat every team they faced didnt get upset by a lower seed and won the title end of story. It just sounds sad when all these fans cry about the ease of the bracket and all this stuff. If there team was as good as they think they would win every game which they obviously did not.

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