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: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:12 am

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

I love how duke loses and everyone still complains that they get all the calls. Coach K has 887 all time wins but apparently they all came from bad calls. Shut up and stop crying because they win and your team doesnt. You can say what you want about the ACC and they are bad this year, but they still have the last 2 championships which is what its all about, and Duke can win it again this year, esp. if Irving comes back by March.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:10 am

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

Seeds mean nothing...YOu have to beat who you have to beat to move on.  What is the difference between a 1 or 2 or 3 seed.  It is about getting things right.  Playing with lineups.  Testing diffent offensive and defensive sets.  Who works well with who.  YOu basically , if you are a top 20 team and guaranteed a bid, have from November to February to figure stuff out for run to win 6 games.  THe regular season means the world to mid majors and bubble large conference teams but nothing to top 20 teams.  Thnk Syracuse isn't making the Tourney?  They have had a bump in the road but get healthy and figure out what is going wrong and they have a month to do so.  Some say it is the problem with college basketball but they have the greatest event in just about all of sports...the TOURNEY

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 9:08 am

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

So would Kansas moron.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:28 am

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

This is why people elect the wrong people for office.

Since: Oct 10, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:27 am

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

Don't you mean a master cheater? If you've ever watched a Duke game they get all the calls, and if they don't shoot well from outside the get drubbed by any team with an inside presence. SDSU doesn't deserve a # 4 seed, THEY DON"T PLAY ANYONE! Same goes for BYU! Second round outs is the beast either of those teams are.

Since: Oct 10, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2011 7:22 am

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

Will Duke get a # 1 seed? Absolutely! Do they deserve one? Absolutely not! Duke played in a chump conference last season had  5 losses, played an easy schedule, got a # 1 seed and perfectly set up to win 4 games before they played anyone in the tournament last season. That team was W. Virginia who had to play a perfect game against Kentucky to win, so when they played Duke (most of the game without their star player) they were spent. I would expect the same from the NCAA, because they are run by Duke University! Their conference is worse this year. They played 1 top 25 opponent at the time Mich. st and we've all seen how bad they are. By the end of the season Duke will have 5 losses again, against unranked opponents, and will receive a # 1 seed. Why? NCAA owned by Duke!

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:35 am

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

Duke will get a #3 seed but still can go all the way.  They have mastermind Coach-K.  I'm not a Duke lover by all means but I respect great coaching.  Let's all give some respect to SDSU.  I'm not a homer for them either.  But, last week, going to The Pit and getting a solid win, and their decent OOC schedule they deserve a #1 seed.  They play in a weaker conference and their RPI will certainly drop.  Shouldn't matter.  I'm a Marquette alum and I doubt their chances--next year?? All the Way!  Being from SF I don't hate LA teams.  But SF is the polar opposite of SD.  Still, as a CBB fan I give credit where due.  Their ability to pass around and patience for the good shot is awesome.  I am a BIG!0 (11, 12- whatever) head.  I agree OSU might be over-rated as #1, but still believe they will get a #1 seed as the big ten is strong this year.  SDSU deserves a #1 seed.

Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:03 am

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

I am a big Duke fan but you could see this coming. They are in the middle of conference play. They go on the road against a team that needed a big win against a team everyone plays harder against and Duke thinking ahead to Maryland next Wednesday. On a neutral court Duke would easily beat this team 8 out of 10 times.
LOL, this is a silly comment. First, own up to the fact that Duke showed up and got destroyed. Nolan Smith even said in the the post-game interviews he thought the team arrived to MSG ready to play. Typical Duke fan response. To have the arrogance to suggest the Devils would win 80% of their games vs. St John's a neutral site is laughable. They were absolutely owned in every facet of the game. I appreciate what a home court advantage can provide a team but Duke wasn't even in the same league as the Red Storm today. They looked, frankly, rather pathetic. And they've looked rather average for a while now.

Duke will probably go further than St. John's in the NCAAT but just accept the loss and don't make these pathetic excuses.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:32 am

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

"SDSU can win out, and won't get a #1 seed; their conference is lousy, and can barely point to a signature win."

You could make the same statement about Washington.  The whole point of the article was to make the same statement about Duke.  Kentucky is in a little better shape, with wins over Washington, Notre Dame and Louisville, but if SDSU (or BYU for that matter) wins out, their resume will be just as good.

And actually, their conference is not lousy at all.  They are clearly better than the SEC this year, and some rankings place them above the Pac 10 and the ACC.

If there is a strong leader in the Big East, Big 10 and Big 12, that will still leave one number 1 seed open.  Either it will be a second place team from one of those conferences, or it will be a team from a weaker conference without any signature wins.

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:21 am

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

Will Duke be given a #1 seed with hardly any quality and other teams more deserving (aka can history repeat itself)? Will a bad Notre Dame football team be ranked if they string together some early wins against cupcakes, or are simply breathing before the season starts? Will the Yankees spend more money than anyone and choke like most years in 2011? YES. YES. YES. These are easy questions. The answers should all be NO. NO. NO.

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