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: Aug 15, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 10:21 pm

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

Those "elite" Purdue and Duke teams were also both missing their best players (arguable in Duke's case, not in Purdue's).  This isn't professional basketball, you can't just fill in your roster through trades and what not during the year, once you've lost a superstar, you're without that caliber guy until he comes back.  This Duke team would have probably pushed that whole undefeated thing with Kyrie Irving.  He was the catalyst for the offense and the best perimeter defender on the team.  Kyle and Nolan do a lot, but they don't do the same things at the same level as the freshman.  Obviously losing Hummel was just terrible and not enough can be said about what they are missing without him.  Don't forget about how many higher ranked teams lost this weekend.  Duke will be ok, but won't earn a #1 seed without Kyrie Irving coming back soon.

Since: Mar 7, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:59 pm

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

Duke can absolutely gain a # 1 seed.  If they win the rest of their games and the ACC Tournament they deserve the # 1 in the South Region.  Don't discount playing St. John's in the Garden, St. John's had way more to play for than Duke.  It is possible that Duke will get shipped out West if Pitt, UConn or Texas keep playing at a very high level.  The most important thing from today is that a team in the middle of the Big East pack for the 2nd time in 3 weeks takes down an elite national power with West Va over Purdue then SJU over Duke.  Some conference bubble teams with weaker RPI's have a tiny margin for error after today. 

Since: Oct 1, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:49 pm

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

  The Big East is clearly over rated.  The ACC just doesn't get the credit they deserve.,,,,,,,,,YEA RIGHT  What a Joke.  There is not a poor team in the Big East with exception to Depaul and Rutgers.  And truthfully I haven't seen either of them so I could not say for sure.  I am only basing this on their record; which may not reflect the true talent of the team, playing in a division like this.  St Johns absolutely blasts Duke and exposes what a joke their ranking is.  Syracuse manhandled St Johns and just got beat four times in a row by quality Big East opponents.  The quality of opponent can be a great advantage; due to a lot of practice against quality players before tourney time.  Or on the other hand; it can be of great detriment, due to the wear against the body it can have.  What do you have left after a few hard fought Big East tournament games; all against opponents stronger than any other division has to offer.  I am pretty sure this was clearly stated today with a 15 point win.  A fifteen point win with a mid grade Big East team coming out the victor over the #3 team out of the ACC

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:22 pm

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

First of all, kindly provide your definition of a "quality win." That would assist the reader in understanding your analysis since it appears to be predicated on the term. I'm a diehard Duke fan & am thoroughly embarassed by the team's performance today as I'm certain every team & staff member are too. One needs to remember that these 2 teams played about the same time last year, wiith essentially the same personnel, & Duke only won by 9 points. I remember huge blowout losses like this in the past by unranked teams with even lower RPIs than St. Johns (#23). However, a more worrisome stat is that we're currently 19-2, but only 5-2 against Top 50 RPI teams. A quick recovery, with all around sound stats, is critical, & that will be very tough when they travel to the land of the Turtle this Wednesday. I must say though thatp if there were about 2 more minutes left they may have just pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat I think the  pivotal call was the supposed travel on Mason after he stole the ball & headed towards the basket for an uncontested dunk. I taped the game as well as watching it live, and I must say in the most unbiased way possible, that stride was no travel. So to answer the subject question is "yes" Duke can get a #1 without undefined "quality wins." There's a lot of basketball still to be played this year & 1after what we saw in the Top 25 this weekend, even the Top 10 (notwithstanding Duke's lopsided loss), the #1 seeds are still wide open.

Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 9:16 pm

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

Duke can get a #1 seed the same way my Buckeyes made it to the BCS Championship a few years everyone else around them losing!  Look at this past weekend and how many top 10 teams got their butts beat.  You can not jump a team ahead of someone when you both take a loss, unless the margin is paper thin to begin with.

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:58 pm

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

WOW! This is trash from a h8ter. No quality wins? I guess MSU or K-STATE were not quality wins...To whome I still belive are grate runners for dance time.MSU,UCONN,CUSE,UK,K-STATE, all in good confrences . and all have losses from good teams.WE know the ACC is week . SEC,Big ten,Big east.far better competition going on their .Why was sandiago st not #2 last week when they were still un-beatin ? Ohio State! ranked #1? Tell me, Who has chalenged them?...( know one) I will put my dollar on that  neither ohio state nor sandiago state will get a #1 seed.......

Ugh. Clearly your education is paying off. Step away from your computer, go to the kitchen, and practice flipping burgers. You'll be doing a lot of it later in life.

But before you go, why don't you use your profound intellect to explain to the rest of the world (who are clearly adrift without you) who should be #1, and why.

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:56 pm

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

Is the Pope Jewish?  It really doesn't make any difference.  How many times has Duke been on national tv this year?  Duke will always get what Duke wants, deserving or not.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:55 pm

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

Really? You are running your mouth about the Buckeyes? Seems that OSU keeps winning, in a strong conference. Duke has had two losses, one against a semi decent FSU and the other against yet another Big East team who will receive too much credit for beating Duke. Do I try to discredit Duke? No way. They deserve a #1 seed. They had a bad game against a bad team (5-26 from three-point land - Live by the three, die by the three). However, do not become a hater for being hated. Go Bucks!

Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:45 pm

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

There is no way.... I say again... NO way... Dook will not get a #1 seed this season!!  I don't care WHAT their record or RPI is... Do you remember the team with Paulus and McRoberts and all those scrubs that got a #2 seed, and they really should have been about a 5 or 6??  ... and ended up losing in the 2nd round??  Same thing will happen this season with respect to their seed!!  Dook is GIFTY and they'll get gifted exactly what they want for the best chance to going deep... That's just the way it is, has been, and will be!!  Period!!!

Since: Mar 31, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:43 pm
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