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 9, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:43 pm

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

You have not watched much of MSU this season.  There last three wins were at home in OVERTIME!  This is not a good MSU team.  Two key guards kicked off of the team in six months is not  a recipe for success.  Plus, Izzo has overthought his coaching this year - too many bad line-ups and too many bad/marginal players getting significant minutes (and two of them are former walk-ons).   Oh, and I will take your dollar regarding Ohio State.  They are getting it done.  They may make it through the Big Ten with just one loss - the one at Wisconsin.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:37 pm

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

oh yeah one more thing


Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:30 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.......

Since: Oct 8, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:20 pm

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

Unless Duke totally falls apart, the NCAA Selection Commitee will find a way to give their favorites a #1 seed, guaranteed.

Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:08 pm

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

Also in the Bylaws is that Duke gets to play tourney games in Carolina.  Heck... Syracuse has "home games" in NYC and Atlantic City, but Duke can play anywhere in Carolina during March and it is OK for the WW_NCAA. 

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:07 pm

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

They will still get a one seed because their record will be much better than good teams in strong conferences.   I don't see Duke making another championship run this year.  They are way to weak underneath.  They were pushed around today by a small Johnnies team.  
Other than Duke, the ACC is getting hard to watch.  

Since: Dec 15, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:03 pm

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

I'm pretty sure its somewhere in the NCAA bylaws that if Duke gets in, they get #1.

Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:50 pm

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

They are the defending champs. Of course they will get a No. 1 seed. 5-26 from 3 point range is a weird stat. Don't they have an inside game? I think the three point shot should be abolished. It has ruined college basketball. I do not care about the NBA game. They can keep it.
But the college game should be more about passing, screening and getting the ball in the hoop from close in instead of standing outside the arc and having a round of HORSE.  

Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:48 pm

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

I absolutely love the media hyperbole when Duke loses a game.  I get it and understand that it's a big story when Duke loses.  Fans and the media want to see Duke or any other dominant sports team lose.  Like many others have said here, it's way too early to talk about seeding and who can make a run in the tournemant.  Simmer down, now! 

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 7:46 pm

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

Most of these comments are proof that sterilization of some folks should be legal and mandatory. 

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