Bracketology: Duke now projects to be first eight-loss team to earn a No. 1 seed
The Blue Devils stepped up at the right time, winning four games in four days to take the ACC Tournament crown
As Selection Sundays go, this one could be relatively quiet. There are no potential bid-stealers in any of the conference championship games. Teams will be playing for seed, not selection. The 1-seeds are set, although you could still see some movement down the bracket.
The big news is that Duke is now a projected 1-seed after winning four games in four days to win the ACC Tournament. The Blue Devils picked up neutral-court victories against Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame in the past three days to give them a total of 12 top-50 wins (Michigan State is 51st) and eight of those came away from home. Even with eight losses, which would be the most ever for a No. 1 seed, Duke has put together a profile deserving of that spot.
That leaves Arizona and Oregon as 2 seeds. They have both had very good seasons, but cannot match the quality of Duke’s resume. The Ducks received some bad news when they learned Chris Boucher will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. There is a chance the Ducks fall as low as 3 seed. We have seen teams have their seeds adjusted because of injuries in the past. The most notable was when Cincinnati was dropped from a one to a two when Kenyon Martin was injured in the 1998 Conference USA tournament. The Bearcats were the No. 1 team in the country and Martin was the national player of the year, but Cincinnati was dropped to a 2 seed. Boucher is not considered to be that level of a player, but he is still a key man in the Oregon lineup.
The bottom of the bracket is also set now. I will do some seed scrubbing in my bracket Sunday morning (as will the committee with theirs), but the only team in some doubt, Rhode Island, should not be damaged enough by a potential loss to VCU to fall out of the bracket entirely.
The committee will have some contingency brackets prepared for the possible outcomes of the conference tournament games Sunday. One obvious one could have Cincinnati and SMU switching spots in the bracket based on the outcome of their American Conference final. Although, not every game tomorrow will have an impact on the bracket.
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