Bracketology updates: Duke, Kansas, Xavier vie for two No. 1 spots in NCAA Tournament
Xavier, KU and Duke take to the floor in their conference tourneys battling for two spots as a No. 1 seed
The battle for No. 1 seeds begins Thursday as all four top seeds take the floor in the first round of their respective conference tournaments, as well as the one team left chasing the top line: Duke. Four of the five teams will face opponents in desperate need of wins to keep their own NCAA Tournament at-large hopes alive.
Virginia has locked up the overall No. 1 seed, even if it loses to Louisville in the ACC tournament Thursday. In a season of inconsistency throughout college basketball, the Cavaliers have been the exception. They may not be a dominant team, but they have been the hardest to beat.
Villanova will also be a top seed when all is said and done. The Wildcats' two wins over Xavier help to give them a cushion to stay on top of the bracket when all is said and done, even if they take a loss to Marquette Thursday afternoon.
That leaves the other three spots up for grabs.
Xavier and Kansas occupy those spots right now and would stay there with wins in their respective conference tournaments. It would be especially helpful for Xavier if it could beat Villanova in the final, but it is not necessary. The Musketeers will face the host team, ninth-seeded St. John's, Thursday.
The seven losses by Kansas would tie a record for the most by a No. 1 seed. That has happened five times before, including by the defending national champion North Carolina, and Virginia in 2016. An eighth loss might be too much, even with the Jayhawks' plethora of quadrant-1 wins. Duke does not have the quality at the top of Kansas, but would likely add to it with a run to an ACC tournament championship.
The Jayhawks will try to beat Oklahoma State for the first consecutive time this season after being swept by the Cowboys in the regular season. Duke takes on Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.
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