The moment we’ve been waiting for is almost here -- Selection Sunday is just a day away. But there was plenty of action on Saturday.
Here’s a few takeaways
1. Duke might have stolen a No. 1 seed
We won’t know until Sunday how the selection committee views the Blue Devils, but what it did this week — knocking off four top-50 teams in four days en route to an ACC title — will likely boost Duke into consideration for a No. 1 seed. There are some blemishes on its resume, namely losses to NC State and Syracuse, and losses in three of its last four don’t help. But it boasts 15 wins over top-50 teams. That’s more than North Carolina and Gonzaga who have 11 each, for comparisons sake.
2. Wisconsin is rounding into shape as the best Big Ten team
No. 1 seed Purdue was bounced early this week by Michigan, but second seed Wisconsin has more than held its own. The Badgers overcame a red-hot Indiana team to open the conference tournament, and destroyed Northwestern -- a likely at-large bid team -- by 28 points. The funk the Badgers went through at the end of February appears to have been worked out, and it couldn’t come at a better time. They’ll be playing for the tournament title on Sunday against Michigan.
3. Oregon’s NCAA Tournament title hopes took a major hit before it even played in the Pac-12 title game
Before Saturday night’s game in the Pac-12 Tournament championship against Arizona, Oregon announced its 6-foot-10 senior shot-blocker Chris Boucher suffered a season-ending ACL tear this week and will miss the remainder of the season.
It is a devastating blow to Oregon, which is already relatively thin from a depth perspective.
The Ducks will now rely more heavily on Jordan Bell down low, who already plays right at 29 minutes per game. They have the luxury of giving former junior college player of the year and 6-foot-11 center Kavell Bigby-Williams more quality minutes. So it’s not like Oregon is out of bodies. He could be the X-factor for a team that still has the core of a team that can be Final Four good. But losing the Pac-12 leader in blocks per game is not replaceable. Period.
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