Plenty of drama was already on the schedule for tomorrow’s slate of NCAA men’s basketball games. Thanks to losses this week by No. 1 Indiana, No. 3 Duke and No. 4 Michigan, Saturday’s become a crucible. In all likelihood, we’ll have a new No. 1 team come Monday, and it’ll probably be Gonzaga. Why? Because they beat BYU last night, 70-65 on the road and wrap up their season at home against Portland; a team the beat by 22 points earlier this year. Despite my predilections, there’s no question Gonzaga has a decent resume…unless you count their 1-2 record vs. ranked opponents (yeah, I went there again).
But even more significant than Gonzaga’s win, Duke lost on the road at Virginia last night, 73-68. Every major, Top 5 team bailed out Indiana after losing to Minnesota.
Duke’s home game vs. No. 5 Miami could be the difference between a No. 1 ranking and a No. 5 or 6 ranking. Beat the Hurricanes and the Blue Devils might leapfrog over Gonzaga. A Duke loss would push them out of the No. 1 seed conversation. For now.
If current No. 1 Indiana beats Iowa at home, the Hoosiers should stay in the Top 5. But that depends on the outcome of the Michigan/Michigan State game. A Michigan win erases some of the damage of the Penn State loss. Enough to keep them in the Top 5? Too soon to tell.
Kansas and Georgetown will make a case to move ahead of teams like Michigan and Duke if they win at home against West Virginia and Rutgers, respectively.
A few factors the voters will weigh:
* How damaging are the losses for IU, Duke and Michigan?
* How significant is Gonzaga’s win over BYU?
* Can high does Miami jump if they beat Duke?
The AP voters have a love affair with Miami, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get some No. 1 votes if they beat Duke. But if Gonzaga wins tomorrow, they’re No. 1.