marching to march: hoosiers make their case for consensus no. 1.

That's how close Michigan came to winning.

That’s how close Michigan came to winning.

The biggest game of the season lived up to its hype. For Indiana, the win over Michigan yesterday delivered the first outright B1G championship in 20 years and, most likely, a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region. For Michigan, it’s a bitter pill. I’m still a believer that they can earn a top seed if they win the conference postseason tournament, but that all depends on Louisville, Kansas and Georgetown.

The Four Tops
Not sure how the rankings will shake out, but we have a much clearer picture of the top seeds now.

West Region—Gonzaga: Rolled through their schedule, but still the weakest top seed, if you ask me.
South Region—Georgetown: The only ranked team they haven’t beaten all year is Indiana.
Midwest Region—Indiana: 7-1 vs. ranked opponents, including three road wins vs. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Consensus No. 1? Hmm….
East Region—Duke: Might be the best team in the tournament, now that Ryan Kelly is healthy.

Who’s No. 2?
One of these teams could play its way into a top seed, if you ask me. But for now, they’re going to hold down the second seeds:

* Louisville
* Kansas
* Michigan
* Miami

What’s Left?
Selection Sunday is six days away. Between now and then, we’ll have today’s national rankings and a slew of conference tournaments. It remains to be seen how much or how little credence the selection committee gives to postseason conference play. After all, 20-loss Liberty already backed its way into the Big Dance™ by virtue of winning its conference tourney. Should Georgetown get punished if they lose an opening round game? We’ll see.

I think those No. 2 and possible No. 3 seeds (Michigan State, Ohio State, Okie State and Marquette) could move up, depending on how they do this week. Moe down? Who knows.

Who’s No. 1?
The national rankings are nearly meaningless today. It doesn’t matter if you’re No. 1, as long as you’re in the Top Four. Here goes my prediction for the Top Ten:

1. Gonzaga (30-2/16-0)—They won a game in their conference tournament. It doesn’t matter anymore.
2. Indiana (25-5/14-4)—The Ohio State loss created drama, but beating Michigan at Ann Arbor was THE biggest win of the season.
3. Duke (27-4/14-4)—Carolina was no match for the Blue Devils. This team is surging.
4. Georgetown (24-5/14-4)—Started the season unranked. Finished tied for a share of the Big East.
5. Louisville (24-5/14-4)—7-0 since losing at Notre Dame in 5 overtimes.
6. Kansas (26-5/14-4)—Laid an egg at Baylor. Still tied for Big 12 championship and went 4-1 vs. ranked opponents on the season.
7. Michigan (24-5/12-6)—This ranking belies their true talent, but they’re 4-4 vs. ranked teams.
8. Michigan State (24-7/13-5)—Starting to pick up the pieces, but still have to prove they’re an elite team, after going 5-6 vs. ranked opponents.
9. Miami (24-6/15-3))—They won the ACC outright, but the late loss to Duke (and Georgia Tech) really hurt.
10. Ohio State (23-7/13-5)—Closed out the season on a 5-0 run, including wins against Michigan State and at Indiana. Could be a dark horse.

The Rest of the Pack
11. Marquette (23-7/14-4)
12. Oklahoma State (23-7/13-5)
13. Kansas State (25-6/14-4)
14. New Mexico (26-5/13-3)
15. St. Louis (24-6/13-3)
16. Florida (24-6/14-4)
17. Arizona (24-6/12-6)
18. Pittsburgh (24-7/12-6)
19. Syracuse (23-8/11-7)
20. Memphis (27-4/16-0)
21. Butler (24-7/11-5)
22. Oregon (23-8/12-6)
23. Wisconsin (21-10/12-6)
24. UCLA (23-8/13-5)
25. VCU (24-7/12-4)

Honorable Mention
Creighton (27-7/13-5) won the Missouri Valley Conference postseason tournament this weekend. They could earn a national ranking.

Gone, Daddy Gone
These three teams fell out of the rankings this week. Bubble teams? Perhaps. But I think at least two of these teams make it to the Big Dance.

* Notre Dame (23-8/11-7)
* Louisiana Tech (26-5/16-2)
* North Carolina (22-9/12-6)

Off the Bubble
Thanks to Florida for blowing it for everybody. Because they lost to Kentucky 61-57 this weekend, the Wildcats played their way into the tournament. Nice work, Gators. Nice work.

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Filed under college basketball, march madness, NCAA

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