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Which teams deserve No. 1 seeds in the NCAA basketball tourney?

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Duke

Duke is 18-0 with a complete lineup. The Blue Devils have been missing one of their senior leaders in forward Ryan Kelly.

With Kelly back to full health and senior shooting guard Seth Curry starting to come into his own, Duke is on pace to a No. 1 seed come Selection Sunday.

The Blue Devils are doing everything right, with an offense that is seemingly unstoppable, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Kelly’s return from his 13-game injury has helped put Coach K’s squad back on the top, averaging 20 points a game since his return.

All four of Duke’s losses came when Kelly wasn’t in the lineup. The squad has since reclaimed two of those when they met up with NC State and Miami for a second time.

The third-ranked Blue Devils blew the Tar Heels out of the water with a 69-53 victory on March 9.
All that without mentioning possible Player of the Year candidate senior forward Mason Plumlee, who has put this team on his back this season while averaging 17.2 points a game and 10.3 rebounds. He has posted 17 double-doubles.

The trio not only led the Blue Devils to a No. 2 ranking in the country, but a berth in the conference championships. A victory over Miami in the ACC title game will only seal the deal for the Dukies.

— by Jalyn Souchek

Georgetown

With the NCAA Tournament nearly upon us, the discussion of who deserves a No. 1 seed is beginning. Georgetown deserves one of them. After its convincing victory over No. 17 Syracuse on March 9, the Hoyas earned a share of the regular-season Big East title, along with Louisville and Marquette. The conference has proven to be a strong one throughout recent years after sending two teams, Louisville and Syracuse, to the Elite Eight last year.

Georgetown finished the regular season with an impressive 24-5 record, 14-4 mark in the Big East. The Hoyas ended the regular season winning 12 of their final 13 games, including victories over Notre Dame, Louisville, Marquette, and Syracuse — twice. Their RPI and Basketball Power Index  are good for ninth and 17th in the country, respectively. They are also 4-2 against top-25 RPI teams, compared with Louisville’s 3-3 record.

The Hoyas are led by sophomore Otto Porter, who is averaging 16.4 points per game along with 7.5 rebounds. Porter has emerged in the second half of the season as a candidate for the John R. Wooden Award, which is given to the nation’s best player.

The Hoyas are ranked No. 5 in the nation, just behind Louisville. However, a shakeup may be in the works following the Big East Tournament, which will begin today. It seems likely that the winner of that tournament will earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Look for Porter and the Hoyas to prove that they deserve one of them.

— by Scott Albanese

Indiana

With all five starters coming back from the school’s first Sweet 16 team in a decade, Indiana came into this season with lofty expectations. The Hoosiers have lived up to their No. 1 preseason ranking.

The spotlight has been on Indiana throughout the year, and it has delivered.

Indiana only dropped four games in the nation’s toughest conference. Three of those losses came to Illinois, Ohio State, and Minnesota. All of those teams were ranked in the top 10 at some point during this season. The only other loss came at home against now No. 22 ranked Wisconsin Badgers.

While the Hoosiers haven’t had any bad losses this year, they’ve had a plethora of impressive wins. The squad has six wins against teams that finished in the top ten of the season’s final top 25 rankings.

The Hoosiers are third in the country in points per game by averaging 80.8 PPG and sixth in the country with a field goal percentage of 48.8 percent. Indiana head coach Tom Crean is orchestrating one of the most efficient offenses in the country. To go along with that, his squad is fifth in the RPI rankings with the 10th hardest schedule in the country.

Indiana has made a strong case thus far to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A strong showing in Chicago this weekend will all but secure a No. 1 seed for the Hoosiers. Look for this team to make a deep tournament run.

— by Dominick White

Gonzaga

People may question Gonzaga’s credibility of being the No. 1 team in the land right now, but there’s no doubt whether the Zags are deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga is one of three teams in the country to go undefeated in conference. However, the other two teams, Norfolk State and Memphis, come from leagues [the MEAC and C-USA respectively] with weaker competition than the West Coast Conference, which features four teams with 20-plus wins. The MEAC and C-USA on the other hand, have four 20-win teams combined.

The Bulldogs won the games they were supposed to win, unlike Indiana, which lost three games as the nation’s top team.

Zags’ two losses were to two top-15 teams at the time [Illinois and Butler]. The Butler loss came on a freak buzzer-beater play, the other loss was to a team that won the Maui Invitational. For the rest of their season, the Bulldogs have won their games by an average margin of 17.4 points per game, third to only Florida and Indiana.

Gonzaga isn’t exactly new on the national landscape, either, so don’t buy into the “mid-majors don’t deserve high seeds” hype. Mark Few has built a program that has become a bit of a dynasty since 1999. His teams have won 11 of the last 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles and appeared in the NCAA Tournament every year since he’s been the coach. This program is anything but a mid-major nowadays.

Kelly Olynyk and crew well deserve a No. 1 seed this year. Don’t be surprised if they finish the year with the No. 1 next to their name, too.

— by Kevin Glueck


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