The #1 seed is overrated
Is anyone a favorite to win the NCAA basketball tournament this year? Another top-ranked team bit the dust this week as Minnesota took down Indiana 77-73. It’s the 7th time the #1 team has lost this season.
Maybe teams don’t want to finish the season in the top spot? Maybe they’ve seen how uncommon it is for the overall #1 seed win the NCAA tournament? Kentucky did it last year….they finished the regular season at the top and then won it all. Before that, Duke did it in 2001 and UCLA did it in 1995.
The way things are going this year….it’s anyone’s tournament to win. Just when a team looks unbeatable, they claim the top spot and fall soon after.
Syracuse hasn’t had to worry about that distinction this season. Every time they start looking like a real threat, they decide to drop an important game.
Syracuse’s senior “leaders” have been inconsistent at best. There are no true leaders on this year’s squad and the Orange still lack a decent big man.
They have a few more games in the regular season to get things back on track. Unfortunately, two of their remaining opponents are ranked top 10 in the country.
Going into the tournament it’s easy to admit the No. 12-ranked Orange are flawed and those flaws could send them packing in the first or second round of the tournament. However, there’s a reason they call it March “Madness”. It’s a clean slate once the tournament starts and some crazy things always seem to happen. Teams that finish the regular season in a slump, wake up and look unbeatable. If the Orange pick up another win or two in the next week, they will probably enter the tournament as a #3 or #4 seed, if they don’t, they may land even lower.
Why is that good? In the last three years 5 out of 12 teams seeded fourth or lower have made it to the Final Four.
If you look at those teams’ resumes pre-NCAA Tournament, you’ll feel better about how the Orange have been playing recently.
Last year Louisville ended its regular season losing four of its last six games, including its final two. The Cardinals only earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAAs after rallying to win the Big East Tournament. All of this and they still made the Final Four…eventually losing to tournament champion, Kentucky.
In 2011, # 11 VCU, #8 Butler and # 4 Kentucky all made it to the Final Four.
The Rams were the biggest surprise after they closed out the regular season losing four of their last five games. After being defeated by Old Dominion in the CAA Tournament Final, VCU was one of the last four teams into the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky finished the regular season with 22-8 record and lost late in the season to Arkansas (18-13).
So as recent history shows, Syracuse fans have nothing to worry about. Losing late in the season really doesn’t make much of a difference (unless a team is on the bubble…which the Orange are not).
So have faith ‘Cuse fans….the madness begins soon!