It was inevitable that one of my No. 1 seeds was going to lose Wednesday night. Baylor and Kansas played in Lawrence and the game didn’t disappoint. The teams fought tooth and nail with the Jayhawks prevailing 73-68.
The result of that game was going to cause some shuffling on the top line no matter how it ended up, but the way it did caused the least amount of movement.
Gonzaga is the new overall No. 1, edging out Villanova. The Wildcats have a better collection of wins, including higher quality wins, but not enough to overcome the loss at Marquette — yet. Villanova could still jump the Zags even if they remain undefeated.
So, too, could Baylor or Kansas. At the moment, I still have the Bears ahead of the Jayhawks for the third overall seed. If Kansas’ win had been more decisive, I probably would have switched them, but that game was basically a coin flip won by one of the most dominant home teams in college basketball. The biggest difference between the two teams’ tournament resumes at the moment is the Jayhawks’ loss to Indiana.
One of the most interesting teams near the top of the bracket is West Virginia, which beat both Baylor and Kansas, but is still two games behind the Jayhawks for first place in the Big 12. The Mountaineers also won at Virginia, but all four of their losses have come to teams that are not in the current bracket projection.
West Virginia fans, like those of every team, think that only their best wins count and everything else should be ignored. That’s not how it works. The losses matter too. So do all the other wins. Teams are judged on their entire schedule, not just the part you want them to examine.
The Mountaineers have four losses to non-tournament teams, while the 12 teams seeded on the top three lines have a combined total of five. Two of those are to Georgetown, which beat Butler and still can’t crawl onto the bracket yet.
If West Virginia was more consistent, we would be talking about how it leads the Big 12 and is a No. 1 seed.
Butler is another team suffering for its inconsistency. The Bulldogs have a very strong collection of wins, including victories over Arizona, Villanova, Xavier and Cincinnati. Nobody has more RPI top -100 wins than the 14 the Bulldogs possess. At times though, Butler can’t get out of its own way. The Bulldogs were swept by Creighton, most recently losing at home to the shorthanded Bluejays, who are of course without Mo Watson now and for the rest of the season. They also have the aforementioned loss at home to Georgetown, and also at St. John’s and Indiana State, the second-to-last place team in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Inconsistent teams are hard for the committee to deal with. Are they getting the team that showed it was capable of beating some the best teams in the country or the one capable of losing to teams that are markedly inferior?The answer is both, and that’s why seeding those teams is a challenge.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Bracketology: Baylor remains ahead of Kansas even after losing in Lawrence