How Hummel's injury affects Purdue's seeding; more notes
The news of
There is some mixed precedent for this kind of late-season injury adjustment. The most popular (and poorly executed) example is Cincinnati star
The committee had an even harder job in 1990 trying to evaluate Loyola Marymount after
The most applicable example (as far as adjustment, not seeding) of recent vintage, though, may be last season's Saint Mary's team, which was 18-1 when star point guard
So, the story for Purdue will be wait-and-see. Hummel is obviously a very key component, but Purdue does not operate as a star system. If the sum of the parts can look solid, starting at home against Michigan State on Sunday, the Boilers could hang on to a pretty strong seed. The chances of it being a 1, though, are much slimmer today than they were 24 hours ago.
Who will this benefit if Purdue does slide?
Believe it or not, the team best positioned to poach that No. 1 seed is now Duke. The only obvious regular-season hurdle left is at Maryland, which could decide the ACC regular-season title. If the Blue Devils win out from here, they will end up at 30-4 with ACC regular-season (by multiple games) and tournament crowns. According to collegerpi.com, winning the last four regular-season games projects to an overall RPI of 2 against the No. 7 schedule. The Blue Devils might even be able to eat one regular-season loss and still be strongly in consideration. They currently are 9-3 vs. RPI top 50 (albeit just 1-2 vs. the top 25, part of being in the balanced-but-top-light ACC this season).
The other two teams that look best positioned would be Kansas State and Villanova, but each team has much harder run-ins than Duke. K-State hosts Missouri on Saturday and then must travel to Lawrence, Kan., to take on the No. 1 Jayhawks Monday night. Navigating through the Big 12 tourney will be treacherous, as well. Villanova faces road games at Syracuse and Cincinnati and then hosts West Virginia before the bear of the Big East tournament. Getting through that almost unscathed would be quite an achievement, but would position the Wildcats for a No. 1 despite the recent dip.
• Dayton's now in some serious trouble after losing a really ugly 49-41 game at Temple on Wednesday night. The Flyers are 7-6 in the A-10, which is a good league but not
Also, remember that the A-10 has moved its tournament to March 12-14, with the final being played on Selection Sunday. With as much as the committee has to do to handle multi-bid conference conflicts, it could come down to an either/or for the A-10. If Dayton makes and loses in the final, would they just swap in for a Rhode Island or Charlotte?
• Xavier got a critical road win at Saint Louis (which no one in the A-10 had been able to do before Wednesday) and now looks set to join Temple and Richmond as NCAA teams. Richmond travels to Xavier on Sunday for first place in the league.
• Minnesota didn't capitalize on a huge opportunity at home with the Hummel injury, missing a wide-open baseline jumper at the buzzer to lose by one after a big rally gave the Gophers a couple of late leads. Minnesota's at-large hopes now hinge heavily on the game at Illinois on Saturday. Without that one, it's 9-9 in the conference at best and a very deep Big Ten tourney run would be required. As a 6 seed or so, the Gophers would get chances at top-four teams in the quarters and semis, so the chance would be there.
• San Diego State couldn't handle BYU in Provo in a game the Aztecs really needed to enhance up their profile. A Mountain West title-game loss wasn't enough last season, when San Diego State probably had a better resume.
• Oklahoma State also missed on a key road chance in Texas. The Cowboys remain perched as the seventh team in a conference that might end up only getting six bids.
• Florida State took care of very needed business at North Carolina, getting a road win almost everyone else in the ACC also is getting this season. Now 8-5 in ACC play, the 'Noles likely are two total wins away from feeling safe (either regular season or ACC tourney). They get home shots against Clemson and Wake next.
• Clemson continues to court trouble (and enhance its rep as February folders) by collapsing at Maryland. The final three (at Florida State, Georgia Tech, at Wake Forest) are anything but easy. The Tigers are no NCAA certainty at this point.
• Marquette got a buzzer-beating turnaround J off a loose-ball scramble to take down St. John's on the road for a really crucial win. If Marquette can get the one Sunday at Seton Hall, things look really good.
• Other notable bubble results from Wednesday: UAB won at UCF to maintain in C-USA, William & Mary lost at home to lowly Towson and is basically out of luck, Cincinnati edged past DePaul to stay on track, and both Mississippi schools won to try to keep pace in the SEC.
Syracuse actually is a couple hundred miles closer to Lexington, Ky., than Lexington is to Houston, but given the possible concentration of Big East teams in the 2-4 seed lines in the East, it might be a fairer fit to put Kentucky in the South region. Either trip is a flight (unlike Milwaukee, which is a comfortable drive for the Kentucky fans), and avoiding possible Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups against Big East teams in a Big East venue seems like something the selection committee would consider for a team that could be one of the top two overall seeds.
A lot will depend on who nabs the fourth No. 1 seed and how Kentucky closes the season, but yes, it's possible the Wildcats could end up in the East.