Saturday, February 10, 2007

How realistic is a #1 seed?

Earlier today, the Buckeyes slipped by the Purdue "Spoilermakers" 63-56 at the Schott behind 14 points each by superstar freshmen Mike Conley Jr and Greg Oden. Purdue lead the game as late as the 6:00 mark of the second half until the Buckeyes broke away with a 17-5 run to close out the game. It was pretty obvious that Ohio State didn't bring their "A" game today, and calling it a "B" game would even be a stretch. The offense was pretty horrendous on all accounts, with the team going a collective 3-17 on three point field goals, and missed 30 shots total. Mike Conley, usually an assist machine, only had four on the day. Oden spent much of the game on the bench due to foul trouble, but still managed to pull down 9 boards.

Despite the lackadaisical performance, however, the probability of achieving a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament increased thanks to #2 UCLA's road loss to West Virginia. For those of you that were wondering, the other top seed contenders (Wisconsin and UNC) won today, and Florida, who has all but locked up a top-seed at this point, plays tonight at Kentucky.

So the question remains, will Ohio State achieve a top tournament seed? We obviously will not know until Selection Sunday comes around, but the Buckeyes do appear to be on the fast-track. In fact, the difference between a 1 and a 2 seed may come down to a February 25th match-up with Wisconsin. As everybody remembers, Ohio State came up one three pointer short the last time they faced the Badgers on January 9. However, that game was at the Kohl Center, perhaps the toughest place to play in the entire country, and the team had not learned how to play with Greg Oden quite like they have now. Barring an upset, both teams should run the table before the game, as the only legitimately tough opponent on either team's schedule is when Wisconsin travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State on the 20th. This would, of course, mean that neither team should be ranked lower than 3 in the rankings, assuming UNC doesn't do anything miraculous to jump Wisconsin.

The winner of this hypothetical game would most assuredly get a number one seed, while the other one would be number 2. Even if there is a third match-up between the two teams in the Big Ten tournament, it would have to come in the championship game, meaning that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee would have most likely already decided on a top seed.

Granted, there were quite a few of "woulds" and "shoulds" in those last two paragraphs, but the odds of this particular scenario playing out are much greater than those of one of these two teams being upset by a lesser team.

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