CRAWFORD | Selection Sunday Notebook, Cats, Cards and seeds
ATLANTA (WDRB) — Some notes heading into Selection Sunday, in no particular order.
— The University of Louisville's win in the AAC Tournament makes them 13-0 in sleeved uniforms. (Equipment manager Vinny Tatum chipped in with that little nugget.) The Cards have won 12 straight postseason games, and now 20 of their past 21.
— Rick Pitino said his team deserves a one seed. I don't disagree. But they're not going to be a one seed, and they may have trouble cracking the No. 2 line when you start to compare who is on it. Their biggest problem — no wins against the probable NCAA Tournament field in the non-conference. Even the teams that had a shot to do something, Southern Miss and Missouri State, wound up fading. I'm betting the Cardinals are a three seed. And generally, they are seeded one spot lower than I figure they should be.
On ESPN this morning, Jay Bilas said about the same. "I think Louisville is one of the top four teams, but they're not going to get a No. 1 seed."
— Just saw Greg Shaheen, former director of the men's basketball selection committee for the NCAA and in many ways an architect of the current committee system, has U of L No. 10 on Joe Lunardi's list. That puts the Cardinals squarely at a No. 3 seed.
— UK coach John Calipari said that today's SEC title game against Florida will have no impact on seeding. And it won't have any impact on Florida's seed. The Gators are a No. 1 seed, win or lose. But the committee has the ability to make contingency brackets, bumping the Wildcats up a line if they win or keeping them in place if they lose. It's not as tough a process as you think. It's just a matter of pushing a button on the computer. UK enters the game with an RPI of No. 15. If the Wildcats beat Florida, I think they would jump higher than most people expect, perhaps to a 5 seed, though it more likely will be a 6. And a scary one.
— The most wins in the nation this season: Wichita State with 34, then Florida (31), Arizona (30) and Louisville (29).
— My No. 1 seed locks: Florida, Wichita State and Arizona. Does Michigan or Virginia get the fourth? Does the committee consider Louisville? My guess. If Michigan beats Michigan State for the Big Ten tournament championship today, it gets the final No. 1 seed.
— Louisville finished the season 5-5 against the RPI Top 50. The records of some other teams against the RPI Top 50. Florida (9-2), Arizona (11-3), Kansas (12-7), Wichita State (3-0), Villanova (6-3), Duke (6-5), Wisconsin (7-5), Iowa State (13-5), Michigan (10-2), Virginia (4-4), Creighton (8-5), VCU (11-5), Syracuse (12-1), UCLA (8-5), Kentucky (4-4).
— Kentucky is playing for its 28th SEC Tournament championship today. The team with the second-most SEC Tournament titles is Alabama. It has six.
— ESPN's latest bracket projection for the NCAA women's tournament has U of L as the No. 2 seed in its own regional, with Tennessee the No. 1. If the Cards get through their two opening round games at Iowa State, the Cardinals would play No. 3 seed Kentucky at home.
— Ratings from Saturday, numbers from the Louisville market only, by The Nielsen Co. UK's semifinal win over Georgia on ABC drew a 14.7 rating and a 30 share. Louisville's American Athletic Conference Tournament championship win over UConn, on ESPN, drew a 20.6 rating and 36 share. Every ratings point represents about 6,800 households in the Louisville market. The share is the number of TVs in use at that time watching that program.
— Peter Tiernan is one of the best NCAA Tournament analysts out there. Is BracketScience.com has some the best data for predicting brackets once the field is set, and he does a great job exploring and even dispelling myths on the tournament. His best feature is building profiles of past champions, and comparing the current field to those.
The only teams meeting his traditional eight criteria: Villanova, Arizona, Duke, Michigan, Kansas, Wisconsin and North Carolina. Louisville meets seven of his eight criteria, missing out on the strength of schedule component. If you prefer efficiency ratings, the only teams meeting the efficiency criteria of the past 10 champions: Wichita State, Florida, Villanova, Louisville, Virginia, Syracuse and Arizona.
— Kentucky's non-conference schedule got a boost during championship week. The win over Providence, already probably UK's most impressive non-conference performance (even more impressive than its win over Louisville at Rupp, I thought), got a boost from Providence winning the Big East Tournament. The Wildcats loss to Baylor, which stumbled badly in the brutal Big 12, looks a little better given the Bears' run to the Big 12 title game.
— Heading into today's game with No. 1 Florida, Kentucky's schedule ranks No. 4 in the nation in the RPI. (Kansas is No. 1, Wisconsin No. 2 and Alabama is No. 3. Richard Pitino's Minnesota team played the No. 6 schedule.)
— Tonight at 10:30 on WDRB TV, we'll have a half-hour live program looking at the brackets and discussing the upcoming matchups. Rick Bozich, Tom Lane and Steve Andress will break things down from the studio on Louisville, John Lewis and I will check in from Atlanta. Here we go.
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