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Monday, March 11, 2013

Anyone Want a #1 Seed?

Wild on Sports
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Anyone Want a #1 Seed?
By Wild on Sports Analyst Travis David

March is officially upon us, but the madness has been striking all season. No more so than atop the men’s college basketball polls. Who wants to be No. 1? No, really, does anyone want to be the top ranked team?

Seven times this season the No. 1 ranked team in the Associated Press Poll has stumbled. Five different teams have made the climb to the top. Indiana (26-5) started the season as the top-ranked team and has held the top stop in 10 of the 17 weeks. The Hoosiers have also lost the most times (3) as the top-ranked team.

From January 7 to February 4 (5 weeks) a different team claimed the No. 1 spot. Three of the five weeks the top two teams fell and the No. 3 team in the previous poll made the jump to No. 1.

Why all the madness?

For one, there seems to be a lot more parity across the nation this season. And more importantly, winning on the road has become a long lost art.

The good news? As always, the big dance is played on neutral courts. With that being said earning one of the four top seeds in this year’s tournament may be the biggest piece of the puzzle for the prospective national champion.

The biggest benefit of earning a No. 1 seed in each of the four regions is staying closer to home. With no clear cut favorite in this years field, a team that can generate the closest thing to a “home court’ advantage will be huge.

With that being said, here are my picks for the top four teams, through Sunday.

My overall No. 1 seed is Gonzaga (West). Most experts are calling for Duke as the overall No. 1 seed, but the Blue Devils did not even win the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Zags (30-2) are the current No. 1 team in the nation and have played like a No. 1 over the last couple months. A lot will be mentioned of Gonzaga playing in a Mid-Major Conference, but running the table in any conference now a days is quite an accomplishment. Led by Kelly Olynyk, the Zags became the fist team outside the power six conferences to achieve the top spot in the polls since Memphis done so in 2007-08.

My second No. 1 seed would be the aforementioned Duke Blue Devils (East). Duke (27-4) has spent two different stints as the top before falling both times on the road. One of those road losses came by 27 points to ACC champ, Miami. Sure the Blue Devils have not lost with senior Ryan Kelly in the lineup, but the best team in the nation does not lose by 27 points.

My third No. 1 seed would go to the Indiana Hoosiers (Midwest). IU won the Big Ten Conference championship with a big road win on Sunday. A loss would have most likely dropped them to a No. 2 seed, depending on how the Hoosiers faired in the conference tournament. IU lost four conference games -- two at home and two on the road -- in addition to in-state rival Butler. The Hoosiers also possess two national players of the year candidates in Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. The two home losses are a little cause for concern.

Should the Hoosiers make a run the Midwest regional will be played in Indianapolis, little over an hour drive from its home campus.

And my final No. 1 seed (South), well…lets just say I need to see how conference tournaments unfold later on this week. I have four teams in the running: Kansas, Georgetown, Louisville and Miami. The Jay Hawks (26-5) had a letdown on the road over the weekend to Baylor but still finished as co-champs in the Big 12 with Kansas State. The Hoyas (24-5) also suffered a letdown last week by laying an egg at Villanova and finished in a three-way tie with Louisville (26-5) and Marquette in the Big East. And following suit the Hurricanes (24-6) were tripped up Georgia Tech at home. Miami (24-6) has stumbled to the finish line having lost three of its four, but winning the ACC should not go without recognition.

Like what you read? Follow Travis David at @tdavid_21 and @WildOnSports

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