Blog Entry

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Posted on: January 30, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 4:34 am
It's funny how the conversation consistently shifts in college basketball. For instance ...

Old question: Will Duke go undefeated this season?

New question: Will Duke even earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament this season?

We were debating the first question three weeks ago, but Florida State put it to rest on Jan. 12 with a 66-61 win over the Blue Devils. Now it's time to address the second question, and the answer might surprise you because it's possible the answer is that, no, the Blue Devils will not get a No. 1 seed because they're going to be lacking quality wins to offset bad losses like the blowout loss they took Sunday at St. John's.

Final score: St. John's 93, Duke 78.

And I don't care where St. John's sits in the RPI, it's a bad loss when you lose by 15 points to a team that had already lost eight games, including games to St. Bonaventure and Fordham. Can it be explained? Sure. The Blue Devils were 5-of-26 from 3-point range while committing 17 turnovers; good luck beating anybody of quality with those stats. So, yeah, I understand why Duke lost Sunday. What I'm having a more difficult time understanding is how the Blue Devils are going to earn a No. 1 seed with no great wins and at least two questionable losses.

That's the real problem with the ACC being down in relation to Duke.

(Contrary to what some would have you believe, Duke didn't lose to St. John's on Sunday because the ACC is weak and the Big East is great any more than St. John's lost to St. Bonaventure last month because the Big East is great and the Atlantic 10 is whatever. One, quite simply, has nothing to do with the other. Duke lost to St. John's on Sunday because Duke is a flawed team that played poorly and St. John's is a better-than-its-record team that played well. As for the Big East and ACC in general, the bottom line is this: The Big East is awesome and the ACC stinks. But those are two things we knew yesterday, i.e., before St. John's-Duke even tipped. My advice: Don't ever draw grand conclusions about leagues from the outcome of any one game ... unless it's a football game between SEC and Big Ten members. In that case, feel free to draw whatever conclusion you like. But I digress ...)

The lack of quailty in the ACC won't "fail to prepare" Duke for the 2011 NCAA tournament any more than the lack of quality in the Horizon League failed to prepare Butler for the 2010 NCAA tournament. But what it might do is prevent Duke from earning a No. 1 seed because the quality wins just aren't going to be available. The Blue Devils beat Marquette, Kansas State, Michigan State and Butler early, but only the Marquette win can reasonably be considered a quality win now. Making things worse is that no team on Duke's past or future schedule -- except for maybe Marquette and/or North Carolina -- figures to be ranked when the AP poll is updated Monday. So whereas Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Kansas and Texas still have plenty of chances to stack nice wins, all Duke can really do is stack OK wins or bad losses.

That's a tough spot.

Does it mean Duke can't win the national title?

Of course it doesn't mean that.

It's important to remember Duke was 17-4 and coming off a 12-point loss to Georgetown on this day last season, and the Blue Devils ended up winning that national title, which is why dismissing them as a legitimate candidate this season because of what happened Sunday would be equal parts premature and stupid. But what's neither premature nor stupid is to wonder whether a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament is possible. If it doesn't happen, it won't necessarily be because the Blue Devils aren't good enough. Rather, it'll likely be rooted in the fact that their body of work will lack quality wins because their schedule doesn't provide many, if any, opportunities to record them.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Duke, St. John's

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 11:47 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

I don't see Duke making another championship run this year.  They are way to weak underneath.

Who did Duke have down low last year? Still won a championship. There's still 4-6 weeks before the NCAA tourney and plenty of time for the team to improve. Dn't judge the dish when its half-cooked.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:36 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Did I just read that correctly? That's a joke, right? Penn St is playing better ball right now, but look at some of their losses earlier in the season....@ Mississippi, who may be the worst team in a down SEC, home vs. Maine (yes, Maine!!!!!!), and a 23 pt home loss to Maryland. You can't put a team with those blemishes on their resume in the same class as Villanova or Pitt. That's insane

I'm a PSU fan and I agree with you Billymack, that's not to say they couldn't beat them on a given night but overall they aren't as strong.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 10:04 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

I want to know from the Big 12 fans and Pitt fans, exactly who would be someone that people need to schedule to have a "Quality Win?" I would just like to hear their point of view. If Ohio State wins out (which is quite the debate), do they not deseve a #1 seed for going 31-0? Apparently playing the Kangaroos and the Islanders help your RPI.

Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: January 31, 2011 6:45 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

im not saying neccessarily that they're better i was trying to say they would be alot closer than most people think. And if they went in overconfident which some guys are making it sound like they could, then yes they would lose. I was merely trying to state that comparing the big east to the big ten is pointless. Yes penn st. has some bad losses but they have quality performances and some quality wins as well. Minnesota is going to be a sleeper in the tourney and Michigan, yes i said it michigan, if they get their game plan on can beat any team out there. Same with Nova and pitt. But the fact that some people try to compare big ten wins to big east wins is just pointless.In the big ten it is a totally different pace than the big east. Both are power house conferences. But i believe the big ten has the edge because they know instinctively how to control the tempo of a game to their favor. And i don't wanna hear anyone say well ohio state scored 90 some points against florida because that was a little more of a payback game from the thad-five era. But if you look at the games the big ten plays against other conferences for the most part the tempo favors the big ten's slow grind it out pace rather than the run and gun of a team like pitt or nova. Thats all my original point was is that you can't compare those teams because of their losses in the past to where they are now. Teams grow off of tough losses and become a different team after every game. But two different styles of play just can't be compared on any place but a neutral site like michigan vs syracuse. Michigan had the edge of the tempo but syracuse found a way to win. Minnesota beat west virginia this year too but if i recall it was a bit faster than minnesota is comfortable with. Teams will change after every tough loss. It's the way a season plays out. I originally said my first point to explain that pitt may dominate a run and gun but if its grinded down like in tourney time i don't know how they will deal. Ohio state can win in a grind out game but other than purdue i don't know if they can run and gun to keep up with other tempos that they'll play. Basically both conferences are amazing in the basketball season, i wanna see a big ten vs big east challenge next year just so we can see how these teams fair in different playing styles, then we can really see what a team is made of.

Since: Nov 19, 2007
Posted on: January 31, 2011 4:56 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?


This Duke team is too soft to repeat, and, yes, Duke had an easy road last year.  You're living in denial.

Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:29 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

stop saying they had the easiest road. Duke played a preseason top 10 team cal in the second round than purdue a top ten team all year than a very under rated baylor team pretty much at their homw court than killed west virgina who beat the supposedly "unbeatable" kentucky team than beat a great defensive and well coached butler team in their own back yard. now lets look at the kentucky bracket they played wake forest in second round a team duke killed twice than cornell in sweet 16 really Cornell. then they played a decent west virgina team and got demolished duke had a rough road it is not easy to win the whole tournament in other teams back yards  so yes duke will get a one seed and will repeat

Since: Mar 23, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2011 2:01 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

The only thing that matters is getting in the tournament and winning it. Debating conferences is like telling momma jokes, "your momma is so poor she puts bologna on lay away." It's not funny. You get in the tournament, you win the tournament, that is all that matters.

Since: Nov 23, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:58 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Why would they not be slobbering over the reigning national champion and a team that has been top 5 all year. They have 2 loses, Its not their fault the teams they played early in the year have fallen apart. Kansas st was #3 when they played Duke and no one expected them to fall off the way they have. Same Thing with Mich st they were 5th when duke played them and most of the experts had picked them to be a final four team. Then they played a Butler team that everyone was high on going into the season. So when they scheduled the season they actually had a pretty tough schedule, but Kst and Mich St and Butler all have fallen off and no one really expected that. So all that hurts Dukes strenghth of schedule. But it wasnt like they purposely loaded up on bad teams.

Since: Aug 15, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:50 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

There, their, they're...different words guys with different meanings.

Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: January 31, 2011 1:27 pm

Can Duke get a No. 1 seed without quality wins?

Yes of course they can!! Come tourney time the selection committee will be slobbering all over Duke like they do every year and the will get a #1, and probably the easiest rode to the final four of anyone (just like they did last year). Will they deserve one? Probably not but I'd be willing to put money on the fact that they will get one as long as they don't have some crazy slump, which will be nearly impossible seeing as how terrible their conference is..

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