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Did Duke Get Snubbed?

The number one seeds are out and Duke did not get one of them. Did they really deserve one though? They are coming off four wins in four days in the hardest conference in the entire country (not to mention actually winning that conference tournament with some “injured” players). One might argue that they had some help from the referees, a little bit of luck with their schedule, and have gotten healthy at the right time.  That’s probably the bitter and insane Tarheels fan inside me screaming though.  Let’s take a look at the odds for each of the top teams (which essentially is just how Vegas and the sports betters feel about it):

  • Duke 5/1
  • North Carolina 6/1
  • Kentucky 8/1
  • Villanova 8/1
  • Kansas 8/1
  • Gonzaga 10/1
  • Louisville 12/1
  • Arizona 12/1
  • UCLA 12/1

It’s interesting to me that the top 4 (out of the top 5) schools with the best odds are coming out of two brackets. Let’s compare all of the top seeds in the tournament and see where Duke should have fallen. All of the rankings that you will see in the Wins/Losses are RPI rankings since none of the major polls have come out with new rankings since the regular season ended.

Overall #1 Seed – Villanova Wildcats

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 1
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 1
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 28
Strength of Record (SOR) 1
Key Wins #19 Purdue, #23 Notre Dame, #22 Virginia, #26 Creighton (3 Times), #36 Xavier (2 Times), #40 Wake Forest, #44 Seton Hall (3 Times)
Key Losses #14 Butler (2 Times), #61 Marquette

#2 Overall Seed – Kansas Jayhawks

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 3
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 10
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 12
Strength of Record (SOR) 2
Key Wins #6 Duke, #4 Kentucky, #11 Baylor (2 Times), #24 West Virginia, #21 Iowa State, #39 Oklahoma State (2 Times)
Key Losses #79 Indiana, #24 West Virginia, #22 Iowa State, #67 TCU

#3 Overall Seed – North Carolina Tarheels

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 5
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 3
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 8
Strength of Record (SOR) 5
Key Wins #32 Wisconsin, #48 Monmouth, #39 Wake Forest, #23 Notre Dame, #22 Virginia, #7 Louisville, #6 Duke, #41 Miami, #13 Florida State, #47 Virginia Tech
Key Losses #79 Indiana, #106 Georgia Tech, #6 Duke (2 Times), #4 Kentucky, #42 Miami, #22 Virginia

#4 Overall Seed – Gonzaga Bulldogs

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 8
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 2
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 100
Strength of Record (SOR) 3
Key Wins #10 Florida, #22 Iowa State, #2 Arizona, #17 Saint Mary’s (3 Times)
Key Losses #66 BYU

#5 Overall Seed – Kentucky Wildcats

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 4
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 9
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 45
Strength of Record (SOR) 6
Key Wins #5 North Carolina, #25 Arkansas, #38 Vandy (2 Times), #43 South Carolina, #10 Florida
Key Losses #16 UCLA, #7 Louisville, #3 Kansas, #10 Florida, #83 Tennessee

#6 Overall Seed – Arizona Wildcats

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 2
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 24
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 67
Strength of Record (SOR) 7
Key Wins #41 USC (2 Times), #16 UCLA (2 Times), #9 Oregon
Key Losses #14 Butler, #8 Gonzaga, #9 Oregon, #16 UCLA

#7 Overall Seed – Duke Blue Devils

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 6
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 6
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 6
Strength of Record (SOR) 4
Key Wins #37 Rhode Island, #10 Florida, #42 Miami, #40 Wake Forest (2 Times), #23 Notre Dame (2 Times), #5 North Carolina (2 Times), #18 Virginia, #13 Florida State, #7 Louisville
Key Losses #3 Kansas, #47 Virginia Tech, #13 Florida State, #7 Louisville, #42 Miami, #5 North Carolina, #84 Syracuse, #142 North Carolina State

#8 Overall Seed – Louisville Cardinals

Rating Percentage Index (RPI) 7
Basketball Power Index (BPI) 5
Strength of Schedule (SOS) 4
Strength of Record (SOR) 9
Key Wins #31 Wichita State, #20 Purdue, #4 Kentucky, #6 Duke, #42 Miami, #47 Virginia Tech, #23 Notre Dame
Key Losses #11 Baylor, #18 Virginia (2 Times), #23 Notre Dame, #13 Florida State, #6 Duke, #5 North Carolina, #40 Wake Forest

What stands out to you when you compare all of these teams? What stands out to me for the Duke Blue Devils is two games (both losses). Those two games are against Syracuse and North Carolina State. NC State has one of the best players in the nation in Dennis Smith Jr. when he is on his game. Outside of Smith there is basically no one. They lost Kat Barber to the NBA last season and the rest of the top players transferred out. We are talking about losing to a team that had only three wins the entire season against the top 150 teams in the nation. If you compare this to North Carolina’s worst loss which was to #106 ranked Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets went 4-4 against top 25 teams beating not only UNC but also, VCU, Florida State, and Notre Dame. Not only did NC State go 1-6 against top 25 teams (their one win was against Duke), but they also lost to Boston College which is by far the worst team in the ACC managing just two conference wins all season.

One thing I will say is that Gonzaga is most definitely overrated and don’t let their record fool you.  The draw they got will not be very kind to them.  If they end up meeting West Virginia or Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 you can bet they will be going home early.  North Carolina looks to have the hardest path to a championship with several teams in the top 50 RPI:

South Bracket

Average RPI: 42

Seed School RPI
1 North Carolina 5
2 Kentucky 4
3 UCLA 15
4 Butler 14
5 Minnesota 20
6 Cincinnati 12
7 Dayton 28
8 Arkansas 25
9 Seton Hall 44
10 Wichita State 31
11 Wake Forest 39
11 Kansas State 55
12 Middle Tennessee State 35
13 Winthrop 68
14 Kent State 143
15 Northern Kentucky 85
16 Texas Southern 103

East Bracket

Average RPI: 46

Seed School RPI
1 Villanova 1
2 Duke 6
3 Baylor 11
4 Florida 10
5 Virginia 22
6 SMU 15
7 South Carolina 41
8 Wisconsin 32
9 Virginia Tech 47
10 Marquette 61
11 USC 41
11 Providence 55
12 UNC-Wilmington 27
13 ETSU 53
14 NMSU 59
15 Troy 150
16 Mount St. Mary’s 150
16 New Orleans 153

Midwest Bracket

Average RPI: 49

Seed School RPI
1 Kansas 3
2 Louisville 7
3 Oregon 9
4 Purdue 19
5 Iowa State 21
6 Creighton 26
7 Michigan 30
8 Rhode Island 36
9 Michigan State 51
10 Oklahoma State 40
11 Rhode Island 36
12 Nevada 29
13 Vermont 46
14 Iona 89
15 Jacksonville State 149
16 North Carolina Central 203
16 UC-Davis 171

West Bracket

Average RPI: 44

Seed School RPI
1 Gonzaga 8
2 Arizona 2
3 Florida State 13
4 West Virginia 24
5 Notre Dame 23
6 Maryland 32
7 Saint Mary’s 17
8 Northwestern 48
9 Vanderbilt 38
10 VCU 18
11 Xavier 36
12 Princeton 48
13 Bucknell 63
14 FGCU 85
15 North Dakota 143
16 San Diego State 99

In summary North Carolina has the hardest road of all the #1 seeds. Duke did not get snubbed as they got placed in the second easiest bracket with essentially home court advantage for the first two rounds. Had they been a #1 seed they would have most likely taken Gonzaga’s spot which would have honestly put them in a greater disadvantage having to deal with teams of higher caliber far away from their home court.

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