We are now less than two weeks away from Selection Sunday, and Kentucky, Syracuse and Michigan State all find themselves in strong positions to earn No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. But which team is most likely to get the final No. 1 seed?
Right now, it’s a two-team battle between Kansas and Duke. For what it’s worth, either North Carolina or Duke has been a No. 1 seed every season since 2003. Let’s take a closer look at the profiles of the Jayhawks and Blue Devils. Which team has a stronger resume?
Duke (25-4, 12-2 ACC)
The Blue Devils do not play in as strong of a conference as the Jayhawks, so they do not face quality opponents as often during conference play. But Duke played a more difficult non-conference schedule, which was highlighted by smart games against highly regarded teams outside power conferences and strong power conference teams on neutral courts.
In the Maui Invitational, Duke beat Michigan and Kansas on consecutive nights. The Blue Devils also beat Michigan State in November at Madison Square Garden. They also have victories over likely NCAA tournament teams Belmont and Davidson, and victories against tournament bubble teams Colorado State and Washington.
In ACC play, Duke has that one-point win at North Carolina to boast about, as well as an eight-point victory at Florida State. Duke’s worst loss of the season came Feb. 5 against Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Whether you believe the Blue Devils are vulnerable or not, they did everything one can ask in non-league play and, as a result, possess an impressive overall resume.
Kansas (24-5, 14-2 Big 12)
The Jayhawks deserve a lot of credit for finding a way to put themselves in position to earn their eighth consecutive Big 12 regular season title despite credible challenges by Missouri and Baylor during various points of the season. The Jayhawks have the resume of a No. 1 seed, but in comparison to Duke, they may not have done quite enough, at least at this point.
During non-league play, Kansas beat Georgetown in the Maui Invitational before losing to Duke. There is no shame in the Nov. 15 loss to Kentucky. The Jayhawks have a notable eight-point win over likely NCAA tournament team Long Beach State, but they dropped a six-point game to Davidson in Kansas City.
Duke gets the nod as of Monday, but there is still time. The Blue Devils play their regular-season finale against North Carolina on Saturday. The performances of Kansas and Duke in their respective league tournaments should determine which team gets a No. 1 seed.
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