Question of the Day: Which No. 1 seeds are not likely to make it to the Final Four? [Updated]
Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, vote in the poll (you can pick as many teams as you want) and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune
Pittsburgh, Kansas and Ohio State can book flights to Houston. Duke could have trouble. The Blue Devils showed vulnerability at the end of the season with a loss at Virginia Tech and at North Carolina. They could be discombobulated by the will-he-or-won't-he conversation about whether Kyrie Irving will return from injury and play.
And, of course, Texas, Connecticut and San Diego State stand in the way. Fourth-seeded Texas, which has the talent to be a No. 1 seed, will beat No. 1 Duke for a trip to the Final Four.
[Updated at 9:41 a.m.:
David Teel, Newport News Daily Press
Since the NCAA began seeding the bracket, at least one top seed has reached 30 of the 32 Final Fours. Given this season’s parity, a third pillaging is quite possible.
Duke’s potential draw includes a West semifinal against Texas’ thorny defense and a virtual road game in the final versus San Diego State. Only one team ranks ahead of Pitt in rebounding margin, and that’s possible third-round Southeast opponent Old Dominion. Notre Dame or Purdue could roadblock Kansas in the Southwest, with Kentucky and Syracuse doing the same to Ohio State in the East.
The most vulnerable: Among the No. 1s, Big East regular-season champion Pitt is the only program without a recent Final Four. Moreover, the Panthers have lost three of their last six games.]
[Updated at 10:05 a.m.:
Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel
Of the four No. 1 seeds in this year’s NCAA Tournament field, Pittsburgh is the most likely to falter before the Final Four. While the Southwest Regional isn’t the most difficult regional in this year’s bracket, it’s full of potential upsets for the Panthers.
Despite playing in the Big East, Pittsburgh has an RPI of 10, the highest of all the top seeds. A first-round victory aside, Pittsburgh could have a tough time against the winner of the Butler-Old Dominion game. Both are battling for the rights to this year’s Cinderella story and Butler would like nothing better than getting back to the Finals. Waiting in the wings as potential opponents are Wisconsin (16 RPI), BYU (5) or Florida (8).
If you are looking elsewhere, Ohio State in the East could be another endangered top seed. With possible match-ups against Kentucky, Syracuse or North Carolina, the Buckeyes might struggle to find their way to Houston.]
[Updated at 11:22 a.m.:
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
History strongly suggests Pittsburgh will have a tough time pushing through as all the other No.1 seeds have GPS when it comes to reaching the Final Four.
Ohio State, Kansas and Duke have all made multiple trips. Duke, of course, has a standing invitation, Kansas made the Final Four in 2002 and 2003 and broke through to win it all in 2008. Ohio State made the round of four in 1999, even though that trip was later vacated by the NCAA, and returned in 2007 with Greg Oden.
Pittsburgh is a stranger to all this, and the pressure for Jamie Dixon's team to finally make good on the promise will increase as the Panthers advance. There is also the memory of 2009, when Villanova denied Pitt in the regional finals on Scottie Reynold's last-second winning basket.
Next No.1 most likely out? Ohio State, a great team that got stuck in a regional with North Carolina, Kentucky and Syracuse.]
Photo: Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, in suit, and players Kyle Singler, from left, Nolan Smith, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins. Credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images