Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A note on Washington
By Zach

Posted this on, thought it might be worth a moment:

First, let me start by saying that I'm not saying that the winner of the Pac-10 tournament (if it's Arizona or Washington) deserves a #1 automatically. But I think that with recent events, they deserve a good, hard look.

Second, I really have a hard time saying that Kansas or Kentucky are really better choices. Of the two, I think Kentucky has a better argument, even though they play in a conference that I think is worse than the Pac-10. UK is 23-4 overall and 3-2 vs. the top 25 in the RPI.

Kansas, on the other hand, is 22-5 overall and 4-2 vs. the top 25, plays in a conference that I think is about comparable to the Pac-10 (it may have three good teams at the top, but the bottom of the league is far worse than the bottom of the Pac-10). Kansas has also lost four of their final six games.

Arizona is 25-5, 2-2 vs. the top 25 in RPI. They're 4-2 vs. the other tournament teams in the Pac-10. But they've also lost a home game to Washington State, a very bad loss.

Washington is 23-5, 4-2 vs. the top 25 in the RPI. Furthermore, while 2 of Kentucky's, 3 of Kansas', and both of Arizona's wins against the top 25 came at home, 3 of Washington's wins came on a neutral court on consecutive days (the Great Alaska Shootout). They beat the 12, 13, and 22 teams in the RPI, and won the last two without guard/forward Brandon Roy. Furthermore, their loss at Gonzaga was without Roy, perhaps their most valuable (certainly most versatile) player.

Should Washington win the Pac-10 tournament, they'd likely add another win over Arizona, giving them a 5th win against the top 25 and a fourth neutral court win.

Washington's losses are all on the road, and all but one of them are against sure-fire tournament teams (@Gonzaga, @UCLA, @Arizona, @Stanford). Yes, they do have a road loss to Oregon State, but after a terrible start the Beavers rallied to finish 5th in the Pac-10.

Of course, I'm not suggesting that Washington is a perfect fit. But we're clearly seeing this year that beyond Illinois, UNC, and maybe Wake, there is no clear-cut #1. Washington, with a win in the Pac-10 tournament, can make as good a case as anyone else listed.


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