Performances like the one at Virginia ultimately kept Duke from a No. 1 seed. And because the Cavaliers didn't win big games away from home, they are in the NIT. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
So how did the team ranked No. 1 in the RPI and in strength of schedule get a No. 2 seed?
With slightly more polish, that's what I asked NCAA selection committee chairman Mike Bobinski on his conference call last night.
"At the end of the day if we had to give you one distinction, it got down to fine distinctions here, maybe they didn't win on the road quite like some of the other teams in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 slots," Bobinski said. "They were in the mix for a No. 1 slot. As the week went forward here, they actually spent some time on the 1 line, as did a number of teams, as we did our evaluations.
"It was a very, very close call. Just one of those decisions we ultimately had to make. Plus they also tangentially didn't win their regular season or the tournament as the other No. 1's in some cases."
Road success came up often on the call, like when Bobinski explained the exclusions of Virginia ("They weren't particularly strong on the road") and Kentucky ("They lost four times I think away from home, double digits to teams that are not in the field. The tournament is played away from home"). With that in mind, a look at the road profiles of the top six teams in the field:
Road record: 8-3
Notable road wins: 87-78 at Memphis (No. 14 in the RPI), 58-53 at Syracuse (No. 13), 73-58 at Connecticut (No. 49)
Notable road losses: 53-51 at Georgetown (No. 10), 104-101, 5 OT at Notre Dame (No. 36), 73-64 at Villanova
Road record: 7-3
Notable road wins: 74-66 at Ohio State (No. 11), 59-55 at Kansas State (No. 21), 68-67 2 OT at Oklahoma State (No. 26), 108-96, OT at Iowa State (No. 45)
Notable road losses: 72-66 at Oklahoma (No. 42), 81-58 at Baylor (No. 67), 62-55 at TCU (No. 234)
Road record: 7-2
Notable road wins: 81-68 at Ohio State (No. 11), 72-68 at Michigan State (No. 8), 72-71 at Michigan (No. 17)
Notable road losses: 74-72 at Illinois (No. 39), 77-73 at Minnesota (No. 33)
Road record: 10-1
Notable road wins: 69-68 at Oklahoma State (No. 26), 77-60 at Saint Mary's (No. 30)
Notable road losses: 64-63 at Butler (No. 20)
Road record: 10-3
Notable road wins: 68-59 at UNC (No. 18), 79-78 at N.C. State (No. 32)
Notable road losses: 79-76 at Duke (No. 1), 63-51 at Florida Gulf Coast (No. 96), 80-65 at Wake Forest (No. 170)
Road record: 5-4
Notable road wins: 69-53 at UNC (No. 18)
Notable road losses: 84-76 at N.C. State (No. 32), 90-63 at Miami (No. 4), 83-81 at Maryland (No. 72), 73-68 at Virginia (No. 74)
It's true. Duke doesn't have the road success profile of the No.1 seeds, even with that Kansas loss at TCU. And Miami was seeded over Duke because the Hurricanes won the ACC regular season and tournament championships. To the victor goes the spoils.