The tasks facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Pittsburgh Panthers this week may be different but the two schools share a common goal, to claim a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
RPI doesn’t help Big East duo Despite sitting pretty at #3 and #4 in the AP Poll entering the Big East tournament, Pitt and Notre Dame aren’t locks to claim #1 seeds in the Big Dance. That’s because the RPI ratings, the most important factor considered by the selection committee, has the Panthers ranked #7 and Notre Dame ranked #9. Both can improve substantially this week thanks to the strength of the conference rivals they will face.
As it currently stands, Pitt’s outright victory of the Big East regular season title should be enough to have the Panthers holding a #1 seed for March Madness ahead of the conference tournament. The Fighting Irish look like locks for a #2 seed but moving up to the #1 seed line will take some work in New York.
Pitt need one win The Panthers don’t play until Thursday due to the double-bye system in the Big East tournament. There they will most likely face either Georgetown or Connecticut. A win in that quarter-final round game would probably be enough to secure Pittsburgh’s #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
College Basketball betting fans know how common upsets are in the Big East tournament. Should Pitt fall at the first hurdle, then they will need some help. A loss for Duke in the ACC tournament or Notre Dame failing to make the Big East tournament final would do the trick.
Irish need some work Notre Dame must win twice in New York and may need to win three games to secure a #1 seed depending on how the committee views the goings-on in the ACC. Notre Dame will probably face either Cincinnati or Villanova in the quarter-finals. Victory over either would put the Fighting Irish in good standing in the push for a #1 seed. The optimal semi-final opponent would be West Virginia, the #15 team in RPI ratings, but a meeting with Louisville would also be beneficial.
If the Fighting Irish make the Big East Championship game they will probably have done enough to get in. The surge of North Carolina and the continued threat of Duke could however makes things more complicated. A win for the Tar Heels or Duke in the ACC tournament, particularly if it includes a win by one over the other, might be enough to drag on of the Tobacco Road schools to a #1 seed. The only way the Irish can stop this for certain would be to win the Big East title.
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