Posted at: 02/28/2013 10:04 AM
Updated at: 03/01/2013 4:17 PM
By: J.P. Murrieta, KOB Eyewitness Sports 4
Let's bring these over zealous Lobo basketball fans back down to earth. The UNM men's basketball team will not get a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Yes, this team is 24-4 overall. They have not lost two games in a row all season. They are likely to win another Mountain West regular season title. Their RPI is higher than it's ever been. They are one of the best defensive teams in the country. They can get to the free throw line.
But let's be realistic.
If you think the Lobos will get a #1 seed, you are assuming
1) the Lobos run the table, winning every single one of their remaining games and sweep through the conference tournament.
2) they will pass at least several of the following teams in the rankings: Indiana, Gonzaga, Duke, Michigan, Miami, Kansas, Florida, Georgetown, Michigan State and Florida.
and 3) that the selection committee even knows where New Mexico is located.
Of the 86 mock brackets floating around on the internet right now, two of them have the Lobos as a #1 seed (Kerry Miller from Pennsylvania and Jordan Schwartz from New Jersey. They both write for the Bleacher Report) and only six of the 86 mock brackets have UNM as a #2. That means most of the country, at this point, thinks New Mexico will likely end up a 3 seed at this point. Making that jump to 1 is a big leap of faith that all those other conditions fall into place. Don't hold your breath.
Is this team capable of doing some damage in the postseason? Absolutely. Will they generate enough national heat to garner a #1 seed? Not in my mind.
Keep in mind, Lobo fans, that the NCAA Tournament is all about matchups. It's not the be-all, end-all of what seed it get. All that matters is who you are matching up against and styles combined with experience and talent. Let me leave you with one final thought. Before you buy your tickets to the Final Four, remember this program has never made it to the Sweet 16. Can they get there this year? That's another blog for March.
**updated Friday 3/1
Here's the case for/against UNM as a top seed (These stats are from an ESPN blog by Ryan Feldman. It can be read here
In the past five seasons, 12 of the 15 teams ranked in the top three in RPI on Selection Sunday received No. 1 seeds. UNM's RPI is currently 2nd best in the country.
CASE FOR UNM AS #1 SEED
CASE AGAINST UNM AS #1 SEED
New Mexico has not played against a single team in the RPI top 15. Duke, Miami, Kansas, Indiana, Georgetown and Arizona all have multiple wins against the RPI top 15.
They have a home loss to South Dakota State (75th in RPI). They had a poor performance at San Diego State, where they lost 55-34. A 21-point loss in a 61-possession game does not bode well.