NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Gonzaga or Louisville for No. 1 Overall Seed?

Gonzaga and Louisville will vie for the superficially appealing but hollow No. 1 overall seed.

The Bulldogs are bound for the one-line out West, irrespective of whether they’re the ‘top dog’ in the Big Dance. Other than a slightly easier 16-seed on top of program bragging rights, the Zags have little to gain from landing the top overall seed and bull’s eye that accompanies it.

Louisville’s regional placement, meanwhile, could hinge on whether the Cardinals seize the No. 1 overall seed.  By rule, the Selection Committee must place its top-seeded team in the most geographically favorable region. Although the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. (East Regional host site) is a Big East venue, Indianapolis (Midwest Regional host site) is 500 miles closer to Louisville.

Collating the resumes of the West Coast and Big East champs isn’t easy. Both schools finished the season strong, ruled their league tournaments and avoided a stigmatizing loss. Still, clear differences that boil down to two conflicting value systems remain.

Working in Gonzaga’s favor is a more impressive non-conference slate legitimized by a crop of quality wins compiled mostly away from home. The Fighting Fews left the Kennel and ran through the meat of the Big 12 (excluding Kansas) in convincing fashion, then blitzed through the WCC unscathed. Of course, the WCC only presented Gonzaga three RPI Top 100 opponents (St. Mary’s, BYU and Santa Clara).

Louisville conquered a far more imposing conference schedule and has the Top 50 RPI wins (9 in all) to prove it. The Cardinals ran the Big East Tournament gauntlet, shared the league regular season title and slipped up just once in the non-conference — against Duke, the No. 1 team in the RPI, without Gorgui Dieng. Bear in mind, however, Louisville’s lone two quality wins in the non-conference were against Memphis (a Conference-USA bully) and Missouri (which can’t beat anyone of worth away from home).

Evaluate the portfolios of the two contenders yourself, then decide which team deserves to stake claim as the No. 1 overall seed.


 Gonzaga Bulldogs logo

Louisville Cardinals logo

Overall Record

31-2

29-5

Conference Record

16-0

14-4

Conference RPI Rank

#10

#3

Team RPI

#6

#3

Strength of Schedule

#75

#6

Non-Conference SOS

#31

#28

Home

14-1

15-1

Away

10-1

8-3

Neutral

6-0

6-1

Record vs. RPI Top 25

1-1

4-3

Record vs. RPI Top 50

6-2

10-4

Record vs. RPI Top 100

12-2

15-5

Last 10 Games

10-0

10-0

Best Win by Name

Kansas State

Syracuse (x 2)

Best 3 Wins by RPI

vs. RPI No. 17 (Neutral)
@ RPI No. 26
vs. RPI No. 30 (x 3)

vs. RPI No. 12 (x 2)
vs. RPI No. 13
@ RPI No. 14

Worst Loss

vs. Illinois (Home)

@ Villanova

Who is more deserving of the No. 1 overall seed?

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Topics: Basketball, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals

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