Well, my initial reaction at seeing Washington getting the #1 seed over Wake was pretty predictable – you have got to be kidding me, right? So I did some snooping, checking some ratings indexes and comparing schedules and so forth, and I have reached two conclusions.
First, based on the math, Washington is the right pick. Now, a lot of this hinges on how much I believe the math reflects reality. Both went 3-1 vs. common opponents (NC State and Zona), so no help there. Ultimately I think it depends on whether you really believe the PAC-10 is on a par with the ACC, because that’s what the strength of schedule ratings are suggesting. There are some good teams in the P10, no doubt – Zona scares the hell out of me and has ever since Wake beat them in the NIT – and give the Huskies credit for not ducking anybody. Out of conference they played Bama, Gonzaga, Oklahoma and State – that’s not as impressive as Wake’s roster of GW, Zona, Illinois, Cincy, Temple,
Longwood, Texas, and New Mexico, but still, nothing to sneeze at, either.
Second, I can’t help thinking this is the sort of thing that might piss Wake off. Living amidst the UNCs, States and Dukes of the world, they’re used to getting no respect, and this was the year they felt they had earned that top-tier status, so maybe this gets under their skin a bit. I hope so. They have so much talent that if they get even more motivated they’re going to be hell.
Not that you ought to need motivation this time of year, of course. But every little bit helps.
So congrats to Washington, and here’s hoping to a 1-2 match-up between the teams. Now that we know who’s better on paper, I’d like to see who’s better on hardwood.