Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Davidson could be seeded as high as 12th

Numbers and perceptions.

Those two factors will determine where Davidson is seeded in the NCAA tournament when the pairings are released Sunday.

Based on numbers, the Wildcats are all but assured at least a No.13 seed. At least 16 conferences will have champions with lower RPI ratings than Davidson, even if the top seed wins.

That would make Davidson the top-ranked No.13 seed, but the Wildcats could get bumped up to a No.12 unless perception gets in the way.

Davidson also has a higher RPI than Winthrop and Gonzaga, but those two teams have wins against top 50 schools, something Davidson lacks. The Wildcats don’t have a win against a team in the Top 100 of the RPI this season.

But a few factors should also help the Wildcats. Davidson has gone 25-1 since Nov. 25, the best record in the nation. None of Davidson’s losses are to teams outside the RPI top 80. And three of Davidson’s losses came in its first seven games, when the Wildcats – who had the second-most inexperienced lineup in the nation – were still learning to adjust to each other.

That could inch Davidson up to a No.12 seed or higher, if Cinderella teams from big conferences (like Xavier in 2006) win unexpected automatic bids from major conferences. Xavier earned a No.14 seed last season, and teams such as N.C. State and South Carolina could also get seeded below Davidson if they won their conference tournament.

-- Kevin Cary