Chaos reigned in college basketball on Saturday. Among the stunning results was San Diego State’s fall from the ranks of the unbeaten.
The Aztecs were the last undefeated team until they were upset by UNLV last night. The defeat did more than just end SDSU’s perfect season; it might have had a major impact on its NCAA Tournament seeding.
Heading into the weekend, every major bracket projection had the Aztecs holding onto one of the four No. 1 seeds. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi penciled them in as the top seed in the East, for example.
At halftime of last night’s Gonzaga-BYU game, Lunardi was asked about what would happen now that San Diego State lost and the Bulldogs were in trouble against the Cougars. Gonzaga would eventually lose to BYU, but Lunardi doesn’t think that will hurt their standing as the No. 1 seed in the West/
“Ironically and strangely, San Diego State’s loss protects their [Gonzaga’s] spot as No. 1 in the West no matter what happens in this second half at BYU,” Lunardi said, via 247Sports.
Lunardi then addressed the possibility that when the dust settles on Selection Sunday, Gonzaga and SDSU will be the top two seeds in the West Region.
“I thought all along that they would end up as top-two in the West,” Lunardi said. “Particularly during that stretch when Oregon began to falter in the Pac-12. I think at the end of the day, the No. 1 in the East at Madison Square Garden will be either Maryland or Duke. I’m not sure which at this point. But to your point, San Diego State, Gonzaga — it doesn’t really matter from a competitive standpoint if they are both West in a projected regional final. All they are determining by seed is who wears white.”
Obviously, both Gonzaga and San Diego State are aiming for a No. 1 seed. But if one of them doesn’t get it, it might not be a bad consolation prize to stay out West, instead of being the top seed in the East.
You get to stay closer to home, and you don’t have to worry about potentially playing the No. 2 seed in the East (say Duke or Maryland) in a virtual home game at Madison Square Garden.