There's no question top-ranked Indiana deserves a No. 1 seed when the NCAA tournament selection committee meets. After that, though, the resumes start to blend together. At this point there could be 10 or 11 candidates for the other three spots.
Nothing exemplifies that better than the week Michigan State just had. The Spartans entered ranked No. 4 and hadn't lost back-to-back games all season. But the grind of the Big Ten schedule finally caught up to them. A home loss to the Hoosiers -- one of the best games of the season -- was followed by Sunday's second-half meltdown against No. 18 Ohio State in which they were outscored 41-24 over the final 18 minutes and blew a nine-point second-half lead. And now Michigan State has to regroup for games against No. 7 Michigan and No. 19 Wisconsin.
But the Spartans are far from the only team whose fortunes can rise or fall in such a short span. One day No. 2 Miami was undefeated in the ACC and cruising toward a league title. But the Hurricanes were pummeled on the road at lowly Wake Forest by 15 points Saturday. With No. 6 Duke looming on the road, a top seed suddenly looks dicey again.
Gonzaga looks like a lock for a No. 1 seed. But even the Bulldogs have a road game at BYU (20-9) on Thursday, the third-place team in the West Coast Conference. Given it hasn't played a ranked team since losing to Butler on Jan. 19, if Gonzaga loses, then its 10-game winning streak starts to look suspect for a No. 1 seed.
You might want to bet on horses running from the back -- No. 5 Florida, No. 6 Duke or even No. 11 Georgetown. If the Gators can run the table against three above .500 SEC teams -- Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama plus Vanderbilt -- then they should get a top seed. If Duke runs the table (Miami, Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech), the Blue Devils will be there, too. Tough schedules for both, but nothing like what Michigan State faces. And surging Georgetown has another shot at an elite win against No. 8 Syracuse, which it just beat on the road Saturday.
- Brian McNally