March 15, 2014

No Number 1 seed for you, #Jayhawks! (Or No. 2 - updated)

Andrew Wiggins, beyond his 41 points, was impressive overall, in possibly one of the best all-around performances for a freshman in at least 20 years, and maybe not just for a freshman. And yes, Joel Embiid was sitting with his back spasms. And yes it was a road game. And yes, against a West Viriginia team that's been coming on lately.

But, the bottom line is that Kansas lost to an unranked team. Even with all the other recent turmoil at the top of the polls, they're out of any reasonable shot for a No. 1 seed, even winning out from now through the Big 12 tourney title.

(Update, March 15: And, they lost to a slightly lower Iowa State team in the tourney semis. Yes, they've played a tough sked, and yes, Embiid is still out. But, that's precisely the point. He may not be back even in time for the Sweet 16. So, I think the Jayhawks are now a No. 3. I don't just think that myself, I think that's what tourney folks will think. I can't see them getting a No. 2. Now, if they get to the Sweet 16, being a 3 vs. a 2 doesn't matter. However, it matters before then. And, it could also matter what region they're assigned to as a No. 3. In other words, are they seen as the nation's No. 9 team overall? No. 10? 11? 12?

I wouldn't be totally shocked if they fell to a No. 4 seed, even.

And, March 16, they stay a No. 2, even if arguably in the toughest bracket. That's even though CBS quotes bracketeers saying that, without Embiid, they're not a top-10 team, which means they should be a No. 3 seed at best.)

And, I think this is more confirmation that Wiggins is maturing, becoming assertive, and hence, probably is indeed a one-and-done. He's also pushing back ahead of Jabari Parker and others for a possible No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and Riggin for Wiggins!

Embiid? I think he might be better served by waiting a year. The back problems may, if they continue at all, drive his stock down a bit. Plus, especially if Wiggins does leave this year, he has a chance of showcasing more of his offense in Lawrence next year.

Update, March 11: Embiid's original diagnosis of a stress fracture in his back has been confirmed. There goes the No. 1 seeding, a good Jayhawks title shot and his possible No. 1 draft status. Unless he has a really dumb agent (although last year's draft showed the NBA teams are dumb enough to draft injured players) he needs to return to school.

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