Welcome back to the expanded edition of Joe Lunardi's Rundown. Starting today, this series will feature tournament odds, an element that will take you deeper into Bracketology. Bracketology provides a snapshot of how the bracket looks on a specific day, but through the use of Lunardi's extensive database of previous seasons, tournament odds tell you how the bracket is likely to look come Selection Sunday.
Mark it down. We are headed for the most contentious debate in the history of top-line seeding. I have no idea how it will end, but the arguments will go something like this:
Too many good teams: There really are more teams in contention for No. 1 seeds than the typical season. This creates a set of musical chairs, and it's anyone's guess how many will be left standing when the music stops. Losses will eventually narrow the list of contenders, but not as much as you think given that the top six teams are already a combined 134-6.
Knocking on the door: None of those first six teams are named Kansas, Duke or Michigan State. All three are good enough for a Final Four or national championship run, but exhausting schedules have left them with 14 losses combined. That one or more of them could be No. 3 or No. 4 seeds and not a No. 1 tells us all we need to know about how good the 2014 NCAA tournament will be.
Wichita State Shockers: Having survived a week on the road at top Missouri Valley challengers Indiana State and Northern Iowa, the Shockers will be overwhelming favorites in their six remaining regular-season games. They will be nearly as heavily favored to win all three rounds of the MVC tournament and head to Selection Sunday with a 34-0 record. How could any such team be kept off the top line? I continue to maintain the answer to that question has more to do with the teams around the Shockers than their own record. In other words, it's possible for Wichita to be passed in the homestretch (however fair or unfair that may be).