Commentary

Big Ten is off the top line

The best conference in the country is unlikely to have a No. 1 seed

Originally Published: February 27, 2012
By Joe Lunardi | ESPN Insider
Draymond GreenAP Photo/Al GoldisDraymond Green and Michigan State appear to be the Big Ten's last hope for a No.1 seed.

Welcome back to the expanded edition of Joe Lunardi's Rundown. Since the start of January, this series has featured tournament odds, an element that takes 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.

Top line report

It's starting to look as if the Big Ten will draw the short straw when it comes to No. 1 seeds. The acclaimed top conference is now the most muddled of those hoping to put its champion on the top line of the bracket.

Kansas, as outright Big 12 champions, has earned its spot alongside Kentucky and Syracuse. The Duke-North Carolina ACC winner also will take a spot on the top line, but it's quite possible there will be no outright Big Ten champion.

Conference tournaments could, and probably should, alter the pecking order a bit for the third and fourth spots on the top line. Then again, as we have seen more frequently in recent years, those tourneys -- at least at the power conference level -- seem less and less important to the selection committee.

Joe Lunardi | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com