The top line's revolving door
Syracuse, Kentucky and Ohio State are top-line staples, but the fourth team is elusive
Welcome back to the expanded edition of Joe Lunardi's Rundown. With the start of January, this series now features 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.
Top line report
Here we go again: Another week in which it's a game of roulette for the fourth spot on the top line of the projected NCAA bracket. Two weeks ago, Baylor got the nod and promptly lost twice (albeit to Kansas and Missouri). Last week we tabbed the Jayhawks, only to see them upset over the weekend at Iowa State.
This week's "last man standing" is Duke, a selection that will offend the knee-jerk haters but perhaps please those who closely study the ways and history of the men's basketball committee. Somewhat quietly, the Blue Devils have compiled a typically strong NCAA profile: RPI (No. 2), Strength of Schedule (No. 1), Non-Conference RPI (No. 1), Non-Conference Strength of Schedule (No. 4).
Duke also has the most wins in the country against RPI top 25 teams (four) and is tied for third with eight wins against the at-large consideration pool. If you ask me whether the Blue Devils are one of the four best teams in the country, I'd have to say no. If, on the other hand, you ask me whether they have one of the top four profiles, the answer is clearly yes.
For Lunardi's in-depth report that goes beyond Bracketology, plus complete access to Insider's college hoops coverage, become an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Kentucky, Arizona 1-2 in AP preseason poll
- No current athletes tabbed in Syracuse probe
- Embattled Michigan AD Brandon resigning post
- Self says Kansas G Frankamp will transfer
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider College Basketball
New on Insider
Lunardi: Pac-12 locked into 2 bids?
Player Rankings: Davis over Robinson for POY
Lunardi: Where UW, Northwestern fall
Hume: Bid thieves are few
Bilas: Sizing up the Big East
Gasaway: Pac-12 stronger than it seems
Hume: Best bets among bubble teams
Lunardi: VCU may be first bid thief
Ford: Time running out for 5 NBA prospects
Lunardi: How UConn, Texas, others earn bids
Lunardi: Latest look at the bubble
Fraschilla: Previewing Big 12 tournament
Bilas Index: UNC remains at No. 3
Pomeroy: Trends predict UNC-Duke clash
Lunardi: No No. 1 seed for Big Ten?
Player Rankings: Purdue's pivotal players
Ford: Will MKG, Cody Zeller stay in school?
Gasaway: Rebounding won't crush Orange
Telep: UCLA's top recruits remain committed
Bilas: How Michigan State can still improve
Bilas: Keys to the Hoyas' continued success
Lunardi: Watch out for NCAA bid thieves
Lunardi Rundown: Kentucky is No. 1 overall
Bilas Index: Kansas returns to the top five
Make smart bracket picks by spotting Cinderella early.
And don't forget these Insider mainstays:
Doug Gottlieb, Fran Fraschilla, Joe Lunardi and Jay Williams offer their opinions.
Insights from the mind of the College Gameday analyst.
The national recruiting analyst weighs in on news and rumors surrounding the top high school prospects.
Stay on top of all the latest recruiting buzz.
Every D-1 player's efficiency rating.