By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — Where Have All The No. 1’s Gone?
For the first time since 2018, two No 1 seeds will be missing in the Sweet 16 Round of this year’s tournament.
That’s courtesy of No. 8 Arkansas knocking off top-seed Kansas, on the heels of No. 16 Fairleigh Dickson shell-shocking No.1 seed Purdue over the weekend. This marks the third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance for Arkansas, which took out No. 1 seed Gonzaga in last year’s tournament.
With it, assistant Kansas Coach Norm Roberts took over the reins from head coach Bill Self who remained sidelined with a heart condition. One certainly can’t like the chances of Roberts landing a full-time head-coaching gig anytime soon after his troops gagged like a hooker working a double shift.
Not only was the Boilermakers loss astonishing, it occurred at the hands of a team that actually lost the Northeast Conference crown to eventual champion Merrimack, who won the league tourney but FDU was awarded a berth in the Big Dance because the neophyte Warriors were ineligible for the NCAA tourney after they were reclassified when moving up to Division-1 from Division-III four seasons ago.
CBS Sports reports a pair of diminutive guards, 5-foot-8 senior Demetre Roberts and 5-foot-9 senior Grant Singleton, forced Purdue into a pathetic performance. With it, Merrimack head coach Joey Gallo went on to say, “To quote my 6-year-old, ‘Dad, we beat them, so we want them to win. People have also been tough on our league all year, so I’m happy for the win.”
The bottom line is the fate of No.1 seeds in this year’s tourney now resides in the hands of Alabama and Houston.
What we know for sure is this: Since 2000 there have been three instances when just a pair of No. 1 seeds made it to the Sweet 16 Round. Collectively they went 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in those games.
Forewarned is forearmed.