Indiana Hoosiers forwards Christian Watford, left, and Will Sheehey, and Michigan State Spartans center Adreian Payne fight for position during the second half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. / Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports
After Indiana, then what?
With less than three weeks until selection Sunday, at least 10 teams harbor realistic hopes of joining the top-ranked Hoosiers as No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament.
The combination of Miami's loss at Wake Forest, Georgetown's victory at Syracuse and Kansas steering its season back on course in recent games has clouded the picture near the top of the seed lines.
"I don't think there's that much difference between the best teams and others," Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Though there is a clear No. 1 team in the eyes of most, there is less of a lock, or near lock, for a second top seed than there has been at this point in recent years.
"It's maybe a little more clustered, but not ridiculously so," said analyst Patrick Stevens, who projects the NCAA tournament field for USA TODAY Sports. "There was a least a little separation in the past. In some ways, maybe the one line is not as secure or as stout as it might be. But the two and three lines are really, really good."
If Indiana is one No. 1 seed, in alphabetical order, the top contenders for the other three slots:
For: The Blue Devils clearly pieced together the nation's best nonconference profile. They also rank first in RPI and second in strength of schedule.
Against:They are not the same without injured forward Ryan Kelly, whose return date remains unclear.
For: The best part of Florida's rèsumè? Early victories against Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee and Marquette.
Against: A Southeastern Conference schedule this season does not offer an abundance of opportunities to beat quality opponents.
For: The Hoyas have already beaten the other Big East teams contending for No. 1 NCAA tournament seeds, Louisville and Syracuse.
Against: A 6-3 record against top-50 RPI teams is solid but not outstanding enough yet. The Hoyas also lost to South Florida, which has an RPI of 131.
For: The Bulldogs have beaten Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor. Their losses came to NCAA tournament teams in Butler and Illinois.
Against: No fault of their own, but the Bulldogs have not played anyone of note, with the possible exception of Saint Mary's, since the Jan. 19 loss at Butler.
For: The Jayhawks are 10-3 against top-50 RPI teams and 8-3 record in road or neutral-court games.
Against: It is only one game, but the loss at TCU stands as one of the more jaw-dropping upsets by any team in recent years.
For: The Cardinals are 9-4 in road or neutral-court games. And unlike some teams (Miami, Kansas), they have not done anything disastrous. Each of the five losses is by single digits.
Against: No victory that jumps off the page at you.
MIAMI (Fla.) (22-4)
Case for: The Hurricanes have beaten two other teams on this list, Duke and Michigan State. They rank second in RPI and third nationally in strength of schedule.
Against: Their rèsumè is stained by the early-season defeat to Florida Gulf Coast (without guard Durand Scott) and Saturday's double-digit loss at Wake Forest, their worst of the season RPI-wise.
For: Non-conference victories against likely NCAA tournament teams in Pittsburgh, Kansas State and North Carolina State add to its Big Ten accomplishments.
Against: The Wolverines have slipped of late, losing three of their last six.
MICHIGAN STATE (22-6)
For: The Spartans have not lost to a team outside the RPI's top 30. And they claim victories against Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan.
Against: It remains to be seen whether this is an advantage or disadvantage, but the Spartans will have an opportunity to play their way in or out of top seed position because of a grueling remaining regular-season schedule.
For: The Orange own a signature victory at Louisville and rank among the top 20 in RPI and strength of schedule.
Against: The final four regular-season games are treacherous, including a home date with Louisville and games at Marquette and Georgetown.
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Read the original story: Why 10 teams have, and don't have, a shot at No. 1 seeds