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Why Syracuse,Kentucky seem to have a slight edge

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Louisville’s win against Michigan State was Thursday’s most notable result, but it was the outlier where expectations are concerned.

Namely, defensive expectations.

Among the eight teams playing in yesterday’s regional semifinals, the winning teams were rated higher in a significant area on kenpom.com: adjusted offensive efficiency.

The two toss-up games – Syracuse-Wisconsin and Florida-Marquette – pitted teams that were significantly better on offense (Orange, Gators) against a team significantly better on defense. Ohio State-Cincinnati was a game where the Buckeyes rate higher in both areas and played like it. Only the Cardinals were worse on offense entering the game, and won.

Why bring all this up now?

The post over at Team Rankings by Adrian Atkinson (who normally writes at Tobacco Road Blues) makes a compelling case that for a team to win it all, it doesn’t need a dominant defense as some announcers might proclaim. It needs balance. And if it doesn’t have that, a better offense is better to win in March.

That bodes well for the likes of Kentucky and Syracuse, the only two teams still playing who feature an elite offense and defense and those offenses are slightly better than the defenses. (Yeah, that’s a mouthful.)

It should be noted that Kansas, North Carolina and Ohio State also feature elite offenses and defenses. But the defenses are a notch better. Anyway. Interesting post.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Iowa State’s starting center Jameel McKay remains suspended

Iowa State forward Jameel McKay celebrates on the court at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 82-77. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.

“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”

McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.

“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.

AP POLL: Villanova climbs to No. 1 in the country.

Jay Wright
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.

And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.

[NEW PODCAST]

[LATEST BRACKETOLOGY]

The biggest shock to me?

The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.

They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.

Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?

Here is the rest of the AP Poll:

1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)

DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas