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This crop of 16-seeds won’t be the one that beats a 1-seed

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We’re all waiting for it. That magical day that a 16 seed beats a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. To this point, it’s never happened.

In fact, since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the 16s and 0-112 against the 1s.

There have been close calls. Murray State falling by four to Michigan State in 1990. Princeton and East Tennessee State coming within a basket of Georgetown and Oklahoma in 1989. Western Carolina falling to Purdue by two in 1996. But we just can’t get the ultimate underdog to come through with that final possession that ends the favorites run way early and sends tons of brackets to the trash can.

Well, don’t expect it to happen this year, either. Because quite frankly, this crop of 16 seeds will be awful.

Don’t believe me? Jeff Eisenberg at Yahoo! Sports agrees.

Looking at the bracket that we at CBTonNBC have now, it’s clear that the top of the bottom seeds won’t stack up — this excludes a few teams that are already out of the running, such as Norfolk State in the MEAC.

None of the possible 16 seeds are even in the Top 100. That tells the masses that there’s not a ton of talented teams on the lower end of the conference this season. Not that any of this matter to the teams that won their conference tournaments to get to this point. They deserve to celebrate. They earned it. Just don’t be prepared for any of them to celebrate anymore wins after the First Four.

Liberty (287 in the RPI) at 15-20 is sure to be a 16 and start in Dayton. Historically, the winner of the SWAC Tournament, which does feature a 20-win team in Southern, takes up a 16 seed, based on their poor RPI. The Jaguars sit at 188 now, the best of the eligible SWAC teams (Texas Southern is at 183, but is ineligible for postseason play due to poor APR scores.)

There are various reasons these teams can’t match up. Western Kentucky (166 RPI) lacks the true post depth. LIU-Brooklyn’s (184) guards can’t guard any from a 1-seed. Other possible 1-seed candidates, such as James Madison or the winner of the America East Conference title game between Vermont (123) and Albany (147), just flat-out doesn’t have the talent. But that could be seen as the reason for any 16 that loses to a one.

It’s a novel thought, and eventually it will happen. The selection committee with undervalue a Top 100 mid-major program with a possible future NBA All-Star on the roster, and they’ll fall into a match-up with an overrated 1-seed that’s backed into the tournament, not playing their best basketball. Just not this year.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.