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Wednesday / February 22.

Pitino Says Louisville, Syracuse Can Still Get a No. 1 Seed

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Rick Pitino believes Louisville or Syracuse could still get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if they “win out” the remainder of the way.

The same could probably be said of Georgetown and Marquette.

Syracuse, Georgetown and Marquette are currently tied atop the Big East standings at 10-3, while Louisville is a game out at 9-4.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN currently has Indiana, Duke, Miami and Gonzaga as his four No. 1 seeds.

Lunardi has Syracuse as the No. 2 seed in the Midwest and Louisville as the 3 seed in the East.

“If Syracuse or us win out, we would definitely be a No. 1 seed,” Pitino said on the Big East conference call. “I think we have the seventh toughest schedule and then we’re sixth or seventh in the RPI. Last year we had the 2-ranked schedule in the nation. So the Big East has a major advantage in scheduling.

“Now that being said, it’s going to be very difficult for Syracuse or us to win out.”

Yet because the college basketball landscape is so tumultuous this season, Pitino said anything could happen in March.

“I’ve said this, I think this is the year that a 16 could possibly beat a 1 for the first time,” said Pitino, who won the 1996 NCAA championship with Kentucky. “I don’t think it will happen, but I think it’s more possible than other years.

“Two weeks ago, I thought that Indiana was playing the best basketball in the country, I thought [Victor] Oladipo was the best player I’ve seen. I also think Providence College was playing the best basketball in the Big East, and they just lost by 30 to Syracuse. So anything can happen. It changes daily, it changes weekly.”

Pitino also said his son, Christopher, is an amateur bracketologist and he disputes Lunardi.

“He follows it as much as Joe Lunardi and he says there’s no way Gonzaga is going to be a No. 1 seed,” Pitino said. “I bet dinner on it. I said Gonzaga will be a 1 seed. So we all can argue day and night on this.”

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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.