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Another No. 1 bites the dust

Kentucky coach John Calipari

This is beginning to get annoying. Can a team at least last one week as No.1?

Kentucky was the latest team to see its unblemished record and chance to continue as No.1 disappear with a 68-62 loss at South Carolina.

Devan Downey had 30 points despite shooting 9 of 29 from the field for the Gamecocks. DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and John Wall had 19 for Kentucky.

Is it a total shock the Wildcats (19-1) fell? No. Was it unexpected? Yes. The Gamecocks (12-8) had lost three straight coming into Tuesday night's action.

So how important is it to be No.1? There are many who believe the college regular season isn't so important anymore. We beg to differ on the College Hoops Scoops blog.

The purpose of the regular season is to determine how to seed teams for the NCAA Tournament. Of course how a team plays in its conference tournament will effect the seeding, too.

Let's say for argument sake that Kentucky drops two more after this and falls to 9th or 10th in the AP poll and doesn't win the SEC Tournament. Instead of getting a No.1 seed in the tourney and getting a relatively easy path to the Elite 8, the Wildcats could end up being a No.3 or No.4 seed, which will make their road to the Final Four a lot tougher.

It's all about the matchups these days, because no team is unbeatable. With college players leaving early for the NBA, the days of experienced senior-laden teams are over. Teams have a lot less depth and are vulnerable to upstart mid-major teams and lower level BCS teams.

A coach may say publicly that he doesn't want his team to be celebrated, but behind closed doors, being a No.1 seed is ultra important. Being a number one affords a team the opportunity to play closer to home. And let's face it, the odds of a No.16 beating a No.1 is extremely remote.

If you're Kentucky, would you rather face a team like Monmouth, LIU, Morgan State or Campbell in the first round? Or would you rather face a team like Cornell as a third seed? Cornell beat St. John's, Alabama and nearly upset Kansas.

Being No.1 may put a target on a team's back during the regular season, but it makes things a little easier come tournament time.  

If No.2 Kansas wins at Kansas State on Sunday, the Jayhawks will be back on the throne on Monday.

New York Sports