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Jeff Eisenberg

Can Purdue overtake Syracuse or Villanova for a No. 1 seed?

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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In addition to keeping pace with Michigan State in the Big Ten title chase, Purdue accomplished something else with Wednesday night's hard-fought 60-57 victory at previously surging Ohio State.

The Boilers also served notice that they're a legitimate threat for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

With an eight-game win streak, a 22-3 record and six victories over teams in the RPI top 50, Purdue is lurking along with ACC-leading Duke as teams that can swoop in and pounce should one of the top four in the rankings stumble. Certainly Kansas and Kentucky remain comfortably on track for No. 1 seeds, but Syracuse and Villanova should definitely be hearing footsteps.

Syracuse has the least losses. Purdue has the best wins. Duke has the best computer numbers. And Villanova is somewhere in the middle. Here's a head-to-head comparison among the four after the jump so you can decide for yourself which teams are most likely to land the final two one seeds.

Duke (22-4)

Conference: 10-2, 1st in ACC

RPI: No. 2

Pomeroy Rating: No. 2

Strength of Schedule: No. 8

Marquee wins: Gonzaga, Clemson (x2), Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Maryland

Worst loss: at NC State

Purdue (22-3)

Conference: 10-3, 2nd in Big Ten

RPI: No. 10

Pomeroy Rating: No. 6

Strength of Schedule: No. 53

Marquee wins: Tennessee, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin, at Michigan State, at Ohio State, at Illinois

Worst loss: at Northwestern

Syracuse (24-2)

Conference: 11-2, T1st in Big East

RPI: No. 4

Pomeroy Rating: No. 5

Strength of Schedule: No. 12

Marquee wins: Cal, at West Virginia, Georgetown, Cornell, Florida, Marquette

Worst loss: Louisville

Villanova (22-3)

Conference: 11-2, T1st in Big East

RPI: No. 6

Pomeroy Rating: No. 15

Strength of Schedule: No. 32

Marquee wins: at Louisville, Georgetown, at West Virginia, Marquette (x2), Dayton, Mississippi, Maryland

Worst loss: Connecticut

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