Head-to-head matchups do not decide tournament selections or seeding. They are a piece of a much bigger puzzle, and huge stock can't always be placed in them.
For example, Kentucky beat Louisville by 18 points earlier this season, but there is no question today the Cardinals look like the better team and should be seeded higher. The same can be said when examining Oregon State's loss to Tennessee. Today, the Beavers are the better team and it's hard to argue otherwise.
That being said, those head-to-head meetings are helpful in making some determinations and evaluations, and can be the key to distinguishing between teams that otherwise look similar. Head-to-head results are the reason -- really, the only one -- Ohio State is ahead of Maryland on the No. 2 seed line and why Louisville is just ahead of Florida State.
To get some separation in other areas of the S curve that have been difficult to distinguish, here are some games in the world of bracketology that would be added to the schedule immediately.
South Florida vs. George Washington: This one comes with the stipulation that both teams are healthy. Colonials All-American candidate Jonquel Jones is out with a shoulder injury and the Bulls have dealt with leading rebounder Alisia Jenkins and Laura Ferreira (10.1 PPG) missing multiple games. These teams have been near each other on the S curve for five weeks without anything of consequence separating them. Even after both suffered recent losses, their slides were nearly equal. South Florida and George Washington are nearly identical in the areas of RPI, schedule and quality wins, so a head-to-head would give some clarity as to which team should be a higher seed. This would also put Jones and USF's Courtney Williams, two the game's lesser-seen marquee players, on the same court in a game of meaning.
Miami vs. Duke: Yes, they just played Sunday, but Duke was without Azura Stevens, perhaps the ACC's best player, so in terms of evaluation, it still leaves things a bit unknown -- especially if the All-American candidate returns before season's end. So let's play this game again with Stevens at full strength. With the Hurricanes' weak nonconference schedule, plus recent losses to Florida State and Syracuse, it has been difficult to get a true idea of their value. The RPI math says Miami is just decent. The eye test says something better than that. Meanwhile, Duke has just one top-50 RPI win and no wins of significance on the road. Having Stevens on Sunday against Miami seemed like a realistic opportunity to change both, but the Blue Devils didn't get that chance. More importantly now, however, is if Stevens' foot injury doesn't allow her to return, Duke is at serious risk of missing the tournament altogether. Slipping into the "Last Four In" category this week, the Blue Devils only have one more regular-season top-50 game -- versus Florida State on Thursday -- and are susceptible to upset losses in any of their other four remaining regular-season games.
Michigan State vs. UCLA: Last week the NCAA selection committee had the Bruins at No. 10 overall, but that seemed a little inflated. The Bruins then lost on Friday to Arizona State. Meanwhile, the Spartans have been coming on for some time, winning seven of their last eight games. Both have solid records and top-15 RPIs. They have also both lost to a lot of the country's elite and beaten none of them, combining to lose to South Carolina, Notre Dame, Baylor, Louisville, Maryland and Arizona State. Only UCLA's win over Oregon State stands out as special between the two. Both are No. 4 seeds this week and each could use a crack at another significant nonconference foe. It would answer questions about UCLA's worthiness of a top-10 status, and whether the Spartans' run of success can be duplicated against opponents outside the familiar Big Ten now that they are playing better basketball than in November and December.
Indiana vs. Auburn: These were the biggest climbers in this week's bracket, coming from the "Next Four Out" (Indiana) and not even listed (Auburn), getting solid wins and watching nearly everyone in front of them lose. Since neither did anything to distinguish itself during the nonconference season, let's do it now to find out the legitimacy of their recent surges. Their rises have been similar and simultaneous. The Hoosiers, No. 37 on the S curve, and the Tigers, No. 41, are still among the last five at-large choices this week.
BYU vs. Purdue or West Virginia: The Cougars showed something with a win over Texas A&M in Hawaii earlier this season. Other than a slip-up at San Diego, they have gone on to dominate the WCC and have slowly climbed up the S curve. BYU looks like a better team than even the one that beat the Aggies, but in a year when the WCC isn't as strong as it has been in recent seasons that is difficult to know. An RPI in the top 15 further confuses the matter. What better way than to have the Cougars play either of the teams just behind them on the S curve? BYU could ultimately be anywhere from a No. 7 to a No. 10 seed, depending how the final three weeks of the regular season goes. One more game against a Big Ten or Big 12 team also fighting for its life to be a top-6 or 7 seed would be more telling of BYU's rightful place in a tight bunch of teams.