One way to fill out your NCAA Tournament bracket is to take the Selection Committee’s standings at face value and make upset picks based on favorable matches. But it’s also important to consider the most vulnerable teams at the start of March Madness.
While all men’s college basketball teams are aiming to peak in March, some aren’t so lucky, whether it’s due to injuries or disrupted team chemistry that was once thriving. Don’t forget that the committee also distributes seeds based on the December and January games. Teams that were great at the time might have struggled later in the season.
Here are six teams you don’t want to pick in your NCAA tournament roster based on their downward trajectory:
The Buckeyes (19-11) have lost three of their last four to close out the regular season, including home games against teams they shouldn’t have lost to — Nebraska and bubble team Michigan. Then they exited the Big Ten tournament early with an upset loss to Penn State. Even though EJ Liddell is having an All-America-caliber season, Ohio State sometimes becomes too dependent on its star. In the Nebraska game, Liddell had 27 points and the Buckeyes still lost. They struggle to take care of the ball – ranking 236th nationally in turnover margin.
The Gaels (25-7) may be one of the most disappointing teams in the tournament because they have a great profile, but that’s largely a result of playing so well on their home turf – where they are remained undefeated and knocked out Gonzaga on February 2. 26. Coach Randy Bennett’s team has strong defensive stats, but the offense is where we could see Saint Mary’s run into trouble and fall into lulls against a controlling high-octane opponent. the weather.
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The Cougars (28-5) are another decent team with a deceptive profile. Houston was the best American Athletic team in terms of records, but lost to SMU and Memphis and failed to beat high-quality teams throughout the season – with just one win in Quadrant 1 on their tournament profile. Coach Kelvin Sampson’s side have a NET score of 5, but that has more to do with smart planning than beating top-tier opponents. At his seeding line, Houston is subject to an upset against a surging mid-major.
The Cyclones (20-12) played off the bubble by winning four straight games in late February, but this team is making little progress and has been inconsistent throughout 2021-22, as evidenced by a five-game losing streak in January . It’s fair to say that Iowa State peaked early — starting the season 12-0 — but came down to earth with a lackluster showing in the Big 12 (7-11 in the league this year). Factor in the fact that the Cyclones lost by 31 to Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament. Coach TJ Otzelberger has an offense that ranks 269th in the nation and struggles to shoot well from three – which means a team shooting hard could overtake them.
The Longhorns (21-11) have lost their last three games and allowed two of them to No. 1 seeds Kansas and Baylor, but it just hasn’t been the game-changing campaign envisioned when the coach Chris Beard took over and signed an elite host. transfers. Texas performed well in the nation’s top statistical conference, the Big 12, but showed signs of struggle throughout 2021-22, including a one-point loss to league doormat Kansas. State (Jan. 18) and most recently an early exit loss to TCU in the Big 12 tournament.
state of michigan
The Spartans (22-11) struggled with injuries and lost seven of their last 10 games to close out the regular season before going on a strong streak in the Big Ten tournament. Coach Tom Izzo is still preparing his teams for the tournament, but Michigan State has shown signs of vulnerability. There are no outstanding scorers on this team either, with only Gabe Brown (11.5 ppg) averaging in double digits.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Basketball: Overrated Men’s Teams Head to NCAA Tournament