Five NCAA Basketball Teams Looking to Fall Early This March Madness
With the NCAA tournament just around the corner, here is my list of five teams that I believe will not last that long in the tournament unless they prove to me otherwise:
1. Illinois Fighting Illini (23-7)
Possible Seeds: 4-6
Reasoning: Currently, Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com has Illinois pegged as a possible four seed. Personally, I think they will fall to a five or six seed, and be one of the annual 5-12 upsets.
For one, they have no offense. The have broken 80 points only twice, against Chicago State and Detroit, and have failed to score 40 points twice, including one of the most embarrassing efforts of the year in a 38-33 loss to Penn State on February 18th.
They are 233rd in team scoring at 65.1 points-per-game. Granted, they are playing with an excellent defense, allowing only 56.3 points-per-game, but that is also in the dismal Big Ten, where only two teams average above 70 points-per-game.
2. Washington Huskies (22-7)
Possible Seeds: 3-5
Reasoning: Currently, Joe Lunardi has Washington slotted as a three seed, but I think they should be a four or five seed. The Huskies currently sit atop the Pac-10 at 13-4, and close out the season at home against Washington State on Saturday.
The thing that struck me most about the Huskies record is that they are only 5-6 against top-50 teams and have only played one game against a top-25 team. That means that they are playing their conference foes after they have fallen out of the rankings.
They lost their only two big non-conference games to Kansas and Florida. Even though the Huskies have a high scoring average, 79 points-per-game, they still give up a robust 70 points-per-game.
3. Texas Longhorns (20-9)
Reasoning: Currently, Joe Lunardi has them pegged as an eight seed. If they make the NCAA tourney, I don't think that Texas will be going anywhere. For one, they are only 9-6 in the Big 12 conference.
They started the year off on a high note, playing great in non-conference play while picking up wins against UCLA and Villanova. Once the Big 12 season began though, Texas fell off the ship, and currently sits fourth and unranked in the league.
4. Marquette Golden Eagles (23-6)
Possible Seeds: 5-7
Reasoning: Marquette has closed out the season losing their last three games and four of their last seven. Granted, the three losses were against the top teams in the nation in UConn, Louisville, and Pitt.
Determining how Marquette will play in the NCAA tourney will depend on how they play on Saturday against Syracuse and how they fare in the Big East tournament.
The loss of PG Dominic James has hurt, but Marquette has played tough, not losing by too much to UConn and Pitt, and coming very close to upsetting Louisville at Louisville. Ultimately, I think lack of size will hurt.
5. Purdue Boilermakers (22-8)
Possible Seeds: 5-7
Reasoning: The Boilermakers have lost two of their last three against Michigan and Northwestern in the sub-par Big Ten. They face Michigan State on Saturday at Michigan State, which can be a daunting task. They have no quality wins outside of beating Davidson in non-conference play, and it's hard to judge their wins in conference based on how poor the Big Ten is this season.
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