March is crunch time for college basketball.
This is when teams are faced with must-wins and final chances in terms of regular-season championships, conference tournaments and the most sought after destination for coaches and teams: the NCAA tournament.
Here are 10 college basketball teams with the most to lose entering March.
Somebody should have told Herb Sendek and the Arizona State Sun Devils that scheduling teams like Central Arkansas, Coppin State and Florida A&M would come back to bite them in March.
Even though ASU has already won 20 games, they may still fall short when at-large bids are handed out on Selection Sunday. Because of their feeble non-conference schedule, they may still end up on the outside looking in.
Jahii Carson and the Sun Devils have three tough road games (UCLA, USC and Arizona) to close out the regular season. If they win two or three of those, they may be able to breath more easily going into the Pac-12 tournament. If they lose two or three, they are going to have to do some serious work in the P-12 tourney.
Virginia’s season has been a total roller coaster.
They have had exceptional victories over teams like North Carolina, NC State and Wisconsin. And they have had puzzling losses, such as Old Dominion, George Mason and Delaware.
The Cavs have won seven of their last 10 games, but they have a challenging final four games to finish their regular season on an up-note.
The Maryland Terrapins are another team that may regret the softness of their pre-conference schedule.
Wins against Georgia Southern, South Carolina State and Maryland Eastern Shores won’t count for much when the selection committee convenes in a little over two weeks.
Their home wins against Duke and NC State may be what saves their season. It would be disappointing for Mark Turgeon, who is trying to get things on track before he heads to the Big Ten after next season.
Anthony Grant and Alabama are looking for a breakout season.
If 2012-13 is going to be that year, the Crimson Tide are going to have to get busy.
They have some W’s (Kentucky, Tennessee and Villanova) with some curb appeal, but they also have some dreadful defeats (Dayton, Mercer and Tulane).
With road games against Florida and Ole Miss still ahead, it’s not going to be easy for the Tide to make up any ground.
Indiana State basketball may never surpass the glory days when Larry Bird was lighting it up in Terre Haute.
But this year’s Sycamores are playing like they want to have a little stardom of their own.
They hung “L’s” on Ole Miss and Miami in December. They beat both Wichita State and Creighton in conference play.
But, they also lost to Drake (twice), Morehead State and Missouri State.
With only an away game at Evansville to go, ISU will have to tear up the MVC tournament to get in to the NCAA tournament.
Ole Miss was a surprise team early, opening the 2012-13 with a 17-2 record.
More recently, the Rebels have been less-than-invincible, going 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Mississippi may be sorry that they loaded up their pre-conference slate with teams like Lipscomb, East Tennessee State, Loyola Marymount and Mississippi Valley.
Now, unless they win a game or two on their SEC schedule and win another game or two in the tournament, they could be heading back to Oxford thinking about the season that could have been.
In any other conference, Villanova might be vying for a conference championship.
Instead, because the Wildcats are 6-6 on the road, Nova is just trying to stay buzzing in the Big East.
Sure, the Wildcats handled Louisville and Syracuse in back-to-back games in January, but since then, they are 5-4 with games against Pitt and Georgetown left.
Tough road ahead.
Even though Iowa State is one of the most potent offenses in the country, they are still doing everything they can to stay alive for March Madness.
The Cyclones have beaten the teams they should have beaten, but they don’t have many signature-level wins this season.
With only three games left in the regular season, Fred Hoiberg’s squad is going to have to make a magnificent showing in the Big 12 tournament to legitimately have a chance to dance.
The Tennessee Vols are one of the hottest teams in college basketball. But do the words, “Too little, too late” apply to Cuonzo Martin’s crew?
Tennessee has won their last six games in a row. Unfortunately, this is after opening SEC play 3-6.
We’ll just have wait and see if the Vols wins over Florida, Kentucky and Wichita State will be enough to convince “the committee.”
Kentucky is the college basketball team with the most to lose going into March.
They’ve had an uneven season, never really clicking as a team in the way that other Wildcat teams have in recent years.
No one at the beginning of the season predicted that this team would be facing a series of must-wins in March just to make the NCAA tournament as a high-seed.
Now, Kentucky will have to prove that they are worthy of a NCAA tournament bid. Losses in any of their three remaining games could seal their fate.