March Madness 2013: Highly Ranked Teams Destined for Early Tournament Exit

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2013

Feb 07, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA;  Indiana Hoosiers forward Christian Watford (2) and Indiana Hoosiers guard Jordan Hulls (1) and Indiana Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller (40) and Indiana Hoosiers guard Kevin Ferrell (11) during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall.  Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few NCAA tournaments, it has become more and more common to see highly-ranked teams be the victims of upsets in the early rounds. As a result, smart fans have started predicting each year just which of these squads will be the first to go.

For example, Missouri entered last year's tourney as a No. 2 seed, only to lose in the opening round to No. 15 Norfolk State. That same tournament, No. 2 seed Duke lost to No. 15 Lehigh.

As much as some may hate to admit it, this season is going to be no exception. Certain teams are indeed going to have a high seeding once the tournament begins, but the way they've been playing as of late just screams that they are not going to get any farther than maybe the Sweet 16, and that's being nice.

That said, when it comes to this small handful of teams, fans shouldn't get their hopes up when it's time to fill out the bracket.



In the latest AP ranking, Georgetown is ranked No. 5. The Hoyas have surprised everyone this year with an impressive Big East run, and their tough defense combined with an impressive closer in sophomore Otto Porter Jr. makes them a definite threat in the tournament.

Unfortunately, seeing Georgetown get farther than the Sweet 16 would be quite the surprise. As great as the team has looked this season, head coach John Thompson III's use of the Princeton offense can only take it so far.

For those unaware, the Princeton offense is a system that calls for constant ball movement and essentially makes every position except center irrelevant, and scoring opportunities are few and far between.

That means that if Georgetown is matched up against a team that likes to play a fast-paced game or is freakishly good at coming away with steals, it is pretty much sunk. Unless the offensive attack can be diversified just a little bit, Hoyas fans are going to be disappointed this year.



Look, I get it. The Bulldogs have been an exciting team to watch this season, and the fact that they have finally gotten to No. 1 is great for a mid-major program like Gonzaga's.

As great as the team's story is, a championship is not in this team's future. Not only is the West Coast Conference weak, but Gonzaga has no signature wins.

Moreover, all but eight of the Bulldogs' wins have been by a double-digit margin. This team is used to blowing out the opposition, but no key wins over elite teams make the future very uncertain. If Gonzaga gets to the Sweet 16, that will be a respectable checkpoint for this passionate squad.

If it somehow gets past that and into the Elite Eight, that will be nothing short of a miracle.



I hate to say it, but the Hoosiers have been figured out. Tom Crean's boys have lost two of their last three games, and both are losses that no top team wants with the tournament drawing closer.

Not only was Indiana stunned by Tubby Smith's Minnesota Golden Gophers on Feb. 26, but it also just lost to Ohio State on March 5. That brings the Hoosiers' number of losses this season to five. Compared to 25 wins, that number is still great.

However, just look at the teams that have defeated Indiana: Butler, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State. With the exception of maybe Butler, the Hoosiers should have won every other game handily.

The team's only remaining regular-season game is against Michigan, which they defeated on Feb. 2. Unless they can win that game in a blowout and run the table in the Big Ten Tournament, it's going to be hard for the Hoosiers the earn a No. 1 seed. This will make it much harder to get past the Sweet 16—if they even make it that far.