NCAA Bracket 2013: Ranking All 68 Teams

Thad NovakCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2013

NCAA Bracket 2013: Ranking All 68 Teams

0 of 68

    The 2013 NCAA bracket is set, and every team in the field of 68 is ready for its moment in the spotlight. With the matchups set for the Big Dance, a whole new set of questions opens up.

    Which favorites are ripe for an upset? Which underdogs will blossom as this year’s Cinderella squads? And which top seed has the best shot at taking home the title?

    To help answer all those and more, here’s a look at every team in the March Madness field, ordered from worst to best. These rankings are based not only on how these teams have performed so far, but also on their potential to keep on winning once the madness begins.

    Where does your school stack up? Read on to find out!

68. Liberty (Midwest No. 16)

1 of 68

    Record: 15-20 (6-10, 9th in Big South)

    Best Win: Charleston Southern 87-76

    Worst Loss: Howard 60-53

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: SG Davon Marshall ranks with the best three-point shooters in the country.

    Reason to Sell: More wins against Division II teams (three) than Division I teams with winning records (zero) before beginning of conference tournament. 

    Tournament Prediction: It’ll be quite a feat if the Flames even survive their First Four game with North Carolina A&T.

67. North Carolina A&T (Midwest No. 16)

2 of 68

    Record: 19-16 (8-8, 6th in MEAC)

    Best Win: Eastern Kentucky 78-67

    Worst Loss: South Carolina State 72-70

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’8” Austin Witter blocks nearly three shots a game.

    Reason to Sell: Witter does nothing to help a dismal offense that ranks 320th in field-goal shooting.

    Tournament Prediction: A favorable matchup with Liberty should get the Aggies out of the First Four, allowing them the privilege of being the first team to lose to Louisville in this tournament.

66. James Madison (East No. 16)

3 of 68

    Record: 20-14 (11-7, 4th in Colonial)

    Best Win: Northeastern 70-57

    Worst Loss: Hampton 69-65

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’6”, 265-pound Rayshawn Goins heads a defense tough enough to escape the bruising CAA tournament.

    Reason to Sell: Goins is also the team’s top scoring threat, and he shoots 41.2 percent from the field as a power forward.

    Tournament Prediction: The Dukes aren't even a good pick to beat fellow 16th-seed LIU-Brooklyn in the First Four, let alone to challenge Indiana if they survive the Blackbirds.

65. Western Kentucky (South No. 16)

4 of 68

    Record: 20-15 (10-10, 4th in Sun Belt East)

    Best Win: DePaul 70-61

    Worst Loss: Florida Atlantic 65-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Hilltopper program has proud history of NCAA tournament success.

    Reason to Sell: Most of those wins came long before this season’s Hilltoppers (led by 6’6” PF George Fant) were born.

    Tournament Prediction: Spared the indignity of a First Four game, they’ll still get trounced by Kansas' huge size advantage.

64. Albany (Midwest No. 15)

5 of 68

    Record: 24-10 (9-7, 5th in America East)

    Best Win: Stony Brook 61-59

    Worst Loss: Maine 66-52

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 5’10” senior Jacob Iati is country’s best inch-for-inch three-point threat.

    Reason to Sell: Entire team has 65 blocks, 64 fewer than Kansas’ Jeff Withey.

    Tournament Prediction: Fitting though it would be for the Great Danes to succeed as an underdog, the program's all-time 0-2 NCAA tournament record is soon to be 0-3, courtesy of Duke.

63. Southern (West No. 16)

6 of 68

    Record: 23-9 (15-3, 2nd in SWAC)

    Best Win: Texas A&M 53-51

    Worst Loss: Alcorn State 61-57

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Leading scorer Malcolm Miller hits 46 percent of his three-point tries.

    Reason to Sell: With only one player listed at over 215 pounds, the Jaguars get pushed around on the glass a lot.

    Tournament Prediction: Someday a No. 16 seed is going to beat a No. 1, but it won't be these Jaguars, least of all against towering Gonzaga.

62. Pacific (East No. 15)

7 of 68

    Record: 22-12 (13-5, 2nd in Big West)

    Best Win: St. Mary’s 76-66

    Worst Loss: UC Santa Barbara 66-53

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Deep rotation includes four three-point shooters with 40 percent accuracy or better.

    Reason to Sell: Travis Fulton’s team-leading rebounding average is all of four boards a night.

    Tournament Prediction: After last year's run on wins by No. 15 seeds, it's going to be tempting to pick one this time around, but Pacific is too badly outmatched by Miami's size to advance.

61. LIU Brooklyn (East No. 16)

8 of 68

    Record: 20-13 (12-6, 2nd in Northeast)

    Best Win: Lafayette 71-60

    Worst Loss: Lamar 81-80

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: National assist leader Jason Brickman heads a high-speed offense that hung with Michigan State for a half last March.

    Reason to Sell: This year’s Blackbirds lost star forward Julian Boyd to a knee injury early on.

    Tournament Prediction: Escaping the First Four is a perfectly attainable goal, but even this offense won't be able to put up a fight against top-seeded Indiana.

60. Florida Gulf Coast (South No. 15)

9 of 68

    Record: 24-10 (13-5, 2nd in Atlantic Sun)

    Best Win: Miami 63-51

    Worst Loss: Lipscomb 87-78

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Ballhawking Bernard Thompson (fifth nationally in steals) leads a battle-tested Eagle defense.

    Reason to Sell: Strong breeze could blow over starting forwards Eric McKnight (210 lbs), Chase Fieler (205).

    Tournament Prediction: The Eagles' ball pressure will frustrate Georgetown, giving them the best hope of any No. 15 seed, but it's still prohibitively likely that the Hoyas' muscle will send this team home after one game.

59. Harvard (West No. 14)

10 of 68

    Record: 19-9 (11-3, 1st in Ivy)

    Best Win: California 67-62

    Worst Loss: Columbia 78-63

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Swingman Wesley Saunders keys an offense that ranks in the top 11 nationally in field-goal percentage, three-point percentage.

    Reason to Sell: Cheating scandal claimed top two stars from last year’s No. 12 seed before season even started.

    Tournament Prediction: With little experience and less size, this year’s Crimson don’t have the right formula to make it out of the second round against a tough New Mexico squad.

58. Northwestern State (South No. 14)

11 of 68

    Record: 23-8 (15-3, 2nd in Southland)

    Best Win: Louisiana Tech 89-83

    Worst Loss: Nicholls State 93-78

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Top scoring offense in the nation beat the top scoring defense (Stephen F. Austin) to earn bid.

    Reason to Sell: For all their firepower, Demons are lousy three-point shooters (.321).

    Tournament Prediction: It's not impossible to imagine this offense putting up a fight against Florida, but a second-round exit is by far the likeliest outcome against a defense that's almost as effective as Stephen F. Austin's and far more athletic.

57. Iona (West No. 15)

12 of 68

    Record: 20-13 (11-7, 4th in MAAC)

    Best Win: Georgia 81-78

    Worst Loss: St. Peter’s 64-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Ex-Arizona guard Lamont “Momo” Jones is country’s third-leading scorer.

    Reason to Sell: Defense tied for 336th nationally in points allowed.

    Tournament Prediction: A team that would've been a serious upset threat as a 14 or 13 seed gets a 15 instead, along with a hopeless matchup against the impenetrable Ohio State defense.

56. Montana (East No. 13)

13 of 68

    Record: 25-6 (19-1, 1st in Big Sky)

    Best Win: Weber State 67-64

    Worst Loss: San Francisco 78-68

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Senior point guard Will Cherry, back from an injured foot, played his best ball of the season in the Big Sky tourney.

    Reason to Sell: Scoring leader Mathias Ward is out for the year with another foot injury.

    Tournament Prediction: Without PF Ward, the Grizzlies—skilled though they may be—are too small to handle Syracuse's devastating length.

55. Akron (South No. 12)

14 of 68

    Record: 25-6 (14-2, 1st in MAC)

    Best Win: Middle Tennessee 82-77

    Worst Loss: Coastal Carolina 74-70

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 7’0” center Zeke Marshall ranks fourth in country in blocks, field-goal shooting.

    Reason to Sell: Point guard Alex Abreu is suspended indefinitely after a March 7 arrest for marijuana trafficking.

    Tournament Prediction: Monumentally awful matchup against steal-happy VCU means Zips (who would've struggled even with Abreu) are doomed to a second-round defeat.

54. New Mexico State (Midwest No. 13)

15 of 68

    Record: 24-10 (14-4, 3rd in WAC)

    Best Win: Southern Miss 68-60

    Worst Loss: Texas-Arlington 68-47

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Freshman Sim Bhullar is a force of nature at 7’5”, 355 pounds.

    Reason to Sell: Daniel Mullings is the only productive guard on the roster.

    Tournament Prediction: Aggies' size will make things interesting against St. Louis, but they'll still be headed home after one game.

53. Valparaiso (Midwest No. 14)

16 of 68

    Record: 26-7 (13-3, 1st in Horizon)

    Best Win: Murray State 66-64

    Worst Loss: Loyola (IL) 63-54

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Conference tourney hero Ryan Broekhoff leads five senior starters.

    Reason to Sell: Iffy point guard play has led to some no shows by the offense.

    Tournament Prediction: The Crusaders are a great team, but they couldn't have drawn a worse matchup—Michigan State in Auburn Hills—and they won't be escaping the second round.

52. Boise State (West No. 13)

17 of 68

    Record: 21-10 (9-7, 4th in Mountain West)

    Best Win: Creighton 83-70

    Worst Loss: Nevada 75-59 

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks are among the nation's highest-scoring duos (33.6 points per game). 

    Reason to Sell: Tied for 333rd nationally in shot-blocking.

    Tournament Prediction: It will be a triumph if they win their First Four meeting against La Salle, but the Broncos have no hope of getting past Kansas State's stellar backcourt.

51. Bucknell (East No. 11)

18 of 68

    Record: 28-5 (12-2, 1st in Patriot)

    Best Win: La Salle 74-66

    Worst Loss: Penn State 60-57

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’11” senior Mike Muscala—No. 4 in the country in rebounding—puts most power-conference centers to shame.

    Reason to Sell: Defense recorded second-fewest steals in all of Division I.

    Tournament Prediction: The Bison have an outstanding chance to surprise Butler in the second round, and a Sweet 16 trip is a real possibility (though Miami will ensure they get no farther).

50. South Dakota State (South No. 13)

19 of 68

    Record: 25-9 (13-3, 1st in Summit)

    Best Win: New Mexico 70-65

    Worst Loss: Hofstra 66-63

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Wooden Award finalist Nate Wolters (fourth nationally in scoring) feeds a platoon of three-point shooters from his PG spot.

    Reason to Sell: With no meaningful bench contributors, even a couple of early fouls could be fatal.

    Tournament Prediction: Even in a virtual road game at Auburn Hills, Wolters gives the Jackrabbits a realistic chance to upset Michigan in a shootout—one that could set up a Sweet 16 trip with some luck.

49. Middle Tennessee (Midwest No. 11)

20 of 68

    Record: 28-5 (19-1, 1st in Sun Belt)

    Best Win: Ole Miss 65-62

    Worst Loss: Florida International 61-57

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Held opponents to 56.1 points per game during 17-game Sun Belt winning streak.  

    Reason to Sell: Marcos Knight is Blue Raiders' only double-digit scorer, and he gets all of 12.5 points a night. 

    Tournament Prediction: A First Four meeting with St. Mary's will be a terrific battle, but even assuming a win there, Middle Tennessee isn't going any farther than a third-round date with Michigan State.

48. Oklahoma (South No. 10)

21 of 68

    Record: 20-11 (11-7, 4th in Big 12)

    Best Win: Kansas 72-66

    Worst Loss: TCU 70-67

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Standout PF Romero Osby headlines a trio of senior starters.

    Reason to Sell: Top perimeter threat Steven Pledger has 10 points in the last two games (both losses).

    Tournament Prediction: Unlikely even to survive their opener against San Diego State's high-scoring backcourt, the Sooners won't be any threat to Georgetown if they do advance that far.

47. La Salle (West No. 13)

22 of 68

    Record: 21-9 (11-5, 3rd in Atlantic 10)

    Best Win: Virginia Commonwealth 69-61

    Worst Loss: Central Connecticut State 81-74 

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Senior guard Ramon Galloway racks up points (17 per game) and steals (2.0 a night). 

    Reason to Sell: Center Steve Zack, one of only two post players in the rotation, has missed the last three games with a sprained foot. 

    Tournament Prediction: The Explorers will probably win a First Four shootout over Boise State, but that's as far as they'll go thanks to a regrettable matchup with guard-rich Kansas State.

46. Wichita State (West No. 9)

23 of 68

    Record: 26-8 (12-6, 2nd in Missouri Valley)

    Best Win: Virginia Commonwealth 53-51

    Worst Loss: Southern Illinois 64-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 15/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Physical PF Carl Hall leads one of tourney’s deepest lineups (10 players get double-digit minutes).

    Reason to Sell: With apologies to Cleanthony Early, offense lacks the go-to scorer to break out of slumps.

    Tournament Prediction: Expect an entertaining second-round loss against Pitt, or (in the best case) a single win followed by a decisive defeat at the hands of Gonzaga.

45. Ole Miss (West No. 12)

24 of 68

    Record: 26-8 (12-6, 2nd in SEC)

    Best Win: Missouri 64-62

    Worst Loss: Mississippi State 73-67 

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 16/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Marshall Henderson has the second-most three-pointers in the country, and he's scored at least 20 points in five straight games. 

    Reason to Sell: Henderson can shoot the Rebels right out of a game, too (.383 field-goal percentage). 

    Tournament Prediction: In a terrible draw, the Rebels are up against one great defense (Wisconsin, who will likely send them home immediately) followed by another (Kansas State) in the event they get lucky the first time around.

44. Davidson (East No. 14)

25 of 68

    Record: 26-7 (17-1, 1st in Southern Conference South)

    Best Win: Montana 93-87

    Worst Loss: Milwaukee 73-68

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’10” senior Jake Cohen leads five returning starters from 2012 tourney team.

    Reason to Sell: Playing impressive schedule (New Mexico, Gonzaga, Duke) isn’t the same as actually beating those teams.

    Tournament Prediction: Wildcats are looking like a fine Cinderella pick, with a winnable opening matchup against Marquette and a decent chance at taking down the Butler/Bucknell winner before bowing out in the Sweet 16.

43. California (East No. 12)

26 of 68

    Record: 20-11 (12-6, 2nd in Pac-12)

    Best Win: Arizona 77-69

    Worst Loss: Utah 79-69

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: A burly frontcourt supports high-scoring guards Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs (34.2 points per game combined).

    Reason to Sell: Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson has hit more three-pointers than the entire Golden Bears roster.

    Tournament Prediction: The best of a bad lot when it comes to potential 5-vs.-12 upsets, Cal might beat UNLV in San Jose but has no shot at getting past Syracuse after that.

42. Belmont (West No. 11)

27 of 68

    Record: 26-6 (14-2, 1st in Ohio Valley)

    Best Win: Middle Tennessee 64-49

    Worst Loss: Tennessee State 80-69

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Senior Ian Clark is best three-point threat this side of Doug McDermott.

    Reason to Sell: Seven-man rotation has no one taller than 6’7”.

    Tournament Prediction: A terrific upset pick against Arizona in the second round, with a slim chance of surviving New Mexico and making the Sweet 16. 

41. Temple (East No. 9)

28 of 68

    Record: 23-9 (11-5, 3rd in Atlantic 10)

    Best Win: Syracuse 83-79

    Worst Loss: Duquesne 84-83

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’4” senior Khalif Wyatt is a tough defender as well as a serious go-to scorer.

    Reason to Sell: When gambling defense gets burned, it gets burned badly (76.1 points allowed in losses).

    Tournament Prediction: Opening game against N.C. State is pretty much a coin toss, but even if the Owls come up heads in that meeting, they can't slow down top-seeded Indiana's offense.

40. St. Mary’s (Midwest No. 11)

29 of 68

    Record: 27-6 (14-2, 2nd in West Coast)

    Best Win: Creighton 74-66

    Worst Loss: Georgia Tech 65-56

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: High-scoring PG Matthew Dellavedova gives Gaels a chance to win against any opponent.

    Reason to Sell: Essentially the same team that lost its opener to Purdue last March, but without stellar PF Rob Jones.

    Tournament Prediction: Middle Tennessee's lack of overpowering size will help Dellavedova get out of the First Four, and maybe even past inconsistent Memphis, but the Round of 32 against Michigan State is as far as the Gaels will go.

39. Cincinnati (Midwest No. 10)

30 of 68

    Record: 22-11 (9-9, 9th in Big East)

    Best Win: Marquette 71-69

    Worst Loss: St. John’s 53-52

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 8/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Athletic defense tied for 14th nationally in field-goal percentage allowed.

    Reason to Sell: Only three Bearcats contribute more than six points a game.

    Tournament Prediction: Cincy doesn't have the firepower to run with Creighton, making a second-round exit the likeliest outcome by a good margin.

38. Colorado (East No. 10)

31 of 68

    Record: 21-11 (10-8, 5th in Pac-12)

    Best Win: Arizona 71-58

    Worst Loss: Oregon State 64-58

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 19/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Low-post duo Josh Scott and Andre Roberson can hit the glass with the nation’s best.

    Reason to Sell: Backcourt has plenty of scoring but no genuine point guard.

    Tournament Prediction: A favorable opening matchup against a weak Illinois frontcourt will get them to the third round, but the Buffaloes pose little threat to streaking Miami.

37. Minnesota (South No. 11)

32 of 68

    Record: 20-12 (8-10, 7th in Big Ten)

    Best Win: Indiana 77-73

    Worst Loss: Northwestern 55-48

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 8/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams Jr. are nation’s most athletic frontcourt pairing.

    Reason to Sell: Gophers are 3-7 in their last 10 games.

    Tournament Prediction: A friendly draw will get Minnesota past banged-up UCLA, with an outside chance of surprising Florida and making the Sweet 16. 

36. Villanova (South No. 9)

33 of 68

    Record: 20-13 (10-8, 7th in Big East)

    Best Win: Louisville 73-64

    Worst Loss: Columbia 75-57

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Freshman PG Ryan Arcidiacono is unstoppable when his three-point shot is on.

    Reason to Sell: No team in the tournament commits more turnovers per game.

    Tournament Prediction: The regular-season giant-killers won't get a shot at any of the big names in this tourney, because North Carolina's track-meet offense will send them home after one game.

35. San Diego State (South No. 7)

34 of 68

    Record: 22-10 (9-7, 4th in Mountain West)

    Best Win: New Mexico 55-34

    Worst Loss: Wyoming 58-45

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 15/unranked

    Reason to Buy: 6’5” rebounding leader Jamaal Franklin is one of the best (and most versatile) shooting guards in the country.

    Reason to Sell: Frontcourt is short on size, scoring punch.

    Tournament Prediction: Franklin and Chase Tapley will score enough points to get by Oklahoma, but a third-round date with Georgetown's inside game will be the end of the road.

34. Illinois (East No. 7)

35 of 68

    Record: 22-12 (8-10, 7th in Big Ten)

    Best Win: Gonzaga 85-74

    Worst Loss: Northwestern 68-54

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 10/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Senior Brandon Paul leads a prolific three-point shooting offense.

    Reason to Sell: Very few easy shots for a team that ranks 317th nationally in assists.

    Tournament Prediction: Likely to exit after one game against a strong Colorado squad, and certain not to get any further than the third round against Miami's imposing post players.

33. UCLA (South No. 6)

36 of 68

    Record: 25-9 (13-5, 1st in Pac-12)

    Best Win: Arizona 84-73

    Worst Loss: Cal Poly 70-68

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 11/unranked

    Reason to Buy: The Bruins’ wealth of offensive weapons has Larry Drew II ranked fourth in the country in assists.

    Reason to Sell: SG Jordan Adams suffered a broken foot in the Pac-12 tournament and is out for the year.

    Tournament Prediction: With Adams out of commission, a second-round exit against Minnesota appears to be in the cards, with Florida looming to finish the job if the Bruins make it to the third round.

32. Colorado State (Midwest No. 8)

37 of 68

    Record: 25-8 (11-5, 2nd in Mountain West)

    Best Win: UNLV 66-61

    Worst Loss: Illinois-Chicago 64-55

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 22/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Aggressive frontcourt has Rams ranked No. 4 nationally in rebounding.

    Reason to Sell: Point guard Dorian Green is battling an ankle injury.

    Tournament Prediction: Missouri can and will beat Rams at their own game in second round (especially with the hobbled Green facing Phil Pressey).

31. Oregon (Midwest No. 12)

38 of 68

    Record: 26-8 (12-6, 2nd in Pac-12)

    Best Win: Arizona 70-66

    Worst Loss: Utah 72-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 10/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Mobile PF Arsalan Kazemi heads up a playmaking defense.

    Reason to Sell: E.J. Singler leads the team with a mere 11.7 points per game.

    Tournament Prediction: The massively under-seeded Pac-12 champs are the strongest No. 12 in the field, but they drew the toughest No. 5 in Oklahoma State, leaving them staring at a second-round defeat.

30. Iowa State (West No. 10)

39 of 68

    Record: 22-11 (11-7, 4th in Big 12)

    Best Win: Kansas State 73-67

    Worst Loss: Texas 89-86

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Led by senior sixth man Tyrus McGee, the Cyclones have hit more three-pointers than any other team.

    Reason to Sell: The team's up-tempo style means lots of shots for opponents—and 71.2 points allowed per game.

    Tournament Prediction: With an even chance to get by Notre Dame in the opener, the Cyclones might even upset Ohio State on a great shooting night—but getting past the Sweet 16 will take too much luck for this team.

29. Butler (East No. 6)

40 of 68

    Record: 26-8 (11-5, 3rd in Atlantic 10)

    Best Win: Gonzaga 64-63

    Worst Loss: Charlotte 71-67

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 8/unranked

    Reason to Buy: High-scoring Rotnei Clarke is in shooting range as soon as he steps onto the floor.

    Reason to Sell: The rest of the offense after Clarke is short on firepower.

    Tournament Prediction: A brutal opening draw against Bucknell could send the Bulldogs home very quickly, but surviving the Bison means a solid chance of a Sweet 16 trip with an outside shot to upset Miami and reach the Elite Eight.

28. N.C. State (East No. 8)

41 of 68

    Record: 24-10 (11-7, 4th in ACC)

    Best Win: Duke 84-76

    Worst Loss: Wake Forest 86-84

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 6/unranked

    Reason to Buy: An extraordinarily balanced offense has five scorers at 12 points per game or better.

    Reason to Sell: Their scoring defense ranks in the bottom third of the country.

    Tournament Prediction: A good game from the frontcourt will earn the Wolfpack a win over Temple, but Indiana will slaughter them in the third round.

27. Memphis (Midwest No. 6)

42 of 68

    Record: 30-4 (16-0, 1st in Conference USA)

    Best Win: Tennessee 85-80

    Worst Loss: Xavier 64-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 17/unranked

    Reason to Buy: A fleet-footed frontcourt gives the Tigers one of the nation's scariest fast breaks.

    Reason to Sell: Their risk-taking defense has gotten shredded by every tournament-caliber team it’s faced.

    Tournament Prediction: Surviving the Middle Tennessee/St. Mary's winner is no small task for the Tigers, but a win would put them in a realistic position to upset Michigan State for a Sweet 16 finish.

26. North Carolina (South No. 8)

43 of 68

    Record: 24-10 (12-6, 3rd in ACC)

    Best Win: UNLV 79-73

    Worst Loss: Texas 85-67

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 9/unranked

    Reason to Buy: The Tar Heels’ four-guard lineup can put points on the board as quickly as any team in the tournament.

    Reason to Sell: Star forward James Michael McAdoo provides flair, but little toughness inside.

    Tournament Prediction: The Heels should have little trouble getting by Villanova, but even this offense isn't going to be enough against the Kansas D in the third round.

25. Missouri (Midwest No. 9)

44 of 68

    Record: 23-10 (11-7, 5th in SEC)

    Best Win: Florida 63-60

    Worst Loss: Texas A&M 70-68

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 7/unranked

    Reason to Buy: UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi adds championship experience to a loaded frontcourt.

    Reason to Sell: The Tigers are tame in crunch time, as five of their last six losses were decided by three points or less, and the sixth went to OT.

    Tournament Prediction: Missouri will likely get by Colorado State, but Louisville already routed the Tigers once this season and will do it again in the round of 32.

24. Creighton (Midwest No. 7)

45 of 68

    Record: 27-7 (13-5, 1st in Missouri Valley)

    Best Win: Wisconsin 84-74

    Worst Loss: Illinois State 75-72

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 11/unranked

    Reason to Buy: There isn’t a better pure scorer in college basketball than Doug McDermott.

    Reason to Sell: 6’9” shot-blocker Gregory Echenique doesn’t have nearly enough help on defense.

    Tournament Prediction: In a virtual replay of last March, the Blue Jays will win their opener before getting bounced by an ACC powerhouse (Duke, this time around) who can outscore even their potent offense.

23. Pittsburgh (West No. 8)

46 of 68

    Record: 24-8 (12-6, 4th in Big East)

    Best Win: Georgetown 73-45

    Worst Loss: Rutgers 67-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 16/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Senior PG Tray Woodall runs one of the country’s most efficient offenses.

    Reason to Sell: Woodall is also shoehorned into a primary scorer’s role that doesn’t fit very well.

    Tournament Prediction: There's no guarantee the Panthers will top Wichita State, but if they do, they have only the slimmest of chances against Gonzaga.

22. UNLV (East No. 5)

47 of 68

    Record: 25-9 (10-6, 3rd in Mountain West)

    Best Win: New Mexico 64-55

    Worst Loss: Fresno State 61-52

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 18/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Freshman PF Anthony Bennett leads the sixth-best rebounding team in the country.

    Reason to Sell: Their frontcourt is deep on brawn but dangerously short on scoring options.

    Tournament Prediction: Rebels might be this year's 5-vs.-12 upset victim against Cal, but the more probable end of their run will come against a Syracuse zone that will lock down Bennett's scoring.

21. Notre Dame (West No. 7)

48 of 68

    Record: 25-9 (11-7, 5th in Big East)

    Best Win: Louisville 104-101

    Worst Loss: St. John’s 67-63

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 17/unranked

    Reason to Buy: An underappreciated backcourt has the Irish ranked fifth nationally in assists.

    Reason to Sell: Low-post star Jack Cooley has been mired in a scoring slump all month.

    Tournament Prediction: A recovery by Cooley will mean a win over Iowa State and a microscopic shot at upsetting Ohio State, but the Sweet 16 is as far as the luck of the Irish will take them. 

20. Virginia Commonwealth (South No. 5)

49 of 68

    Record: 26-8 (12-4, 2nd in Atlantic 10)

    Best Win: Butler 84-52

    Worst Loss: Richmond 86-74

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 19/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Frenetic havoc defense has scored first-round Big Dance upsets each of last two years.

    Reason to Sell: When the Rams aren’t forcing turnovers, both the offense and defense break down. 

    Tournament Prediction: The matchups are set up nicely for a Sweet 16 run, with a small possibility of surprising Kansas and making it all the way to the Final Four.

19. Arizona (West No. 6)

50 of 68

    Record: 25-7 (12-6, 2nd in Pac-12)

    Best Win: Florida 65-64

    Worst Loss: USC 89-78

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 3/18

    Reason to Buy: Combo guard Mark Lyons is as good a clutch scorer as there is in the country.

    Reason to Sell: They have a wildly schizophrenic defense that has allowed 60.3 points in wins but 75.9 points in losses.

    Tournament Prediction: A very dangerous matchup with Belmont could send the Wildcats home immediately, but even in the best case, the Sweet 16 will be the end of their road.

18. St. Louis (Midwest No. 4)

51 of 68

    Record: 27-6 (13-3, 1st in Atlantic 10)

    Best Win: New Mexico 60-46

    Worst Loss: Rhode Island 82-80

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 16/unranked

    Reason to Buy: St. Louis' punishing defense features four players with 1.3 steals or more per game.

    Reason to Sell: Dwayne Evans, the Billikens' only effective rebounder, stands at 6’5”.

    Tournament Prediction: The Sweet 16 is a distinct possibility with a good game against Oklahoma State, but that's the Billikens' limit, as Louisville can beat St. Louis at its own defensive game.

17. Marquette (East No. 3)

52 of 68

    Record: 23-8 (14-4, 1st in Big East)

    Best Win: Georgetown 49-48

    Worst Loss: Green Bay 49-47

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 12/unranked

    Reason to Buy: The physical Golden Eagles have held five different opponents under 50 points.

    Reason to Sell: The team is tied for 330th nationally in three-pointers made.

    Tournament Prediction: Marquette is in imminent danger of getting bounced by Davidson in the second round or the Butler/Bucknell winner after that, with the Sweet 16 as a (generous) best-case scenario.

16. Syracuse (East No. 4)

53 of 68

    Record: 26-9 (11-7, 5th in Big East)

    Best Win: Louisville, 70-68

    Worst Loss: Temple 83-79

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 3/19

    Reason to Buy: An always-dangerous 2-3 zone is even tougher thanks to ballhawk Michael Carter-Williams (second nationally in steals).

    Reason to Sell: PG Carter-Williams has a tendency to fall in love with his own (none-too-accurate) shot on offense.

    Tournament Prediction: They should have little difficulty making the Sweet 16 for what should be a terrific battle against Indiana (albeit one the sharp-shooting Hoosiers will win).

15. Oklahoma State (Midwest No. 5)

54 of 68

    Record: 24-8 (13-5, 3rd in Big 12)

    Best Win: Kansas 85-80

    Worst Loss: Virginia Tech 81-71

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 13/unranked

    Reason to Buy: PG Marcus Smart, the nation’s best true freshman, is a terrific floor general and ranks fourth nationally in steals.

    Reason to Sell: Forwards Philip Jurick and Michael Cobbins are big bodies but little more.

    Tournament Prediction: The team will need to play well against St. Louis to make the Sweet 16, where Louisville's pressure will force enough mistakes from Smart to send the Cowboys home.

14. Florida (South No. 3)

55 of 68

    Record: 26-7 (14-4, 1st in SEC)

    Best Win: Wisconsin 74-56

    Worst Loss: Arkansas 80-69

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 2/14

    Reason to Buy: Their second-ranked scoring defense can win with full-court pressure, man or zone.

    Reason to Sell: A Kenny Boynton-led offense has struggled badly to close out games.

    Tournament Prediction: A Sweet 16 finish is well within reach, with a good chance to surprise Georgetown before falling in the Elite Eight. 

13. Kansas State (West No. 4)

56 of 68

    Record: 27-7 (14-4, 1st in Big 12)

    Best Win: Florida 67-61

    Worst Loss: Iowa State 73-67

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 9/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Their guard-heavy lineup is flourishing in new coach Bruce Weber’s motion offense.

    Reason to Sell: That offense has no viable low-post option.

    Tournament Prediction: The Wildcats are likely to fall in a tough third-round meeting with Wisconsin, but even if they survive there, they'll just lose a rematch with Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.

12. Michigan (South No. 4)

57 of 68

    Record: 26-7 (12-6, 4th in Big Ten)

    Best Win: Michigan State 58-57

    Worst Loss: Penn State 84-78

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 1/7

    Reason to Buy: High-scoring PG Trey Burke creates enough offense for two good players.

    Reason to Sell: When treys aren’t falling, the Wolverines aren’t scoring.

    Tournament Prediction: An extremely tough draw sees Burke face fellow superstar Nate Wolters, followed by VCU's full-court press, followed (in the unlikely event the Wolverines get this far) by the fearsome Kansas defense to finish things off.

11. New Mexico (West No. 3)

58 of 68

    Record: 29-5 (13-3, 1st in Mountain West)

    Best Win: Colorado State 91-82

    Worst Loss: Air Force 89-88

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 12/unranked

    Reason to Buy: 7’0” sophomore Alex Kirk is a star in the making.

    Reason to Sell: Scoring leader Kendall Williams runs very hot or very cold.

    Tournament Prediction: A possible meeting with Belmont provides a slight early-exit threat, but the Lobos should be headed for the Sweet 16, with the Elite Eight as a definite possibility. 

10. Wisconsin (West No. 5)

59 of 68

    Record: 23-11 (12-6, 4th in Big Ten)

    Best Win: Indiana 64-59

    Worst Loss: Purdue 69-56

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 17/unranked

    Reason to Buy: As usual, the defense can drag down the best of scorers.

    Reason to Sell: The team has the worst free-throw shooters in the field of 68 (.635).

    Tournament Prediction: A real threat to upset top-seeded Gonzaga, the Badgers could well be headed for a fourth meeting with Ohio State in the Elite Eight, and maybe even a spot in the Final Four.

9. Michigan State (Midwest No. 3)

60 of 68

    Record: 25-8 (13-5, 2nd in Big Ten)

    Best Win: Kansas 67-64

    Worst Loss: UConn 66-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 4/21

    Reason to Buy: A frontcourt tandem of 6’9”, 270-lb Derrick Nix and 6’10”, 240-lb Adreian Payne creates matchup nightmares.

    Reason to Sell: Junior PG Keith Appling has gone cold as a distributor over the past six weeks.

    Tournament Prediction: It's decidedly possible that the Spartans will fall in the third round, but if they avoid the early upset, they've got a great chance to surprise Duke and make the Elite Eight.

8. Ohio State (West No. 2)

61 of 68

    Record: 26-7 (13-5, 2nd Big Ten)

    Best Win: Indiana 67-58

    Worst Loss: Illinois 74-55

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 4/18

    Reason to Buy: Aaron Craft, the country’s best on-ball defender, leads an attacking D.

    Reason to Sell: Deshaun Thomas has to carry the offense almost single-handedly.

    Tournament Prediction: No other No. 2 seed is more vulnerable to an upset, but the likeliest outcome for the Buckeyes is still an Elite Eight berth, with a puncher's chance of making the Final Four with a win over Gonzaga or Wisconsin.

7. Georgetown (South No. 2)

62 of 68

    Record: 25-6 (14-4, 1st in Big East)

    Best Win: Louisville 53-51

    Worst Loss: Villanova 67-57

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 5/unranked

    Reason to Buy: The eighth-best scoring defense in college hoops has size and athleticism in abundance.

    Reason to Sell: Despite Otto Porter Jr.’s brilliance, the offense is prone to long scoring droughts.

    Tournament Prediction: The Sweet 16 is a given, and even a Final Four trip isn't out of reach if the offense gets hot against Florida and Kansas.

6. Miami (East No. 2)

63 of 68

    Record: 27-6 (15-3, 1st in ACC)

    Best Win: Duke 90-63

    Worst Loss: Florida Gulf Coast 63-51

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 2/unranked

    Reason to Buy: Red-hot PG Shane Larkin sets up an NBA-sized frontcourt.

    Reason to Sell: Even in a lineup loaded with seniors, there’s hardly any postseason experience.

    Tournament Prediction: With a top seed, the 'Canes would have been Final Four-bound, but even they won't outscore Indiana after powering their way to the Elite Eight.

5. Gonzaga (West No. 1)

64 of 68

    Record: 31-2 (16-0, 1st in West Coast)

    Best Win: Oklahoma State 69-68

    Worst Loss: Illinois 85-74

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 1/21

    Reason to Buy: A supremely efficient offense has 7’0” Kelly Olynyk at its heart.

    Reason to Sell: A comparatively soft schedule means the Zags frontcourt has been pretty much untested.

    Tournament Prediction: Big Ten muscle, courtesy of Wisconsin and/or Ohio State, will make Gonzaga the worst pick of the No. 1 seeds to appear in the Final Four, though the Elite Eight isn't out of the question. 

4. Kansas (South No. 1)

65 of 68

    Record: 29-5 (14-4, 1st in Big 12)

    Best Win: Ohio State 74-66

    Worst Loss: TCU 62-55

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 2/14

    Reason to Buy: Shot-blocking ace Jeff Withey leads the No. 1 field-goal defense in the country.

    Reason to Sell: The offense leans very heavily on streaky Ben McLemore.

    Tournament Prediction: A potential Sweet 16 meeting with VCU is worrisome, but if Kansas gets past that game, it's an outstanding contender to win it all.

3. Duke (Midwest No. 2)

66 of 68

    Record: 27-5 (14-4, 2nd in ACC)

    Best Win: Louisville 76-71

    Worst Loss: Maryland 83-74

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 1/8

    Reason to Buy: Great three-point shooters support the nation’s best all-around big man in Mason Plumlee.

    Reason to Sell: The team will get routinely out-rebounded despite senior starters Ryan Kelly (6’11”) and Plumlee (6’10”).

    Tournament Prediction: A Sweet 16 matchup with Michigan State could send the Blue Devils packing, but the bigger obstacle to Duke's (still strong) title hopes is a rematch with top-seeded Louisville.

2. Louisville (Midwest No. 1)

67 of 68

    Record: 29-5 (14-4, 1st in Big East)

    Best Win: Syracuse 58-53

    Worst Loss: Villanova 73-64

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 1/12

    Reason to Buy: A playmaking defense is loaded with Final Four veterans.

    Reason to Sell: After Russ Smith, the Cards’ scoring options are limited at best.

    Tournament Prediction: Another Final Four—and even a championship—is a distinct possibility, but it’s far from a sure thing with Duke looming on the other half of the Cards' Midwest region.

1. Indiana (East No. 1)

68 of 68

    Record: 27-6, 14-4 Big Ten (1st) 

    Best Win: 72-71 at Michigan

    Worst Loss: 74-72 at Illinois

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: 1/7

    Reason to Buy: Wooden Award finalist Cody Zeller anchors the middle for the nation’s third-best scoring offense.

    Reason to Sell: Victor Oladipo, another Wooden Award favorite, is IU’s only impact defender.

    Tournament Prediction: The versatile Oladipo provides the X-factor that will carry the high-scoring Hoosiers to their first title in 25 years.

     

     

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