NCAA Tournament 2013: Top Seeds That Will Face an Early-Round Exit
The NCAA tournament selection committee has an unenviable task. It typically does a good job reflecting championship potential in its seeding, but this season’s unpredictability will undoubtedly carry over into the tournament.
Several top seeds in the field of 68 fell victim to inconsistency in the regular season—inconsistency that often translates to an early exit in the national tournament. It takes more than one or two good performances to take home a national championship in April.
Let's take a look at a few top teams that may struggle to build up enough momentum to make a deep run in the tournament. These teams faltered late in the season, raising questions about their ability to sustain a championship run in the tournament.
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines
Michigan is built like a tournament team, but it also faces arguably the most difficult region in the tournament this year. With VCU, Kansas and North Carolina all potentially on the horizon for the Wolverines, getting past the Sweet 16 will be a difficult task.
Michigan has also struggled at times against top-tier competition. The Big Ten is loaded with tournament teams, but losing seven conference games proves Michigan has some weaknesses that can be exploited by strong defensive teams.
The Wolverines certainly proved they can hang with any team in the nation, but they also showed a great deal of inconsistency in the second half of the season. An ugly loss to Penn State on February 27 was perhaps the biggest upset in the Big Ten this year, and failing to show up in the postseason could result in similar disappointment.
Getting past South Dakota State in the second round shouldn’t be an issue, but don’t be surprised if the Wolverines falter against either VCU in the round of 32 or Kansas in the Sweet 16.
No. 4 Syracuse Orange
A second-round upset against Montana probably isn’t in the cards, but Syracuse’s late-season collapse raises major questions about its ability to make any kind of a deep tournament run this season.
Five losses in their last nine games set the scene for what could prove to be dangerous waters for the Orange in the tournament. Should Syracuse get through Montana in the round of 64, a matchup with either UNLV or California awaits it in the third round.
The regular season doesn’t matter at this point, but a serious lack of momentum certainly does. Paired with a thin bench and an offense that has struggled mightily in the last two weeks, Syracuse faces an uphill battle if it hopes to escape the top half of the East Region.
No. 2 Duke Blue Devils
Duke is a hard team to get a read on this year. The Blue Devils looked fantastic at times during the regular season, but failing to win a game in the ACC tournament really hurt their chances of gaining any favor with the selection committee, resulting in a No. 2 seed.
The Blue Devils don’t match up well with teams that play tough, physical defense. They shoot extremely well from beyond the arc, but that may be a disadvantage in the tournament. As we’ve seen many, many times in the past, one half of poor shooting can sink a team that relies too heavily on the three-pointer.
Albany shouldn’t prove to be much of a test in the first round, though Duke needs a good showing to rebuild its momentum for the rest of the tournament after losing to Maryland in the conference tournament. Failing to put away Albany in the early going could spell disaster for Duke going forward.
Creighton and Michigan State would both be difficult tests should Duke advance past the second round. For a team that cruised through much of the regular season, Duke looks like a squad with a lot of boom-or-bust potential in the NCAA tournament. Proceed with caution when predicting the lower portion of the Midwest Region.
Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA Tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game.
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