Five Highly-Ranked Teams Poised To Lose Early in the NCAA Tournament

John ThomasCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 09:  Jon Scheyer #30 of the Duke Blue Devils against Gani Lawal #31 and D'Andre Bell #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on January 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There is no clear number one team in college basketball this season. Many teams have a legitimate chance to make it deep into the NCAA Tournament.

However, the following teams aren't going to make it deep into the tourney, even though some might believe otherwise. To me, all of the these teams are overrated.

Duke Blue Devils, 26-5, Projected No. 2 Seed

The Blue Devils have strong guard play, led by senior Jon Scheyer.

But, this is a staple of many good college basketball teams. Villanova, Kansas, Syracuse, and Kentucky are just a few teams that have great guard play. There are many others besides the few mentioned above.

The aspect of Duke that sets them apart from other teams is their inside play. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, this is meant in the worst way.

Although the Plumlee brothers, Miles and Mason, are developing well down low, they have yet to mature in order to compete with some of the better big men in the country.

As for Brian Zoubek, he adds very little to the Blue Devils' roster other than a very big warm body.

In addition, Duke relies heavily on their shooting prowess. When they are shooting the ball well, this team is difficult to beat. However, catch the Blue Devils on a poor shooting night, and many teams will have a shot to knock off Duke.

If the Blue Devils ultimately receive the second seed, look for them to be challenged in the second round and the Sweet 16. Any team with size and solid perimeter defense is a threat to defeat Duke.

Vanderbilt Commodores, 23-7, Projected No. 3/No. 4 Seed

Now, I'm not a huge SEC basketball follower. I don't know a whole lot about the Commodores.

What I do know is that the SEC is not a premier basketball conference. Vanderbilt is not a battle-tested team. Although they have defeated Tennessee twice, the Commodores have also lost to Western Kentucky, Illinois, and Georgia. Only the Illini have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.

In addition, nine of Vanderbilt's twelve SEC victories have been by less than ten points. Several of these teams won't be tourney-bound.

The Commodores are still a solid basketball team, but I don't see them stringing together a lot of victories to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

If they are a four seed, they could be bounced in the second round. A three seed could mean a birth in the Sweet 16, but even that is doubtful.

Purdue Boilermakers, 26-4, Projected No. 2/No. 3 Seed

Purdue is possibly the best team in the Big 10, so why are they on the list?

Two words: Robbie Hummel.

This season, Hummel has been one of the best players in the Big Ten. He has averaged 15.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game.

However, Hummel tore his ACL in Purdue's Feb. 24 game against Minnesota, knocking him out for the rest of the 2009-10 season. Although the Boilermakers are 2-1 since that game, they are clearly not the same team.

Without him, look for Purdue to fall early in the tournament.

New Mexico Lobos, 28-3, Projected No.2/No. 1 Seed

Why are New Mexico State and New Mexico in separate conferences? It just doesn't make sense to me.

The two biggest schools in the state should be in the same conference. Oh well. I don't have any say in that matter, so let's move on.

The Lobos are even less battle-tested than the aforementioned Vanderbilt Commodores.

Their good wins this season include victories over #11 BYU twice and UNLV.

In addition, New Mexico has lost to Oral Roberts and San Diego State.

To me, these statistics reflect a bubble team more than that of a contender for a number two seed.

Although the Lobos could surprise in the NCAA Tournament, they have yet to prove themselves. I haven't seen enough good things from this team to have any reason to believe they will advance rather deep into the tournament.

If New Mexico somehow gets a number one seed, they will make it to the Sweet 16. If they are a number two, it is certainly possible that they could fall in the the Round of 32.

Kansas State Wildcats, 24-6, Projected No. 2/No. 1 Seed

Although Kansas State appears to be one of the best teams in the country, some statistics say otherwise.

When the Wildcats defeated Texas, the Longhorns were ranked No. 1 in the country. Now, that same team is unranked and projected to be a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament. This is also the Wildcats' "best" win of the season.

In addition, Kansas State has lost to Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, and Mississippi over the course of the season. They have had more bad losses than quality wins.

Also, the Wildcats don't have the overall tournament experience. They have not been a high seed in the NCAA Tournament in quite sometime. The pressure could force Kansas State to make some mistakes. I look for them to make it no further than the Sweet 16.