NCAA Basketball Selection Sunday: Five Teams You Don't Want to Play in March
Rodney Dangerfield coined the phrase "Can't get no respect," years ago during one of his many comedy sketches. The quote can apply to any number of teams trying to sneak into the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, where we know anything is possible.
Here we review the top ten teams that might have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday, but if they get in, will be a match-up hell for whoever faces them.
Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State sports a mundane 16-12 record, including an equally average 8-8 in the conference. They got blown out by lowly Iowa, and with a chance to secure a spot in the tournament yesterday, they were manhandled at home by Purdue. So why should anybody be afraid of this team?
Their top two players are seniors (Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas), and they have one of the best coaches in the game with Tom Izzo. This team is experienced and talented, and the Spartans have a history of turning it on come tournament time.
As long as they get a bid, Michigan State is a team that nobody will want to face.
Richmond has a marquee win over Purdue and impressive out-of-conference victories against (at) Wright State, (at) Seton Hall and VCU.
Their top three scorers are seniors, meaning most of their contributors were a part of the team that made the tournament last year.
They've faced a tough out-of-conference schedule, and play in the Atlantic 10, one of the most underrated conferences in America. Right now, Richmond is a bubble team, but if they can win their next two games (at St. Joseph and Duquesne), they should be dancing in March. Can't imagine many teams looking forward to dancing with them.
St. John's Red Storm
St. John's recent run has basically guaranteed them a spot in the tournament, and they're quickly becoming a team that nobody wants to face.
They own the most wins over ranked teams in America (six), come from the top conference in the country (Big East), have an experienced coach in Steve Lavin, an experienced team and a star in Dwight Hardy.
St. John's win at Villanova showed they're not a team that only brings it on their home court, or when they're featured nationally at MSG, even in the toughest of circumstances.
The Red Storm still struggles with size and are a poor free throw shooting team, but they play tough defense and turn turnovers into fast break points as well as any team in the nation.
George Mason Patriots
George Mason is the hottest team in the country and owners of the nation's longest current winning streak (16 games). The Patriots haven't lost since January 8th and are currently first place in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Even if they trip up in the conference tournament, it would be almost impossible to keep them out of the Big Dance, especially with so much parity this season in college basketball.
GM made a magical run to the Final Four a few years ago, and nobody will overlook them this time around. This team is talented, tough and tested, and Jim Larranaga will definitely have them ready to go.
Kansas State Wildcats
Kansas State is finally displaying the talent that earned them a spot in the Top 5 earlier this season.
They're currently tied for fourth in the Big 12, and have pulled off big wins over Kansas and Missouri, as well as a road victory at Nebraska.
The only way Kansas State doesn't make the tournament at this point is if they lose their next two games (Iowa State and at Texas), and are upset in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.
They have Jacob Pullen, one of the top players in America, and he is playing the best stretch of basketball he's played in years. The Wildcats are big, and experienced and nobody wants to face them right now.