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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Don’t count on them in the NCAA tournament

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One way to round out your NCAA tournament bracket is to take the selection committee rankings at face value and make surprise picks based on favorable matchups. But it’s also important to keep in mind the teams that are most vulnerable when March Madness kicks off.

While all varsity men’s basketball teams aim to peak in March, some aren’t so lucky, either due to injuries or disrupted team chemistry that once flourished. Remember, the committee also gives out seeds based on the December and January games. Teams that were great at the time might have hit some bumps later in the season.

Here are five teams you don’t want to pick in your NCAA tournament bracket based on their downward trajectory:

Ohio State

The Buckeyes (19-11) lost three of their last four to close out the regular season, including home games against teams they shouldn’t have lost to: Nebraska, the bottom player, and Michigan, the bubble team. They then went out early in the Big Ten tournament with an upset loss to Penn State. Although EJ Liddell is having an All-America-caliber season, Ohio State sometimes becomes too dependent on his star. In the Nebraska game, Liddell scored 27 points and the Buckeyes still lost. They fight to take care of the ball: They rank 236th nationally in turnover margin.

Ohio State Buckeyes guard Malaki Branham (22) hits the ground while Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Trey McGowens (2) defends during the second half at Value City Arena.

Santa Maria

The Gaels (25-7) may be one of the most cheating teams in the tournament because they have such a great profile, but that’s largely a result of playing so well on home ground, where they went undefeated and defeated Gonzaga on 2 February. 26. Coach Randy Bennett’s team has good stats defensively, but offense is where we could see Saint Mary’s run into trouble and fall in lulls against a high-octane opponent who controls the pace.

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houston

The Cougars (28-5) are another decent team with a deceptive profile. Houston was the best team in American Athletic in terms of record, but lost to SMU and Memphis and was unable to beat high-quality teams all season, with only one Quadrant 1 win in its tournament profile. Coach Kelvin Sampson’s team has a NET score of 5, but that has more to do with smart programming than beating top-tier opponents. In their seeded lineup, Houston is prone to an upset against a rising mid-major.

Iowa State

The Cyclones (20-12) broke out of the bubble by winning four straight in late February, but this team is barely improving and has been inconsistent during 2021-22, as evidenced by a five-game losing streak in January. It’s fair to say that Iowa State peaked early, starting the season 12-0, but has come back down to earth with a lackluster performance in the Big 12 (7-11 in the league this year). Note that the Cyclones lost 31 to Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament. Coach TJ Otzelberger has an offense that ranks 269th in the country and struggles to shoot well from 3, which means a hot-shot team I could get over them.

Texas

The Longhorns (21-11) have lost their last three games, conceding two of them against No. 1 seeds Kansas and Baylor, but this hasn’t been the big campaign envisioned as coach Chris Beard took over and signed a group. of Elite. transfers Texas fared decently in the best statistical conference in the country, the Big 12, but has shown signs of struggle throughout 2021-22, including a one-point loss to Kansas State (Jan. 18) and, more recently, , an early exit loss. to TCU in the Big 12 tournament.

state of michigan

The Spartans (22-11) battled injuries and lost seven of their last 10 to close out the regular season before putting together a solid run in the Big Ten tournament. Coach Tom Izzo always prepares his teams for the tournament, but Michigan State has shown signs of vulnerability. There are also no standout scorers on this team, with only Gabe Brown (11.5 ppg) averaging double figures.

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College Basketball: Overrated Men’s Teams Heading For NCAA Tournament

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