The 349 teams that won't win it all

ExitFlagger

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The 349 teams that won't win 2021 March Madness
  • John Gasaway

Every March, the pressure grows stronger on what everyone at ESPN headquarters now refers to as simply The Streak. We are speaking, of course, of the 349 teams that won't win the men's basketball national title.

Yes, yes, it's true. This venerable feature that selects eight teams of the 357 in Division I that could win the title has successfully included the eventual national champion every time. It's not like we've been doing this since the 1950s -- we started in 2016, actually -- but still, a streak is a streak.

Here are the 349 teams that won't win the 2021 national title, broken into three groups: ineligible, near misses and no clear path.

Are we clear? Let's get started.

Ineligible (12 teams)

Alabama A&M Bulldogs
Alabama State Hornets
Arizona Wildcats
Auburn Tigers
Bellarmine Knights
Cal Baptist Lancers
Dixie State
Merrimack Warriors
North Alabama Lions
Tarleton Texans
UC San Diego Tritons
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Near misses (15 teams)

Arkansas Razorbacks
Right, so let's dive in with a curious choice, shall we? Arkansas has looked as good as any team in the country over the past few games, yet here they are named as a team that won't win the title. Has there been some mistake here? Quite possibly. The streak is doomed to end sooner or later, and Eric Musselman has the team that could do the job. The only thing keeping the Razorbacks out of the magic eight is a slight reliance on their excellent rebounding to do much of the work on defense. Meanwhile, the Hogs' SEC opponents have recorded average marks for shooting (on both sides of the arc) and for turnovers. The average marks in important categories kept Arkansas here, barely, in near miss territory. But, yes, putting a team that has won 10 of its past 11 here is definitely living dangerously.

Creighton Bluejays
The Bluejays look outstanding on paper, but even before the turmoil surrounding coach Greg McDermott's racially insensitive remarks, the team seemed to lose a step late in the season. Indeed, it was McDermott's displeasure with his team in a loss at previously struggling Xavier that brought about his appalling choice of wording. Perhaps we'll look back on this in a week or two and regret classifying Creighton here, and maybe this will have blown over amid the excitement of a deep tournament run. (The team did look outstanding, for example, in thrashing Butler at home in the season finale.) At the moment, however, there's too much uncertainty around Creighton for inclusion in the big eight.

Florida State Seminoles
There have been times this season when it was plain as day that the Seminoles would be tapped as one of the eight teams that could win the title. Indeed, the thing that people still (in March!) aren't getting about this team is that Leonard Hamilton has a group of amazing shooters. Think of FSU as the Villanova of the ACC and you'll be closer to the mark than the usual "long and athletic" riff. Florida State is absolutely long and athletic and, oh, by the way, the Seminoles will shoot you out of the gym. Alas, this also has been an inconsistent great-shooting team. Plus, let's be honest, recency effect packs a punch. The last time we saw the Seminoles, they were losing at Notre Dame. So, yes, near miss.

Kansas Jayhawks
Give Bill Self full credit: KU has come storming back after a lackluster start to the season. (This team was unranked at one point.) Now, the Jayhawks look pretty much like they always do: dangerous and headed for a really high seed. In particular, this was, easily, the best defense in the Big 12 in conference play. (Quite a feather in your cap when Baylor is in your league.) There's no doubting this team's ability to make opposing offenses suffer, but there are still questions attached to this offense. Self's guys shot 33% on their 3-pointers in conference play, and, well, the "67 points in 67 possessions at home against UTEP" outing does make one hesitate before conferring high-eight honors.

Loyola Chicago Ramblers
The first thing to acknowledge is that Loyola Chicago is clearly going to the Final Four. After the series of three incredible, last-possession wins in a row in the 2018 NCAA tournament, we know better than to ever doubt the Ramblers. Still, once Loyola makes it that far, yet again, perhaps the opponent in the national semifinal will form a human wall around Cameron Krutwig and force his teammates to win with 3-point shots. It is not clear the Ramblers will be able to do so, after a season in which they connected just 33% of the time from beyond the arc in Missouri Valley play.

Ohio State Buckeyes
Yes, Ohio State was projected as a No. 1 seed for the better part of February, so, yes, this pick could go horribly awry. A recurring theme in these anguished comments is that, hey, keeping the charmed circle to just eight programs necessitates excluding some exceptionally strong teams. The Buckeyes' strength is their offense. Duane Washington and Justin Ahrens get good 3-point looks against defenses preoccupied with stopping E.J. Liddell inside the arc. On the other side of the ball, however, OSU has not been as successful. Big Ten opponents ended their possessions with a shot attempt over 85% of the time, and against a team that doesn't force a high number of misses, that matters.

Oklahoma State Cowboys
The fact that Cade Cunningham is one of the best watches in college basketball this season shouldn't be surprising, but it is. We have become accustomed to playmakers blessed with one-and-done talent who spend their brief shining hour in the college game demonstrating potential more than present-tense team-improving ability. Cunningham breaks that mold by involving his teammates, seeing the court with a practiced eye and making wise choices. Speaking of surprises, though, it's a bit incongruous to find that an OSU offense led by such a talent notched just 1.03 points per possession in Big 12 play. (The Cowboys' defense, conversely, is very good and too little noticed. Salute.)

Purdue Boilermakers
The flat-out best thing about the streak of perfection ending for this feature this season would be if Purdue, in particular, won the national title. It would be worth it, in fact, to see Zach Edey cut down the nets while doing without the ladder entirely. No, truly, against Michigan State, he completed a nice alley-oop with an emphatic slam despite the fact that his feet barely left the floor. Edey is a pleasure to watch, and the Boilermakers' defense is stout, but this offense shot 30.7% on 3s against the Big Ten.

San Diego State Aztecs
Brian Dutcher's program is 50-6 over the past two seasons, and for a second consecutive season, the Aztecs are getting the job done on defense. It's easy to envision some snooty major conference team breaking into pieces when it runs up against this D, and that could well happen deep in an SDSU tournament run. Ultimately, however, it is both amazing and, for the purposes of this present exercise, problematic that a team with such a glittering track record also ranked No. 8 in Mountain West play this season for 2-point accuracy.

Texas Longhorns
For one dazzling moment in January, Texas looked like a sure thing not to be here with the near miss teams. In the space of seven days, the Longhorns won road games against Kansas and West Virginia. The Big 12 office should have a special medal for any team that can pull off that twin bill. But then the trajectory appeared to change for UT. Since that victory in Morgantown, Shaka Smart's group has gone 7-6. True, the example UConn set in 2011 makes us never say never after a middling January and February. We do say "seldom," however, and Texas does not appear to be peaking at the moment.

Texas Tech Red Raiders
The following are words we never thought would need to be said regarding a Chris Beard team, but here goes: This defense is better than it looks. The Big 12 for some inscrutable reason couldn't miss on its 3s against the Red Raiders. Adjust that success rate downward to the mean and you're looking at a pretty good defensive unit, one that forces both turnovers and misses in the paint. Throw in an offense that never turns over the ball and you have an excellent team -- just not a member of the charmed top-eight circle.

Villanova Wildcats
Sadly, Villanova is not whole. Collin Gillespie was lost for the rest of the season due to a knee injury, and now it appears that Justin Moore will miss the Big East tournament with a severe ankle sprain. Ordinarily, one would hesitate before betting against a coach who has won two of the past four national titles. Indeed, it wouldn't be a total shock if the Wildcats mustered a "next man up" credo and continued their ultra-low-turnover ways successfully enough to make the second weekend. Without Gillespie, however, near miss is where Villanova resides this time around.

Virginia Cavaliers
The numbers might not be as elite as usual on defense, but Virginia is still capable of inflicting emotional damage on opposing offenses by forcing misses and taking you deep into the shot clock. No, we're fine with the D. The deal breaker with this season's Cavaliers on this list is simply that Tony Bennett's guys don't get up enough shots. This can be hard to spot in real time because the Hoos are so accurate in their shooting and take very good care of the ball. But the unmistakable turn toward extreme avoidance of all offensive rebounds is hitting this offense's bottom line. Make that "unmistakable and surprising." This program won a national title with high shot volume over the course of six NCAA tournament games. Those days, go figure, are gone or at least paused, it seems.

West Virginia
Conventional wisdom suggests West Virginia is better since Oscar Tshiebwe elected to transfer out of the program. "Better spacing," they will tell you. That might be the case. We do know the Mountaineers are pretty darn good, and more specifically, this offense is excellent. But can we really be sure that the old version of West Virginia, the one that not only had the lead against Gonzaga at the half on Dec. 2 but actually had the Bulldogs visibly shook, wouldn't have been just as good too? Anyway, this current team has an issue with opponents converting 2-point attempts, which Big 12 teams did nearly 53% of the time.

Wisconsin Badgers
Lack of scoring. The reason Wisconsin is here with the near miss teams is due to a lack of scoring. Why this is the case is an excellent question. You've heard all the age comparisons about how these Badgers are older than some (very young) NBA teams. All that experience and continuity from last season was supposed to mean a team that was a little better than average in Big Ten play last season would be excellent on that side of the ball in 2021. It hasn't happened, and in fact, Wisconsin ended conference play clocking in slightly below the league average for points per possession. A mystery yet to be solved.
 

ExitFlagger

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May 2, 2015
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No clear path (322 teams)

  1. Abilene Christian Wildcats
  2. Air Force Falcons
  3. Akron Zips
  4. Albany Great Danes
  5. Alcorn State Braves
  6. American Eagles
  7. Appalachian State Mountaineers
  8. Arizona State Sun Devils
  9. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions
  10. Arkansas State Red Wolves
  11. Army Black Knights
  12. Austin Peay Governors
  13. Ball State Cardinals
  14. Belmont Bruins
  15. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (inactive)
  16. Binghamton Bearcats
  17. Boise State Broncos
  18. Boston College Eagles
  19. Boston University Terriers
  20. Bowling Green Falcons
  21. Bradley Braves
  22. Brown Bears (inactive)
  23. Bryant Bulldogs
  24. Bucknell Bison
  25. Buffalo Bulls
  26. Butler Bulldogs
  27. BYU Cougars
  28. California Golden Bears
  29. Cal Poly Mustangs
  30. CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners
  31. CSU Fullerton Titans
  32. CSU Northridge Matadors
  33. Campbell Fighting Camels
  34. Canisius Golden Griffins
  35. Central Arkansas Bears
  36. Central Connecticut Blue Devils
  37. Central Michigan Chippewas
  38. Charleston Cougars
  39. Charleston Southern Buccaneers
  40. Charlotte 49ers
  41. Chattanooga Mocs
  42. Chicago State Cougars (inactive)
  43. Cincinnati Bearcats
  44. The Citadel Bulldogs
  45. Clemson Tigers
  46. Cleveland State Vikings
  47. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
  48. Colgate Raiders
  49. Colorado State Rams
  50. Columbia Lions (inactive)
  51. UConn Huskies
  52. Coppin State Eagles
  53. Cornell Big Red (inactive)
  54. Dartmouth Big Green (inactive)
  55. Davidson Wildcats
  56. Dayton Flyers
  57. Delaware Blue Hens
  58. Delaware State Hornets
  59. Denver Pioneers
  60. DePaul Blue Demons
  61. Detroit Mercy Titans
  62. Drake Bulldogs
  63. Drexel Dragons
  64. Duke Blue Devils
  65. Duquesne Dukes
  66. East Carolina Pirates
  67. East Tennessee State Buccaneers
  68. Eastern Illinois Panthers
  69. Eastern Kentucky Colonels
  70. Eastern Michigan Eagles
  71. Eastern Washington Eagles
  72. Elon Phoenix
  73. Evansville Purple Aces
  74. Fairfield Stags
  75. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights
  76. Florida Gators
  77. Florida A&M Rattlers
  78. Florida Atlantic Owls
  79. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
  80. Florida International Golden Panthers
  81. Fordham Rams
  82. Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons
  83. Fresno State Bulldogs
  84. Furman Paladins
  85. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs
  86. George Mason Patriots
  87. George Washington Colonials
  88. Georgetown Hoyas
  89. Georgia Bulldogs
  90. Georgia Southern Eagles
  91. Georgia State Panthers
  92. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  93. Grambling Tigers
  94. Grand Canyon Antelopes
  95. Green Bay Phoenix
  96. Hampton Pirates
  97. Hartford Hawks
  98. Harvard Crimson (inactive)
  99. Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors
  100. High Point Panthers
  101. Hofstra Pride
  102. Holy Cross Crusaders
  103. Houston Baptist Huskies
  104. Howard Bison (inactive)
  105. Idaho Vandals
  106. Idaho State Bengals
  107. Illinois-Chicago Flames
  108. Illinois State Redbirds
  109. Incarnate Word Cardinals
  110. Indiana Hoosiers
  111. Indiana State Sycamores
  112. Iowa State Cyclones
  113. IUPUI Jaguars
  114. Iona Gaels
  115. Jackson State Tigers
  116. Jacksonville Dolphins
  117. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
  118. James Madison Dukes
  119. Kansas State Wildcats
  120. Kennesaw State Owls
  121. Kent State Golden Flashes
  122. Kentucky Wildcats
  123. La Salle Explorers
  124. Lafayette Leopards
  125. Lamar Cardinals
  126. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
  127. Liberty Flames
  128. Lipscomb Bisons
  129. Little Rock Trojans
  130. Long Beach State 49ers
  131. Long Island University Sharks
  132. Longwood Lancers
  133. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
  134. UL Monroe Warhawks
  135. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
  136. Louisville Cardinals
  137. Loyola (MD) Greyhounds
  138. Loyola Marymount Lions
  139. LSU Tigers
  140. Maine Black Bears (inactive)
  141. Manhattan Jaspers
  142. Marist Red Foxes
  143. Marquette Golden Eagles
  144. Marshall Thundering Herd
  145. Maryland Terrapins
  146. Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (inactive)
  147. UMass Minutemen
  148. UMass Lowell River Hawks
  149. McNeese Cowboys
  150. Memphis Tigers
  151. Mercer Bears
  152. Miami Hurricanes
  153. Miami (OH) RedHawks
  154. Michigan State Spartans
  155. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
  156. Milwaukee Panthers
  157. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  158. Ole Miss Rebels
  159. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  160. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
  161. Missouri Tigers
  162. Missouri State Bears
  163. Monmouth Hawks
  164. Montana Grizzlies
  165. Montana State Bobcats
  166. Morehead State Eagles
  167. Morgan State Bears
  168. Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers
  169. Murray State Racers
  170. Navy Midshipmen
  171. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  172. Nevada Wolf Pack
  173. New Hampshire Wildcats
  174. NJIT Highlanders
  175. New Mexico Lobos
  176. New Mexico State Aggies
  177. New Orleans Privateers
  178. Niagara Purple Eagles
  179. Nicholls Colonels
  180. Norfolk State Spartans
  181. North Carolina Tar Heels
  182. North Carolina A&T Aggies
  183. North Carolina Central Eagles
  184. NC State Wolfpack
  185. North Dakota Fighting Hawks
  186. North Dakota State Bison
  187. North Florida Ospreys
  188. North Texas Mean Green
  189. Northeastern Huskies
  190. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
  191. Northern Colorado Bears
  192. Northern Illinois Huskies
  193. Northern Iowa Panthers
  194. Northern Kentucky Norse
  195. Northwestern Wildcats
  196. Northwestern State Demons
  197. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  198. Oakland Golden Grizzlies
  199. Ohio Bobcats
  200. Oklahoma Sooners
  201. Old Dominion Monarchs
  202. Omaha Mavericks
  203. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
  204. Oregon Ducks
  205. Oregon State Beavers
  206. Pacific Tigers
  207. Penn Quakers (inactive)
  208. Penn State Nittany Lions
  209. Pepperdine Waves
  210. Pittsburgh Panthers
  211. Portland Pilots
  212. Portland State Vikings
  213. Prairie View A&M Panthers
  214. Presbyterian Blue Hose
  215. Princeton Tigers (inactive)
  216. Providence Friars
  217. Quinnipiac Bobcats
  218. Radford Highlanders
  219. Rhode Island Rams
  220. Rice Owls
  221. Richmond Spiders
  222. Rider Broncs
  223. Robert Morris Colonials
  224. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  225. Sacramento State Hornets
  226. Sacred Heart Pioneers
  227. Saint Joseph's Hawks
  228. St. Bonaventure Bonnies
  229. St. Francis NY Terriers
  230. St. Francis PA Red Flash
  231. St. John's Red Storm
  232. Saint Louis Billikens
  233. Saint Mary's Gaels
  234. Saint Peter's Peacocks
  235. Sam Houston State Bearkats
  236. Samford Bulldogs
  237. San Diego Toreros
  238. San Francisco Dons
  239. San Jose State Spartans
  240. Santa Clara Broncos
  241. Seattle Redhawks
  242. Seton Hall Pirates
  243. Siena Saints
  244. South Alabama Jaguars
  245. South Carolina Gamecocks
  246. South Carolina State Bulldogs
  247. Southeast Missouri State Redhawks
  248. South Carolina Upstate Spartans
  249. South Dakota Coyotes
  250. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
  251. South Florida Bulls
  252. SE Louisiana Lions
  253. Southern Jaguars
  254. Southern Illinois Salukis
  255. SIU Edwardsville Cougars
  256. SMU Mustangs
  257. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
  258. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
  259. Stanford Cardinal
  260. Stetson Hatters
  261. Stony Brook Seawolves
  262. Syracuse Orange
  263. TCU Horned Frogs
  264. Temple Owls
  265. Tennessee Volunteers
  266. Tennessee Martin Skyhawks
  267. Tennessee State Tigers
  268. Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
  269. Texas A&M Aggies
  270. Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders
  271. Texas Southern Tigers
  272. Texas State Bobcats
  273. Toledo Rockets
  274. Towson Tigers
  275. Troy Trojans
  276. Tulane Green Wave
  277. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
  278. UAB Blazers
  279. UC Davis Aggies
  280. UC Irvine Anteaters
  281. UC Riverside Highlanders
  282. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
  283. UCF Knights
  284. UCLA Bruins
  285. UMBC Retrievers
  286. UMKC Kangaroos
  287. UNC Asheville Bulldogs
  288. UNC Greensboro Spartans
  289. UNC Wilmington Seahawks
  290. UNLV Rebels
  291. USC Trojans
  292. UT Arlington Mavericks
  293. UTEP Miners
  294. UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros
  295. UT San Antonio Roadrunners
  296. Utah Utes
  297. Utah State Aggies
  298. Utah Valley Wolverines
  299. Valparaiso Crusaders
  300. Vanderbilt Commodores
  301. Vermont Catamounts
  302. Virginia Tech Hokies
  303. VMI Keydets
  304. VCU Rams
  305. Wagner Seahawks
  306. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
  307. Washington Huskies
  308. Washington State Cougars
  309. Weber State Wildcats
  310. Western Carolina Catamounts
  311. Western Illinois Leathernecks
  312. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
  313. Western Michigan Broncos
  314. Wichita State Shockers
  315. William & Mary Tribe
  316. Winthrop Eagles
  317. Wofford Terriers
  318. Wright State Raiders
  319. Wyoming Cowboys
  320. Xavier Musketeers
  321. Yale Bulldogs (inactive)
  322. Youngstown State Penguins
Right, so by my count, that right there sums to 349 teams. If you're a fan of a team that hasn't shown up yet, congratulations! Your team is among the magic eight, which, as a simple matter of deduction, must consist of the following: Alabama, Baylor, Colorado, Gonzaga, Houston, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.

Go out and make this feature look good, magic eight. There's a streak on the line.
 

EvilMonkeyInTheCloset

Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2008
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congratulations! Your team is among the magic eight, which, as a simple matter of deduction, must consist of the following: Alabama, Baylor, Colorado, Gonzaga, Houston, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.

Go out and make this feature look good, magic eight. There's a streak on the line.
SwLuLU5cMaKsD_tyQSLSEX326RxJo9LDVrMIrpye9hbBKAskS4sDjjXwhIzY7vjN8CUlAoY
 
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Hawgaluiah

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The 349 teams that won't win 2021 March Madness
  • John Gasaway

Every March, the pressure grows stronger on what everyone at ESPN headquarters now refers to as simply The Streak. We are speaking, of course, of the 349 teams that won't win the men's basketball national title.

Yes, yes, it's true. This venerable feature that selects eight teams of the 357 in Division I that could win the title has successfully included the eventual national champion every time. It's not like we've been doing this since the 1950s -- we started in 2016, actually -- but still, a streak is a streak.

Here are the 349 teams that won't win the 2021 national title, broken into three groups: ineligible, near misses and no clear path.

Are we clear? Let's get started.

Ineligible (12 teams)

Alabama A&M Bulldogs
Alabama State Hornets
Arizona Wildcats
Auburn Tigers
Bellarmine Knights
Cal Baptist Lancers
Dixie State
Merrimack Warriors
North Alabama Lions
Tarleton Texans
UC San Diego Tritons
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Near misses (15 teams)

Arkansas Razorbacks
Right, so let's dive in with a curious choice, shall we? Arkansas has looked as good as any team in the country over the past few games, yet here they are named as a team that won't win the title. Has there been some mistake here? Quite possibly. The streak is doomed to end sooner or later, and Eric Musselman has the team that could do the job. The only thing keeping the Razorbacks out of the magic eight is a slight reliance on their excellent rebounding to do much of the work on defense. Meanwhile, the Hogs' SEC opponents have recorded average marks for shooting (on both sides of the arc) and for turnovers. The average marks in important categories kept Arkansas here, barely, in near miss territory. But, yes, putting a team that has won 10 of its past 11 here is definitely living dangerously.

Creighton Bluejays
The Bluejays look outstanding on paper, but even before the turmoil surrounding coach Greg McDermott's racially insensitive remarks, the team seemed to lose a step late in the season. Indeed, it was McDermott's displeasure with his team in a loss at previously struggling Xavier that brought about his appalling choice of wording. Perhaps we'll look back on this in a week or two and regret classifying Creighton here, and maybe this will have blown over amid the excitement of a deep tournament run. (The team did look outstanding, for example, in thrashing Butler at home in the season finale.) At the moment, however, there's too much uncertainty around Creighton for inclusion in the big eight.

Florida State Seminoles
There have been times this season when it was plain as day that the Seminoles would be tapped as one of the eight teams that could win the title. Indeed, the thing that people still (in March!) aren't getting about this team is that Leonard Hamilton has a group of amazing shooters. Think of FSU as the Villanova of the ACC and you'll be closer to the mark than the usual "long and athletic" riff. Florida State is absolutely long and athletic and, oh, by the way, the Seminoles will shoot you out of the gym. Alas, this also has been an inconsistent great-shooting team. Plus, let's be honest, recency effect packs a punch. The last time we saw the Seminoles, they were losing at Notre Dame. So, yes, near miss.

Kansas Jayhawks
Give Bill Self full credit: KU has come storming back after a lackluster start to the season. (This team was unranked at one point.) Now, the Jayhawks look pretty much like they always do: dangerous and headed for a really high seed. In particular, this was, easily, the best defense in the Big 12 in conference play. (Quite a feather in your cap when Baylor is in your league.) There's no doubting this team's ability to make opposing offenses suffer, but there are still questions attached to this offense. Self's guys shot 33% on their 3-pointers in conference play, and, well, the "67 points in 67 possessions at home against UTEP" outing does make one hesitate before conferring high-eight honors.

Loyola Chicago Ramblers
The first thing to acknowledge is that Loyola Chicago is clearly going to the Final Four. After the series of three incredible, last-possession wins in a row in the 2018 NCAA tournament, we know better than to ever doubt the Ramblers. Still, once Loyola makes it that far, yet again, perhaps the opponent in the national semifinal will form a human wall around Cameron Krutwig and force his teammates to win with 3-point shots. It is not clear the Ramblers will be able to do so, after a season in which they connected just 33% of the time from beyond the arc in Missouri Valley play.

Ohio State Buckeyes
Yes, Ohio State was projected as a No. 1 seed for the better part of February, so, yes, this pick could go horribly awry. A recurring theme in these anguished comments is that, hey, keeping the charmed circle to just eight programs necessitates excluding some exceptionally strong teams. The Buckeyes' strength is their offense. Duane Washington and Justin Ahrens get good 3-point looks against defenses preoccupied with stopping E.J. Liddell inside the arc. On the other side of the ball, however, OSU has not been as successful. Big Ten opponents ended their possessions with a shot attempt over 85% of the time, and against a team that doesn't force a high number of misses, that matters.

Oklahoma State Cowboys
The fact that Cade Cunningham is one of the best watches in college basketball this season shouldn't be surprising, but it is. We have become accustomed to playmakers blessed with one-and-done talent who spend their brief shining hour in the college game demonstrating potential more than present-tense team-improving ability. Cunningham breaks that mold by involving his teammates, seeing the court with a practiced eye and making wise choices. Speaking of surprises, though, it's a bit incongruous to find that an OSU offense led by such a talent notched just 1.03 points per possession in Big 12 play. (The Cowboys' defense, conversely, is very good and too little noticed. Salute.)

Purdue Boilermakers
The flat-out best thing about the streak of perfection ending for this feature this season would be if Purdue, in particular, won the national title. It would be worth it, in fact, to see Zach Edey cut down the nets while doing without the ladder entirely. No, truly, against Michigan State, he completed a nice alley-oop with an emphatic slam despite the fact that his feet barely left the floor. Edey is a pleasure to watch, and the Boilermakers' defense is stout, but this offense shot 30.7% on 3s against the Big Ten.

San Diego State Aztecs
Brian Dutcher's program is 50-6 over the past two seasons, and for a second consecutive season, the Aztecs are getting the job done on defense. It's easy to envision some snooty major conference team breaking into pieces when it runs up against this D, and that could well happen deep in an SDSU tournament run. Ultimately, however, it is both amazing and, for the purposes of this present exercise, problematic that a team with such a glittering track record also ranked No. 8 in Mountain West play this season for 2-point accuracy.

Texas Longhorns
For one dazzling moment in January, Texas looked like a sure thing not to be here with the near miss teams. In the space of seven days, the Longhorns won road games against Kansas and West Virginia. The Big 12 office should have a special medal for any team that can pull off that twin bill. But then the trajectory appeared to change for UT. Since that victory in Morgantown, Shaka Smart's group has gone 7-6. True, the example UConn set in 2011 makes us never say never after a middling January and February. We do say "seldom," however, and Texas does not appear to be peaking at the moment.

Texas Tech Red Raiders
The following are words we never thought would need to be said regarding a Chris Beard team, but here goes: This defense is better than it looks. The Big 12 for some inscrutable reason couldn't miss on its 3s against the Red Raiders. Adjust that success rate downward to the mean and you're looking at a pretty good defensive unit, one that forces both turnovers and misses in the paint. Throw in an offense that never turns over the ball and you have an excellent team -- just not a member of the charmed top-eight circle.

Villanova Wildcats
Sadly, Villanova is not whole. Collin Gillespie was lost for the rest of the season due to a knee injury, and now it appears that Justin Moore will miss the Big East tournament with a severe ankle sprain. Ordinarily, one would hesitate before betting against a coach who has won two of the past four national titles. Indeed, it wouldn't be a total shock if the Wildcats mustered a "next man up" credo and continued their ultra-low-turnover ways successfully enough to make the second weekend. Without Gillespie, however, near miss is where Villanova resides this time around.

Virginia Cavaliers
The numbers might not be as elite as usual on defense, but Virginia is still capable of inflicting emotional damage on opposing offenses by forcing misses and taking you deep into the shot clock. No, we're fine with the D. The deal breaker with this season's Cavaliers on this list is simply that Tony Bennett's guys don't get up enough shots. This can be hard to spot in real time because the Hoos are so accurate in their shooting and take very good care of the ball. But the unmistakable turn toward extreme avoidance of all offensive rebounds is hitting this offense's bottom line. Make that "unmistakable and surprising." This program won a national title with high shot volume over the course of six NCAA tournament games. Those days, go figure, are gone or at least paused, it seems.

West Virginia
Conventional wisdom suggests West Virginia is better since Oscar Tshiebwe elected to transfer out of the program. "Better spacing," they will tell you. That might be the case. We do know the Mountaineers are pretty darn good, and more specifically, this offense is excellent. But can we really be sure that the old version of West Virginia, the one that not only had the lead against Gonzaga at the half on Dec. 2 but actually had the Bulldogs visibly shook, wouldn't have been just as good too? Anyway, this current team has an issue with opponents converting 2-point attempts, which Big 12 teams did nearly 53% of the time.

Wisconsin Badgers
Lack of scoring. The reason Wisconsin is here with the near miss teams is due to a lack of scoring. Why this is the case is an excellent question. You've heard all the age comparisons about how these Badgers are older than some (very young) NBA teams. All that experience and continuity from last season was supposed to mean a team that was a little better than average in Big Ten play last season would be excellent on that side of the ball in 2021. It hasn't happened, and in fact, Wisconsin ended conference play clocking in slightly below the league average for points per possession. A mystery yet to be solved.
“Juuust a bit outside!”
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Boilermaker03

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2004
3,412
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No clear path (322 teams)

  1. Abilene Christian Wildcats
  2. Air Force Falcons
  3. Akron Zips
  4. Albany Great Danes
  5. Alcorn State Braves
  6. American Eagles
  7. Appalachian State Mountaineers
  8. Arizona State Sun Devils
  9. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions
  10. Arkansas State Red Wolves
  11. Army Black Knights
  12. Austin Peay Governors
  13. Ball State Cardinals
  14. Belmont Bruins
  15. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (inactive)
  16. Binghamton Bearcats
  17. Boise State Broncos
  18. Boston College Eagles
  19. Boston University Terriers
  20. Bowling Green Falcons
  21. Bradley Braves
  22. Brown Bears (inactive)
  23. Bryant Bulldogs
  24. Bucknell Bison
  25. Buffalo Bulls
  26. Butler Bulldogs
  27. BYU Cougars
  28. California Golden Bears
  29. Cal Poly Mustangs
  30. CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners
  31. CSU Fullerton Titans
  32. CSU Northridge Matadors
  33. Campbell Fighting Camels
  34. Canisius Golden Griffins
  35. Central Arkansas Bears
  36. Central Connecticut Blue Devils
  37. Central Michigan Chippewas
  38. Charleston Cougars
  39. Charleston Southern Buccaneers
  40. Charlotte 49ers
  41. Chattanooga Mocs
  42. Chicago State Cougars (inactive)
  43. Cincinnati Bearcats
  44. The Citadel Bulldogs
  45. Clemson Tigers
  46. Cleveland State Vikings
  47. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
  48. Colgate Raiders
  49. Colorado State Rams
  50. Columbia Lions (inactive)
  51. UConn Huskies
  52. Coppin State Eagles
  53. Cornell Big Red (inactive)
  54. Dartmouth Big Green (inactive)
  55. Davidson Wildcats
  56. Dayton Flyers
  57. Delaware Blue Hens
  58. Delaware State Hornets
  59. Denver Pioneers
  60. DePaul Blue Demons
  61. Detroit Mercy Titans
  62. Drake Bulldogs
  63. Drexel Dragons
  64. Duke Blue Devils
  65. Duquesne Dukes
  66. East Carolina Pirates
  67. East Tennessee State Buccaneers
  68. Eastern Illinois Panthers
  69. Eastern Kentucky Colonels
  70. Eastern Michigan Eagles
  71. Eastern Washington Eagles
  72. Elon Phoenix
  73. Evansville Purple Aces
  74. Fairfield Stags
  75. Fairleigh Dickinson Knights
  76. Florida Gators
  77. Florida A&M Rattlers
  78. Florida Atlantic Owls
  79. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
  80. Florida International Golden Panthers
  81. Fordham Rams
  82. Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons
  83. Fresno State Bulldogs
  84. Furman Paladins
  85. Gardner-Webb Bulldogs
  86. George Mason Patriots
  87. George Washington Colonials
  88. Georgetown Hoyas
  89. Georgia Bulldogs
  90. Georgia Southern Eagles
  91. Georgia State Panthers
  92. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  93. Grambling Tigers
  94. Grand Canyon Antelopes
  95. Green Bay Phoenix
  96. Hampton Pirates
  97. Hartford Hawks
  98. Harvard Crimson (inactive)
  99. Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors
  100. High Point Panthers
  101. Hofstra Pride
  102. Holy Cross Crusaders
  103. Houston Baptist Huskies
  104. Howard Bison (inactive)
  105. Idaho Vandals
  106. Idaho State Bengals
  107. Illinois-Chicago Flames
  108. Illinois State Redbirds
  109. Incarnate Word Cardinals
  110. Indiana Hoosiers
  111. Indiana State Sycamores
  112. Iowa State Cyclones
  113. IUPUI Jaguars
  114. Iona Gaels
  115. Jackson State Tigers
  116. Jacksonville Dolphins
  117. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
  118. James Madison Dukes
  119. Kansas State Wildcats
  120. Kennesaw State Owls
  121. Kent State Golden Flashes
  122. Kentucky Wildcats
  123. La Salle Explorers
  124. Lafayette Leopards
  125. Lamar Cardinals
  126. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
  127. Liberty Flames
  128. Lipscomb Bisons
  129. Little Rock Trojans
  130. Long Beach State 49ers
  131. Long Island University Sharks
  132. Longwood Lancers
  133. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
  134. UL Monroe Warhawks
  135. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
  136. Louisville Cardinals
  137. Loyola (MD) Greyhounds
  138. Loyola Marymount Lions
  139. LSU Tigers
  140. Maine Black Bears (inactive)
  141. Manhattan Jaspers
  142. Marist Red Foxes
  143. Marquette Golden Eagles
  144. Marshall Thundering Herd
  145. Maryland Terrapins
  146. Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (inactive)
  147. UMass Minutemen
  148. UMass Lowell River Hawks
  149. McNeese Cowboys
  150. Memphis Tigers
  151. Mercer Bears
  152. Miami Hurricanes
  153. Miami (OH) RedHawks
  154. Michigan State Spartans
  155. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
  156. Milwaukee Panthers
  157. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  158. Ole Miss Rebels
  159. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  160. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
  161. Missouri Tigers
  162. Missouri State Bears
  163. Monmouth Hawks
  164. Montana Grizzlies
  165. Montana State Bobcats
  166. Morehead State Eagles
  167. Morgan State Bears
  168. Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers
  169. Murray State Racers
  170. Navy Midshipmen
  171. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  172. Nevada Wolf Pack
  173. New Hampshire Wildcats
  174. NJIT Highlanders
  175. New Mexico Lobos
  176. New Mexico State Aggies
  177. New Orleans Privateers
  178. Niagara Purple Eagles
  179. Nicholls Colonels
  180. Norfolk State Spartans
  181. North Carolina Tar Heels
  182. North Carolina A&T Aggies
  183. North Carolina Central Eagles
  184. NC State Wolfpack
  185. North Dakota Fighting Hawks
  186. North Dakota State Bison
  187. North Florida Ospreys
  188. North Texas Mean Green
  189. Northeastern Huskies
  190. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
  191. Northern Colorado Bears
  192. Northern Illinois Huskies
  193. Northern Iowa Panthers
  194. Northern Kentucky Norse
  195. Northwestern Wildcats
  196. Northwestern State Demons
  197. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  198. Oakland Golden Grizzlies
  199. Ohio Bobcats
  200. Oklahoma Sooners
  201. Old Dominion Monarchs
  202. Omaha Mavericks
  203. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles
  204. Oregon Ducks
  205. Oregon State Beavers
  206. Pacific Tigers
  207. Penn Quakers (inactive)
  208. Penn State Nittany Lions
  209. Pepperdine Waves
  210. Pittsburgh Panthers
  211. Portland Pilots
  212. Portland State Vikings
  213. Prairie View A&M Panthers
  214. Presbyterian Blue Hose
  215. Princeton Tigers (inactive)
  216. Providence Friars
  217. Quinnipiac Bobcats
  218. Radford Highlanders
  219. Rhode Island Rams
  220. Rice Owls
  221. Richmond Spiders
  222. Rider Broncs
  223. Robert Morris Colonials
  224. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  225. Sacramento State Hornets
  226. Sacred Heart Pioneers
  227. Saint Joseph's Hawks
  228. St. Bonaventure Bonnies
  229. St. Francis NY Terriers
  230. St. Francis PA Red Flash
  231. St. John's Red Storm
  232. Saint Louis Billikens
  233. Saint Mary's Gaels
  234. Saint Peter's Peacocks
  235. Sam Houston State Bearkats
  236. Samford Bulldogs
  237. San Diego Toreros
  238. San Francisco Dons
  239. San Jose State Spartans
  240. Santa Clara Broncos
  241. Seattle Redhawks
  242. Seton Hall Pirates
  243. Siena Saints
  244. South Alabama Jaguars
  245. South Carolina Gamecocks
  246. South Carolina State Bulldogs
  247. Southeast Missouri State Redhawks
  248. South Carolina Upstate Spartans
  249. South Dakota Coyotes
  250. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
  251. South Florida Bulls
  252. SE Louisiana Lions
  253. Southern Jaguars
  254. Southern Illinois Salukis
  255. SIU Edwardsville Cougars
  256. SMU Mustangs
  257. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
  258. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
  259. Stanford Cardinal
  260. Stetson Hatters
  261. Stony Brook Seawolves
  262. Syracuse Orange
  263. TCU Horned Frogs
  264. Temple Owls
  265. Tennessee Volunteers
  266. Tennessee Martin Skyhawks
  267. Tennessee State Tigers
  268. Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
  269. Texas A&M Aggies
  270. Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders
  271. Texas Southern Tigers
  272. Texas State Bobcats
  273. Toledo Rockets
  274. Towson Tigers
  275. Troy Trojans
  276. Tulane Green Wave
  277. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
  278. UAB Blazers
  279. UC Davis Aggies
  280. UC Irvine Anteaters
  281. UC Riverside Highlanders
  282. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
  283. UCF Knights
  284. UCLA Bruins
  285. UMBC Retrievers
  286. UMKC Kangaroos
  287. UNC Asheville Bulldogs
  288. UNC Greensboro Spartans
  289. UNC Wilmington Seahawks
  290. UNLV Rebels
  291. USC Trojans
  292. UT Arlington Mavericks
  293. UTEP Miners
  294. UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros
  295. UT San Antonio Roadrunners
  296. Utah Utes
  297. Utah State Aggies
  298. Utah Valley Wolverines
  299. Valparaiso Crusaders
  300. Vanderbilt Commodores
  301. Vermont Catamounts
  302. Virginia Tech Hokies
  303. VMI Keydets
  304. VCU Rams
  305. Wagner Seahawks
  306. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
  307. Washington Huskies
  308. Washington State Cougars
  309. Weber State Wildcats
  310. Western Carolina Catamounts
  311. Western Illinois Leathernecks
  312. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
  313. Western Michigan Broncos
  314. Wichita State Shockers
  315. William & Mary Tribe
  316. Winthrop Eagles
  317. Wofford Terriers
  318. Wright State Raiders
  319. Wyoming Cowboys
  320. Xavier Musketeers
  321. Yale Bulldogs (inactive)
  322. Youngstown State Penguins
Right, so by my count, that right there sums to 349 teams. If you're a fan of a team that hasn't shown up yet, congratulations! Your team is among the magic eight, which, as a simple matter of deduction, must consist of the following: Alabama, Baylor, Colorado, Gonzaga, Houston, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.

Go out and make this feature look good, magic eight. There's a streak on the line.
Since the national champion has been in the kenpom top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency in all but one year since kenpom was started, you can remove Iowa, Alabama and Colorado from that list.
 
Last edited:

Boilermaker03

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2004
3,412
336
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You can play your way into the top 25 during the tournament.
Sure, but I highly doubt Iowa's D will improve from 61 to top 25, Alabama is 42 in O so probably to much to climb there too. Colorado is actually in the top 25 in both as of right now to my surprise.
 

829305

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,964
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Since the national champion has been in the kenpom top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency in all but one year since kenpom was started, you can remove Iowa, Alabama and Colorado from that list.
On that note, we can also remove the other B1G teams since they haven’t won a title in KenPom’s existence. TIA.
 

sgrooms

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2010
2,123
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Sure, but I highly doubt Iowa's D will improve from 61 to top 25, Alabama is 42 in O so probably to much to climb there too. Colorado is actually in the top 25 in both as of right now to my surprise.

I'd venture to say that if Iowa won the championship, their D would improve the requisite 4 points on Kenpom to get in the top 25. Same for Alabama's offense getting 2+ pts on Kenpom.
 

Boilermaker03

Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2004
3,412
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Would be interesting to see what each year's final four teams adjusted O and D were before entering the tournament and what it was once in the FF.
 

ExitFlagger

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2015
8,046
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Team
Kansas
Of course not. But it's something I'd put money on.

You’d honestly put money on that?

Seems highly unlikely to me. They’d have to completely shut down several good offenses along the way. Which I think would shock everyone. If they win it all, it’s probably going to be due to scoring a bunch of points.
 
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sgrooms

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2010
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You’d honestly put money on that?

Seems highly unlikely to me. They’d have to completely shut down several good offenses along the way. Which I think would shock everyone. If they win it all, it’s probably going to be due to scoring a bunch of points.

I don't think they'd have to completely shut down good offenses. 4 efficiency pts isn't a ton to make up over 6 games, especially when it's against good competition.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2018
35,069
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In the minds of the ignorant
But you also have to consider where the teams started the tournament.

Not every NC has started the tournament there.


But there is a point about being efficient on both sides of the ball.
Because of how KenPom does the numbers you expect a change in the #'s.

Iowa shouldn't be included. Can't fix their defensive issues.
Don't know about Colorado haven't seen them. But I highly doubt they are that good. In my mind Oklahoma would have dominated the PAC 12.
 

EvilMonkeyInTheCloset

Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2008
38,477
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But you also have to consider where the teams started the tournament.

Not every NC has started the tournament there.


But there is a point about being efficient on both sides of the ball.
Because of how KenPom does the numbers you expect a change in the #'s.

Iowa shouldn't be included. Can't fix their defensive issues.
Don't know about Colorado haven't seen them. But I highly doubt they are that good. In my mind Oklahoma would have dominated the PAC 12.
Lol have I got a stat for you.....
 

EvilMonkeyInTheCloset

Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2008
38,477
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Since the national champion has been in the kenpom top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency in all but one year since kenpom was started, you can remove Iowa, Alabama and Colorado from that list.
Ah-ha.....but here's where we enter the cheat code.

In the last 9 games of the season, Iowa is Top 10 in the nation.............in defense. SmokinSmile

big_trouble_billy_madison.gif
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2018
35,069
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In the minds of the ignorant
Villanova won't make it very far with their injuries.

Robinson Earl would give Garza issues.

Look at teams who have the size/athleticism combination on the interior.

Especially ones that can force Garza to play both ends of the floor

He is an engine. That engine can't get going.
But even with that I think your guards are great enough to carry you against certain teams without Garza.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2018
35,069
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In the minds of the ignorant
Offensive rebounding....

Bully ball. You enforce your will onto yoir opponent.

This is why I love Garza. Lifts his team.

But there comes a time when Garza cannot do that.

In the second game against Indiana he only had 2 rebounds total....

Find our why.
Indiana has a very good played on the inside who will play in the NBA...

Look at teams with similar players
 

EvilMonkeyInTheCloset

Well-Known Member
Feb 25, 2008
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Robinson Earl would give Garza issues.

Look at teams who have the size/athleticism combination on the interior.

Especially ones that can force Garza to play both ends of the floor

He is an engine. That engine can't get going.
But even with that I think your guards are great enough to carry you against certain teams without Garza.
So.........Iowa > Villanova.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

Well-Known Member
Aug 17, 2018
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In the minds of the ignorant
So.........Iowa > Villanova.

Your guards are another story....

Without the ball movement is excellent.

Even without Gillespie I wouldn't count out Nova though
Iowa/Nova would be a solid Sweet 16 matchup.

I just think that is a better matchup for Villanova. Not saying they will win. But they do match up well with a team like Iowa.

Just as long as your guards don't explode