As I write this, there are 64 teams remaining in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that started today. Instead of attempting to preview a tourney with 64 entrants, I am going to give you a few teams to avoid. Then I will come back in future weeks to preview the Sweet 16 and Final Four.
The number-one seed I would stay away from is Purdue. Yes, the Boilermakers have the most dominant player in the country, Zach Edey. The problem with Purdue is their guards can struggle against athletic defenses that pressure the ball.
If Purdue meets Memphis in the second round, that weakness could be their undoing.
Boilermakers fans will point out that they beat Marquette, Duke and Gonzaga. Looking at the East Region, Memphis, Tennessee and Marquette all pressure the basketball and rank Top 50 in forcing turnovers. I see that being why Purdue will not reach the Final Four.
I like all the number-two seeds. The third seed I like least has to be Xavier. If the Musketeers win their first game, the rest of the bracket is loaded. Depending on who wins their matchups, Xavier will have to deal with such teams as Texas, Texas A&M, Penn State, and Iowa State. I would not take them to beat any of these opponents. These teams have too much offense for a Xavier team that ranks 70th in defensive efficiency.
There is a great deal I do not like about Virginia, a No. 4 seed. The Cavaliers simply do not score enough to make a deep NCAA Tournament run. Virginia 74th nationally in offensive efficiency. Not nearly good enough to win six tournament games. And from what I have seen, the Cavaliers are also an awful rebounding team and can get dominated on the boards. Yes, Virginia can play defense but the days of winning titles with defense are long gone. The furthest the Cavs can go is the Sweet 16, where Alabama will be waiting. If you are searching for a Final Four sleeper from the ACC, look elsewhere.