15 NCAA Basketball Teams That Need To Wake Up Before March Madness
15 NCAA Basketball Teams That Need To Wake Up
March madness is quickly coming upon us and the NCAA tournament is just around the corner. Conference play is rolling along and before we know it the conference tourneys will be here. Some teams are playing the way we expect them too and others, well others are disappointing us. Just look at Kentucky for example; the reigning National Champions are not playing up to par at all this season. They are only 13-6 overall and 3-2 in the SEC. This team doesn't look like a tournament team and needs a lot of work before getting there. I didn't add them to this list of 15 teams that need to wake up before March madness because no one will let them out of the tourney.
It is hard to pick out 15 teams that need to step up and wake up before March gets here. These 15 are in no specific order at all. They are just teams that have to find a way to win again and find a way to do that now. We will examine what each team needs to do before March gets here and we will answer if they will make it or not to the Big Dance. Some of the teams in this list might get a spot but the real question is; how much damage can they do in the Big Dance and if they will make it out of round one or not?
So sit back and enjoy the ride as we look at 15 NCAA basketball teams that need to wake up before March Madness arrive. The time is clicking away and here is your wake up alarm.
John D. Hayden is a College Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on twitter @jdhayden09.
Xavier is one of those teams you never know what team is going to show up at each game. They beat Butler and lost to Pacific back in November. They are 11-8 overall and 4-2 in the Atlantic 10 and have more home games than road games so far this season.
The Musketeers stared out strong by going 4-0 in conference but have drooped their last two games on the road. They need to be more consistent with their shot selection, their defense needs to step up and they needs to become the team that held Temple to 50 points back in January. The Atlantic 10 is a deep conference this year with VCU and Butler joining this year. It will be hard for any team to move up in this conference.
The Musketeers need to learn how to close the gap, keep scoring, handle being under pressure and how to win on the road. If Xavier doesn't start figuring out how to do all of these, they will be sitting at home when March Madness comes.
BYU really misses Jimmer Fredette to help them win on the road. They have played great at home by winning 10 games and only losing once this season. Their struggle is trying to win close games on the road. Without Fredette this team is somewhat talent-challenged. They have enough talent to cream the Portlands of the world, but not enough to compete with the Gonzaga's and Baylor's of the world.
BYU is at the top of the WCC conference but there is a big gap from the bottom to the top. The Cougars need to come ot and win the big games against Gonzaga and Saint Mary's to have a chance to make an impact in the Big Dance this year. They need to learn how to win agianst the big dogs and handle winning on the road, because in the NCAA tourney all games are on the road."
Alabama Roll Tide did win the National Championship in football this year but for their basketball team it's going to be a different story. They are 12-7 overall and 4-2 in SEC play but like the other team's mentioned, they have a hard time winning on the road. They have had some tough losses against Mercer and Tulane at home plus Dayton and recently Tennessee on the road. This team has been a on and off team, when they are on they play great as a team but when they are off they end up losing to a team like Mercer.
Their best win so far this season has to be against Kentucky but really that isn't saying a lot. Alabama's best weapon is how they can steal the ball and force their opponents to turnovers. This team needs to play with some aggression and needs to be ready to knock off Florida, Ole Miss and Missouri to make an instant impact in the SEC and during March Madness.
Alabama has some great potential but they are having trouble crashing the boards. They need to get that fixed or they will not even make it past the SEC tourney or the big dance.
Washington Huskies are in need of a makeover and an alarm clock so that they can wake up before March gets here. They are 12-8 overall and 4-3 in conference play. They have shown that they can win on the road but there last two losses have been disappointed. They have a chance to pull the upset against Arizona if they finally wake up and play their own style of game.
The next few weeks could define Washington's season and it has been very unpredictable team so far. We are either looking for the defensive minded team that allowed fewer than 60 points or the team that allowed 74 points in their last two losses on the road.Will the real Huskies step up to the plate or will they end in disappointment this year.
If the Huskies can pull out a win when Arizona comes to town it will boost up their confidence and turn around there battered psyches. When they pull it all together they can become a serious contender in the Pac- 12. So wake up and not worry so much about winning or losing but about the whole process, their intensity, and their execution. If they don't fix their issues they will keep sliding down and end up losing out on a bid to the Big Dance.
UCLA is kind of in the same situation as Washington is right now. They started out having some early season struggles which they seemed to emerge from the depths of. They have had some highs and lows this season, beating Arizona in Tuscon was one of the best wins this season but they either forgot to play or got cocky because they lost to Arizona State in a slug fest. This is what their season has been all about. They win some great games and lose some they should have won.
The concern is consistency. Not consistency in the outcome of games—consistency in the focus of this team. They can sprint out of the gate in some games but in others they crawl in the next. Their focus needs to be fixed if they want to make it to the NCAA tourney and make any type of impact. The Bruins need to overcome adversity and meager excuses which seems like they have every time they lose.
They need to wake up and quit being so sluggish. If they can't shake off the sleepiness they won't be able to win games and you need to win games in March.
Texas A&M Aggies left the Big 12 to play in the SEC this season. They did great in football but for basketball it's been an up and down season and maybe they should have stayed in the Big 12. They are 12-7 on the season with a 2-4 mark in the SEC. They really are a young team who wished they played against teams like TCU, West Virginia and Texas this season instead of some of the SEC teams.
The Aggies have lost to Saint Louis badly in Kansas City,
Their resume doesn't look great for a bid in March but if they pull together as a team, this team could go for a run all the way into March.
Texas Longhorns will be missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in nine years. This team has had some close loses to Kansas, West Virginia and Baylor. There biggest lost this season was to Chaminade in the Maui Invitational. They did gain some confidence in their loss to Kansas but it didn't help them the next game at Oklahoma.
This is a very young and inexperienced team that needs to close out the season strong. With only 12 conference games left, they need to wake up to make this season worth something. Being 1-5 in the Big 12 doesn't help any and their next game is on the road at Kansas State. Being on the road is enough of a problem but playing Kansas State after they lost to Iowa State is the main problem for them.
Is it time they start looking for another coach or is it a rebuilding year and are just waiting a few years from now when they will be the Texas of the past with players like Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge playing for them? Time will tell but they better wake up now or they might not even make the NIT.
Pittsburgh has been playing great in the Big East this season but they need to find a way to win against the big guns of this conference: Syracuse, Louisville, Marquette and Cincinnati. They look like a team that is locked up for one of the spots in the Big Dance but they need to step up if they want to make an impact and make it out of the first round.
They have a great coach who drives them to excel at every game. They know how to pass the ball with ease and they can shoot with ease as they are the 11th in the nation in field goal percentage. The Panthers really struggle at crashing the boards and turnovers. They will need to fix these before they make it into March.
Memphis Tigers really shouldn't be on this list but the real question is can they play against the big boys in the NCAA? So far they are undefeated in Conference USA and their resume looks pretty good except for their loses to Louisville, VCU and Minnesota early in their season. Their weakness that sticks out is rebounding the ball. The Tigers struggle to crash the boards and scrap for the 50-50 balls.
Memphis needs to keep doing what they are doing but next season get a better non-conference schedule. They need to wake up and realize that they will probably walk into the dance but they play in a weak conference that don't prepare them to play the major schools.
La Salle is starting to make their way into the Big dance coming in March. They have had impressive wins against VCU and Butler who are just above them in the Atlantic-10 standings. The NCAA nation needs to wake up and see that this team will be a contender not a pretender this year.
The key for La Salle is to beat the teams that they should in conference play and compete for the regular-season title to earn an NCAA berth. With a renewed focus and a wake up call, La Salle looks like a team ready to make a big splash into March. The one thing they need to fix is their consistency on both sides of the ball, and if they play like they played the last two games this team will be ready for anything.
Iowa Hawkeyes are 13-7 overall and 10th in the Big 10 conference standings. They have a long ways to go before they can even think about the NCAA tourney. Their four losses in conference play as come in the hands of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana. They did beat Iowa State who has played some great games in the Big 12.
The Hawkeyes start three freshmen and with that lack of experience and maturity will hurt them in the long haul. They need to step it up in the Big 10 by winning games against the big guns and getting their shots to go in. They need to step it up now or they be watching the Big Dance from home.
It is really hard for three teams from the Missouri Valley Conference to make it to the NCAA tournament but that's not saying it isn't possible. For Indiana State They are 13-7 overall and 6-3 in conference play. If the Sycamores can get past Wichita State tonight and Creighton on Feb 6 this team will get the bid. They need to be more aggressive and find ways to win. The Sycamores need to lay down some roots and play with confidence in their last remaining games. Wake up and get real with yourself and get that team chemistry back so that you will be prepared for March.
The Big 10 is one of the best conferences in the NCAA right now. They have 5 teams ranked in the Top 25 and four of them are in the top 15 in the nation. Illinois isn't one of them but they do have some impressive wins against Butler, Gonzaga and Ohio State. They are just having a hard time trying to win in the Big 10.
This team has been a train wreck lately and has been missing some of it's parts. To get back on tract to even think about postseason play they Fighting Illni need to get there shooting touch back. They need to learn to shoot again as a team and the best way to do that is in the gym. The other wake up call is they need to play defense and not allow teams to score at ease. They need to step up with energy and effort on the defensive side of the ball and doing so will help them on the offense.
Colorado playing in the Pac-12 is still odd for a Big 12 fan. These Buffaloes started out with a great win against Baylor and a miserable loss against Wyoming. They are sitting at 4-4 in conference play with 10 games left. If they wake up now and start playing with a renewed focus this team will be in the Tourney. If they keep playing inconsistent and not learn how to beat the big guns than they will be sitting at home.
Colorado was robed in their game against Arizona where the replay caused the bad call saying waving off the game winning three by the Buffaloes. So When the NCAA tournament selection committee is looking at which teams to select in March, they need to consider Colorado’s buzzer-beating upset victory over the third-ranked team in the nation back in January. Because even though it didn't put a W in the score book, that’s exactly what it was.
Saint Mary's is looking like a team that is trying to do whatever it can to step it up before March madness. They are right now second in the West Coast conference standings and have one of the best passers in the league, Matthew Dellavadova playing for them. Their biggest weakness is trying to get past Gonzaga which they lost too on January 10. They get a chance to play them again at home on Valentine's Day. If the Gaels can make it that far without losing a game and overtake the bulldogs than this team will be heading to the dance.
They are one of the best field goal shooting teams int he nation but need to work on crashing the boards. They need to step up their defensive game and not allow teams to shoot consistently. They need to wake up and realize they have a great chance to make it to the Tourney.