15 Big-Name Teams That Might Miss the NCAA Basketball Tournament
15 Big-Name Teams That Might Miss the NCAA Tournament
In many ways, no matter what 68 teams make up the NCAA Tournament every March, college basketball and casual sports fans alike will watch the tournament religiously to cheer on their Alma mater, follow a favorite team or keep up with their tournament brackets.
No team is bigger than the NCAA Tournament, but as conference play has gotten underway across the country, there are many big-name teams that are struggling and if they don't kick it into high gear, will miss the NCAA Tournament this spring. Some of them are establishment powerhouses like North Carolina and Temple, who are usually safe bets not only to make the tournament, but to make deep runs. Others are schools that have come to prominence in the past 10 years but to whom the 2013-14 college basketball season hasn't been kind. Teams like Butler, George Mason and Davidson are almost to the point of needing miraculous runs in their conference tournaments to make the NCAA field at all.
While the NCAA Tournament will be interesting and worth watching no matter what schools make up the field, the lack of big-time programs and typical Cinderellas alike will certainly change the outlook and composition of the event for hard-core fans and casual onlookers alike.
Check out these 15 big-name teams that are in danger of missing this year's NCAA Tournament.
15. Northern Iowa
One of the Missouri Valley Conference's most consistent programs, Northern Iowa, is only 9-7 on the season. Despite being 3-1 in the Valley, they need to achieve a big winning streak to get into consideration for the NCAA Tournament.
14. George Mason
The darlings of the 2006 Final Four, the George Mason Patriots sit at the bottom of the Atlantic 10 at 7-9 overall, 0-2 in the conference and must win the conference tournament to make the NCAAs.
With the Pac-12 regaining its status of one of the country's best conferences, the Washington Huskies have fallen behind. Washington is 3-1 in the conference, but at 11-6 overall, the Huskies need a gaudy Pac-12 record to avoid the dreaded NCAA Tournament bubble.
The once-proud UNLV Runnin' Rebels are 10-6, but only 1-2 in the Mountain West and look far behind teams at the top of the MWC like Nevada, San Diego State and New Mexico.
A few years now removed from its epic NCAA Tournament run, Davidson is a long shot to make the tourney at all this season. The Wildcats are 3-0 in the Southern Conference, but just 7-10 overall and must win the conference tournament to move on.
The defending ACC Tournament champions might have to repeat that feat to make the NCAA Tournament. The Miami Hurricanes are 9-6, 1-2 ACC, and already have a bad home loss to Virginia Tech on their slate.
Alabama has one of the SEC's best players in guard Trevor Releford, but the Crimson Tide haven't found much else and have missed on several chances for big wins against the likes of UCLA and Wichita State. At 7-8, Alabama must win the SEC Tournament to make NCAAs.
With the days of Jimmer Fredette now long gone, BYU is 11-7 overall, 3-2 in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars need to get wins over WCC powers like Gonzaga to improve their NCAA chances.
7. Notre Dame
Despite a big win over Duke, Notre Dame might be on the outside looking in come March. The Fighting Irish have started 1-2 in the ACC and despite being 10-6 overall, need some big wins over the next couple months.
A consistent spoiler in the SEC and crasher of the first weekend in the NCAA Tournament, the Vanderbilt Commodores might not be so fortunate this season. At 8-6, 0-2 SEC, the Commodores are already in trouble with regard to March.
Stanford looked all but done after a loss to rival California last week. A win on Sunday against No. 17 Oregon helps the Cardinal's chances, but at 10-5, 1-2 Pac-12, Stanford should take nothing for granted moving forward.
A consistent power though not at the national championship level, Temple is 5-9 overall and a disastrous 0-4 in the AAC. March is almost over for the Owls well before it starts.
Having beaten the national finalists in both 2010 and 2011, and regarded by some as America's Team, the Butler Bulldogs aren't enjoying their new life in the Big East. The Bulldogs are 0-4 in the league and 10-6 overall, and aren't likely to play Cinderella again come March.
Thought to be a favorite in the Big East this season, Marquette is a melancholy 10-7, 2-2 in the league. The Golden Eagles need some notable wins down the stretch to make the NCAA Tournament.
1. North Carolina
Despite three wins over top-11 competition, North Carolina is very much in danger of a rare absence from the NCAA Tournament. UNC (0-3) is dead last in the ACC, and just 10-6 overall. Head coach Roy Williams better work some magic quick, or it will be a horrible season in Chapel Hill.