Records do not matter in March.
With that being said, here are my four college teams to avoid once March Madness begins.
Unless these teams are grouped with a bunch of powder-puff teams, I expect them to all go down and go down early.
- Villanova — They might be ranked No. 1 in the country, but they have been highly ranked before and we all have seen plenty of early exits by Jay Wright and the Wildcats. The Big East is simply not what it once was. They lost to Oklahoma, Virginia, and Providence. They were blown out by the Sooners at the beginning of the season (at home), and then were dominated by Virginia on the road. If it wasn’t for 10 made three-pointers, there was no way the Wildcats would have been in that game. Speaking of three-pointers, the Wildcats shoot just 32.6 percent from beyond the arc. That won’t get it done in March. Having five players average double-figures in scoring looks nice. But dig a little deeper to see that three of them shoot at or below 45 percent. I believe the Wildcats won’t be around to see the Sweet 16, especially if they run up against a team that is explosive on offense or can shoot the three well.
- West Virginia — They always seem to let you down. The Mountaineers have enjoyed a season of 21-7 and a No. 14 ranking, but don’t let that fool you. The Mountaineers have relied heavily upon on their defense to win games in past seasons, but now it seems their offense is doing the heavy lifting. They average 80 points per game, but just 75.7 in Big 12 competition. Their defense has allowed 70 points or more 12 times this season. They shoot a very pedestrian 45.2 percent from the field and are even worse from three: 31.9 percent. As a team, they have shot 791 free-throws this season, but only convert on 66.2 percent of those attempts. They are ranked third and 294th, respectively. Depending on their seed, I could see them getting beat in the second, if not first round.
- Indiana — I just don’t think the Hoosiers are that good. The polls clearly show that a team with only six losses is not deserving of a Top 15 ranking. Yogi Ferrell is a good player, but I have seen these Hoosiers nearly lose to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, twice. While the Gophers try hard and are not as bad as people think, the NCAA Tournament is will be filled with “underdogs” who would love nothing more than to knock off the Hoosiers. With losses to Wake Forest, UNLV, and Penn State, the Hoosiers would not be ranked, had it not been for their 12-game winning streak, where they beat three NCAA Tournament-caliber teams. With no James Blackmon Jr. (second-leading scorer), it’ll be on the shoulders of Ferrell. I smell a first-round upset.
- Oklahoma — It seems like the Sooners’ puzzle has been solved by opponents. “Force Buddy Hield to take tough shots and make his teammates beat you” seems to be the method opposing teams are going with, and it’s working. After starting 12-0, the Sooners have fallen on hard times. They have a 9-5 record over their past 14 games, but just a 2-3 record over their previous five, including losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State. While Hield has been sensational this season, I think OU is the first giant that will fall. The Sooners were in-line for a No. 1 seed until their recent collapse, so now they are probably staring at a No. 2 or No. 3 seed, but it depends on how they finish the regular season and what happens in the Big 12 Tournament.