You can Google a number of different key words and phrases and find articles on Big Dance Sleepers, Big Dance Favorites and even internet college basketball portal pieces that outline 343 teams that won’t win the college hoops title. William Hill Notable Big Dance Future Bets.
Over the last eleven years there have been very few dark horses that have dribbled in under the radar and won the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. It is fair to say that only Kevin Ollie’s 2014 UConn Huskies were outside of the box since Mario Chalmers and the Kansas Jayhawks staged a double-digit point comeback over Derrick Rose, coach Cal and the Memphis Tigers.
Recent College Basketball National Champion
2009: North Carolina
2017: North Carolina
The tournament is still a week away from tipping off. But one of the more interesting articles that was recently, March 5, 2019, published by ESPN Insider John Gaseway titled “The 343 teams that will not win the national championship” started by stating that football school, the Auburn Tigers, topped the list of teams that “won’t cut down the nets on the final Monday of the 2018-19 season.”
Gaseway wrote that Auburn Tigers can’t win the title “after losing Anfernee McLemore to a dislocated ankle. Bruce Pearl’s defense has taken a hit. The Tigers are still fine on the defensive glass, but what was previously a healthy advantage in turnovers is now mere parity.”
The articles number two team on the list of 343 schools was the Butler Bulldogs. Gaseway noted that to start with “Kelan Martin and Butler didn’t seem to get the respect they deserved this season? In per-possession terms, the Bulldogs were the functional equivalent of Xavier in Big East play. Then again, the Musketeers show up on this “near miss” list, too. LaVall Jordan’s team is here because in conference play its offense rated out near or below the Big East average in terms of effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding rate and getting to the line.”
Rounding out his top five of those schools that can’t win:
This one was tough. Putting a team that excels at both offense and (especially) defense on the near-miss list is difficult at best and foolhardy at worst. Nor would this seem to be a propitious historical moment to fret that the Bearcats’ offense perhaps relies too much on sheer offensive rebounding might alone. (Getting second chances seemed to work pretty well for North Carolina last year.) In the end, however, Cincy’s late-season hiccups on defense against Houston, Wichita State (the home game) and Tulsa felt too ominous for magic-eight comfort.
Donte Grantham was on pace for one of the better and certainly most versatile seasons we’ve seen from an ACC player in recent years before the senior tore his ACL in January. This is still a defense you would prefer not to face in the NCAA tournament, but in conference play the Tigers connected on just 46 percent of their 2s.
The Bluejays performed close to the league averages on both offense and defense in Big East play, and, appropriately enough, that netted Greg McDermott’s team a 10-8 record. Marcus Foster recorded an outstanding senior season, and as a team CU was notably effective at converting 2-point tries. Nevertheless, conference opponents (which posted a low turnover rate and a normal offensive rebound rate against the Bluejays) consistently had many more chances to score from the field than did Creighton (which recorded the exact same turnover rate but a far lower offensive rebound rate). That disparity could continue in the field of 68.
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