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Five teams that won’t win it all

Mar 19, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

Cardinals' Siva is fouled by Orange's Triche in Big East NCAA men's basketball tournament game in New York Reuters

Obviously, 67 eligible teams will fail to win the national title this year. That’s a given. So I’m not going to be ridiculous about this. To be considered for this designation, a team must occupy one of the premium seeding spots: No. 1-No. 4 in other words. These sixteen contenders are expected to win, and will have the blue-chip horses to get it done, in theory.

These are teams who expect to win titles. Teams who will be very disappointed and wonder what on earth went wrong if they don’t at least make it to the Elite Eight.

That said, here they are: five teams who won’t be showered with confetti in Atlanta this April.

No. 1 Louisville (Midwest): I know, I’m as shocked to be writing this as you are to be reading it. Before the seedings came out, I would have called the Cards my pick to cut down the nets without question. But seeing them in the same bracket as No. 2 Duke wrecks my confidence. Lest we forget, Duke beat Louisville 76-71 in November (sans Gorgui Dieng, yes, I know). If the two meet again, the Blue Devils will again have a full-strength Ryan Kelly available to make floor-stretching  jumpshots Dieng can’t easily block, but also a more confident and experienced group of underclassmen backing him up. And that meeting can only happen in the Elite Eight. Louisville has to fight its way out of the top half of the Region of Doom just to get there. Is this how the committee rewards the number one overall seed? Thanks but no thanks.

(CLICK HERE: To browse through the rest of our 2013 NCAA Tournament Previews)

No. 2 Miami (East): I do appreciate that Miami won the ACC tournament title, but I would feel better if they had beat at least one team with a top-notch defense over those three days. With a team this inexperienced in postseason play, it’s tough to know if they’re going to come out like the group that won 14 straight or the one that lost to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech once the end game was in sight. There’s also that 67.7 percent team free throw mark. That’s not going to cut it in the second weekend.

No. 2 Georgetown (South): Otto Porter is a spectacular player, but I’m not sure he can put this team on his back for six straight games. Defensively, the Hoyas are pretty tough, so that could shade things a bit, but the thought of them running an ever narrower gauntlet past teams with diverse talents like Florida or Kansas seems dubious. There just aren’t enough offensive options.

No. 3 Marquette (East): Team Buzz is always so darn scrappy and tough, you kind of want them to succeed (Big East foes excepted). This team has some rather obvious fatal flaws, however, and those are enough to sink them, possibly much earlier than they would prefer. First, they’re a lousy three-point shooting team, barely over 30 percent on the season. Second, they turn the ball over way too often. Both are big March no-nos.

No. 4 Michigan (South): Michigan is a really terrific team, and I hate to pick against them. Trey Burke has been college basketball’s best player this year, and he has a lot of talent around him. But they’re defensively shaky at times. Looking at Kenpom, another odd thing jumps out as well: they don’t get to the free throw line very often. It’s a strange thing to poo-poo a team on, but how many March games get settled at the line? Plenty.

You may notice none of my picks come from the West bracket. That’s because I can honestly see any of the top four seeds in that region either making the Final Four or checking out early, and I can’t in my heart of hearts see any of them hoisting a trophy. So I had to list all of them or none of them, in a way.

If they prove me wrong? Another reason March rules. I ain’t even gonna be mad.

Eric Angevine edits Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

  1. LPad - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I don’t think the Cards will win it either but that analysis ignores what Dieng does for their offense, how he allows the guards to gamble more, allows the forwards to go out and contest shooters, and that he can neutralize Plumee inside.

    • savoirlaire - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      This “analysis” also ignores the emergence of Montrezl Harrell, Kevin Ware, Luke Hancock since that Duke loss. It also ignores the fact that Louisville has methodically, and successfully, taken revenge on each team that beat them earlier this season–Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame, all except Georgetown (didn’t play them again) and Duke. If Louisville finds themselves playing Duke again, they won’t lose another close game, they will beat the Dukies!

      • florida727 - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        What the analysis really ignores is that Louisville won’t be playing Duke. Louisville will lose to St. Louis. If they have anything close to a sub-par shooting night, they lose.

  2. midnightmaurader - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Michigan doesn’t get to the line a lot, but they also don’t put people on the line. They also don turn the ball over (best efficiency numbers in the nation), so if you’re not outrebounding them, you have precious few extra possessions and chances at free points.

  3. rodge1 - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    What a joke!

  4. necr0philia - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I know 63 teams that want win it all!!

  5. prov1x - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    duke won’t get a chance to play the cards, sparty takes them down.

  6. tomgreg2008 - Mar 20, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Clearly Duke is the strongest team this year. None of the other 1s or 2s will come close to taking them down. They’ll have one close game to a 4 or 5 seed. Other than that it’s all Duke. Easy Peasy.

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