2013 NCAA Tournament Betting: Tough Teams to Trust
by Trevor Whenham - 3/18/2013
A team seeded in the Top 4 in their region should, if things turn out as expected, make it to the Sweet 16. Of course, it doesn’t always turn out that way. There are some high seeds that you can feel very confident in — it would take a massive upset for them to fail to advance. Last year’s Kentucky team that went on to win the title is the best example of that in recent memory, though Louisville certainly qualifies this year.
But then there are teams that you just can’t be sure of. If they play as well as we have seen them play, they could go to the Final Four — or beyond. If they play as poorly as they can, though, then they could be done before the first weekend ends. Here are four teams from among the top four seeds that are the hardest to trust:
Michigan - No. 4, South Region
Trey Burke is the best player in the country right now, the team has at least four guys with an NBA career ahead of them, they don’t turn the ball over, and they can score with dizzying haste. When they play their best — like they did up until early February or so — then there isn’t a team in the country they can’t beat. If they play like they have much of the time since then, though — sloppy play, horrible defense, inconsistent shooting, and contributors who don’t show up — then they are at risk to lose any game they play — starting with their opener against South Dakota State and Steve Nash clone Nate Wolters. Michigan absolutely could go all the way to Atlanta. They could even win this whole thing. That wouldn’t surprise me any more than an early exit would.
Florida - No. 3, South Region
The Gators are the only team that s in the Top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. That’s a formula for tournament success. So why does this team make me so uneasy? First, they lost four of their last nine games, so they aren’t coming into this tournament in a great place. There wasn’t one of those games that they shouldn’t have won, either. All of those losses came against SEC opponents, and I have a really hard time giving that conference any respect at all this year. Their nonconference schedule wasn’t great, and they lost two of three against their best opponents. I just don’t believe that their stats really reflect this team. UCLA, Minnesota, Georgetown, Oklahoma, or San Diego State could all cause issues in the first three rounds alone.
Marquette - No. 3, East Region
There isn’t a team among the Top 16 seeded teams in the tournament that is less deserving than Marquette. I just don’t trust these guys at all. In their last two they needed overtime to beat St. John’s and then lost convincingly to a Notre Dame team I’m not that fond of. They needed overtime to win three times in conference play, so their 14-4 record was very close to being worse. They are a reasonably deep team, but they don’t have a standout star — Junior Cadougan is one of the most overrated players in this field. The East Regional is soft enough that this team could win a few games easily. They could just as easily lose to a very tough Davidson team in their opener, though, or tough opponents in either Butler or Bucknell in Round 3.
Kansas State - No. 4, West Region
Good offensive rebounding is one way to succeed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have that going for them. They can also score reasonably effectively. That combination could send them on a deep run. They have solid coaching from Bruce Weber as well. There are some problems that could be a big issue, though. Most significantly, teams get a lot of second shots because the Wildcats don’t rebound defensively nearly as well as they should. Against a team like potential first opponent Boise State that shoots well and scores quickly, that can be a real problem. They also don’t adjust to different tempos very well, and they let their opponents dictate too much of the pace of a game. Against a team like Wisconsin that can slow the pace down to an almost glacial flow, that’s a real concern.
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