BEST AND WORST CASE SCENARIOS


FINALLY IT’S MARCH! The most exciting time of the year in college basketball as we are 11 days away from the NCAA tournament selection. As we start to see the picture for the field of 68, we have to dive into the best and worst case scenarios for a couple teams. In this article, I’m not going to talk about teams like Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, or Virginia. The difference between these programs and every other is that year in and year out they will always have the top recruiting classes and contend for a title. These programs will always have the best case scenario of winning the tournament with their uber talented teams, which means the worst case scenario is losing in the first weekend. Rather, I will dive deep into teams that are relying on this year to be their year to win in the tournament.

1. KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

Bruce Weber has done an outstanding job leading the Kansas State Wildcats to a 23-7 record so far. They beat Kansas at home for the first time since 2015 and they have a chance to win at least a share of the Big 12 if they beat Oklahoma at home. Weber has gotten outstanding play from his 3 seniors, Bruce Brown Jr., Kamau Stokes, and Dean Wade. These 3 average 15.1 PPG*, 10.5 PPG, and 13.0 PPG respectively. That’s a lot of production Kansas State will need to replace next year and they don’t have a strong incoming recruiting class. 24/7 sports ranks Kansas State’s recruiting class 39th in the country with 1 four-star player and 0 five stars. So, for Kansas State it’s now or never for a chance to win a title. While they are a very experienced and mature team, the issue with Kansas State is the only team they played in non-conference play under a 70 RPI* was Marquette and they lost. I don’t see this team being able to win a title, but they can make a deep run with their experience.

Best Case: Elite Eight

Worst Case: Round of 32

2. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

One of the most under the radar teams in the country has been Florida State. In a stacked ACC conference, Florida State has managed to put themselves in position to get a double bye in the ACC tournament. They have strong wins against LSU, Louisville, and Syracuse. Leonard Hamilton maintained his Elite Eight team from a year ago and they are ready to make another deep run in the tournament. Florida State has 5 seniors who have significant roles on this team so this year is boom or bust. As a projected #4 seed in the West, Florida State could potentially earn its way to a #3 or even #2 seed if they win a couple games in the ACC tournament. This team has a very high ceiling and their run will be based on if they can get production from their seniors.

Best Case: Final Four

Worst Case: Sweet Sixteen

3. BUFFALO BULLS

Last March, Buffalo pulled off a huge upset against a stacked Arizona team. They shot 50% from 3 and blew out the #4 seed. Buffalo has gained a lot of respect since that win as they are ranked #19 and a projected #6 seed in the East. Many still don’t know about Buffalo and even what conference they play in, but this team is dangerous. They started off the year winning at West Virginia and Syracuse, showing they weren’t a one hit wonder. Their starting lineup consists of all seniors with CJ Massinburg as the headline. He averages 18.7 PPG and shoots a ridiculous 41.9% from three. This team has been here before and will be able to make a solid run this year. If this team is able to hit threes like they normally do, opponents are going to have a tough time keeping up with them.

Best Case: Sweet Sixteen

Worst Case: Round of 64

4. WISCONSIN BADGERS

Ethan Happ has been amazing throughout his 4 year career at Wisconsin and this will be his final shot at winning. While Wisconsin isn’t going to be losing a lot of seniors, Happ is the heart of this team and they will not have anyone to replace him. They have wins over Indiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Maryland. All of those teams will make the tournament, but those wins wouldn’t have happened without Happ. The potential player of the year is averaging 17.9 PPG and 10.3 RPG*. The key to their success has been the play of Happ and they will only go as far as he takes them. Wisconsin is projected to be in the West as a #4 seed, where they have had success in the past. Those Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker teams made it to the final four out of the West, so maybe Happ can do it as well.

Best Case: Elite Eight

Worst Case: Round of 32

5. WASHINGTON HUSKIES

Maybe the most interesting team in this article is Washington. The Pac 12 has been awful this year with Washington being its only bright spot. The Huskies are projected as a #8 seed in the West, with a potential matchup against Gonzaga. Keep in mind that Washington almost beat Gonzaga when they faced each other back on December 5th. While they will lose four of their five starters, they will be getting transfer Quade Green from Kentucky. They will be able to make up the production from losing Noah Dickerson, Matisse Thybulle, David Crisp, and Dominic Green. This is more about the Pac 12 regrouping from a disastrous year with teams like Arizona and UCLA regaining their status as top of the conference of champions. For Washington, they must take advantage of the automatic bid from this weak league because there won’t be another chance like this. Washington is a tricky team because you never know what play you will get out of them. Their defense will be either guide them to a deep run or fail them in a first round exit.

Best Case: Sweet Sixteen

Worst Case: Round of 64

*PPG: POINTS PER GAME

*RPI: RATING PERCENTAGE INDEX, based on a team’s win and loss record and strength of schedule

*RPG: REBOUNDS PER GAME

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