Top 5 NCAA Tournament Busts

March 15th, 2010
A bust can be defined as a failure. A failure in the NCAA Tournament is a team that is ranked high, has expectations, and fails to meets those expectations. Some teams are schizophrenic, lack depth, or are entering this tournament ice cold. Let’s take a look at 5 Potential Busts in this year’s tournament…


Georgetown: Do they have anything left in the tank? The Hoyas are not a deep team to say the least. Six players average twenty plus minutes, four of the six average over thirty-three minutes a game. If Greg Monroe gets into foul trouble, who will Coach Thompson turn to? He doesn’t want to use his bench. Georgetown is also coming off a grueling Big East Tournament run. After beating South Florida, Syracuse and Marquette, the eighth seeded Hoyas lost by 2 in the championship game to West Virginia. Although they were quite impressive during their conference tournament, I don’t know how much “legs” this team has left. They are in a similar situation that Syracuse was in during the 2006 season. The Orange won the Big East Tournament as a nine seed, then immediately lost in the opening round of the NCAA’s to Texas A&M. Yes, Georgetown arguably has more talent then the ‘06 Syracuse team, and they face a weaker opponent in the first round. However, they could play Tennessee in round 2, a team that knocked off Kentucky and Kansas earlier this season. Not to mention the Hoyas have lost this year to South Florida and Old Dominion (at home) and at Rutgers…which Hoyas team will show up in Providence?


Purdue: I don’t know if this team can qualify as being a potential bust. The only reason I have them on this list is because of the injury to Robbie Hummel. Earlier in the year the Boilermakers were so red hot that they were in the #1 seed discussion. After Hummel’s ACL tear and scoring 11 points in the first half of a conference tournament loss to Minnesota, Purdue earned a four seed. (11 points in the first half? My cousin’s fourth grade girl’s CYO team had 11 points in the first half last week.) Although they play in the “favorable” South Region, they may not make it past the first round. In any sport, especially in the NCAA tournament, it’s important to enter playing relatively well. That’s not the case for this Purdue team. It was painful to watch the first half of that Minnesota game. They face an experienced Siena team in the opening round. The Saints are riding a five game winning streak that was capped off by a come from behind victory in overtime in the MAAC Finals against Fairfield. 


Maryland: If Greivis Vasquez has an off night, can anyone on this team pick up the slack? Vasquez makes this team go. We saw this during their win against Duke at College Park. However, aside from Vasquez no one scares me on this team. I realize they finished second in the ACC, yet finishing in second in the ACC earned them a 4 seed. (read: it was a down year for the ACC) Their three biggest games this season outside of conference play were against Cincinnati, Wisconsin and Villanova. They lost all three. The Terps also have to travel to Spokane, Washington for their first round matchup against Houston; that’s 2,096 miles for those of you scoring at home. Combine that with the fact that they are squaring off against a red-hot Houston team that is coming off a Conference USA Championship. Yikes. Can anyone shut down Aubrey Coleman? If Houston can keep Vasquez in check, Gary Williams and company will be headed back to Maryland quicker then expected.


Duke: In the past five years, Duke has earned a 1 seed twice, earning a Sweet Sixteen appearance both times. They have also earned a 2 seed twice, one time earning a Sweet Sixteen appearance and the other time they managed to lose in the 2nd round. Let’s just say that I have no faith in the Dukies come tournament time. They always seem destined to bow out earlier then expected…or as history has taught us, as expected. Why change their ways now? Yes, they enter into the tourney riding a four game win streak that includes an ACC Tournament Championship. Yes, they have senior leadership and multiple guys that can take over the game. Why am I including them on this list? They lack an inside presence. Brian Zoubek is not an inside presence. Just because he plays in the paint, doesn’t qualify him as a “presence.” I’m not sold on either Plumlee yet either, they are both young and inexperienced. They can potentially face Louisville in the 2nd round. Louisville has a great big man in Samardo Samuels that will give Zoubek a ton of trouble.


Villanova: It’s hard to bet against Scottie Reynolds, however the Wildcats have lost 5 of their last 7. It will be hard to rebound from this streak and their confidence coming in is low. Taylor King played two minutes in their last game against Marquette due to an injury. In the two minutes he played, he committed a reckless foul and was then benched by Jay Wright. They just don’t seem to have it together right now. They also lack an inside presence. They have been effective in the past with a four guard set, however how long can they do this for? Can they rely on their freshman Yarou to give them big minutes down low if Pena is in foul trouble? If I were Villanova, I wouldn’t want to face either Saint Mary’s or Richmond in the 2nd round. If they do face the Gaels, they have to face a dominant center in Omar Samhan (20.9 ppg, 11.0 rbg).  


What high seeds do you see bowing out early?