Bad losses, great wins, these teams have it all. This season has produced some of the most confusing resumes in the history of the NCAA Tournament and it’s only going to get weirder. So, which teams have the most surprising results this year?
The Pac-12 is a whole mess this year. UCLA and Arizona are both worthy of top seeds, and USC, despite some inconsistency, is firmly in the tournament. But, after that there are a lot of question marks, the biggest being the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon has the best chance at making the tourney outside of the top three teams in their conference, but their bubble status is entirely their own fault. They have all the talent in the world, but some terrible losses are clouding their achievements.
Oregon lost an early-season game to BYU, by more than 30. A week later they were beaten fairly easily by a good Saint Mary’s team, and then absolutely torn apart the next day in another 30 point loss to Houston.
They lost to one of the worst teams in the Pac-12, at home, Arizona State. They followed that embarrassment up with an away loss at Stanford. Other than their early win versus SMU, they had nothing to show for months.
But their season turned around in mid-January when they pulled off the impossible, winning at UCLA. They played just two days later at USC and won that one as well.
But, they later lost at Cal and got swept by the Sun Devils of ASU. A close loss to Arizona was damaging, but not the end of the world.
Sweeping UCLA was sweet, but blowing the second matchup versus USC on a late Drew Peterson three really hurt. With just three Quad 1 wins, and three Quad 3 losses, Oregon surely has some work to do after putting themselves in quite the predicament.
Arkansas lost some bad ones early on. They were defeated handily by 20 points at Oklahoma, and by eight at Mississippi State.
They also were humiliated in a loss against Hofstra and a home loss to Vanderbilt. But that isn’t the whole story for these Razorbacks. They’ve picked up a ton of steam and been where all the analysts figured they’d be at this point in the season.
They’ve picked up wins versus LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and they’re rolling. A tough end to the season might provide them with more chances to impress the selection committee, but it could also mean they pick up another couple of losses.
Loyola (IL) Ramblers
The Ramblers haven’t had as dominant of a conference season as we are accustomed to seeing from them. They have so far lost to Drake twice, Bradley, and Missouri State. There’s a real possibility they don’t win Arch Madness and are in trouble with a low seeded at-large bid.
But what will help them is their early-season competition. They won a tough game versus San Francisco, handily beat a few poor power five teams, and competed in very close games versus Michigan State and Auburn.
They are going to need to keep winning if they want to receive an at-large bid if they slip up late in their conference tournament because of their unusual resume.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama is the definition of the team not to bet on. They can be one of the best teams in the country when they’re on, and they can be one of the worst when they’re off. And the switch flips amazingly quickly, from minute to minute or half to half with this Crimson Tide team.
Alabama lost at Iona and Memphis, but blew out Miami (FL) and handled Houston. They also have maybe the best win in the country by topping Gonzaga in Seattle. They lost to Davidson, but then beat Tennessee and Florida. They beat Florida, but then lost at Missouri and almost beat Auburn.
They lose to Georgia, and then just four days later they easily defeat Baylor. Then they get manhandled by Auburn and Kentucky, but then win three straight including a great win versus a streaking Arkansas team.
They have seven Quad 1 wins, but multiple Quad 3 losses. Nobody knows what this team is going to do, but they sure are intriguing to watch.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Rutgers is another tale of two teams. They have seven Quad 1 wins, but they’re 1-3 versus Quad 2 opponents, 2-2- in Quad 3, and they even own the rare Quad 4 loss.
They lost at lowly DePaul and own a terrible defeat at home against Lafayette, the joke of the Patriot League. Then, they lost to UMass on the road and were destroyed by the Illini by 30.
But, they beat Purdue on a buzzer-beater half-court shot from Ron Harper Jr. and won at home against Michigan. Though they lost at Penn State, they beat Iowa without even scoring 50.
However, they lost some bad ones at home to Maryland, and away at Northwestern and Minnesota. Their next four games though were amazing.
They beat Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Illinois in 11 days. They have a tough remaining schedule, so their tournament status is going to come down to the wire.
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