Ranking the ten HOTTEST teams in the NCAA Tournament:These ten teams could make a run in the tournament coming off a hot finish to the season.
By Bret Walts
- Florida – The Gators are on a 26 game win streak, and swept the SEC. In that time period, the Gators have defeated Kentucky three times and Memphis and Kansas.
- Virginia – The Cavaliers have won 18 of their last 20 games, won the regular season in the ACC and won their conference tournament. Soaring from a #3 seed to a #1 seed on the day of selection Sunday, Virginia has the team chemistry to get to the Final Four.
- Louisville – The Cardinals have won 17 of their last 20 games and have been regarded of highly by college basketball experts. In that time period they won their conference tournament and notched five wins over ranked teams. Louisville is peaking at the right time for the second year in a row.
- Wichita State – The Shockers are the first team to go undefeated in a regular season since UNLV in 1991 and are looking to be the first to finish an entire season undefeated since Indiana in 1976. However, in their 34-game win streak, Wichita State has no wins over top 25 opponents (Saint Louis is now ranked). Though, in today’s era, going undefeated in the regular season is undeniably impressive in a long and grueling season.
- Iowa State – After losing three of four games to begin their conference slate, the Cyclones have won 11 of 14 games including their conference tournament. Iowa State has won 8 games over ranked teams during the season.
- Michigan State – Other than winning the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans haven’t been all that great in the past 10 games. However, they hadn’t been healthy until the Big Ten Tournament. Now, they are healthy and playing like the #1 team in the nation like they were early in the season.
- Baylor – In the middle of the season the Bears lost 8 of their 10 games and was hoping for an epic turn around just to make the tournament. That is exactly what happened. Baylor won 10 of their last 12 games, which included a run to the Big 12 finals only to lose to Iowa State, another team on a hot streak.
- New Mexico – The Lobos have won 15 of their last 17 including their conference tournament. After having a strong team but an early exit last season the Lobos came back strong this season. New Mexico beat rival #8 San Diego State twice down the stretch only to be shafted with a lower seed than expected on Selection Sunday.
- Arizona – Though losing to UCLA in the Pac 12 tournament, Arizona’s 30-win season cannot be ignored. The Wildcats rank 1st in the BPI and 2nd in the RPI. They won the regular season in the Pac-12 (who fielded six teams in the tournament) by three games and only had 4 losses on the season.
- Stephen F. Austin – The Lumberjacks have won 28 games in a row. Any team that can keep that kind of winning streak in any conference is a team to watch out for.