The big-name programs who make the Big Dance are usually favored on the NCAA basketball odds board, but not all these teams will be giving it the old college try.
Imagine, if you will, that you're a college basketball player on one of the big Division I teams. You've played a year or two already, and you've been to the NCAA Tournament before. Maybe your team even made a deep run into the Sweet Sixteen and beyond. Now it's 2016, and your team is still pretty good, but it's not really all that. You're probably going to end up with, oh, a No. 5 seed or thereabouts. How pumped are you for March Madness?
Not very, we're guessing. In Part 2 of our five-part series on the basics of March Madness betting, we identified four teams who could end up playing the Cinderella role later this month. In Part 3, we'll set our sights on the teams who profile as worthy fade candidates for your upcoming NCAA basketball picks. It's too early to say for certain where these teams will be seeded, or even if they make the Tournament in some cases. But this should at least give you an idea of the kind of situation we're looking for. Check the predictions of NCAA basketball odds boards regarding the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Iowa Hawkeyes (20-9 SU, 13-13 ATS)
My goodness, the wheels have fallen off this bus. The Hawkeyes are 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS in their last six games, yet they're still No. 16 in the polls this week. They were pointed at a No. 1 seed before everything went pear-shaped; now bracketologists have Iowa as a No. 4 or No. 5, which would set up a likely first-round game against a champion from one of the lower conferences – perhaps one of the potential Cinderellas we mentioned earlier.
Arizona Wildcats (23-7 SU, 15-15 ATS)
Pretty much the same deal in Tempe, but not quite as extreme; the No. 18 Wildcats are 4-2 SU and 1-5 ATS in their last six games, and they needed a ferocious comeback to win their last game against the California Golden Bears (+7 away), 64-61 on Thursday. Unless the 'Cats come through at the Pac-12 tournament, they could be staring at a No. 6 seed come Tournament time. Tough gig.
Kentucky Wildcats (22-8 SU, 14-16 ATS)
It seems a bit strange to put a fork in Kentucky – call this a preemptive warning shot instead. These Wildcats are No. 11 on Ken Pomeroy's efficiency charts, but they're only No. 22 in the rankings after topping out at No. 1 in November. Kentucky is 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in its past five, and junior forward Derek Willis (21.7 PER, +10.1 BPM) will be playing Saturday's regular-season finale against the LSU Tigers on a tender ankle after missing the last three games. The 'Cats currently project as a No. 4 seed; they've battled through this kind of adversity before, but Kentucky is still on our Fade Watch after nearly running the table last year.