The Michigan Wolverines opened this season ranked in the AP Top 10 and had earned a No. 4 seed or better in six of the past nine NCAA tournaments, but they feature prominently on our list of top teams most likely to miss this year's Big Dance.

By "top teams" we mean programs who fit within at least one of the two following pools of candidates:

  • Preseason AP Top 25 teams, or
  • Teams who have competed in at least seven of the past eight NCAA tournaments.

The first pool allows us to consider teams like Arkansas, Maryland and St. Bonaventure, who haven't necessarily been tournament mainstays in recent years but were certainly expected to get there this March.

The second pool factors in Cincinnati, VCU and Wichita State, who weren't expected to be great this year, but who we're used to hearing called on Selection Sunday.

Either way, all 10 of these teams were supposed to be better than this. Some are still in the mix for a bid, but most of them wouldn't even sniff the field if the tournament started today.

Teams are listed in alphabetical order. Statistics and resume data are current through the start of play Thursday. 


Arkansas Razorbacks

Tournament Resume: 11-5, NET: 83, KPI/SOR AVG: 90.0, BPI/KP/SAG AVG: 41.3

Three Best Wins: Kansas State, Cincinnati, Northern Iowa

Three Worst Losses: Hofstra, Vanderbilt, at Texas A&M

Current Bracket Matrix Projection: Out (Appears in 2 of 74 projections)

Arkansas is this year's most poignant example of how quickly things can spiral out of control.

One month into the season, the Razorbacks were 9-0 and ranked No. 10 in the AP poll. It wasn't a daunting schedule, but they largely breezed through it, winning by an average margin of 16.1 points.

In the season's second month, however, they went 1-5 with bad home losses to Hofstra and Vanderbilt and an embarrassing 20-point loss to Oklahoma.

The offense got sloppy, committing more than 15 turnovers on average during that six-game stretch. But the real problem has been a defense allowing 83.8 points per game in those five losses.

It'd be one thing if the Hogs were struggling to slow down the likes of Alabama, Auburn or Kentucky, but they haven't even faced any of the SEC's top offenses yet. 

The "glass half full" takeaway is Arkansas still has games remaining against those three opponents—as well as LSU and Tennessee—to potentially bolster this disappointing resume. But if you can't beat Texas A&M or Vanderbilt, you probably aren't going to win multiple games against tournament-caliber teams.


Cincinnati Bearcats

Tournament Resume: 12-5, NET: 67, KPI/SOR AVG: 87.5, BPI/KP/SAG AVG: 82.3

Three Best Wins: Illinois, SMU, at Miami-Ohio

Three Worst Losses: Tulane, Monmouth, Arkansas

Current Bracket Matrix Projection: Out (Appears in 0 of 74 projections)

Cincinnati has actually been better than expected.

Fresh off a 12-11 mess in 2020-21, the Bearcats opened the year ranked 117th on KenPom. But they have gotten back to their "Mick Cronin years" roots with aggressive defense and turnover-averse offense that has enabled them to largely make up for poor shooting across the board.

They still have quite a bit of work to do in order to make this year's dance, though.

On the plus side, a 71-51 neutral-site win over Illinois back in November figures to be a gift that'll keep on giving. The Illini have since won 10 of 11 games and may well be the best team in the Big Ten, so that's a major feather in the Bearcats' cap.

The problem is the subsequent home losses to Monmouth and Tulane. Neither is (currently) a Quadrant 4 loss, but they are bad enough to effectively undo that marquee win over the Illini. And that means Cincinnati is going to need to find some quality wins (and avoid more bad losses in the process) in a conference that doesn't have many to offer.

If the schedule holds, Cincinnati will play consecutive home games against Memphis and Houston in early February. Win at least one of those games and maybe there's a realistic shot at a bid.


Florida State Seminoles

Tournament Resume: 9-5, NET: 72, KPI/SOR AVG: 59.5, BPI/KP/SAG AVG: 51.3

Three Best Wins: Louisville, Miami, at NC State

Three Worst Losses: at South Carolina, Syracuse, at Wake Forest

Current Bracket Matrix Projection: Out (Appears in 1 of 74 projections)

When things go poorly for Florida State's offense, they go really poorly.

In their five losses, the Seminoles have averaged 59.8 points, compared to slightly better than 80 points per game in their nine wins. In their recent 22-point blowout loss at Wake Forest, they shot just 24.2 percent from the field.

By some miracle, the "quality" metrics (BPI/KP/SAG) still rate the 'Noles as a bubble team. But prior to Saturday's win over Louisville, Florida State was 0-3 vs. Quadrant 1, had not yet played a game against Quadrant 2 and had a pair of Quadrant 3 losses.

Pretty ugly stuff from a preseason Top 25 team which had made it to the Sweet 16 in each of the past three NCAA tournaments.

Plain and simple, Florida State isn't as dominant in the post as we're used to seeing. The 'Noles lead the nation in average height, but they aren't doing anything with it, ranking outside the top 80 in the country in both offensive rebound percentage and two-point field-goal percentage. And unless they can find enough offense to steal at least one win against Duke, there might not be a path to this year's NCAA tournament.


Maryland Terrapins

Tournament Resume: 9-7, NET: 107, KPI/SOR AVG: 94.0, BPI/KP/SAG AVG: 61.7

Three Best Wins: Florida, at Northwestern, Richmond

Three Worst Losses: George Mason, Northwestern, Louisville

Current Bracket Matrix Projection: Out (Appears in 0 of 74 projections)

Here's an interesting factoid about Maryland's frustrating season: In each of their losses to Iowa, Illinois and Louisville, the Terrapins led by the exact score of 47-42 at some point in the second half. They also led Virginia Tech 46-42 with eight minutes remaining in the second half and held a 50-47 lead with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation against Wisconsin before letting both of those games slip away.

If they had been able to hold onto even one of those five leads, they would have a legitimate at-large pulse. Additionally, if they had been able to hold onto all five of those leads, they would be a borderline AP Top 10 team right now.