College Basketball Powerhouses That Won’t Make it Past First Weekend of NCAA Tournament

Tom Izzo
Tom Izzo and Michigan State are struggling | Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

This college basketball season is already among the most chaotic in recent memory, as Kansas and Louisville are the only traditional major conference powers in the top five of the AP Poll. In a season where the mightiest teams have struggled to string together wins, the NCAA Tournament is primed for a few shocking defeats, with these five blue bloods already on upset alert.

5. Duke

Cassius Stanley, Patrick Williams
Duke Blue Devils Basketball | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sure, Coach K and the Blue Devils are No. 7 in the country, but have they looked all that impressive this year? We just watched them get bailed out by the refs against North Carolina and Florida Stat in addition to recent scares against Boston College and Syracuse. Outside a win over Kansas (in the first game of the season) and a road triumph against Michigan State (who are now unranked), there aren't a whole lot of impressive victories on their resume. Inexperience outside of Tre Jones could come back to haunt them.

4. Villanova

Jay Wright
Villanova's Jay Wright | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Jay Wright has always been able to win without top recruits at Villanova thanks to his innovative offense, but the lack of depth could really come back to bite the Wildcats this season. Ranking 127th in the country in points per game is not what a Jay Wright-coached team is typically capable of, and Saddiq Bey can only do so much by himself down in the post. They've displayed plenty of flaw so far this year so other teams will have ample film to go over.

3. Maryland

Jalen Smith, Kavell Bigby-Williams, Marlon Taylor
Jalen Smith and Maryland | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Mark Turgeon faces a pivotal next few months, as he will try to find out if Anthony Cowan and Jalen Smith can continue to carry this team to wins. They're atop arguably the best conference in college basketball right now, but the Terps have been to just ONE Sweet Sixteen since 2004 and haven't been to an Elite Eight since 2002. History isn't exactly behind them.

2. Arizona

Nico Mannion
Arizona's Nico Mannion | Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Sean Miller might have been able to convince future star NBA point guard Nico Mannion to come to Tuscon, but that hasn't done much to get the Wildcats back on their feet in the Pac-12. Too often, Mannion is tasked with doing everything on offense, which has caused the team struggle mightily when he's in a funk. By the time March comes around, they better have someone ready to take the responsibility away from him if he's having an off night.

1. Michigan State

Tom Izzo, Cassius Winston
Cassius Winston and Tom Izzo | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Sparty started off the season ranked No. 1 led by one of the best point guards in the country in Cassius Winston, but Tom Izzo and Michigan State aren't even ranked at the time of this writing. They're still owning the glass and passing the ball, hallmarks of an Izzo team, but they're struggling to find shooters that are consistent apart from Winston, which will ultimately doom them come tournament time.