The 349 teams that won’t win 2021 March Madness

7:00 AM ET

John Gasawayespin Insider


    • ESPN Insider sponsors ESPN college basketball
    • Started beating college tournaments in 2004
    • Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Street Journal.

With each March, the pressure increases on the man everyone at ESPN HQ now calls Streak. We are, of course, talking about the 349 teams that will not win the national title in men’s basketball.

Yes, yes, it’s true. This honorable mention of eight of the 357 Division I teams that could win the title managed to include a possible national champion each time. Not that we’ve been doing this since the 1950s – we actually started doing it in 2016 – but still, a series is a series.

Here are the 349 teams that will not win the national title in 2021, divided into three groups: Failures, near misses and no clear path.

You got it? Let’s get started.

Unsuitable (12 orders)

Alabama A&M Bulldogs
Alabama State Hornets
Arizona Wildcats
Auburn Tigers
Bellarmine Knights
Cal Baptist Lancers
Dixie State
Merrimack Warriors
North Alabama Lions
Tarleton Texans
UC San Diego Tritons
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

Missing (15 teams)

Arkansas Razorbacks

Okay, let’s go with the odd choice, shall we? Arkansas looked as good as any team in the country the last few games, but now they are being called the team that won’t win the title. Is there a mistake? It’s quite possible. Sooner or later the series has to end, and Eric Musselman has the team to make that happen. The only thing keeping the Razorbacks from reaching the magic number of eight is that they rely a bit on their excellent rebounding and do most of their work on the defensive end. Meanwhile, the SEC Hogs’ opponents put up average numbers in terms of shooting (on both ends of the arc) and turnovers. Average scores in key categories kept Arkansas, narrowly, at the pass. But yes, betting on a team that has won 10 of its last 11 games is certainly dangerous here.

Creighton Bluejays.

2 Connected

The Bluejays are excellent on paper, but even before the outcry over coach Greg McDermott’s racist comments, the team seemed to lose some ground late in the season. In fact, it was McDermott’s displeasure at his team’s loss against Xavier, with whom he had previously had trouble, that led to this terrible choice of words. Maybe in a week or two we’ll look back and regret our review of Creighton, and maybe this will pass for a deep tournament upset. (The team was outstanding on a home run in the season finale, for example.) However, there is too much uncertainty surrounding Creighton right now to include him in the Big Eight.

Florida Seminole

There were times this season when the Seminoles were one of eight teams to win the title. In reality, what people still don’t understand about this team (in March!) is that Leonard Hamilton has an excellent group of shooters. Think of FSU as the Villanova of the ACC, and you’re closer to the finish line than the usual long, athletic riff. Florida State is absolutely long and athletic, and along the way the Seminoles will shoot out of the gym. Unfortunately, they were also an inconsistent team with great shooters. And, let’s face it, the novelty works. The last time we saw the Seminoles, they lost at Notre Dame. So, yes, unlike Miss.

Kansas Jayhawks

Give Bill Self all the credit: KU has returned to the Storm after a disappointing start to the season. Today, the Jayhawks look like they always have: dangerous and about to reach a very high level. To be precise, it was by far the Big 12’s best defense in the league. There is no doubt about this team’s ability to make opponents suffer in the offense, but there are still questions about this offense. Self’s men shot 33% on 3-pointers in conference play, and 67 points on 67 possessions at home against UTEP, so it makes you think before you hand out accolades.

Play ESPN Challenge for free!

Slots open Sunday night – create or join groups to play with your friends now! Playnow

Loyola Chicago Ramblers

The first thing to acknowledge is that Loyola Chicago is clearly on their way to the Final Four. After an incredible three consecutive recent wins in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, we know better than to doubt the Ramblers. But if Loyola makes it that far, perhaps an opponent in the semifinals will form a human wall around Cameron Krutwig and force his teammates to win by making 3-point shots. It’s unclear if the Ramblers can do that after a season in which they hit just 33% from behind the arc at Missouri Valley.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Yes, Ohio State was predicted to be #1 for most of February, so yes, that variety can be horribly messed up. A recurring theme in these agonizing comments is that in order to limit the charm circle to just eight programs, some exceptionally strong teams must be eliminated. The strength of the Buckeyes is their attack. Dwayne Washington and Justin Ahrens get good 3-point opportunities against a defense that struggles to stop EJ. Liddell inside the bow. On the other side of the ball, however, OSU has not been as successful. Big Ten opponents have ended their possession of the ball with a shot attempt more than 85% of the time, and against a team that doesn’t give up many goals, that counts.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

That Cade Cunningham is one of college basketball’s best observers this season shouldn’t be surprising, but it is. We’re used to playmakers with individual talent having a short, shining hour in college and showing their potential in the game after a really intense team effort. Cunningham breaks that mold by engaging his teammates, observing the field with a practical eye and making smart decisions. Talk about surprises: It’s ridiculous that an OSU offense with so much talent only scores 1.03 points per possession in the Big 12. (The Cowboys defense, on the other hand, is very good and underrated. hi).

Purdue Boilermakers

The best that can be said about the end of the winning streak this season would be that Purdue in particular wins the national title. It would have been worth it to see Zach Ideas cut the nets, and all without a ladder. No, against Michigan State, he finished a good alley-oop with an emphatic slam, though his feet barely left the floor. Edey is a joy to watch and the Boilermakers defense is solid, but this offense shot 30.7% from 3-point range against the Big Ten.

San Diego State Aztecs

Brian Dutcher’s program has gone 50-6 the past two seasons, and for the second consecutive season the Aztecs have won defensively. It’s easy to imagine an arrogant Big Conference team falling apart when they meet this D, and it could very well happen deep in the SDSU tournament. But in the end, it is surprising and problematic that a team with such a good record is only 2 points away from 8th place in the Mountain West this season.

The Texas Longhorns.

For a scintillating moment in January, Texas didn’t seem to be up to the task against teams that were nearly defeated. The Longhorns won road games against Kansas and West Virginia in a span of seven days. There should be a special medal in the Big 12 office for any team that can do a double play like that. But then the course changed for UT. Since the win in Morgantown, Shaq Smart’s group is 7-6. Indeed, the example of UConn in 2011 encourages us to never say never after mid-January and February. But we rarely talk to each other, and Texas doesn’t seem to be at its best right now.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

We never thought we’d have to talk about Chris Beard’s team, but here’s what we’re saying: This defense is better than it looks. For some inexplicable reason, the Big 12 couldn’t miss its 3 against the Red Raiders. If you average these successes, you’ll see that the defensive unit is pretty good, forcing both turnovers and miscues on offense. Add to that an offense that never passes the ball, and you have a great team – but not a member of the fine eight.

The wild cats of Villanova

Unfortunately, Villanova is not complete. Collin Gillespie is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, and now it looks like Justin Moore will miss the Big East tournament with a badly sprained ankle. Normally, you would be hesitant to bet on a coach who has won two of the last four national titles. In fact, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Wildcats drafted the next guy and successfully continued their extremely low turnover rate to win a second weekend. Without Gillespie, but not far from where Villanova lives this time.

The Virginia Cavaliers.

The numbers may not be as high as usual on defense, but Virginia is still able to inflict emotional damage on its opponent, force foul shots and go deep into the shot clock. No, we’re happy with D. The sticking point with the Cavaliers this season is that Tony Bennett’s players aren’t getting enough shots. It’s hard to see at times because the Hoos shoot so accurately and take care of the ball so well. But the unambiguous turn to extreme avoidance of any offensive rebound strikes at the heart of this offense. Make it distinctive and stunning. The program won the national title with a high number of kicks in its six NCAA Tournament games. By then they seem to have disappeared, or at least stopped.

West Virginia

The common opinion is that West Virginia is better because Oscar Chibwe decided to quit the program. The best distance, they’ll tell you. Maybe I will. We know how good the Mountaineers are, or rather, how good this offense is. But can we really be sure that West Virginia’s old version, which not only led at halftime against Gonzaga but also managed to outscore the Bulldogs by a significant margin, wouldn’t have been just as good? Regardless, the current team struggles to withstand 2-point attempts, which Big 12 teams do nearly 53% of the time.

Wisconsin Badgers

Missing points. The reason Wisconsin narrowly misses teams here is a lack of scoring ability. The reason for this is a big question. You’ve heard all these age comparisons about how these Badgers are older than some (very young) NBA teams. Experience and continuity from last season should allow a team that was slightly above average in the Big Ten last season to be excellent on this side of the ball in 2021. That didn’t happen, and in fact, Wisconsin finished games with point possessions just below league average. A mystery that has yet to be solved.

No path at all (322 commands)

  1. Christian Wildcats Abilene
  2. Luftwaffe Falcons
  3. Akron Zippers
  4. The Great Danes of Albany
  5. Alcorn’s State of Courage
  6. American eagles
  7. Appalachian Highlanders
  8. Arizona State Sun Devils
  9. Arkansas Pinecone Golden Lions
  10. Arkansas Red Wolves
  11. The Black Knights of the Army
  12. Governors of Austin Peay
  13. The ball of the state cardinals
  14. Belmont Bruins
  15. Wildcats Bethune Cooks (inactive)
  16. Binghamton Bears
  17. Boise State Broncos
  18. Boston College Eagle
  19. Boston University Terrier
  20. Bowling Green Falcons
  21. Bradley Brave
  22. Brown bear (inactive)
  23. Bryant Bulldogs
  24. Bucknall’s Bison
  25. Buffalo Buffalo
  26. Butler’s Bulldogs
  27. Brussels Cougars
  28. California Golden Bears
  29. Cal Poly Mustangs.
  30. Roadrunners from Bakersfield
  31. Fullerton Titans Forensics Department
  32. Northridge Matadors Forensics Unit
  33. Campbell’s fighting camels
  34. Canisius Golden Griffins
  35. Central Arkansas Bears
  36. Central Connecticut Blue Devils
  37. Central Michigan Chippewas
  38. Charleston Pumas
  39. Charleston Southern Buccaneers
  40. Charlotte 49
  41. Chattanooga Mocs.
  42. Chicago State Panthers (inactive)
  43. Cincinnati Bears
  44. Bulldog Citadel
  45. The Clemson Tigers
  46. the Cleveland State Vikings
  47. Coastal Carolina Particle
  48. The Colgate Raider
  49. Colorado Rams
  50. Columbia Lions (inactive)
  51. UConn Huskies
  52. Coppin State Eagle
  53. Cornell Big Red (inactive)
  54. Dartmouth Big Green (inactive)
  55. Davidson’s Wildcats
  56. Dayton Flyers
  57. Delaware Chicken
  58. Delaware hornets
  59. Denver Pioneers
  60. DePaul’s blue demons
  61. Mercy Titans in Detroit
  62. Drake Bulldogs
  63. Drexel Kites
  64. Duke Blue Devils
  65. the Dukes of Duquesne
  66. the East Carolina Pirates
  67. Residents of the Buckeye State in East Tennessee
  68. Eastern Illinois Panthers
  69. The Eastern Kentucky Upper House
  70. Eastern Michigan Eagle
  71. Eastern Washington Eagle
  72. Elon Phoenix
  73. Evansville Purple Aces
  74. Fairfield’s reindeer.
  75. Fairleigh Dickinson Knight
  76. Florida alligators
  77. Florida A&M Rattlers
  78. Florida Atlantic Owls
  79. Florida-Gulf Coast-Eagle
  80. Florida Golden Panthers International
  81. Fordham Rams.
  82. Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons
  83. Fresno Bulldogs
  84. Furman’s Paladin
  85. Gardner-Webb’s Bulldogs
  86. George Mason’s patriots
  87. George Washington Colonial
  88. Georgetown Hoyas
  89. Georgia Bulldogs
  90. Georgia Southern Eagle
  91. Georgia State Panthers
  92. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  93. Spelt Tiger
  94. Grand Canyon Antelope
  95. Green Bay Phoenix
  96. Pirates of the Hamptons
  97. Hartford Hawks.
  98. Harvard Crimson (inactive)
  99. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
  100. High Point Panther
  101. Hofstra’s pride
  102. Crusaders of the Holy Cross
  103. Houston Baptist Huskies
  104. Howard Bison (inactive)
  105. Idaho Vandals
  106. from Bengal, Idaho.
  107. The flames of Illinois and Chicago
  108. Illinois thrushes
  109. The embodied word cardinals
  110. Indiana Hoosiers
  111. Indiana Sycamores
  112. Iowa Hurricanes
  113. IUPUI Jaguars
  114. Iona Gaels.
  115. Jackson State Tigers
  116. Jacksonville Dolphins
  117. Jacksonville State Gamecocks
  118. James Madison Dukes.
  119. Kansas wildcats
  120. of the Kennesaw State Owls
  121. Kent State’s golden lightning bolts
  122. The wild cats of Kentucky
  123. The Explorer Room
  124. Leopard Lafayette
  125. Lamar Cardinals
  126. Lehigh Mountain Hawks
  127. The flame of freedom
  128. The buffalo lip in honeycomb
  129. The Little Rock Trojans
  130. State of the Long Beach 49ers
  131. Long Island University Sharks
  132. The Longwood Lancers
  133. Ragin’ Cajuns from Louisiana
  134. UL Monroe Warhawks
  135. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
  136. the Louisville Cardinals
  137. Loyola (M.D.) Greyhound
  138. Loyola Marymount Lions
  139. LSU Tiger
  140. Maine Black Bears (inactive)
  141. Manhattan Jasper
  142. Marian Fuchs
  143. the Marquesa of Berkutta
  144. Marshall Thundering Furnace
  145. Maryland Terrapins
  146. Eastern Maryland Coastal Hawks (inactive)
  147. Miniature designers from UMass
  148. UMass Lowell River Hawks
  149. McNeese Cowboys
  150. Memphis Tiger
  151. Mercer Bears
  152. Miami Hurricanes
  153. Miami RedHawks (OH).
  154. Michigan State Spartans
  155. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
  156. Milwaukee Panthers
  157. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  158. Ole Miss Rebel
  159. Mississippi Bulldogs
  160. Mississippi Delta Devils.
  161. Missouri Tiger
  162. Missouri Bear
  163. Monmouth Hawks
  164. Montana Grizzlies
  165. Montana Bobcats
  166. Morehead State Eagles
  167. Morgan State Bears
  168. Mount St. Helens Mary’s Mountaineer
  169. Murray’s State Rider
  170. Plates
  171. Nebraska Corn Flakes
  172. Nevada Wolf Pack
  173. New Hampshire Wildcats
  174. Highlander of N’Djaita
  175. New Mexico Lobos
  176. State agencies of New Mexico
  177. People from New Orleans
  178. Niagara Purple Eagles
  179. Nicholls Upstairs
  180. The Norfolk Spartans
  181. North Carolina Tar Heels
  182. Agencies in North Carolina
  183. North Carolina Eagle
  184. State Wolfpack
  185. North Dakota Fighting Hawks
  186. State of North Dakota European bison
  187. North Florida Osprey
  188. The average North Texan
  189. Northeast Husky
  190. Lumberjacks in Northern Arizona
  191. Bears of Northern Colorado
  192. Northern Illinois Huskies
  193. Northern Iowa Panthers
  194. Northern Kentucky
  195. Northwestern Wildcats
  196. the demons of the northwestern state
  197. Fighting Irish Notre Dame
  198. Oakland Golden Grizzlies
  199. Ohio Bobcats
  200. Oklahoma Sooners.
  201. the former monarchs of the Dominion
  202. Omaha Mavericks
  203. Oral Roberts Golden Eagle
  204. Oregon Ducks
  205. Oregon Beaver
  206. Pacific Tigers
  207. Penn Quakers (inactive)
  208. Pennsylvania Lions Nittany
  209. Waves of pepper
  210. Pittsburgh Panthers
  211. Portland Pilots
  212. the Portland State Vikings
  213. A&M Panthers on the Prairie
  214. Presbyterian Blue Hose
  215. Princeton Tigers (inactive)
  216. The Providence brothers
  217. Lynx butt hook
  218. Radford Highlands
  219. Rhode Island Rams.
  220. Rice Owls
  221. Richmond Spiders
  222. Tan rider
  223. Robert Morris Colonial
  224. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  225. The Sacramento Hornets
  226. Pioneers of the Sacred Heart
  227. St. John’s Falcons Joseph
  228. St. John’s Bonaventure Bonnie
  229. of the New York Terriers of St. John’s Francis
  230. St. John’s Francis Red Flash.
  231. St. John’s St. John’s Red Storm
  232. St. John’s Louis Billikens
  233. Galleons of St. Petersburg Mary
  234. Peacocks of St. John’s Peter
  235. Sam Houston State Bears
  236. Samford Bulldogs
  237. Toreros de San Diego
  238. San Francisco Donations
  239. San Jose State Spartans
  240. Santa Clara Broncos
  241. Seattle Redhawks.
  242. Pirates of Seton Hall
  243. Saint Siena
  244. South Alabama Jaguars
  245. South Carolina Gamecocks
  246. South Carolina Bulldogs
  247. The Redhawks at Southeast Missouri
  248. the South Carolina Spartans
  249. South Dakota Coyotes
  250. South Dakota Hare
  251. South Florida Bulls
  252. Southeastern Louisiana Lions
  253. southern jaguars
  254. Southern Illinois Salukis
  255. Edwardsville Cougars Division
  256. EMS Mustangs
  257. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
  258. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
  259. Cardinal of Stanford
  260. Stetson Hatters.
  261. the Stone Creek Seawolves
  262. Syracuse orange
  263. Horned Frogs
  264. Temple Owls
  265. Tennessee Volunteers
  266. Tennessee Martin Skyhawks
  267. Tennessee Tiger
  268. Golden Eagle Tennessee Tech
  269. Texas metropolitan area
  270. Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders
  271. Texas Southern Tigers
  272. Lynx
  273. Toledo Rockets
  274. Towson Tiger
  275. Trojan
  276. Tulane Green Wave
  277. Golden Hurricane Tulsa
  278. CJSC Blazers
  279. University of California, Davis
  280. UC Irvine Anteaters
  281. Riverside Highlanders
  282. University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos
  283. Knight of the UFC
  284. UCLA Bruins
  285. UMBC Retriever
  286. UMKC Kangaroo
  287. Asheville UNC Bulldogs
  288. Greensboro Spartans UNC
  289. UNC Seahawks
  290. UNLV Rebels
  291. USC Trojan
  292. UT Arlington Mavericks.
  293. UTEP Miners
  294. UT Rio Grande Vaqueros Valley
  295. San Antonio Roadrunners
  296. Utah Utes
  297. State agencies in Utah
  298. Utah Valley Wolverines
  299. the Crusaders of Valparaiso
  300. Comrades of Vanderbilt
  301. Vermont Catamarans
  302. Virginia Tech Hokies.
  303. VMI Keyboards
  304. VCU ramps
  305. Wagner Falcons
  306. The demonic deacons of the Forest of Awakening
  307. Washington Huskies
  308. Washington State Cougars
  309. Weaver’s wildcats
  310. West Carolina Catamarans
  311. Western Illinois
  312. Residents of Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
  313. Western Michigan Broncos
  314. Wichita State Shock Absorber
  315. William and Mary Tribe
  316. The Winthrop Eagles
  317. Wofford Terrier
  318. Wright Raiders
  319. Wyoming Cowboys
  320. The Musketeers of Xavier
  321. Yale Bulldogs (inactive)
  322. Youngstown State Penguins

So, by my count, that’s 349 teams. If you’re a fan of a team that hasn’t shown up yet, congratulations! Your team is in the middle of a magic eight ball, which by simple deduction should consist of the following: Alabama, Baylor, Colorado, Gonzaga, Houston, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.

Go ahead and make this feature good, magic eight. There’s a tape in play.

Related Tags:


You May Also Like