16. West Virginia Mountaineers (18-5, 6-4 in Big 12)
There are going to be many that are surprised that the Mountaineers were as high as a 2 seed in the reveal but their resume overall is pretty great. They have wins over Rhode Island, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, and Wichita State in the non-conference while having a good win as well over Texas Tech in Big 12 play. This is an outstanding defensive unit, led by big men Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver.
The problem with West Virginia is their offense, particularly their guard play. They have no perimeter player averaging in double figures and ranks in the 300’s in both three-point shooting and from the free throw line. Any Bob Huggins’ team will cause problems for foes who are unfamiliar with their aggressive defense and the overall depth will give them an advantage in any slugfest.
However, they’re vulnerable to pretty much any team who can hit shots. It’ll be hard to envision seeing this team win six straight games.
15. Auburn Tigers (21-2, 8-2 in SEC)
Although they were one of the last two unbeaten teams in the country a month ago, Auburn didn’t beat a team that was projected to be in the NCAA Tournament at-large field until Feb 1 against Kentucky. They have a good resume overall with six straight wins but three of them came in overtime that easily could’ve turned into losses.
This is a strong offensive team overall (79.6 ppg) but is very streaky. What Auburn has going for them is the five seniors in their rotation but when leading scorer Samir Doughty struggles, they’re in for a fight. They’ll need big men Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy to produce at a high level to be a second-weekend team.