To some degree, there’s pressure on every NCAA Basketball team each season. Some have national title aspirations, while others are hoping to just make the NCAA Tournament. And there are others hoping to just be competitive and not embarrass themselves as well.
Still, there are some programs that will have a fairly large microscope on them for the 2023-24 campaign for various different reasons. Here’s a list of 12 teams (and a few honorable mentions) that will certainly have some pressure on them to succeed.
Honorable Mention: Michigan State Spartans
Coach Tom Izzo is a Hall of Famer who takes Michigan State to the NCAA Tournament every year. So by no means is his job or even legacy on the line if he doesn’t take them to the Final Four this season. But this will be a test of his strategy of not using the transfer portal after the past two seasons. An early exit could lead to some second-guessing from fans.
HM: New Mexico Lobos
With San Diego State becoming the first-ever team from the Mountain West to make the Final Four, the top teams from the conference has hope to make it a trend. New Mexico brings back two elite scoring guards (Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr.) and has two senior forward transfers in Issac Mushila and Nelly Junior Joseph. Coach Richard Pitino has built the Lobos up since getting fired from Minnesota and this is his best chance to have his own national breakout campaign with all of these veterans.
HM: Duquesne Dukes
No team in NCAA Basketball has more seniors on their last year of eligibility than the Dukes, with seven on the roster. It’s easily the best team that Coach Keith Dambrot has had since he arrived at Duquesne and it might be the best chance for the program to get back to the NCAA Tournament since 1976. If they fail, who knows when they’ll get another shot in a somewhat-weak A-10.