Busting Brackets

10 teams vulnerable to be upset in the first round of March Madness

There is an elite tier of college basketball this season, but it's an exclusive club. If your team is on the outside of that five or six-team group, then they could be vulnerable to a Round of 64 exit in the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari
Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari / Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY
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. . 21-10 (13-5). 6. 523. . Alabama. Net: 8 Projected Seed: 4. .

You might be noticing a trend by now, but it’s just hard for me to buy into teams that rely heavily on three-point shooting and don’t defend. That description may fit Alabama better than any other team in the country. Nate Oats plays Daryl Morey Houston Rockets-style basketball, relying almost exclusively on threes and layups and constantly running in transition. 

While that’s an analytically sound way to play, it doesn’t often translate to postseason basketball, which tightens up and requires shot-making in half-court situations. Oh and did I mention that Alabama doesn’t play defense? The Crimson Tide allow 80.4 points a game (353rd in the nation) and 1.052 points per possession (247th). I’m not going to trust a team that can’t get a stop. 

Mark Sears and Aaron Estrada make up one of the best backcourts in the country, but Oats doesn’t have enough heft in the front court after losing Noah Clowney to the NBA last year. Without a dominant big, Alabama is 226th in defensive rebounding percentage, so even when the Crimson Tide do force a missed shot, they often give their opponent another opportunity.