Busting Brackets

5 teams most on upset alert during 2024 Champ Week

These teams have established themselves as some of the top teams in their conference throughout the regular season and are locks for the NCAA Tournament, but could be susceptible in the win-or-go-home conference tournaments this week.

Purdue v Michigan
Purdue v Michigan / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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. . Iowa State. . Seed: 2. . 461. 24-7 (13-5). . 4

Now, to one of the actual favorites in the Big 12 Tournament. Tamin Lipsey was named first-team All-Big 12 and after winning the Big 12 Coach of the Year award, Houston’s Kelvin Sampson said that Iowa State’s T.J. Otzelberger deserved that particular hardware. 

Otzelberger has taken the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first two seasons in Ames, but this team is different and was the clear top contender to Houston for the top spot in the conference. 

While Houston is No. 1 in Kenpom adjusted defensive efficiency, Iowa State is No. 2, and while the Cougars are first in turnover margin at +7.4, the Cyclones are second at +6.7. The problem is the gulf between the two teams in terms of offensive efficiency, Houston at No. 11 and Iowa State at No. 77. 

The Cyclones score just 75.7 points a game and are 140th in the country in three-point percentage at 34.8% while attempting just 18.5 per game (303rd in the country). Tamin Lipsey is an excellent facilitator and Iowa State has a few heat-check scorers like Keshon Gilbert and Tre King, but they don’t have a consistent bucket-getter in the half-court. 

If Iowa State can’t feast off turnovers then anyone can beat them, like Kansas State did on Saturday 65-58. The Wildcats turned it off 15 times, but many were dead-ball turnovers and didn’t lead to easy buckets for Iowa State. I just can’t trust Otzelberger’s team in a win-or-go-home situation.