2. Ohio State Buckeyes
After recent double-digit losses to Nebraska and Northwestern on the road, Chris Holtmann and the Ohio State Buckeyes sit at 13-7 (3-6) on the year and are facing immense pressure -- especially from Buckeye faithful -- to turn the corner in February.
Losers of five of their past six games, it has not been pretty on either end of the floor as the Buckeyes are shooting a woeful 19.5% from behind the arc and are allowing opponents to shoot over 50% inside the arc in their past six games, according to BartTorvik.
The Buckeyes, who are just 1-3 in Q1 games and 0-4 in Q2 games, will be faced with five Q1 opportunities in less than 30 days -- a perfect opportunity to turn the corner and regain trust in the Ohio State fanbase.
Is it too late to make a run? Is the damage already done? Only time will tell.
1. Michigan State Spartans
Many thought this was Tom Izzo’s best (and possibly last) chance to get to the Final Four and cut down the nets, but ultimately that doesn’t seem to be the case.
As arguably one of college basketball’s biggest disappointments of the season, Michigan State stands at just 12-8 (4-5) on the year -- a record far from the heightened preseason expectations in East Lansing.
Despite having strong metrics, such as being ranked 18 in KenPom, 13th in BartTorvik and 25th in the NET, the Spartans have struggled to find any sort of momentum both in the non-conference portion of the season and in Big Ten play.
Even with the tumultuous season, Michigan State is still rather safe at the given moment to make the NCAA Tournament. The problem for the Spartans is that their margin of error continues to get smaller and smaller and given the overall weakness of the Big Ten, one or two more blunders in February can hurt the Spartans.
Their next two games -- versus Michigan and Maryland -- both qualify as Q3 games. With only one Q1 game on the docket in February (versus Illinois), the Spartans still have work to do if they want to extend their NCAA Tournament streak to 26 years.