Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin, Florida Atlantic among 5 teams with question marks entering March

Florida Atlantic v Charlotte
Florida Atlantic v Charlotte / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages
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March is finally here, meaning in less than three weeks, we will have a bracket. In less than six weeks, we will crown a champion. In short, time is ticking as the 2023-24 men’s college basketball enters its final few regular season games before the conference tournament and postseason play begins.

With such a short window between regular-season play and postseason play, many teams have their sights set on the NCAA Tournament whereas others are clinging ever-so-closely to the bubble with their NCAA Tournament aspirations on the line in the next two weeks. 

Here, we will discuss five teams who are safely or somewhat safely in the field of 68 at the current moment that have question marks entering March.

1.) Wisconsin Badgers

After reaching as high as sixth in the AP Top 25 in late January, the Badgers saw the wheels on the bus completely fall off, going 2-6 in February including daunting losses to Michigan, Rutgers, and Indiana.

Although Wisconsin has done a good job protecting their home court (their only two home losses have come to Tennessee and Purdue), their road woes have presented a worrisome trend for Greg Gard’s group -- but that just may not be the issue in Madison.

The issue lies on the defensive end of the floor, something Wisconsin has hung its hat on for as long as history can remember. Just last year, for example, Wisconsin was 19th in the country in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Although the offense left much to be desired in last year’s campaign, it was the defense that kept Wisconsin near the NCAA Tournament conversation for most of the year.

Flash forward to this year, the team’s identity has completely flipped. It’s the offense that has done the heavy lifting, posting the 16th-best offensive efficiency according to KenPom with their defensive efficiency metrics now nearing the 100 mark at 99.8, placing them at 53rd in the country. Here is what I said regarding Wisconsin’s defense after last night's 74-70 loss to Indiana:

The issues in Madison may lie deeper than their defensive efficiency numbers but to put it shortly, this team is not playing good ball at the wrong time of the season. Strong predictive metrics, including six Q1 wins, will still give Wisconsin a respectable seed but given how the month of February has gone, the ceiling of this year’s group in March has been limited immensely.