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March Madness Teams Already In - Part 6

Colorado (22-8)

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2016

Tournament Seed Ranking: 5

Few players are as important to their teams' success as McKinley Wright is to the Colorado Buffaloes. Wright alone makes up a quarter of the Colorado offense. It is plain to see why he is featured in the offense as he is good for 15.5 points per game while shooting 48% from the field. The Buffaloes dominate at the free throw line and they also do a fantastic job of avoiding turnovers and making the correct play in offensive sets. Their rebounding is poor, as is their assist totals, but that is to be expected by a team that features one player significantly more than most. Look for Colorado to play a slow paced style that can potentially lull their opponents to sleep. They will not wow anyone with spectacular plays, but they will certainly play a well-rounded style that can hang with the best of them.

BYU (20-6)

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2015

Tournament Seed Ranking: 6

BYU is a great shooting team, ranking 24th in percentages from the total field and the three point line. BYU is also a phenomenal rebounding team led by Caleb Lohner who is averaging seven rebounds per game and Matt Haarms who is averaging just shy of five. The Cougars also seem to move the ball effortlessly in the offensive zone as they average just under a staggering 17 assists per game, which leads to depth scoring throughout their entire rotation. BYU also has the luxury of having a walking bucket of a player in Alex Barcello. Barcello shoots 52% from the floor, 49% from three and 86% from the free throw line. The biggest issue with Barcello may actually be that he's too selfless. He assuredly could dominate games if given the opportunity, but he plays a team-first style that allows others to feature. The Cougars, while not necessarily a struggling defence, do not produce turnovers very often. This is perhaps due to their scheme as players are strongly held accountable to remain in position as opposed to being asked to make the extra effort to try to make plays. BYU is going to be a major problem for anyone they face.

Purdue (18-9)

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2019

Tournament Seed Ranking: 4

The Boilermakers have two wins against Ohio State, so I get some of the hype about Purdue. However, they also have nine losses on the season and their most recent loss came against those very same Buckeyes. Purdue may potentially be the most overhyped team coming into the tournament. It would be fair to say that they may have had one of the more difficult schedules in the NCAA, but they lost some games throughout the year that a normal four seed should not be losing. Losses to teams like Miami, Minnesota and Maryland should not have been happening for a supposed top 16 team. Compound this with the fact that the Boilermakers shoot an average 45% from the field and a much worse 34% from three and you start to question how they were able to sneak so high up the rankings. Their rebounding is good, not great, and their defence can be very average at times. For Purdue to make a serious run in the tournament it will likely come down to the effort levels of the team. Trevion Williams will be asked to do a lot for Purdue, and honestly, that may be for the best as the team can become very slow and stagnant in their offence when he isn't involved.

Tennessee (18-8)

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2019

Tournament Seed Ranking: 5

Tennessee totes a relatively average offense, but what they lack in offense they more than make up for in defense. Tennessee ranks 18th in the entire country in defense and that has largely carried them to their fifth seed positioning. The Volunteers produce just enough steals to make an impact on their games and they generally keep their turnovers limited, though sometimes this aspect of their game can slip. John Fulkerson potentially being out could be extremely detrimental to their chances in the tournament, as he is usually good for about 10 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Realistically if Tennessee can find a way to manifest points throughout their lineup they should be able to go stride for stride with most teams due to their elite defense. Vescovi, Pons, Johnson and Bailey all need to find ways to contribute offensively.

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