Selection Sunday is exactly one month away. That means it’s time to start sorting out who’s a real threat to reach the Final Four, and who’s a fraud. Every year, people say “this is the hardest year to pick” when the bracket comes out, and yet, I can’t remember a year where so many highly ranked teams have glaring fatal flaws that could send them home early. Everyone is going to pick Kentucky and for good reason. They’re absolutely loaded. They’re probably the one team in the country that could lose a borderline NBA player in Alex Poythress and not even flinch. Hell, Kentucky has more McDonald’s All-Americans than any NBA team. They could easily finish the year without a loss and no one would be surprised. After Kentucky though, things get interesting. So let’s get down to business and rank the top 12 teams in the country at the moment.
12. Notre Dame
This team more than any other highly ranked team has red flags all over. Notre Dame has Jerian Grant, and that’s the main reason they are so good. But Notre Dame doesn’t play defense. Their signature win came at home against Duke when Jerian Grant was casually pulling up from half-court in the middle of the shot clock. But 10 days later, Duke hung 90 on Notre Dame in Cameron, dropping the Fighting Irish by 30. That pretty much sums up the apprehension regarding Notre Dame. They can score the ball with anyone in the country, but if you take Grant out of the game, or if Notre Dame’s shooters aren’t hitting, they’re toast. Their defense won’t keep them in games. And it’s pretty hard to stay hot for 6 straight games. Notre Dame is basically Creighton from last year. Creighton hit a ton of 3’s and they had arguably the best player in the country in McDermott. So some people picked them to go far, making more of a bet on McDermott than Creighton. That didn’t really pan out. You can bet on Grant this March, but just remember it’s been awhile (like, 12 years) since Mike Brey got Notre Dame out of the first weekend. Continue reading