NCAA Tournament Power Rankings

(#55) Georgia State
How they got here: It was a hot-and-cold kind of year for Georgia State. In the span of five games early in the season, the Panthers lost to Creighton and Liberty by a combined margin of 51 points, blew out Georgia and upset Alabama. They were a little less erratic in Sun Belt play, though, and they have won eight of their last nine games.

Reason to believe: D’Marcus Simonds is the stat-sheet stuffer that a lot of fans might remember from last year’s tournament team, but he is just one of five Panthers averaging more than 11 points per game. This team is lethal from three-point range, and it thrives on turning blocks and steals into easy buckets. Georgia State is a minor-conference version of Auburn in that regard.

Reason to worry: The panthers are downright awful on the glass, ranking in the bottom 50 on both ends of the court per KenPom, and their three-point defense leaves a lot to be desired. Such is life when you primarily play zone defense and don’t put a ton of emphasis on crashing the offensive boards, though. Teams who can stroke it from distance can handle Georgia State with relative ease.

March Madness Ceiling: Georgia State broke brackets around the world in 2015 when it upset Baylor in the first round. Perhaps another Ron-Hunter-falls-off-his-stool moment is coming again this year? The rebounding numbers are terrifying, but there are so many scoring options that the Panthers could put up 70 points without a single offensive rebound. We’ll see if the slipper still fits on this Cinderella.


(#10) Houston Cougars

How they got here: Before losing by 12 to Cincinnati in the AAC championship game, the only blips on the Cougars radar were conference losses to UCF and Temple by a combined nine points. After landing a No. 6 seed in last year’s tournament and losing to Michigan by one point in the second round, they entered the season with high hopes and delivered

Reason to believe: A 6-3 record in Quad 1 games that included double-digit wins over Cincinnati and Utah State is a good indication that this team is legit. The Cougars lead the nation in opponent’s field-goal percentage (36.5%) and ranked 13th in KenPoms adjusted defensive efficiency. They’re far from a one-dimensional team, though, checking in at 22nd in offensive efficiency. Upperclassmen Corey Davis Jr., Armoni Brooks and Galen Robinson Jr. lead a balanced attack.

Reason to worry: The Cougars don’t shoot free throws particularly well (70.4%, 178th in NCAA), and they’re undersized aside from 6’8" senior forward Breaon Brady. Those could be deciding factors down the stretch in a close game against another top-tier team. Their nonconference SOS was also outside the top 100, and aside from the LSU and Utah State games, they weren’t tested in the nonconference slate. It’s nitpicking, but other top-tier teams are more battle-tested.

March Madness Ceiling: Anything short of a Sweet 16 trip would be a massive disappointment, and this team will have its sights set on the Final Four. Between the Cougars’ defensive efficiency, balanced offense and tournament experience, that’s not out of the realm of possibility.


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Yep. I get the shakes every time we go to the line.

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Yep, get the shakes when they shoot 70% down right terrified when free throws hover at 50%. Just look at what made free throws does to the result of the Michigan game.

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If you’ve watched UH basketball for years as I have, you know that we’ve had trouble with free throws for a long time. Guy’s teams had their share of trouble too.

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It’s not like playing for a certain team dooms one to shooting free throws poorly. It’s a matter of practice and coaching and knowing how to deal with extreme pressure late in close games.

I know that you can nit pick this, but the bottom line is that UH beat the following teams:

Oregon - PAC tourney champion
LSU - SEC season champs
St. Louis - Atlantic 10 tourney champion
Utah State - MWC tourney champion
Cincinatti (twice) - AAC tourney champion

When you beat champions, it kinda good in my book.


Correct, but it’s not a new phenomenon.

I din’t say it was new. I guess I’m not getting your point.