The 12 Noisy-Boys of College Basketball

With March Madness only four weeks away, tournament candidates begin their final push for a chance at the title. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the college basketball landscape, 68 teams will still get their chance at winning the title. Through a combination of NET rankings, Kenpom, and merely inspecting how a team plays, I will rank 80 qualifying teams to their respective category. Last week, I organized the top 7 college basketball giants, and you can find that here. In the second edition of bracketology 101, the next 12 teams will be listed and ranked. Lastly, these teams have the ability to get hot and make some noise in the tournament.

The Tier-Two Teams

While these colleges may not be the pretty golden boys or even favored to reach the final four, their ability to play quality basketball gives them a sincere chance to get hot at any moment. Also, all of these teams have the star power to ensure their place in the tournament. These are the three and four seeds, the money-makers and dark horses. While they are not quite Cinderellas, they do have the potential to bust your bracket. In conclusion, these are the Noisy Boys.

IOWA (16-6)

Iowa might be the most polarizing team in the nation. On the one hand, they have a top-three player in the country, Luka Garza. Yet, they often fail to meet expectations in big games. Although they are ranked 3rd in Kenpom, 5th in NET, and 11th in the AP rankings, they have three confusing losses: Indiana twice and once to Minnesota at the Barn. However, with players like Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp, Iowa has a legitimate chance to reach the championship. Prediction: 2-Seed

ALABAMA (17-5)

Alabama is another captivating team in college basketball. As the current SEC standings leader, Alabama has quietly produced one of the best offenses in college basketball. For instance, their 115 points against Georgia on February 13th are their most in a game since 1976. The AP voters and analytics have also noticed their massive improvement as they are ranked 8th in the AP, Kenpom, and NET rankings. In conclusion, this Alabama team led by Herbert Jones certainly has the chance to make a run in the tournament. Prediction: 2-Seed

VIRGINA (15-4)

Virginia is the retirement home in this year’s bracket. Besides, due to technicality, Virginia is looking to defend its 2019 National Championship. Led by Senior forwards Sam Hauser, Jay Huff, and point guard Kihei Clark, this Virginia squad has a chance to pull a repeat. The rankings prove their chances as they are ranked 7th in the AP, 9th in NET, and 10th in Kenpom rankings. Above all, Virginia’s leadership and experience in big games will prove to be incredibly beneficial in the tournament. Prediction: 3-Seed

USC (18-3)

Despite playing in the woeful PAC-12, USC has continued to prove their worth among the big boys in the tournament. It also helps to have the best player in the PAC-12, Evan Mobley, on your team. Despite being a Freshman, Evan Mobley continues to dominate opponents on both sides of the ball. His extraordinary athletic abilities for a 7-foot center have not only propelled him to the top of mock drafts but also into the Naismith award conversation. The rankings noticed Evan Mobley’s impact as USC’s ranked 12th in Kenpom, 14th in NET, and 17th in the AP rankings. USC is getting hot at the right time, and with Evan Mobley, USC has their eyes firmly set on the championship. Prediction: 4-Seed

CREIGHTON (16-5)

Next up, the Creighton Blue Jays. The best thing about Creighton, three-pointers. Creighton’s exciting and fast-paced offense begins and ends with the three. For instance, in their big-time upset over Villanova, they shot 46.3% from the three-point line with 12 threes all together. Besides, with Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton can afford to shoot the three. The sincere rankings show their place with 14th in AP and Kenpom and 23rd in the NET rankings. Watch out for Creighton this postseason, as they are a hard team to beat at their best. Prediction: 5-Seed

FLORIDA ST. (12-3)

Florida St. has taken over not just the ACC but the entire college basketball landscape. Despite losing key players Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell to the NBA draft last year, Florida St. continues to improve from their already impressive season 2020 season. Additionally, players like M.J. Walker and Raiquan Gray have faithfully stepped up and guided Florida St. through the ACC. Moreover, the rankings continue to show their worth as they are 13th in Kenpom and 16th in the AP and NET rankings. Above all, coach Leonard Hamilton continues to prove himself as one of the best in college basketball. Thus, any team in Florida St.’s region will be a little bit more scared than usual. Prediction: 3-Seed

LOYOLA-CHICAGO (19-4)

Putting Loyola as a tier-two team might be shocking to some yet, they are entirely worthy of the spot. What Loyola does better than any other team in the nation is play defense. Kenpom ranks their defense as the best in the country, and they let up the fewest points, too, with only 55.7 PPG. Senior Cameron Krutwig has been the focal point of Loyola’s constricting defense which has even put him into Naismith award discussion. Furthermore, the rankings have dutifully noticed Loyola as they are ranked 9th in the Kempom, 13th in NET, and 22nd in the AP rankings. This 2021 Loyola squad continues to shock everyone, and they have the opportunity to surprise their 2018 team. Prediction: 7-Seed

WEST VIRGINIA (14-6)

If you do not know who Miles McBride is, you better cause he is about to tear up March Madness. West Virginia knows how to play entertaining basketball through their effective offense and playmaking abilities. Furthermore, West Virginia has a devasting guard-forward combo with Miles McBride and Derek Culver. The duo produces at an unbelievable level, and with their other playmakers like Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil, their destiny lies within their hands. Additionally, the rankings approve of their dominating play as they rank 13th in AP and 18th in the Kenpom and NET rankings. Look out for this offensive powerhouse as they will attract viewers from across the nation. Prediction: 3-Seed

TEXAS TECH (14-6)

The Red Raiders might not be at their 2019 form, but they certainly can make some noise in this year’s tournament. Firstly, we must acknowledge the star of this tournament-bound team. Mac McClung. The junior-transfer has catapulted Texas Tech into being a perennial threat to the tournament. More precisely, his 17.2 PPG and clutch shooting has been invaluable to Texas Tech. Along with McClung, Texas Tech’s supporting cast proves exceptional as well. Players like Terrance Shannon and Kyler Edwards have launched them into being title contenders. The rankings have noticed, propelling them to 15th in the AP and NET and 20th in the Kenpom rankings. Above all, this Red Raider squad can succeed where their 2019 team failed. Prediction: 3-Seed

TENNESSEE (15-5)

Just like Loyola Chicago, Tennessee plays defense like how Steph Curry shoots threes. Natural and Smooth. Additionally, this is a team predicated on playing as one. While they might not have a star player that can bring the ball up every possession, they have a team-based unit dedicated to picking each other up. In other words, they are the Spurs. The rankers view them the same way as they are ranked 11th in NET, 16th in Kenpom, and 19th in the AP rankings. In conclusion, while this team might not be super flashy like West Virginia or Iowa, they absolutely have the skill to go far in the tournament. Prediction: 4-Seed

TEXAS (13-5)

Texas might want to change their name to a tale of two different teams after this season. At times this season, Texas has looked like a potential three seed or a possible two seed. However, their inability to win big games continues to hurt their outlook for this year’s tournament. Despite those losses, the longhorn’s efficient offense and stifling defense will cause any opposing team problems in this year’s bracket. Although they got ranked near the top a few weeks ago, they sit at 12th in AP, 19th in Kenpom, and 20th in NET rankings at the moment. In the end, Texas has not had a good college basketball team for a while; perhaps this Longhorn team can shock the world and make a run in the tournament. Prediction: 4-Seed

OKLAHOMA (13-5)

Trying to figure out Oklahoma is like trying to figure out if a girl likes you. The signs are there, but you can not read them. The Sooners have bounced all over the place this season yet, continue to be a legitimate final four contender. Led by the two-headed monster of Austin Reaves and De’Vion Harmon, the Sooners have positioned themselves not just to be players in the BIG12 but the NCAA tournament as well. However, their rankings prove just how unpredictable they can be; AP has them ranked 9th, NET is 17th, and Kenpom has them at 26. Realistically, Oklahoma’s ceiling might be higher than any other team on this list. However, their floor might be lower than every other college as well. Prediction: 4-Seed

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