Dribble Handoff: 2021 NCAA Event groups poised to overlook out on return journey to Huge Dance

With historic powers like Kentucky and Duke lacking out on the 2021 NCAA Event and others equivalent to Michigan State, UCLA, Syracuse and North Carolina barely making it in, final season was a reminder {that a} ticket to the Huge Dance have to be earned every season. Just for the choose few groups in faculty basketball is an annual journey to the NCAA Event a given at this level. 

Kansas, Michigan State and Gonzaga are the one applications with energetic streaks of 20 or extra consecutive season making the NCAA Event. So whereas a number of applications are nonetheless driving excessive from their 2021 March Insanity appearances with hopes of creating it an annual journey, a brand new season means the brutal actuality that many who went dancing final season will not get an invite again this season.

Final week, we checked out bounce-back groups for the 2021-22 season and picked 4 applications we predict are headed to the NCAA Event this season after lacking it in 2021. However these bounce-back groups should take the place of somebody. So which at-large NCAA Event groups from 2021 are least prone to make it again this season? Our writers weigh in for this week’s version of the Dribble Handoff.

This actually is a tough query as a result of, once I went by way of it, there’s not a single workforce that earned an at-large bid to the 2021 NCAA Event that I can not envision additionally incomes an at-large bid to the 2022 NCAA Event. In different phrases, there’s not an apparent reply right here, not less than for my part. However, if compelled to choose any individual, I suppose I am going to go along with VCU.

The Rams completed 19-7 final season whereas receiving a ten seed within the NCAA Event; level being they have been, kind of, a bubble workforce. The perfect participant on that roster was Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, who’s now off to the NBA and taking part in with the Denver Nuggets. He averaged 19.5 factors, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals in 31.9 minutes per recreation final season. In order that’s a large loss that was all the time going to be powerful to beat. After which VCU’s postseason hopes took a further hit in late Could when Adrian “Ace” Baldwin suffered a ruptured Achilles. The 6-foot-1 guard hasn’t formally been dominated out for the season, however that damage sometimes sidelines basketball gamers for not less than 10 months — and 10 months from late Could is late March. In case you’re acquainted with the school basketball calendar, you realize that is not good.

Can VCU make it again to the NCAA Event?


Mike Rhoades is admittedly good. He is guided the Rams to every of the previous two NCAA Tournaments. Solely a idiot would rely him out. However, that mentioned, there isn’t any getting round the concept that changing Hyland was all the time going to be tough, and that attempting to do it with the extra lack of Baldwin makes every little thing much more difficult. These have been two of VCU’s prime 4 scorers final season; now they’re now not out there. And that is among the many explanation why I would most likely guess towards the Rams making it again to the NCAA Event — and the truth that VCU is 81st within the preseason Torvik rankings simply underlines the purpose. Gary Parrish

In case you’re not a perennial top-25 program and also you lose not simply the most effective participant within the sport but in addition the most effective participant in program historical past, then your probabilities of repeating a top-10 season are extraordinarily low. And in Iowa’s case, non-existent. However that is about extra than simply being a top-three seed once more. That is about whether or not you may have sufficient to be an at-large in 2022. The Hawkeyes now not have Luka Garza — the apparent void — nevertheless it’s greater than that. Joe Wieskamp (14.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) has joined Garza (24.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) within the NBA. Sharpshooter C.J. Frederick (7.5 ppg, 47.4 3-PT%) left for Kentucky and Jack Nunge (7.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) transferred to Xavier. Greater than 75% of Iowa’s factors and rebounds are gone from final season. There’s so much to make up for a workforce that was so blatantly constructed round Garza’s uncooked offensive skill and its perimeter assault. I do not assume the Hawkeyes will probably be out of the NCAA Event dialog altogether, however I finally assume this workforce winds up safely getting slotted into the NIT. Garza was an exceptional faculty participant. He’ll be missed effectively past the bounds of Iowa Metropolis.  — Matt Norlander


Hedging towards a Corridor of Fame coach in Jim Boeheim who returns an All-ACC caliber participant in Buddy Boeheim (his son) simply feels … icky, particularly since Syracuse has solely missed the Huge Dance six occasions since 2000. However do not underestimate simply how a lot of a expertise drain funneled out of the Orange program this offseason. 64% of the workforce’s complete factors scored final season should not returning because of the departures of Quincy Guerrier, Kadary Richmond, Alan Griffin and others. And whereas they’ve backfilled with some attention-grabbing additions — together with four-star freshman Benny Williams and switch Jimmy Boeheim — it is exhausting to think about this workforce being better-positioned in 2021-22 than it was in 2020-21. That is not encouraging contemplating the 2020-21 workforce was simply barely ok to be at-large worthy. I would not be shocked in any respect if the Boeheim triumvirate meshes completely and the Orange are dancing once more in 2022. However, on paper, the expertise degree does not look like fairly on par with a few of the different groups within the prime half of the ACC. So, even acknowledging Boeheim’s greatness, merely incomes an at-large bid this season can be fairly the accomplishment.  Kyle Boone

This is not what Wisconsin followers need to hear within the midst of an abysmal soccer season, nevertheless it could possibly be a tough season on the hardwood for Badgers as effectively. Along with shedding 4 of their prime 5 scorers from a workforce that received progressively worse final season earlier than bouncing out of the NCAA Event within the second spherical with an 18-13 document, the Badgers are additionally coping with a cultural challenge.

Coach Greg Gard, now coming into his sixth season, was confronted by veteran Wisconsin gamers final season over a “disconnect” between him and the workforce. A recording of the dialog was then leaked to media in June. Although a lot of the gamers concerned have since moved on, the saga raises questions over whether or not the Badgers are transferring in the precise path underneath Gard.

Gard signed a powerful freshman class, and having a seasoned veteran guard like Brad Davison round will probably be useful. However the Badgers completed simply 10-10 in league play final season with a veteran roster, and the Huge Ten is not getting any simpler. This workforce might find yourself just like the 2017-18 Wisconsin squad that completed 15-18 (7-11 Huge Ten) and snapped this system’s 19-year NCAA Event streak. — David Cobb

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