18. Baylor Bears
From preseason unranked to No. 1 in the Associated Press polls, no team has been more up and down this year than the Baylor Bears. The resume is as impressive as any team in the country, with wins over Oregon, Louisville, and Xavier among others, but the losses to Kansas State (twice) and Texas Tech are causes for concern. Jonathan Motley has been the steadying force all season, while Manu Lecomte and Al Freeman create a dynamic backcourt. Baylor drew a solid New Mexico St. team in their first game, and could potentially face both Duke and Villanova on their way to the Final Four. History says that Baylor could be looking at an early round exit, but this is arguably the best team they’ve had in years, so we can’t completely count the Bears out.
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17. Virginia Cavaliers
It’s the same story every year. Virginia has been a consistently great regular season team over the last few years, but fail to ever put it together when it matters most. They’ve suffered some uncharacteristic losses this season, including a stinker overtime loss against a very average Pittsburgh squad. They’re phenomenal defensively and very well-coached, the question is if they have enough offensive fire power to beat other top schools. UNC-Wilmington will be their first matchup of the tourney, and the Seahawks’ explosive offense could pose as a serious threat to the Cavaliers. If Virginia is able to get into a groove defensively early on, they could become dangerous.
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