The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2021 is filled with teams you haven’t seen in the series in a while. Thirty-eight teams in the field of 68 teams missed the most recent tournament in 2019, and many are longer. Here’s a look at some recurring teams to look at.
The Crimson Tide last selected the tournament as number 9 in 2018, but have not reached the second round since 2004, when they advanced to the round of 8.
This season, the 2-seeded Alabama proved to be one of the best programs in the tournament, beating the state of Louisiana to win the Southeastern Championship for the first time since 1991.. It’s an offensive team, led by four constant goal scorers – Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly, John Petty and Herb Jones – all scoring more than 11 points per game. The Crimson Tide highlighted the 3-point shot, averaging 10.7 percent per game and 35.1 percent. This is a well-balanced team that shares the ball well.
This could be one of the years in which Alabama achieves success in more than just football. The Crimson Tide will face 15-seeded Iona in the first round.
Nr. 9-selected St. Bonaventure is the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament champion. It relies heavily on its five starters – Kyle Lofton, Jaren Holmes, Jalen Adaway, Dominick Welch and Osun Osunniyi – who averaged 34.5 minutes and scored 62.7 points per game, making up 88.9 percent of the team’s points .
This makes these five players invaluable, but also leaves the team vulnerable if one of them is not at his game. If the five entrees remain reliable, St. Bonaventure presents a challenge to Louisiana State no. 8.
The Bonnies last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2018 as a No. 11 series and lost in the first round to Florida. This time they have a stronger core of players and it looks like they could be a big upset from the number 8 and no. 9 seed matches.
The 12-seeded Georgetown, last seen in the tournament in 2015, stunned Creighton, a No. 5 series, 73-48, to win the Big East Tournament Championship. The Hoyas have had a lot of up and down moments this year, and their record shows that, but they’s also a big upset because they face fifth-seeded Colorado in the first round.
Led by coach Patrick Ewing, the team will unexpectedly have momentum from the Big East tournament starting in the first round. See if the Hoyas depend on senior guard Jahvon Blair to play heavy minutes and set up the offense consistently. Blair’s steady production – 15.8 points in 35 minutes per game – is at the heart of this team’s offense and key to a turnaround in the tournament.
Who can forget Loyola-Chicago’s unexpected Final Four run in 2018? It was the bracket of the year, and Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt received more national attention within a month than some teams received all season.
This year, the No. 8 seeded Ramblers are back with an even better team. Loyola beat Drake 75-65 to win the Missouri Valley Tournament and finished first in the conference. The Ramblers have the best defense in the league, averaging 55.5 points per game. This makes them a particularly good choice for a first round, but their path to the Final Four looks bleak this time around. Illinois, the number one in the Midwest region, is going to be tough for any team to beat.
Hope for the Ramblers lies with senior center Cameron Krutwig, the only frontrunner for the Final Four team in 2018. Krutwig is expected to score 15 points and shoot 59.7 percent off the field, and is expected to be the anchor and leader be what will give the team the chance to take it out of the region. Loyola will face Georgia Tech, No. 9, in the first round.
Arkansas has been at the tournament since 2018, when it lost in the first round to Butler. Back as a number 3 team, the Razorbacks are the seventh team with the best scoresheet in the country, averaging 82.4 points per game. They have an effective offensive system led by coach Eric Musselman and freshman Moses Moody, who lead the team with 17.4 points per game and shoot 44.2 percent off the field.
While this team from Arkansas is better than the last one to reach the tournament, it is up against a first-round opponent, no. 14 Colgate, wat the third best offensive rating in the country, according to Sports Reference, behind Gonzaga and Baylor. It’s a strong upset choice and will be a quick match. If the Razorbacks advance to the second round, they will have to control the pace and depend on their adaptable offense.