March Madness Outlook: College Basketball Teams Catching Fire

    March Madness outlook as college basketball hits the home stretch of the regular season. Here are three teams catching fire.

    February 12, 2016

    March Madness outlook as college basketball hits the home stretch of the regular season. Here are three teams catching fire.

    If there’s ever a time for a team to pull itself together, it’s February. This is the final stretch for anyone looking to improve their resume and increase their odds of getting the invitation to the Big Dance.

    For a number of teams, the year started out slow and, perhaps, unexpectedly sluggish. But late-season surges have brought them back into the conversation at just the right time.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish

    That’s the case for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who just picked up a huge victory over No. 2 North Carolina last week. The Irish reached the Elite Eight last year before falling to Kentucky in a one-possession thriller, and were led by standout guard Jerian Grant.

    This year, it’s Demetrius Jackson’s turn to take over the reigns and lead Notre Dame to another deep postseason run. The Irish have the nation’s most efficient offense for the second year in a row.

    Wisconsin Badgers

    The Wisconsin Badgers have won six games in a row after faltering to kick off the year and losing their legendary head coach, Bo Ryan, to retirement in the middle of the season. The Badgers were shocked in a season-opening loss to Western Illinois and never truly recovered from it until now.

    Included in those six straight victories are wins over then-No. 4 Michigan State and then-No. 18 Indiana. The Badgers are averaging 73.2 points per game while allowing only 66.5 points per game, and it’s clear that they’ve now fully bought into interim head coach Greg Gard.

    Texas Longhorns

    The amazing work that Shaka Smart has done with Texas cannot go unnoticed.

    The Longhorns have certainly had their ups and downs this year, but the positives outweigh the negatives. Texas has wins over North Carolina, Iowa State, West Virginia, and Baylor on its resume, all of which are ranked in the top 25 in RPI.

    Smart’s squad has gotten it together at the perfect time, but the teeth of Texas’ schedule has yet to arrive. Before Selection Sunday, Texas will face Iowa State, West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Kansas. They also square up against Kansas State and Oklahoma State, which are by no means a walk in the park.

    Assuming there’s no late-season collapse here, Texas will surely be dancing and are a force to be reckoned with come March.

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