With less than a month left until college basketball's biggest holiday, Selection Sunday, there may be a few surprises in store for familiar faces in the tournament. Three out of the last seven national champions, Syracuse, Duke and Connecticut, are in danger of not even receiving a bid to the Big Dance.
Connecticut has not been able to continue their usual dominance in the Big East, with a 4-6 record in conference play and a weak non-conference schedule. Also, their last six Big East games include two tough road games at Syracuse and Rutgers.
Syracuse has struggled all year with sloppy play and several surprising losses, including an embarrassing defeat at the Carrier Dome to Notre Dame, and they haven't cracked the Top 25 since early January. Their inconsistent play, combined with relative youth and a shallow bench may be their undoing come tournament time.
The surprising disappointment of the year has been Duke, which after starting off 18-3 has lost four straight with three extremely tough road games coming up against ACC foes UNC, Boston College and Clemson. Those four consecutive losses represent the longest losing streak in 11 years for the Blue Devils. The poor play of point guard Greg Paulus, who was benched at one point in the year, has led to some calls of him being overrated. Paulus is averaging 9.7 points per game and only 3.7 assists.
While all three teams still have a lot of room to save their seasons, don't be surprised to see one or two of these recent champions floundering in the NIT come March.