We are a little over a month away from selection Sunday and everyone is expecting teams like Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan and Tennessee to make big runs come tourney time but there are a few teams that no one is talking about that I think you need to keep an eye out for in March.
Marquette comes into the week quietly ranked in the top ten at #10 sitting at 19-3 including an 8-1 conference record. Marquette is a team that could give teams some problems in the tournament and as a projected 3 or 4 seed currently they should have a good opportunity to make a deep run. With wins over Kansas State, Wisconsin, Buffalo and the all powerful UMBC to open the season, the Golden Eagles are a battle tested team and should be one of the favorites to win the Big East this year if they can beat out Villanova. Marquette averages almost 80 points a game and holds opponents to a really nice clip at 69 points per game. Marquette also has something that can give a team the edge in March and that's a player that can take over the game with Markus Howard who is averaging 25 ppg including a 53 point game earlier this year. Howard is good enough to take over a game and put the team on top.
Houston is a team that we got a little taste of last year with a nice little run in the tourney and the Cougars have proven that they are to stay coming out to a 21-1 start this season in an impressive American conference. The Cougars have one of the best defenses in the nation holding opponents to 60.5 points a game while scoring over 75 per game on offense. The Cougars are a very balanced team with 6 players averaging at least 7 points per game. Houston could easily finish this season with 3 or less losses and if they do with a conference championship you could see them jump as high as a 2 or 3 seed and make a nice run in March.
Purdue was a team that a lot of people thought could win the Big Ten but after an unimpressive 7-4 record following non conference play many jumped off the Boilermaker train and started to doubt this team. Purdue has figured something out and the Carson Edward led Boilermakers are off to a 9-2 start in conference play and is on a 7 game win streak. Purdue has also had the tough part of their conference schedule and only have one remaining game against a team that is currently ranked. If Purdue can win 8 or 9 of their remaining 9 games they could get some real momentum heading into march and Carson Edwards who is averaging nearly 25 ppg could lead this team into a deep run that was cut short last season due to the loss of Isaac Haas.
Auburn is a team like Purdue that had high expectations to start the season but hit a road bump in the middle of the season, however the Tigers have had some injuries and are starting to get healthy and hot again and this Auburn team has some play makers that can hang with anyone like how they did in their 6 point loss to Duke early in the season. Auburn is another team that is very balanced and they have 4 players averaging at least 10ppg. Auburn plays at a very fast pace which could give teams some trouble come March, and averaging 84 ppg will make them tough to stop come tourney time. Bruce Pearl has his best squad since coming to Auburn and with an easier stretch here for the next few weeks before heading to Lexington to face Kentucky, the Tigers could rattle off 5 or 6 in a row before potentially getting a signature win against UK. Right now Auburn is probably sitting in the 7-10 seed range but a few big games coming up soon could allow the Tigers to boost their resume and jump up to the 4-5 spot where they could really make some damage.