By Adam JareckiAuburn basketball is headed back to the NCAA tournament.
That’s thanks to the incredible work of the team that led the country to the Final Four last season.
And while they’ve been the favorites to win it all in 2018, that hasn’t stopped some of the nation’s top programs from taking notice.
The MBCA has released a list of the best, worst, and best-case scenarios for the next cycle of the NCAA Tournament, and we’ve rounded up a few predictions to help you make a decision about whether or not to join them.1.
Oklahoma State Thunder (27-5)After the shocker win over Duke in the Final four last season, the Oklahoma State offense has taken a step forward.
With the departure of Marcus Smart, the Thunder have been forced to turn to their most versatile player, Aaron Craft.
Craft has averaged 20.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game over the past three seasons.
He has shot 43.9 percent from the field, while shooting 51.1 percent from beyond the arc.
The Thunder have shown the ability to hit the 3-point line, but they’ve struggled to convert on them.
If Oklahoma State can make some improvements on that front, it could make a run at the national championship.2.
Louisville Cardinals (19-10)The Cardinals are one of the most exciting teams in college basketball.
Led by sophomore point guard Jalen Brunson, Louisville has been a force in the Atlantic Coast Conference since joining the league in 2014.
Brunson is averaging 21.1 points per game, 3.1 assists per contest, and is shooting 50.2 percent from three.
The Cardinals are a team with a strong identity, and they have been able to make it work.
Louisville is coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths and is in the final year of its contract.3.
Iowa State Cyclones (15-15)After losing star guard Jaleni Walker to graduation, the Cyclones had to rely on junior guard Kadeem Allen.
Allen is averaging 20.8 points per contest for Iowa State.
He’s shooting 42.5 percent from deep, while adding 4.3 assists per outing.
The Cyclones are a strong rebounding team, but their offense needs to take a step back.
Iowa States defense is very deep, and the Cyclone’s offense needs some help as well.4.
Marquette Golden Eagles (15/18)After falling to the Villanova Wildcats in the Sweet 16 last season and being swept by the eventual champion Ohio State Buckeyes, the Golden Eagles are in a similar spot this year.
Freshman guard Deandre Burnett is averaging 13.1 per game for Marquette, which could be a sign of things to come.
Burnett needs to improve his rebounding numbers, but he is shooting 56.5% from the floor, while he’s also been efficient from the free throw line.5.
Georgia Bulldogs (11-14)The Bulldogs lost guard Austin Evans to graduation last season after a stellar freshman season, but it’s been hard to see the Bulldogs lose their star.
The team’s top returning scorer, Alex Poythress, averages 18.5 points per night and has shot 55.3% from beyond and the free-throw line.6.
Iowa Hawkeyes (9-13)After a very solid first half of the season, Iowa lost star guard Josh Hart to graduation.
The Hawkeyes have struggled to score the ball offensively, as they’ve averaged 17.3 points per minute and 6.3 turnovers per game.
The unit also has struggled to defend in the paint.
Iowa is in need of some improvement on that side of the ball.7.
Michigan Wolverines (7-14, No. 13 in AP)It took two seasons, but Michigan’s season could be coming to an end.
The Wolverines lost guard Josh Howard to graduation in December and have been in a tailspin in the ACC, losing three straight games.
The losses were on both ends of the court.
Michigan is going to need a major upgrade at guard, but the team is looking for help elsewhere.8.
Arizona Wildcats (7/18, No, 12 in AP Poll)The Wildcats had a great first half last year, but struggled to make up ground in the Big Ten.
This year, they have looked even better, but there are still plenty of questions at the point guard position.
If the Wildcats can find a new point guard, it will make them one of three teams in the country capable of making the NCAA tourney.9.
UCLA Bruins (5-15, No., 9 in AP poll)The Bruins have been an amazing team since the first day of the 2018-19 season.
They won a national championship last season as well, and this year they have