Slow starters that can make tourney
With the first day of 2013 fast approaching, this is a good time for college basketball teams that have struggled to begin the season to make New Year's resolutions as conference play begins.
For the following four teams, injuries, tough schedules or missed breakthrough opportunities are to blame for their slow starts, but all four have the potential to improve and play their way into the NCAA tournament, either through an at-large bid or by winning their conference tournament.
Their resolutions should be all about playing one game at a time, getting better every day in practice and playing with the sense of urgency that is needed in league play.
Here is a closer look at these programs and why I think each should be able to turn things around and make the tourney.
Despite their 11-2 record, the Hawkeyes don't yet have a marquee win that will impress the NCAA selection committee. Their wins against in-state rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa are potential top-100 wins, but they have more work to do if they are going to earn their first bid since 2006. The good news is that, as they enter Big Ten play, there will be numerous opportunities for the Hawkeyes to earn the quality wins they need. And this Iowa team has a unique mix of youth and experience that should enable it to pick up those wins.
To read Seth Greenberg's full take on Iowa and three other teams that could rebound from slow starts to make the NCAA tournament, you must be an ESPN Insider.