With March Madness commencing Thursday afternoon, I figured I would supply some insight on teams I think you should consider shocking many when filling out your bracket. Listed below is a team from each Region that I believe will overachieve their seeding and make noise in this year’s tournament.
Midwest Region- Rhode Island
URI heads into the tournament very under the radar. They lost their conference championship game Sunday to a very solid Davidson team by one point, otherwise they may have been as high as a four seed. Though not a household name, URI has won three tournament games over the past four years. While they take on Trae Young and Oklahoma in their first-round game, the Sooners have struggled during the second half of the season. Many will be picking OU due to Young’s allure in the first round, but don’t be shocked if URI beats them rather easily. As for their potential 2nd round game against Duke? The Blue Devils have often encountered their greatest struggles in the first weekend of the Tourney. Could URI pull off that upset? I say yes.
West Region- Gonzaga
Let’s not forget, last season the Zags were one win away from a national championship. Although they lost their two best players from last year’s team, Zach Collins and Nigel Williams-Goss, the Zags still have plenty of tourney experience. As a four seed, the Zags would face one seed Xavier to get to the Elite 8. Xavier is talented, but far from dominant. Don’t be shocked to see Gonzaga in the Elite 8, and maybe even make a second consecutive run to the Final Four.
South Region- Arizona
The Wildcats enter the tournament as one of the most talented teams in the nation. Arizona has the most dominant player in the country in DeAndre Ayton, as well as a plethora of veteran pieces who are no strangers to the NCAA tourney. Considering this may be Sean Millers last chance at a trip to the Final Four, don’t be shocked if Zona finds a way to beat Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen, and end up representing the South Region in San Antonio.
East Region- Purdue
I have to be honest, Villanova is my pick to win it all this year. With that being said, I really like Purdue. Purdue can shoot the ball with anyone in the country, and has 7’3 Isaac Haas to protect the paint. A senior laden team with great guards in Vincent and Carson Edwards, I think this is the year Purdue could shock many. If you are in a big pool and want a dark horse team to win it all, don’t say I didn’t warn you if Purdue takes down Nova and wins the whole damn thing.
Double Digit Sleepers- Davidson, St. Bonaventure, Loyola Chicago (Sweet Sixteen, just remember I said it)