Does anyone have any lower/mid seeded teams that have a decent shot at reaching the final 4? Saint Louis?VCU? etc etc.
i can't believe how bad they played last game.
My bracket is going to be hell this year.
Wouldn't be surprised if teams Ball State, Arizona Technical Institute in Virginia, West Country University, and Idaho make the final four.
Any chance San Diego State University or South Dakota State University make a run? I could easily see Jamaal Franklin, and especially Nate Wolters rise to the occasion in the tourney. Maybe not final four runs, but they could break out and advance a few rounds depending on who they each play. But knowing how their selection committee makes the brackets, they'll likely pair mid-major teams poised to make deep runs up against each other in the first round.
i like that pick now but i don't think they will be a darkhorse come tourney time.
You talking about how bad Akron U played?
Yea they did.
But they are still 20-1 in their last 21 games, that's huge momentum heading into the tourney.
i realize that. not denying they are good. just a terrible terrible loss last game though against a losing mid major program.
Using your logic they're 1-1 in their last two games, so they don't have that much momentum going into the tournament.
Everyone has slip ups tho....Check Michigan losing to Penn State who hadn't won a conference game all year until they beat Michigan.
absolutely. that was also a terrible loss.
Not sure what exactly you are considering a dark horse but 4 teams who have the talent in my eyes to make a Final Four run, but they just haven't shown it this year are:
UCLA: Bazz and Kyle Anderson are 2 of the most talented players in the country and they are developing great chemistry together. With depth on their roster, and 2 blue chip freshman leading the way, I expect UCLA to make a lot of noise come tourney time. I really like UCLA because Bazz seems to be floating through the season, and I expect him to go full Carmelo Syracuse Mode on the competition come Tourney Time.
UNLV: This team is so talented. Anthony Bennett, Mike Moser, Khem Birch, Katin Reinhardt, they got the talent to play with any team in the country, all they need is the experience.
Kentucky: I never underestimate Coach Cal. This years Kentucky squad has loads of athleticism and players at each position who can just physically dominate their opponent. Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley Stein are the key to a strong finish. If they can start putting together consistent performances, Kentucky becomes a very hard team to beat.
NC State: CJ Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, TJ Warren, Howell, Purvis, they got players at every position and Leslie, Brown, and Howell are primed to end their college careers are a high note.
Ima go out on a complete limb and Say VCU, Miami, Georgetown, & Memphis
The typical mid major teams that have the best chance to get deep in the tourney have good PG play and enough size to not get obliterated on the boards.
With that said, UNLV has the kind of talent that could allow them to make some legit noise. They have the star power with Bennet, size with Birch/Moser/Bennet and experience at the PG spot with Marshall. Though I don't really consider the Mountain West a mid major conference anymore given that they will produce more at large teams then the Big 12 and SEC.
I won't say these 2 teams are darkhorse final 4 teams, but it wouldnt suprise me if both were playing into the 2nd weekend and making life very uncomfortable for top seeds. Those teams are NC State and Minnesota.
NC State made a run last year to the Sweet 16 and I could see them doing it again. They have veteran guard play with Brown and Wood. They have size with Leslie and Howell, and they have 6 guys who could go for 20 any game. Thats hard to prepare for and if they have time to prepare for teams they have the talent to make noise.
Minnesota was a team that was in the top 10 for a while and seem to be working their way out of a nasty funk of February. They have played a bunch of teams that will be top seeds in MSU, Indiana, Michigan, and Duke. They rebound the ball at an elite level and if they get timely scoring from Hollins (see Memphis game), they can beat anybody.
With that said, if MN plays a team that slows it down or plays zone then they could lose the first game.
IMO teams like UNLV, Kentucky (If they make the tourney and judging by who they've beaten, they don't deserve to be in.) and NC St have a better chance of being upset in the first round or 2nd round. They are teams that really struggle in the half-court because they lack leadership and heady play. They aren't well-coached, they lack discipline, so unless they get a matchup that they can run out of the gym, they'll struggle in grind out games where every possession matters and execution is key down the stretch of games. UNLV in particular plays a really bad brand of basketball. They have poor decision makers up and down their roster.
A couple of Big East teams that I like as sleepers are Marquette and Pittsburgh. Both are tough, deep, physical and are well-coached. Pittsburgh in particular is an intriguing team. They're offensively efficient, don't turn the ball over, high ast rate, defend like hell, go 10 deep with vet leadership and they own the glass. They're one of the very few teams who are top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Marquette is super deep too and constantly run in fresh bodies to keep up the pressure and intensity. Both their big guys Otule and Gardner are two of the most physical bigs I've seen this yr. They're basically offensive linemen out there with the way they move bodies and set crushing screens.
I also like Iowa St to make a deep run. They're just tough to match up with since they play 4 out 1 in with shooters all over the place. You can't zone them up because they shoot so well. They lack size, but they team rebound really well and they have a couple of versatile wings who can play inside or out.
I was at the game last year when St. Louis kicked our butt in the first round. Then they gave Michigan State fits.
I guess it is a lot of the same team and it appears that their new coach is doing a great job following the late legend Rick Majerus.
I could see that team making a decent run. They mix it up and make it ugly. I think they have a good shot at being a Cinderella team.
Personally though, I think most of the top teams will go far. I wouldn't be surprised if the Final Four consists of Kansas, Duke, Indiana, and Gonzaga.
I think we will see some upsets this year but more likely it will be the 3, 4, and 5 seeds going down, which would ironically make it easier for the big boys (the one seeds and two seeds) to advance.
I really like VCU. Shaka Smart is a basketball genius. Nobody plays a hectic style like that in a lot of these major conferences. Teams aren't used to being pressured that intensely for 40 minutes. I would not be surprised in the least if VCU made another Final 4 run.
St. Louis is for real as well and they have a stellar defense but it is more traditional. They don't really have a go to guy like Redick or even Graham. I would be much more surprised to see St. Louis make the Final 4 even being ranked 5 spots ahead of VCU at the moment.
Trust me when I say nobody wants to see a first or second round matchup with the VCU Rams!
I agree with most teams that have been said so far (VCU, UNLV, UCLA,, Georgetown, and Akron) so ill try to throw out a couple other teams:
Minnesota- if they can get on a roll in their conference tourney i like Trevor Mbakwes leadership and toughness, and they've proven they can play with anyone.
Wichita State- a program thats not afraid of the big stage at all and also plays with a lot of pressure. if they get the right bracket i think they could make an interesting run.
Side note: a team im going to be watching closely is Missouri. we all know they (aka Phil Pressey) want to make up for being the first major upset last year and with it being Oriaki's they have an experienced big guy who knows what it takes.