NCAAB March Madness Sleeper Teams
Sure, it’s nice to enter the NCAA basketball tournament with a #1 seed. However, as many teams have learned over the years, that’s far from a guarantee that you’ll make it to the Final Four. Let’s look at some of the sleeper teams in the brackets that could knock off the top seed in their part of the tournament and end up in Houston playing in the national semifinal. Find out the updated college basketball betting odds here.
NCAAB March Madness Sleeper Teams
Sure, North Carolina is the #1 seed. But their bracket is treacherous. The #2 seed, Xavier, knocked off a Villanova team that I would argue is better than North Carolina. The #3 seed, West Virginia, is probably seeded a little too high. Yes, they have played solid pressure defense throughout the season but have also shown a tendency to give up puzzling losses at the wrong time. The #4 seed is Kentucky — and they are feeling angry that they’re not higher. I don’t have a problem with the 4-seed for a team that lost to Tennessee and Vanderbilt this season, but Kentucky sure seems to have a problem with it, which doesn’t bode well for the opposition. The #5 seed, Indiana, won the Big 12 regular season title and had a huge January and February, even if they weren’t able to win the conference tournament.
The ACC got two #1 seeds somehow, with Virginia sitting atop this bracket. Way on the other side of the bracket is the team that should have been the #1 seed, given its win in the Big 12 conference tournament and its higher national ranking, in Michigan State, so you can imagine that the Spartans will have plenty of motivation to make it to face the Cavaliers in the Elite Eight. To me, this is a lot less scary of a bracket than the East. Purdue (5) made the Big Ten final, but they will have matchup fits with Iowa State (4). If they can face Virginia, Purdue could win; they both play slow-paced offenses, and Purdue has the bigger bangers. Utah (3) is an intriguing team out of the Big East, but I could see Seton Hall (6) exploiting some matchup issues inside.
Oregon is another mystifying #1 seed in this tournament. I think that #2 Oklahoma is seeded a little high and could see them to following to either the #7 (Oregon State) or #10 (VCU) seed in the second round. However, Texas A&M (3) made the SEC final and could present a major challenge with their strength and size inside. Texas (6) has the tournament-savvy Shaka Smart coaching them this season — and they have a win over North Carolina under their belts. Duke (4) is seeded higher than they should be because they are Duke, but they could still scare some teams. Yale (12) took SMU to the wire on the road and ran the table in Ivy League play, which means that Baylor (5) will have all they want in the first round, but if Baylor can get by them, and if they’re not fazed by the Duke mystique, they could have a big win on their hands.
I like Kansas as a #1 seed in this tournament. The #2 seed in this bracket, Villanova, should be atop another bracket, but that will give them plenty of motivation to show the nation that the selection committee keeps favoring the Power 5 conferences instead of acknowledging basketball realities. Connecticut (9) under Kevin Ollie made it all the way to the national championship a few years ago despite their low seed, so I won’t count them out until they are actually eliminated. Miami (3) played a good season and has a fairly easy path to the Sweet Sixteen. I don’t see Arizona (6) or Iowa (7) making much noise. In fact, I like Temple (10) to beat Iowa in the first round and then give Villanova a better game than they gave them in the regular season.