March Madness: Four Mid-Major Bracket Busters

ctsports picksAnalyst IJanuary 30, 2009

Handicapper Craig Trapp has started to shift his focus to basketball now that the Super Bowl is only a few days away. Craig will take a handicapper's look at some of the Mid-Major Teams that can win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. No doubt all of Craig's four mid-major bracket busters will be double-digit underdogs against the spread.

These bracket busters always occur, and it's never too early to start looking at these mid-major teams to study them before we have to pick our brackets.

This is a follow-up article to his last two March Madness articles: Ohio Teams to make the Big Dance and top Five Longshots that can win it all this March!


Virginia Commonwealth

Coming from the CAA, this conference historically has had teams that can be huge bracket busters. A few years ago we had George Mason get to the Final Four and also had VCU upset Duke in the first round.

This year's VCU team is cut in the same mold with a very tough, hard-nosed team that is led by point guard Eric Maynor. VCU plays tough man to man defense, and when they are hitting their three-point shots, they can play with any team in the country. Looks like they will be a very dangerous 11 or 12 seed that could definitely win one or two games.


Utah State

This is either an at-large team or an automatic entry from the WAC this year. This team has a very low strength of schedule but is a very experienced, well-coached team. Their only loss is to BYU by five earlier this year, and since then have won an NCAA-leading 14 games in a row.

Best win this year is versus rival Utah earlier this year where they showcased their great defense. Defensive points per game is one of the best in the country with less than 60 points per game.

Leading this team is senior forward/center Gary Wilkinson averaging 17 points per game. He is a tough matchup big man who is very good 13 feet and in. This team's defensive pressure and offensive efficiency could give some higher scoring teams trouble and definitely could win one game and bust a team's hopes come March Madness time.



Most people remember the scare this team gave UConn early in the year, only losing to the Huskies by four points. MAC teams have made some nice tournament runs in recent years, and this team is in the same mold of those teams. Great defense and rebounding will force their opponents to play very well to beat them. This team can be downright deadly when hitting their three-point shots.

The best player for Buffalo is Rodney Pierce, averaging over 15 points per game; he might be the most explosive scorer in the MAC. Come tournament time, this team will be able to depend on their defense, and if outside shots go in, we could see a couple big wins for Buffalo.


Western Kentucky

Everybody remembers last year's Western Kentucky team that won two games on their way to the Sweet 16. This team has a couple new players and a new coach but still are a very dangerous Mid-Major. Coming from the Sun Belt Conference, their strength of schedule is very weak, but they did beat Louisville earlier this year on a neutral floor.

Defensively this team can lock teams down and are not a great scoring team but seem to just do enough to get the job done. This team's key is outside shooting, and if they get hot, they could really give some teams trouble in the tournament.


Mid-Major bracket busters are what most fans live for in the NCAA tournament. Rest assured there will be one or two 12 or 13 seeds making it to the Sweet 16.

Craig loves these four teams, but there are even more Mid-Majors that could do the same and shock the world. Which double-digit underdog do you have winning against the spread, or even better, a money line winner? Can't wait for March Madness to get here.

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