Coming off a historic 2012 NCAA tournament featuring two wins by No. 15 seeds, it’s never too early to start looking for the top upset contenders in next March’s field of 68. Some of the country’s least-heralded conferences are going to be fielding some very dangerous teams in 2012-13, so there should be no shortage of surprises come tournament time.
One squad that very nearly pulled off a massive upset last season was South Dakota State. The 14th-seeded Jackrabbits—playing in their first-ever NCAA tournament game—gave Baylor all it could handle, and with Nate Wolters leading a slew of returning players from that squad, they’ll be at least as dangerous next year.
Read on for more on SDSU and nine more lesser-known teams that could shock the big boys in next year’s Big Dance.
Note: Some of last season’s most successful underdogs, particularly Lehigh and Ohio, have been left off this list deliberately. These are teams that should be too strong—and earn seeds that are too good—to warrant the Cinderella label by next March.