College Basketball Teams Prepped for a Tourney Run
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March Madness is quickly approaching. In a matter of weeks, brackets will be set and a new NCAA tournament will begin.
While some higher seeds may cruise through their respective regions, sleepers and Cinderella teams may emerge from others. Here are some schools that seem poised to make a deep run in the 2013 tournament.
Team 1: Louisville Cardinals
Rick Pitino and the Cardinals could win it all in March
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Every year it seems the Big East sends at least one or two teams to the Final Four. In 2012, Louisville was one of those teams. Unfortunately, the Cardinals fell to their in-state rivals and eventual champions in the Kentucky Wildcats.
Don't be surprised, though, if you see the Cardinals back in the Final Four again this year. Their experience, the superb leadership of head coach Rick Pitino and strong play from guard Russ Smith could help Louisville return to college basketball's biggest stage in March.
Team 2: Creighton Bluejays
Creighton may surprise many people this March
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Led by National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott, the Creighton Bluejays are looking quite strong at this point in the year. As of February 9, their 20-5 record was good enough for first place in the tough Missouri Valley Conference.
Creighton should make the tournament with their impressive record. Once there, look for McDermott to put on a show like Stephen Curry did with Davidson a few years back. The Bluejays could ride their star player to the Sweet 16 and perhaps even further.
Team 3: Florida Gators
The Gators are led by a strong group of veterans
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When the tournament comes around, veterans often overcome young talent. Looking at the Florida Gators, many of their key players have been around for awhile and should capitalize on their experience.
Seniors Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy and Mike Rosario and Juniors Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young all play significant roles for the Gators. Look for these guys and a strong supporting cast to carry the Gators deep into the tournament.
Team 4: Belmont Bruins
Belmont could once again play the role of bracket buster
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Based on past NCAA tournaments, many people might say the words "Belmont" and "bracket buster" are almost synonymous. The Bruins of Belmont are notorious for giving higher seeded teams a handful in first and second round matchups in the tournament.
This year's Belmont squad could easily make a run once again. As of February 9, they were 20-5 and in first place in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Bruins were also averaging over 77 points a game and shooting over 40 percent from three. This high-powered offense should help Belmont do some damage come tournament time.
Team 5: Duke Blue Devils
Duke may actually hold it together in this year's tournament
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Though not everyone's favorite team, the Duke Blue Devils are consistently one of the best basketball teams in the nation. Legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski has no trouble getting his team into the tournament; sometimes, however, the Blue Devils fall short of expectations in the big dance.
The Duke of this year should live up to their hype. Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Quinn Cook and Ryan Kelly are good enough to help Duke avoid a devastating early loss, advance past their region and perhaps win it all.