March Madness 2013: Dark Horse Teams Making Big Noise Leading Up to Tourney

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 26, 2013

TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 10:  Allen Crabbe #23 and David Kravish #45 of the California Golden Bears celebrate after defeating the Arizona Wildcats 77-69 in the college basketball game at McKale Center on February 10, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The chaos that March Madness provides is getting closer with every passing week, with teams vying for their chance to compete against the best in the country.

And whilst the big names and seeds will no doubt be challenging for the title once more, several of the smaller teams who don't carry the same expectations on them are also making big noise and moves in the lead-up to college basketball's biggest prize.

Read on to find some of the tournament's dark horses who are making waves heading into the 2013 March Madness competition.

Iowa State

The Cyclones lost a heartbreaking double-overtime game against Texas two weeks back, but since then have been playing very solid basketball and look to be making a big move up the Big 12 Standings.

Three wins in a row has them eyeing off the chance to sneak into March Madness and make some serious noise once they're there—as shown in their last performance against highly-favored Kansas.

Iowa State rank in the top 10 in the country for points and rebounds per game—something that makes them a very tough team to rule out should they make the tournament's final 64.


Don't look now, but the Golden Bears of California are coming—sweeping the Oregon schools on the road last week to extent their winning streak to five.

It's hard to find a single loss on California's list this season that detracted from their strengths as a basketball team, and they'll certainly be a real threat to top teams should they work up the Pacific 12 standings and make the final 64 of March Madness.

A big win over Oregon State showed that to be the case; now the Golden Bears need to finish off the year well against Utah, Colorado and Stanford—all of whom they struggled against during the year. If they can finish with three more wins there, making it eight in a row, California would definitely have to come into consideration regarding 2013 March Madness.


Nerlens Noel's injury will have Kentucky falling down the standings in the SEC, and in a tight and compact division, Tennessee could well emerge as a dark horse.

The Volunteers haven't lost in two weeks and have won five straight—including a 30-point annihilation of Kentucky last week. And you must wonder just how high their confidence must be as well after getting the better of Texas A&M in their quadruple-overtime victory.

Two wins against top-50 teams has this team making a strong run for qualification, and depending on how they fare throughout the course of the month, March Madness isn't at all out of the question. Especially if they continue to play as they have been so far.

Which dark horse teams are you watching for 2013 March Madness?

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