March Madness 2013: Showcasing Most Entertaining Tourney-Bound Teams

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2013

GAINESVILLE, FL - JANUARY 19:  Guard Mike Rosario #3 of the Florida Gators drives up court against the Missouri Tigers January 19, 2013 at Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won 83 - 52. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Although there would be no March Madness without the handful of shocking upsets we see every year, the madness is often heightened by the emergence of some entertaining squads that win fans over with their fun-to-watch style.

Sure, a fun style of basketball doesn't always translate to tournament success, but it certainly won't turn viewers away.

Below we'll break down a trio of entertaining tourney-bound squads to watch for this March.


Belmont Bruins

A hot-shooting team from the Ohio Valley Conference, Belmont isn't a lock for the NCAA Tournament this March, but the Bruins are certainly in position to earn a bid as the top team in the OVC.

But Belmont is more than just another strong team in an overlooked conference flying under the radar this year, it's one of the more entertaining teams in college basketball, having discovered a way to make defense fun again. The Bruins rank sixth in the nation this season in steals per game, averaging 9.8. 

In addition to turning defense into offense better than most teams in the country, Belmont is the seventh-best shooting team in college basketball this year, hitting over 49 percent of its shots from the field as a team.

Seniors Ian Clark and Trevor Noack are two of Belmont's best this season. Each is shooting better than 50 percent from the field and both combine for nearly 31 points per game.


Florida Gators

Billy Donovan has the Florida Gators firing on all cylinders this season and looking like a legitimate title contender.

Despite three conference road losses to Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee in February, Florida is still the top team in the SEC, thanks to its dominance from beyond the arc. The Gators have knocked down 236 3-pointers in 27 games this season, ranking them 16th-best in the nation. Only Iowa State has cashed in on more long-range shots this season among power conference teams.

With Florida nailing close to nine 3-pointers per game at a mark of 38.4 percent, the Gators are sure to light up the scoreboard come tournament time. 

Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton are two players to watch for moving forward. Each has poured in exactly 57 3-pointers this season, and Murphy is hitting close to 47 percent of his outside bombs. 


North Carolina Tar Heels

It may be a down year for the Tar Heels by their own standards, but consider this: Only five other teams in college basketball are averaging more possessions per game than North Carolina. 

Roy Williams' Tar Heels play an exciting uptempo game, a style that would make Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni smile. UNC is averaging 73.3 possessions per game this season, which is a huge reason why it ranks 11th in the country in points per game, scoring 78.1 per outing.

In addition to playing at a fast tempo, the Tar Heels are a team built around ball movement. UNC ranks third in the nation in assists, averaging nearly 18 per game. There's no one star that makes the Heels go, just an unselfish unit with tons of potential on the offensive end of the court.

Yes, UNC's quick pace leads to more turnovers and missed shots, but it will certainly make for some entertaining basketball this March.


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