What makes the NCAA tournament so special are the upsets. The David-over-Goliath games are what make March Madness unique.
Every year there are teams picked to go deep in the tournament that bow out early due to an upset. This unpredictability brings about unparalleled excitement and intrigue.
Here are three teams that are highly seeded that could lose early in the tournament.
Since Bill Self took over Kansas in 2003, the Jayhawks have been in the tournament every year and have had great moments (most notably their national championship win in 2008), but they have also had early exits.
In 2005, third-seeded Kansas was ousted by 14th-seeded Bucknell in a first-round upset. The following year, the Jayhawks were again upset in the first round. This time, they lost to Bradley as a No. 4 seed.
In 2010, Kansas was the consensus No. 1 seed, but fell to Northern Iowa in the second round.
This year, the Jayhawks have shown vulnerability against inferior competition. They lost to TCU in February, a team that had previously not won a conference game and had an RPI of 242.
Depending on their performance in the Big 12 tournament, the Jayhawks could rise to a No. 1 seed or slide to a No. 3 seed. Either way, with the Jayhawks’ penchant for early exits, they could very well not make it to the second weekend of the tournament.
The Hurricanes have been one of the biggest surprises this season. They have a fast-paced style of play and are one of the most exciting teams in the country.
When Miami is on, they can beat any team in the country (for example, their 27-point victory over then-No. 1 Duke), but they also have the potential to lose to any team.
Earlier in the season, the Hurricanes lost to Indiana State and were defeated by Florida Gulf Coast by 12 at home.
Miami is especially susceptible to an early-round exit from the tournament because they lack postseason experience. The Hurricanes have only been to the tournament once since 2003.
Their coach, Jim Larranaga, has been to the tournament many times at his previous head coaching position with George Mason, but not one Hurricane on the roster has been to the tournament.
Miami will likely be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the tournament. They have the potential to make it to the Final Four, but if they overlook any of their early-round opponents, they could be in for a short stint in March.
The Blue Devils are a staple in the NCAA tournament. Although they have won four national titles since 1991, they have experienced their fair share of upsets in recent years.
Duke was upset by No. 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth in 2007, and they nearly lost to No. 15 seed Belmont in 2008, but escaped with a 71-70 victory.
The biggest upset in the history of Duke basketball came last year when they fell in the first round to No. 15 seed Lehigh.
The Blue Devils are always a well-coached team, but they often lack athleticism, which can make them open to upsets. Athletic guards like Eric Maynor and C.J. McCollum have given Duke problems in the past, and if they get the wrong matchup, the Blue Devils could be out early.
Upsets are what put the Madness in March, and while the NCAA tournament does not begin for a few weeks, March 5 marked the beginning of conference tournaments—let the madness begin.