March Madness 2013: Upset-Proof Teams You Can Count on to Reach Sweet 16

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2013

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 05:  Ryan Kelly #34 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In a season that's had more top-ranked teams than Back to the Future sequels, a sure thing is hard to find. 

The upset bug has become a downright epidemic this season, and it only makes sense that the trend could continue into the biggest stage of them all—March Madness. This is great news for fans of big upsets but cause for some serious trepidation for those filling out their brackets. 

A world where no top seed is safe is a scary place for those trying to beat the brainiacs in accounting in the annual office pool. But there's no need to fear. You can count on these tournament favorites to make an appearance in the tournament's Round of 16. 



Duke Blue Devils

Remember last year when the Blue Devils strolled into the NCAA tournament as a No. 2 seed and were the victims of the biggest first-round upset when No. 15 seed Lehigh pulled off the improbable upset?

Mike Krzyzewski does.

He's not going to let that happen again.

This Blue Devils team is much different. It has the top RPI in the country. It has a 6-0 record on neutral courts this season and a roster that boasts plenty of senior experience to get the job done.

With Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry able to torch teams from outside and Mason Plumlee doing his thing in the paint, Duke has the weapons needed both inside and outside to overwhelm ambitious teams in the first two rounds looking to spring the upset.

You can count on this year's team making fans forget about last season's early exit.



Louisville Cardinals

 If there's one word to describe the Louisville Cardinals this season, it's "tough".

Rick Pitino's squad plays with tenacity and intensity that are hard to match, which should make them a favorite to make an appearance in the Sweet 16.

At 25-5, the Cardinals own one of the best records in basketball, and only one of those losses came to a team outside of the RPI top 50—a road loss to Villanova.

Allowing just 58 points per game, the Cardinals are one of the top defensive teams in the country. That should serve them well in the tournament. They are one of the few teams that can win games without having a good game offensively.

Defense never goes out of style, and Louisville rode tough defense to the final four last season. At the very least, they'll be making another appearance in the Sweet 16.



Kansas Jayhawks

Anytime someone brings up the Jayhawks, it's an automatic reflex that their stunning upset loss to TCU will be brought up within the next two sentences.

If you try to figure that one out, your head will explode. It just doesn't make sense. What we can figure out is that they're past that loss and are now firing on all cylinders once again. The Jayhawks are 26-4 this season, with three of those losses coming during a dreadful three-game skid in early February.

Since that losing streak, they've re-established themselves as one of college basketball's best teams. Three of their four losses have come to RPI top 50 teams, and Ben McLemore will be one of the best individual players in the whole tournament. 

There's no way he doesn't at least take this team to the Round of 16.