NCAA Bracket 2013: Ranking All 68 Teams

Thad NovakCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2013

NCAA Bracket 2013: Ranking All 68 Teams

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    The 2013 NCAA bracket is set, and every team in the field of 68 is ready for its moment in the spotlight. With the matchups set for the Big Dance, a whole new set of questions opens up.

    Which favorites are ripe for an upset? Which underdogs will blossom as this year’s Cinderella squads? And which top seed has the best shot at taking home the title?

    To help answer all those and more, here’s a look at every team in the March Madness field, ordered from worst to best. These rankings are based not only on how these teams have performed so far, but also on their potential to keep on winning once the madness begins.

    Where does your school stack up? Read on to find out!

68. Liberty (Midwest No. 16)

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    Record: 15-20 (6-10, 9th in Big South)

    Best Win: Charleston Southern 87-76

    Worst Loss: Howard 60-53

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: SG Davon Marshall ranks with the best three-point shooters in the country.

    Reason to Sell: More wins against Division II teams (three) than Division I teams with winning records (zero) before beginning of conference tournament. 

    Tournament Prediction: It’ll be quite a feat if the Flames even survive their First Four game with North Carolina A&T.

67. North Carolina A&T (Midwest No. 16)

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    Record: 19-16 (8-8, 6th in MEAC)

    Best Win: Eastern Kentucky 78-67

    Worst Loss: South Carolina State 72-70

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’8” Austin Witter blocks nearly three shots a game.

    Reason to Sell: Witter does nothing to help a dismal offense that ranks 320th in field-goal shooting.

    Tournament Prediction: A favorable matchup with Liberty should get the Aggies out of the First Four, allowing them the privilege of being the first team to lose to Louisville in this tournament.

66. James Madison (East No. 16)

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    Record: 20-14 (11-7, 4th in Colonial)

    Best Win: Northeastern 70-57

    Worst Loss: Hampton 69-65

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 6’6”, 265-pound Rayshawn Goins heads a defense tough enough to escape the bruising CAA tournament.

    Reason to Sell: Goins is also the team’s top scoring threat, and he shoots 41.2 percent from the field as a power forward.

    Tournament Prediction: The Dukes aren't even a good pick to beat fellow 16th-seed LIU-Brooklyn in the First Four, let alone to challenge Indiana if they survive the Blackbirds.

65. Western Kentucky (South No. 16)

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    Record: 20-15 (10-10, 4th in Sun Belt East)

    Best Win: DePaul 70-61

    Worst Loss: Florida Atlantic 65-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Hilltopper program has proud history of NCAA tournament success.

    Reason to Sell: Most of those wins came long before this season’s Hilltoppers (led by 6’6” PF George Fant) were born.

    Tournament Prediction: Spared the indignity of a First Four game, they’ll still get trounced by Kansas' huge size advantage.

64. Albany (Midwest No. 15)

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    Record: 24-10 (9-7, 5th in America East)

    Best Win: Stony Brook 61-59

    Worst Loss: Maine 66-52

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: 5’10” senior Jacob Iati is country’s best inch-for-inch three-point threat.

    Reason to Sell: Entire team has 65 blocks, 64 fewer than Kansas’ Jeff Withey.

    Tournament Prediction: Fitting though it would be for the Great Danes to succeed as an underdog, the program's all-time 0-2 NCAA tournament record is soon to be 0-3, courtesy of Duke.

63. Southern (West No. 16)

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    Record: 23-9 (15-3, 2nd in SWAC)

    Best Win: Texas A&M 53-51

    Worst Loss: Alcorn State 61-57

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Leading scorer Malcolm Miller hits 46 percent of his three-point tries.

    Reason to Sell: With only one player listed at over 215 pounds, the Jaguars get pushed around on the glass a lot.

    Tournament Prediction: Someday a No. 16 seed is going to beat a No. 1, but it won't be these Jaguars, least of all against towering Gonzaga.

62. Pacific (East No. 15)

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    Record: 22-12 (13-5, 2nd in Big West)

    Best Win: St. Mary’s 76-66

    Worst Loss: UC Santa Barbara 66-53

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Deep rotation includes four three-point shooters with 40 percent accuracy or better.

    Reason to Sell: Travis Fulton’s team-leading rebounding average is all of four boards a night.

    Tournament Prediction: After last year's run on wins by No. 15 seeds, it's going to be tempting to pick one this time around, but Pacific is too badly outmatched by Miami's size to advance.

61. LIU Brooklyn (East No. 16)

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    Record: 20-13 (12-6, 2nd in Northeast)

    Best Win: Lafayette 71-60

    Worst Loss: Lamar 81-80

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: National assist leader Jason Brickman heads a high-speed offense that hung with Michigan State for a half last March.

    Reason to Sell: This year’s Blackbirds lost star forward Julian Boyd to a knee injury early on.

    Tournament Prediction: Escaping the First Four is a perfectly attainable goal, but even this offense won't be able to put up a fight against top-seeded Indiana.

60. Florida Gulf Coast (South No. 15)

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    Record: 24-10 (13-5, 2nd in Atlantic Sun)

    Best Win: Miami 63-51

    Worst Loss: Lipscomb 87-78

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Ballhawking Bernard Thompson (fifth nationally in steals) leads a battle-tested Eagle defense.

    Reason to Sell: Strong breeze could blow over starting forwards Eric McKnight (210 lbs), Chase Fieler (205).

    Tournament Prediction: The Eagles' ball pressure will frustrate Georgetown, giving them the best hope of any No. 15 seed, but it's still prohibitively likely that the Hoyas' muscle will send this team home after one game.

59. Harvard (West No. 14)

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    Record: 19-9 (11-3, 1st in Ivy)

    Best Win: California 67-62

    Worst Loss: Columbia 78-63

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Swingman Wesley Saunders keys an offense that ranks in the top 11 nationally in field-goal percentage, three-point percentage.

    Reason to Sell: Cheating scandal claimed top two stars from last year’s No. 12 seed before season even started.

    Tournament Prediction: With little experience and less size, this year’s Crimson don’t have the right formula to make it out of the second round against a tough New Mexico squad.

58. Northwestern State (South No. 14)

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    Record: 23-8 (15-3, 2nd in Southland)

    Best Win: Louisiana Tech 89-83

    Worst Loss: Nicholls State 93-78

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Top scoring offense in the nation beat the top scoring defense (Stephen F. Austin) to earn bid.

    Reason to Sell: For all their firepower, Demons are lousy three-point shooters (.321).

    Tournament Prediction: It's not impossible to imagine this offense putting up a fight against Florida, but a second-round exit is by far the likeliest outcome against a defense that's almost as effective as Stephen F. Austin's and far more athletic.

57. Iona (West No. 15)

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    Record: 20-13 (11-7, 4th in MAAC)

    Best Win: Georgia 81-78

    Worst Loss: St. Peter’s 64-62

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Ex-Arizona guard Lamont “Momo” Jones is country’s third-leading scorer.

    Reason to Sell: Defense tied for 336th nationally in points allowed.

    Tournament Prediction: A team that would've been a serious upset threat as a 14 or 13 seed gets a 15 instead, along with a hopeless matchup against the impenetrable Ohio State defense.

56. Montana (East No. 13)

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    Record: 25-6 (19-1, 1st in Big Sky)

    Best Win: Weber State 67-64

    Worst Loss: San Francisco 78-68

    Highest/Lowest AP Ranking: None

    Reason to Buy: Senior point guard Will Cherry, back from an injured foot, played his best ball of the season in the Big Sky tourney.

    Reason to Sell: Scoring leader Mathias Ward is out for the year with another foot injury.

    Tournament Prediction: Without PF Ward, the Grizzlies—skilled though they may be—are too small to handle Syracuse's devastating length.

55. Akron (South No. 12)