NCAA Brackets 2013: Sleepers Destined to Land in the Sweet 16

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

Mar 3, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward James Michael McAdoo (43) on the court during warm ups. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

If you have been watching college basketball this season, you should know better than to expect the Sweet 16 to be full of exclusively top seeds.

The 2013 NCAA tournament is full of potential sleepers that are not expected to win more than one game. However, they all could end up going deep in this wide open field.

Here are some sleepers that you should put into the Sweet 16 in your bracket.


No. 8 North Carolina

In the last 15 games, North Carolina has only lost to two teams: Duke and Miami. Both of those squads are among the best in the nation, but otherwise the Tar Heels are playing extremely well.

They started playing with a smaller lineup toward the end of the year, and since then have become a matchup nightmare with both P.J. Hairston and Reggie Bullock draining three-point shots. Meanwhile, James Michael McAdoo is picking up the slack in the frontcourt.

In the first game of the tournament, the Tar Heels face giant killer Villanova. However, the Wildcats play much better at home (only one win against the RPI Top 100 away from home), and do not have the offense to stay with North Carolina.

The tougher test will be in the Round of 32 against No. 1 seed Kansas. Still, the Jayhawks have struggled against athletic teams who can rebound and shoot the three.

North Carolina fits that description and has what it takes to pull the upset.


No. 6 UCLA

While a No. 6 seed is not often referred to as a huge sleeper, it seems like everyone is going against UCLA right away.

Obviously, the loss of Jordan Adams will hurt, but the Bruins are more than their second-leading scorer.

They have a veteran point guard in Larry Drew II, plus a solid frontcourt between Kyle Anderson and the Wear twins. Shabazz Muhammad then brings it all together as one of the best pure scorers in the country.

While Minnesota is a tough team in the Round of 64, the Golden Gophers ended the year with a 5-11 record in the final 16 games and have not won away from home since Jan. 9.

In the next round, the Bruins will likely face No. 3 Florida, who has also struggled recently, especially on the offensive end. UCLA has a chance to surprise many by reaching the Sweet 16 after an up-and-down year.


No. 11 Belmont

Belmont has not gotten a lot of press this season, but this is a squad perfectly built for a long NCAA tournament run.

The Bruins are very experienced (five most productive players are juniors and seniors) and they shoot well enough from three (No. 18 in the nation) to get hot against a better team.

In the first matchup, they will face an Arizona team that gets by on its ability to press and force inexperienced players into mistakes. Unfortunately, they do not defend the perimeter well enough to stop Belmont running up the score.

It will be significantly tougher to beat New Mexico, but the Lobos are relatively untested and are inconsistent offensively. If the Bruins can step up defensively, they can surprise many with a run to at least the Sweet 16.


For a full printable NCAA tournament bracket, click here. Also, follow along Bleacher Report's live bracket. Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game.

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