March Madness 2013 Odds: Overlooked Teams Capable of Making Championship Runs
While most brackets filled out between now and Thursday will feature a No. 1 seed cutting down the nets, the NCAA tournament is no stranger to Cinderella teams becoming serious contenders for the national title.
This year will be no different, as one of the most unpredictable seasons in college basketball history turns to a 68-team tournament.
There are teams reminiscent of Butler and George Mason in the field which are dying to make deep runs toward the Final Four and perhaps even further. But even a strong No. 3 or No. 4 seed making it to Atlanta could come as a big surprise for those of us who slave over brackets for hours heading into the Big Dance.
Let's take a look at teams you must not overlook while constructing your bracket over the coming days.
Championship odds for all 68 teams can be found at Bovada.
Arizona Wildcats: 60-1
Sean Miller's Arizona squad has been among the nation's elite for much of the season, but a 5-5 finish had them dropped to a No. 6 seed in the West Region. That doesn't sit well in the stomach of this talented group, and it will be out to prove its doubters wrong.
The Wildcats started 20-2 on the season before losing focus late, but they've shown this season that they can go on a tear and take down quality competition.
Another thing Arizona has going is the fortune of landing in the West. Top-seeded Gonzaga is very beatable and isn't used to seeing quality competition, and the same can be said for third-seeded New Mexico. The 'Cats arguably have more talent than either of those teams.
If senior leader Mark Lyons and his team can get hot early on in the tournament, it'll help them to overcome the pesky, but not elite, teams in their bracket and advance to the Final Four.
Georgetown Hoyas: 18-1
The No. 2 seed Georgetown Hoyas are a trendy pick to make the Final Four in a South Region that features inconsistent teams such as Kansas and Florida, but they're capable of reaching much greater heights than just winning their region.
Led by Big East player of the year Otto Porter, Georgetown is the real deal and has the star power needed to take down the nation's elite. It's said too often that solid guard play can win you the tournament, but Porter's ability to dominate on the perimeter as well as in the paint will give the Hoyas a distinct advantage.
What Georgetown can't do in the scoring column, however, it more than makes up for defensively. The Hoyas have held their opponents under 50 points nine times this season, and twice (against solid teams in Syracuse and Tennessee) they've held teams under 40 points.
So many teams can put the ball in the net, but not many of them are used to the type of on-ball pressure and rebounding prowess Georgetown boasts.
If the Hoyas can stay healthy and not stray away from playing their game, they're very capable of winning the whole thing.
VCU Rams: 40-1
The Rams rank 11th in the nation in points per game, and it's no surprise that they do that with stellar guard play.
Sophomore playmaker Treveon Graham leads the team with 15.4 points per game and can do it all offensively. However, he also gets in on the glass, with six rebounds on average. It's not every day you see a guard pulling down six boards each game.
As per tradition at VCU, the Rams are deadly from long range. Guard Troy Daniels is the driving force in that effort, as he has put up 288 three-point tries this season and still boasts a .406 average. That's just unheard of.
The Rams, as a team, make nearly eight three-pointers each game. The ability to have a wide range of players capable of knocking down shots can keep them in any game, regardless of other deficiencies.
If VCU can stay hot from the perimeter and keep its 10-man rotation running smoothly throughout the tournament, the Rams could make a deep run.
We should come to expect it from Shaka Smart's crew.
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