NCAA Tournament 2013 Upsets: Round of 64's Most Dangerous Underdogs

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIMarch 19, 2013

March 16, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks forward E.J. Singler (25, right) and forward Arsalan Kazemi (14) celebrate after the championship game of the Pac 12 tournament against the UCLA Bruins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Oregon defeated UCLA 78-69. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 NCAA tournament practically underway, every prospective bracketologist wants to talk about one thing: upsets.

When filling out a bracket, upsets can be the most frustrating or rewarding things in the world. Either you're really right—and can rub it in everyone's face—or you're really wrong. Queue the March embarrassment.

Taking at look at this year's round of 64, here's a breakdown of the field's most dangerous underdogs looking to come up with big upsets.



Seeding: No. 12, Midwest
Round of 64 opponent: No. 5 Oklahoma State

The Ducks were one of the biggest surprises in the Pac 12 this year, and needless to say it's surprising to see them seeded so low in the tournament.

Despite two losses to close out regular-season play, the Ducks came alive in the Pac 12 conference tournament. They coasted through all three opponents, including UCLA in the conference finals.

Just like its football team, Oregon likes to score points. It averages 71.7 per game, while shooting 44.7 percent from the field.

The Ducks are great at getting everyone involved, with three players averaging over double-digit points per game and three more averaging at least 8.5.

Defensively is where Oregon really sticks out. Opponents average just 63.6 points a game, and the Ducks led the Pac 12 in both rebounds and steals per game.

Round of 64 opponent Oklahoma State can keep pace offensively with Oregon, but could lose things on defense. The Cowboys don't rebound as well as the Ducks, and give up on average 12.4 turnovers a game.

This is sure to be a high-scoring matchup, but Oregon's defense is going to be the breaking point for the Cowboys.


Ole Miss

Seeding: No 12, West
Round of 64 opponent: No. 5 Wisconsin

Ole Miss posts the SEC's second-best in-conference record, wins the SEC conference tournament and averages an NCAA ninth best 77.9 points per game, yet it's given a 12th seed.

The Rebels are scorching in March, having won eight of their last 10 (including five in a row). Needless to say they were unbeatable in the conference tournament.

Ole Miss will draw Wisconsin in its round of 64 match. It's a battle of philosophies, with the Rebels' offense staring down the Badgers' NCAA ninth-best defense (opponents average 55.9 points per game).

Even though the Rebels score a lot of points, they're not pushovers on defense either. They averaged the SEC's second-best values in rebounds and blocks per game, and third-best in steals per game.

They also gave up the second-lowest turnovers per game of any team in conference.

With strong rebounding and precision ball control, Ole Miss does everything right in limiting the effectiveness of opposing defenses.

Despite Wisconsin's stellar defense, it faces quite the challenge in trying to contain Ole Miss's offense.



Seeding: No. 11 South
Round of 64 opponent: No. 6 UCLA

Minnesota doesn't enter the NCAA tournament as the hottest team, but it's still plenty dangerous.

The Golden Gophers have struggled through a tough March, dropping three of their last four, including a first game exit from the Big Ten conference tournament.

But they're able to turn things around on a dime, such as they did in the early months of the season—winning 14 of their first 15 games—or in February when they beat both Wisconsin and Indiana.

Minnesota will draw UCLA in the round of 64, a team that's actually been quite hot in March.

Despite averaging only 68.5 points per game, the Golden Gophers remain efficient on offense. They shoot 44.2 percent from the field and can take advantage of a Bruins defense that allows 68.9 points per game.

Defensively, UCLA doesn't even average 40 rebounds a game, whereas Minnesota averages 42.6.

The Golden Gophers aren't the most challenging underdog on this list, but they're still tough. If underestimated by the Bruins, that stifling defense will be tough to overcome.


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