March Madness Upsets: Double-Digit Seeds That Will Triumph in Second Round
College basketball is always a little crazy, but this season gives new meaning to March Madness.
Upsets littered the college landscape this year, and we’re sure to see some big ones in the tournament. The second round offers the potential for as many upsets as we’ve ever seen in the early going.
While it’s still highly unlikely a No. 1 seed falls in the second round, there are plenty of double-digit seeds with the potential to pull off an upset in the Round of 64. We’ll take a look at three such teams that will play the giant-killer role in Round 2.
No. 11 Belmont Bruins
With an offense capable of overloading the scoreboard, the Bruins have the potential to do some damage in the opening rounds of the tournament. Arizona should consider itself on upset alert.
Belmont boasts the No. 15 scoring offense and No. 4 field-goal percentage in the country, led by a duo of electric senior guards in Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson.
Clark is averaging 18.1 points per game this season with an astonishing 46.3 percent mark from behind the arc, while Johnson has added 13.7 points per contest. All five of the Bruins’ starters are averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season.
High-powered offenses can be cooled in the postseason by stingy defensive play, but Arizona won’t be the team to shut down the Bruins. The Wildcats rank 96th in the nation in scoring defense and 274th in opponent three-point percentage (per TeamRankings.com).
If Clark and the Bruins come out swinging, the Wildcats will find themselves digging out of a deep hole in the second round.
No. 10 Colorado Buffaloes
Neither Colorado nor Illinois ended the regular season on a particularly good note. The Buffaloes lost three of their last five contests, while the Illini dropped four of their last six.
Winning the NCAA tournament boils down to momentum, and one of these two teams will have to find some early. Unfortunately for Illinois, its offense isn’t consistent enough to bank on a big Round 2 performance against Colorado.
The Buffaloes posted some impressive Pac-12 wins this season, including two against Oregon, an early-season win against then-ranked Baylor and a February drubbing of Arizona. While consistency hasn’t been its forte, Colorado has shown the potential to pull off some impressive wins against tough competition.
Sophomore Spencer Dinwiddie will be the X-factor in this contest. The 6’6” guard is averaging 15.6 points per game for the Buffaloes this season, and if he gets hot from behind the arc, Illinois will have a hard time slowing him down at the offensive end.
No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers
Experience often plays a major role in postseason success. Unfortunately for UCLA, its two best players are both freshmen with no tournament experience.
Minnesota’s offense hasn’t been all that impressive this season, but the Golden Gophers do a lot of things well. With the No. 53 scoring defense in the country and a lineup that rebounds well from top to bottom, the Bruins will have a tougher matchup than the seeding suggests.
A lot has been said of the elite Big Ten teams this season, but Minnesota deserves some credit for traversing a tough schedule and coming away with a couple big wins. The Gophers bested both Indiana and Wisconsin during the regular season, and have the potential to hang with any team in the country with the same toughness and intensity.
Given UCLA’s inexperience and lack of marquee wins, Minnesota could be in line for one of the bigger upsets of the second round.
Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA Tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game.
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