NCAA Tournament 2013 Bracket: Favorites That Will Struggle in the Second Round

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2013

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 15:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski yells to Rasheed Sulaimon #14 of the Duke Blue Devils in the second half against the Maryland Terrapins during the quarterfinals of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 15, 2013 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2013 NCAA tournament never fails to create a certain madness in March that results in a mass rush to fill out the brackets (print yours here) before the action begins.

As you are filling out the bracket that will make or break your college basketball season, be wary of high-seeded favorites that have the chance to bust your bracket and ruin your tournament predictions.

All of the following programs performed well this season and earned their high seeding, but tough matchups in the round of 64 will pose more problems than many fans think.

In that way, each of these favorites should be on upset alert and do everything they can not to fall asleep at the wheel.

No. 2: Miami Hurricanes

The No. 2-seeded Miami Hurricanes (27-6) come into their second-round matchup with the No. 15 Pacific Tigers (22-12) as the clear-cut favorites, but if they underestimate their opponent for one moment, the Hurricanes will be bounced early.

Pacific has received no love from anyone against Miami—the Hurricanes face a -12.5 spread in the matchup (h/t Vegas Insider)—but the team deserves some serious credit for its success in the Big West Conference.

Not only did the Tigers win seven straight games to earn their way into the tourney, but the team’s 67.5 points per game average is also very similar to the Hurricanes' (69.4 PPG).

Miami won't walk all over its second-round matchup this year.

The fact that no one is talking about Pacific and picking the Hurricanes to make a deep run could have the Miami lineup writing off the Tigers. If that is the case, expect a second-round stunner in the East Region.

No. 2: Duke Blue Devils

The No. 2 Duke Blue Devils (27-5) are always one of the sexiest picks in the NCAA tournament, but this year’s team has some fundamental flaws in their game that can be exposed by the No. 15 Albany Great Danes (24-10) in the second round.

The Great Danes don’t have the inside presence to stop power forward Mason Plumlee (17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game), but the team’s outside presence at guard will be the difference.

Led by the threesome of Mike Black, Jacob Iati and Peter Hooley, Albany has enough on the defensive side of the ball to stifle the Duke's three-guard offensive system, including second-leading scorer Seth Curry (17 PPG).

There is no question that the more talented Blue Devils should find a way to win against the lower-seeded Albany, but the Great Danes play the kind of aggressive defense that gives finesse Duke players fits.

If Mike Krzyzewski doesn't have his players 100 percent focused, Albany could steal this second-round matchup.

No. 3: Florida Gators

The No. 3 Florida Gators (26-7) can’t underestimate the talented No. 14 Northwestern State Demons (23-8) in the second round of the NCAA tournament, especially with the numbers the Southland Conference champions have put up this season.

Florida is the more efficient shooting team (eighth in the nation, with a field-goal percentage of .484), but Northwestern State leads the nation with 81 points per game, is ranked 13th with 39.3 rebounds per game and ranked 24th with 15.5 assists per game.

While the Gators are known for running the court and their transition offense and defense, they will struggle to keep up with the fast-paced style of the Demons.

Northwestern State may not get the love since they hail from the Southland Conference—the Gators face a -20.5 spread (h/t Vegas Insider)—but they have a legitimate chance to make themselves legends by stunning Florida in the second round and making a run toward the Final Four.


Don't forget to print out your bracket and follow along with the live bracket.  

Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game.