The round of 64 of the 2013 NCAA tournament is nearly underway, and that means it's time to prepare ourselves for thrilling finishes, breakout performances, upsets and plenty of madness.
While most of the top seeded teams are expected to cruise into the round of 32 this weekend, there are a handful of favorites on upset alert. Whether they're undermanned or just set to go up against a scorching-hot team, these schools must be on the lookout this March.
Below we'll take a closer look at some of the potential bracket-busting upsets fans should be watching for on Thursday and Friday.
*Be sure to download and print out your bracket before the round of 64 begins Thursday.
No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 6 UCLA, South Region, Friday, March 22 at 9:57 p.m. ET
Tubby Smith's Minnesota Golden Gophers may be flying under the radar coming into the 2013 NCAA tournament, but make no mistake, this is a team that could challenge for a spot in the Sweet 16 out of the South Region.
Minnesota played the third-toughest schedule in college basketball this year, and will be taking on a UCLA team that will be without second-leading scorer Jordan Adams (15.3 points per game) the rest of the way.
While the Bruins have solidified themselves as a legitimate tournament squad this season by beating Missouri, Colorado and Arizona (three times), the Gophers boast more impressive wins over tournament teams like Memphis, Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Minnesota is also a phenomenal rebounding team, ranking inside the Top 20 nationally in that category. With senior forward Trevor Mbakwe leading the way on the glass, look for the 11th-seeded Gophers to pull off the upset against the short-handed Bruins on Friday night in Austin, Texas.
No. 14 Davidson vs. No. 3 Marquette, East Region, Thursday, March 21 at 3:10 p.m. ET
Arguably the most dangerous No. 14 seed in this year's tournament, Davidson will give third-seeded Marquette fits in the two teams' opening game on Thursday in Lexington, Ky.
The Wildcats won the Southern Conference championship last week and have won 17 straight games overall. One of the hottest teams in the nation and the best free-throw shooting team in the country (80.1 percent as a team), Davidson will have a real shot to blow up brackets around the country by knocking off the Golden Eagles, who boast only one elite scorer in junior guard Vander Blue (14.3 points per game).
Buzz Williams will have his players ready, but Marquette will be in serious danger if it experiences any lengthy droughts on the offensive end.
Davidson features a number of talented shooters including leading scorer Jake Cohen, a senior forward who's averaging close to 15 points per game on 39 percent shooting from downtown. With Davidson playing closer to home than Marquette and Thursday's matchup set to tip in the afternoon, look for the Wildcats to give the Eagles everything they can handle inside Rupp Arena.
No. 11 Bucknell vs. No. 6 Butler, East Region, Thursday, March 21 at 12:40 p.m. ET
Another intriguing matchup in Lexington on Thursday will pit champions of the Patriot League, 11th-seeded Bucknell up against sixth-seeded Butler.
It's been almost two years since the Bulldogs made back-to-back Final Four and National Championship Game appearances, but already some are counting Brad Stevens' squad out in its round of 64 showdown this week.
The Bison have won seven straight overall and 12 of their past 13 games coming into the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, Butler will have to regain some momentum after losing to Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 Tournament this past weekend.
Plus, Bucknell features a dominant scoring center in Mike Muscala, who's averaging 19 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for the Bison during his senior year. He's also blocking 2.4 shots per game and hitting 52 percent of his shots from the field on the other end.
If the 6'11" Muscala is playing up to his potential on Thursday afternoon, Bucknell could be the first double-digit seed to earn a berth in the round of 32 this year.
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