Tuesday was the official start of the 2013 NCAA tournament, and while most fans have already filled out their brackets (print yours here), the first round decides which teams will make the final field of 64.
Which team has the better chance to bust your bracket?
Before you submit the final bracket on which you will stake your office reputation, consider each of the following Round 1 winners as possible bracket-busters in the second round now that each has played its way into the field.
For all the latest updates from the best tournament in sports, be sure to follow along with this live bracket.
No. 16 North Carolina A&T Aggies
The No. 16 North Carolina A&T Aggies (20-16) had to play into the field of 64 despite winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship, earning them an automatic bid into the tournament.
North Carolina A&T pulled out a stunning victory over the Liberty Flames on Tuesday, 73-72, and the team now looks to use that momentum created in the first round to get the Aggies ready for their next matchup—the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals.
Not only is the team facing an uphill battle against history (North Carolina A&T is 0-9 in tournament history), but the Aggies' battle with top-seeded Louisville is also one of the more lopsided affairs of the entire NCAA bracket.
NC A&T ranks an unfathomable 290th in the nation with just 62.2 points per game, and the team’s awful shooting efficiency (.399 field-goal percentage ranks 317th in the nation) will inhibit the team from making a comeback when the Cardinals get an early lead.
As great as it was to see the Aggies sneak into the field of 64 by beating Liberty, the senior-laden team will be no match for Louisville in the second round; pick the Cardinals on your bracket with complete confidence.
No. 11 Saint Mary's Gaels
Unlike the North Carolina A&T Aggies, the No. 11 Saint Mary's Gaels (28-6) are a seriously dangerous team that could play spoiler against the No. 6 Memphis Tigers in the second round.
Saint Mary's dominated the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the first round, 67-54, by following the lead of top scorer and all-around most-talented player Matthew Dellavedova (22 points, six rebounds and four steals).
Now, it’s time for the Gaels to show Memphis just how talented they really are.
On paper, few teams can match up with St. Mary’s—top 25 in both points per game (75.5) and field-goal percentage (.474)—but it is the fact that the team is filled with fourth-year seniors looking to go out in style that will have the team playing tough at both ends of the court.
As talented as the Gaels are, they will need scoring from the team's secondary players if they want to make a serious run at NCAA glory, and the status of guard Jorden Page’s injured right knee (h/t Sporting News) is the talk of the tourney.
If Page cannot play Thursday against Memphis—the junior guard provided elite defense in the backcourt and averaged 6.4 points in 19.1 minutes per game this season—the lack of depth will spoil St. Mary's chances of advancing to the third round.
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