NCAA Tournament 2013: Power Ranking Cinderellas with Bracket-Busting Potential

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 16:  Head coach Rick Byrd of the Belmont Bruins reacts as player Ian Clark #21 looks on during the first half against the Georgetown Hoyas during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 16, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Over the years, I've witnessed countless Cinderellas take down one of my top teams in the NCAA tournament and turn my shiny bracket into a pumpkin. 

Following this unpredictable college season, there are sure to be some Cinderellas busting brackets. That much is easy to's a little trickier to identify which teams they will be. 

Below, I picked out three teams, seeded 11th or lower, with the best chance to make a run in this tournament.


3. Midwest No. 11: Saint Mary's 

Strong point-guard play is always a key to tournament success. This is great news for Saint Mary's, as they have one of the best in the nation. 

Senior point guard Matthew Dellavedova has been outstanding. For the regular season, Dellavedova averaged 16.0 points and 6.4 assists per game. 

He then showed he was ready for the tournament by going out in his team's First Four win over Middle Tennessee registering 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. 

With Dellavedova at the helm, the Gaels have an offense that can score on anyone, and for the season, this team is ranked No. 11 nationally in's offensive efficiency ratings.

If the Gaels get hot, they will certainly rattle some brackets. 


2. East No. 11 Bucknell 

Bucknell is not flashy. The Bison are not the kind of team that is going to come out with a fast pace and try and get 80 points.

For the season, the Bison were 177th in the nation in points scored.

However, this team just plays sound and smart basketball, and the do the kinds of things well that can lead to tournament success.

The Bison want to keep possessions down and then make the most of each possession. According to, they do this by ranking second nationally in turnover percentage and second in defensive rebound percentage. 

The Bison have a strong inside presence with Mike Muscala. He averages a double-double at 19.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. 

This is the kind of team that will punish an opponent if they get sloppy, and they are very difficult to come from behind on.


1. West No. 11 Belmont

The Belmont Bruins are the worst-kept sleeper secret in the tournament. Of course, that probably means they will get destroyed by Arizona in the Round of 64, but there is definitely a reason why this team is generating buzz.

The Bruins can score with the best of them. They posted the nation's 15th-best mark with 77.2 points per game, and they did so while posting the fourth-best field-goal percentage.

The Bruins didn't play the most difficult schedule, but they do have wins at Stanford and over Middle Tennessee.

The Bruins also have a dynamic scorer to help carry the team through rough patches. 

Guard Ian Clark averaged 18.1 points per game, and like his team, he did so efficiently as he hit 54.1 percent of his shots from the field. 

This is a dangerous team.


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