Everyone loves picking the Cinderella in the bracket. Every year there is a double-digit seed that surprise people and upset a big-name team. With the parity in college basketball, this year’s tournament should be filled with upsets.
Here are three double-digit seeds that will make some noise in the upcoming tournament.
South Dakota St. Jackrabbits (No. 13 seed)
This is the second tournament appearance for the Jackrabbits. Last year, they fell to Baylor in the round of 64, but look for them to learn and benefit from that experience and play better this year.
South Dakota St. is matched up against Michigan in the round of 64. The Wolverines were one of the best teams in the country at one point, but have struggled of late. They have not won a game outside of Ann Arbor since January, and have a tendency to play down to their competition.
The Jackrabbits have one of the best players in the country in Nate Wolters. Wolters averages 22.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He is a great all-around player and should give opposing point guard Trey Burke fits with his size.
This game is in Auburn Hills, Mich., which is a huge advantage for the Wolverines, but South Dakota St. is no stranger to winning in tough environments against elite competition. The Jackrabbits won at New Mexico in The Pit, one of the toughest places to play in the country, in December.
Will South Dakota St. beat Michigan?
Look for Wolters to have a huge game and engineer the upset of Michigan. The Jackrabbits would then play the winner of VCU vs. Akron. Although many experts see VCU as a Final Four dark horse, they are very beatable and prone to cold spells on offense.
South Dakota St. is a veteran team and is looking to avenge their early exit in 2012. Look for them to upset Michigan and with a little luck, they could sneak their way into the Sweet 16.
Iowa St. Cyclones (No. 10 seed)
The Cyclones are one of the best offenses in the country. They are No. 4 in the nation with 79.6 points per game.
Coach Fred Hoiberg wants his team to push the tempo. They are a streaky shooting team, but when they are on, they can beat any team in the country.
The Cyclones took Kansas to overtime twice this season and have the potential to make a deep run in the tournament.
Iowa St. can score with anybody; the difference between them winning and losing is the performance of their defense.
Iowa St. has as much firepower as anybody in their region. Their opening game against Notre Dame presents difficult matchups in the post.
Their probable round of 32 matchup against Ohio St. would provide a contrast in styles. The Buckeyes like to slow down the tempo and play rugged defense. If the Cyclones can speed up either game, they have a great chance of advancing.
How far will Iowa St. go?
Minnesota Golden Gophers (No. 11 seed)
At one point this season, Minnesota was in the top 15 in the country. They then fell victim to a brutal Big 10 schedule and finished with a 20-12 record.
Tubby Smith has had tremendous success in tournament and, although they lost seven of their last 10 games, he understands the tournament is a new season.
Their first round opponent UCLA is missing Jordan Adams who is the second leading scorer, which will be costly for the Bruins.
Look for the Gophers’ frontline, who is No. 17 in the country in rebounds per game with 38.8, to lead them over UCLA.
Their second round matchup would probably be against Florida. Although Florida is the pick of many to get to the Final Four, they struggled in close games this year and compiled most of their wins against a very weak SEC.
If the Gophers can get consistent shooting to complement their low-post presence, they can defeat the Gators and make it to the Sweet 16.
Everyone knows there will be a double-digit seed that will make a run, but trick is determining who that team will be. One of these teams could take a run, but it could also be some team that nobody is talking about. That is the beauty of March.