NCAA Tournament 2013: Most Exciting Teams to Watch in Early Rounds

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IIMarch 20, 2013

Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines will be fun to watch.
Trey Burke and the Michigan Wolverines will be fun to watch.Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There are high hopes for the excitement level of the 2013 NCAA tournament, and four teams are going to be more entertaining to watch than anyone else in the field of 68 through the early rounds.

The Michigan Wolverines, North Carolina Tar Heels, Ole Miss Rebels and Bucknell Bison will be the most exciting teams in the round of 64, and hopefully the round of 32 as well.

Firstly, the Wolverines rank among the nation's top offensive teams. Michigan is No. 9 in the nation in field goal percentage (48.4) and No. 27 in points per game (75.2). The Maize and Blue will look to play an up-tempo brand of basketball with an emphasis on getting out in transition.

Sophomore point guard Trey Burke earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors this season and is a legitimate contender to take home the Wooden Award. Burke averages 19.2 points and dishes out 6.7 assists per contest.

Although Burke will be the best player on the floor when fourth-seeded Michigan takes on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits Thursday night, senior point guard Nate Wolters will provide plenty of scoring opposite him.

Wolters puts up 22.7 points per game, and notched 53 points against the IPFW Mastodons earlier this season.

The point guard showdown at the Palace of Auburn Hills will be one of the most thrilling games of the NCAA tournament. 

An underdog everyone should be tuning in to watch on Friday afternoon is Ole Miss, the No. 12 seed in the West Region. Even if the Rebels bow out against the Wisconsin Badgers, junior shooting guard Marshall Henderson will not leave college basketball fans unhappy.

Henderson made waves over the weekend by calling the rest of the SEC coaches "losers", doing his best Florida Gator chomp after winning the league championship game and allegedly playing beer pong all night to celebrate the victory.

Who would not want to watch Henderson taunt Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan a little bit this weekend?

Another team to break out some popcorn and cold beverages for this week is Bucknell. The Bison boast one of the best big men in the country in Mike Muscala. 

The Roseville, Mont. native averages a double-double (19 points and 11.2 rebounds) and will be a matchup nightmare for Brad Stevens' Butler Bulldogs on Thursday.

Bucknell is a dangerous No. 11 seed in the East Region, and could very well upset both Butler and the Marquette Golden Eagles if it plays outstanding basketball. If nothing else, Muscala should make a name for himself and provide plenty of entertainment in the post.

Finally, North Carolina has been improving ever since head coach Roy Williams went to a smaller, quicker lineup and could give both the Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhaws fits.

The Tar Heels are the No. 8 seed in the South Region and should take care of the Wildcats behind the shooting efforts of P.J. Hairston. James Michael McAdoo should cause problems for Villanova in the paint as well.

Top-seeded Kansas has struggled against teams that run a lot, which is exactly what North Carolina will look to do in a potential third-round game. The Jayhawks will be favored, but do not be surprised if the Tar Heels pull off an upset.

All of these teams may not survive the opening weekend, but each of them will make sure viewers walk away feeling satisfied. 


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